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News: all updates for our software and apps

This is CLZ Alwin, bringing you the CLZ News for April 2022!

Strangely enough, only ONE new release this month (CLZ Comics 7.6). Well, not that strange really, as part of the team is working on big back-end projects and the rest on upcoming May releases.

So today’s newsletter is all about “What’s Cooking at the CLZ HQ?”:

  • Now live:
    • CLZ Comics 7.6: Bigger cover images in Add Comics screen
  • What’s Cooking?
    • A new partner for comic values!
    • New “Card View” for all CLZ mobile apps
    • Faster searches with our new search engine servers
    • Multiple languages for the Connect web-based software!

CLZ Comics 7.6: Bigger cover images in Add Comics screen

For this update, the main goal was to make the cover images in the Add Comics screen bigger, to make it easier to find the issue or variant that you own. However, while working on that, we ran into many other things that could be improved, so we figured why not? So in the end, it turned out be a serious overhaul of the Add Comics screen:

  • Bigger cover images in the Issue List
  • The Issue List for a series now opens in a separate page
  • Preview Page now also shows a bigger cover image

Bigger cover images in the Issue List

To make it easier to find and select the issue or variant that you own, we increased the size of the cover images in the Issue List. To make that possible, we turned the list into a grid, with multiple columns (most devices will show 3 columns).

The new Issue List layout now appears on the Add By Series tab, the Add by Issue Tab and the Pull List tab.

The Issue List for a series now opens in a separate page

Previously, on the Series and Pull List tabs, the issue list for a series expanded “in place”. But to give the issue list the full screen space, and to create a clearer user interface, the Issue List now opens on its own page. With a nice Series header and its own toolbar with the issue list settings. Use the back button top left to go back to the series list.

Preview Page now also shows a bigger cover image

Also new in this update, a new layout for the Preview Page, with a big cover image and the Key Info and Variant Description right at the top. Scroll down to see all the other details (plot, creators, characters).

»» Check out the screenshots here ««

A new partner for comic values!

Big news for all users of our comic database tools (the CLZ Comics mobile app, the Comic Connect web-based software and the Comic Collector for Windows desktop software):

We are working on a new solution for providing comic values!

If you are a member of the “CLZ Comics” group on Facebook, you are probably fully aware of what’s going to happen already, but if you’re not, here’s a summary:

  • To provide values in the CLZ app and software, we are going to collaborate with one of the leading comic value services online. We cannot yet disclose who this 3rd party is though (hopefully soon).
  • To get values, you need a subscription to that 3rd party’s service and link that subscription to your CLZ account (probably by copy/pasting a token).
  • The costs for that 3rd party subscription will be between $5 to $9 per month, or when paid yearly, between $50 and $90 per year.
  • For clarity: You will get the values INSIDE your CLZ app or
    software, you do not need to log in to that 3rd party’s website to
    see the values. However, if you *do* log in to the 3rd party’s website, you *will* have
    full access to all their extra info, e.g. value trends, historic sales data, etc…

  • Of course, you will only need one subscription with the 3rd party to get values in all our CLZ comic tools (e.g. in CLZ Comics AND Comic Connect).
  • Finally, you will also need an active subscription for your CLZ app or software. A grandfathered account will not suffice.

Now, here’s an update on the current status:

  • We have a first draft of the agreement between the two parties! We are currently finalizing the agreement and expect to sign it within two weeks.
  • The “so far undisclosed” 3rd party is still working on an update to their back-end. When that is done, they will start building a new API that we can we can use for getting value updates.
  • Another huge task that needs to be done before we can launch is the “linking up” of our databases. That is, linking their comic entries to our Core entries, so that you will get the correct values, for the correct series, issues and variants.
  • As for the ETA of the launch, we are aiming for “early Q3”.

I really hope I can disclose more information soon, but for now this is all I can say. Both parties cannot wait to tell you more!

New “Card View” for all CLZ mobile apps

While working on the new “big images” layout for the CLZ Comics Add screen, we suddenly realized: wow, this look and layout could also work well as a 3rd view in the main screen. Like an Images View but with just bit of key information shown below the images. And not only for comics, this could work for all 5 apps!

And… there’s no time like the present, so let’s just do this NOW 🙂

UI designer AJ and I have already designed the “cards” for the new Card View for all 5 apps. Mobile developers Pim and Bernard are currently implementing the new view. With the experience of the Add Comics screen, this should not take too long. ETA: within 2 weeks!

Faster searches with our new search engine servers

With our software and apps growing more popular by the month, we need to scale up our server infrastructure on an ongoing basis, to deal with the growing load.

At this moment, our devops guy Stijn is focusing on our search engines, for both CLZ Core searches (used when searching in the Add from Core screen) and CLZ Cloud searches (when searching your cloud data from either the Connect web-based software or the CLZ Cloud site).

We are moving all search indexes to a bigger, faster and more efficient search service. Next to that, we have set up two separate web-servers to handle all searches. One for regular Core searches, then a separate dedicated server that only handles the “search-as-you-type” suggestions, you know, the 5 suggestions that automatically drop-down while you are typing your search.

Currently, almost all searches are running on the new system. Next week, we will transfer the last search indexes (for the CLZ Cloud for music) and then we finally dismantle the old servers.

Multiple languages for the Connect web-based software!

This is a big one and the current project of both lead-developer Sven and web/windows-developer Joe. We are preparing the Connect web-based software to become available in multiple languages!

Joe is going through all Connect screens and code, replacing all hard-coded texts with calls to our localization code. A huge task, but necessary to make the entire software “translatable”.
In the meantime, Sven is building a CMS tool for actually doing the translations. We will use that tool ourselves to do the Dutch translation, but we will also provide access to the tool for outside translators, for translating into other languages.

ETA: within 4 weeks!

Happy cataloging!