What's new in Comic Connect? (page 2)
We’re on a roll with the Connect development, so today we can release two new features for your Connect software:
- Search your collection by barcode, using CLZ Barry
- Set your CLZ Cloud Visibility per collection
We have finally been able to free up web-developer Stijn from several long running “back-end” projects, so he is making good progress on all kinds of smaller Comic Connect improvements.
In today’s update, 3 nice additions / tweaks:
- Easier user interface for Columns and Sorting
- Remove/Restore the automatic Core images for Front and Back
- More fields available in Field Defaults
Today, we have updated your Comic Connect software for you, with two nice improvements in one go:
- Enhanced Collection Status filter, now including On Order, For Sale, etc..
- A new Update from Core tool
New in your Comic Connect software: add web-site links to your movie entries, using the new “Links” tab of the Edit Comic screen.
Tip: paste a website link in the URL box and the description will be filled in automatically.
With so many users switching from the desktop software to the Connect web-based software, we are getting a lot of useful feedback about the things they are missing, or would like to see in Connect.
Today, a small update with 3 new settings to save screen space in the main screen:
- Show Filter Bar: uncheck this setting to hide the bar at the top with the Collection Status filter and the Alphabet Bar, giving you quite a bit more vertical screen space for your list.
- Show Collection Status indicators: uncheck this to remove the column with the status icons from your List View, giving you more horizontal room for your columns.
- Show pencil icons (for editing): uncheck this to remove the column with the pencil (edit) icons from your List View, again giving you more horizontal list space.
Oh and BTW: we also took this opportunity to complete re-think the layout of the Settings screen, to make the grouping of settings more logical. I recommend to take a good look again, maybe you will find some useful settings you never knew existed 🙂
Long overdue, but it is finally here: you can now select your own currency for all value and price fields in Comic Connect.
Find the new currency settings in your Settings screen. Under Currency, choose your desired currency.
Choose from USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, CHF, NOK, SEK or DKK. Then use the Currency display setting to customize how prices and values will be displayed.
Another nice update for your Comic Connect software.
Updated Pre-fill screen that pops up when adding comics
When adding a comic to your database using the Add Comics screen, it always shows the Quick-Fill popup, for quickly pre-filling some fields for the added comics.
This pop-up has been renamed to “Pre-fill comic details”, now has a new layout and contains 4 extra fields you can pre-fill!
Fields available in the Pre-fill screen:
- Grading Company (New!)
- Raw / Slabbed (New!)
- Storage Box
- Owner (New!)
- Purchase Date
- Purchase Store
- Purchase Price
- Tags (New!)
Today we are responding to request that we have been hearing from many years:
Is there any way I can find which comics I am MISSING for my series
Definitely not an easy feature to implement, because the first question immediately is “what about variants?”. If you own issue 13A, do you regard issue 13B, 13C and 13D as missing or not?
So our UI/US designed AJ and I (Alwin) sat down to design a flexible “Missing Comics” screen that gives you full flexibility to conjure up the missing comics list you are looking for.
Based on our ideas, web-developer Sven created a super-fast search engine on our servers, that can instantly return issue number lists for any series. Still not sure how he made it this fast, but you’ll definitely love the speed of this too.
Then after that, Sven created the new Missing Comics tool that you can now find in the Tools menu of version 21. Alternatively, open it from the “Find missing comics” link next to you Have list at the top of your issue list.
Use the checkboxes and sort toggle at the top to:
- Show or Hide missing variants.
- Switch between a compact list and a verbose list. (the compact view lists missing comics in “ranges”.)
- Order the missing issue lists in Ascending or Descending order.
New “Find Missing Comics” link in the Collection / Wish List summary panel:
Use the button on the bottom right to download a nice PDF file that you can print off, for taking with you to the store or to a show:
In the Add Comics screen, when searching for a comic “By Series Title”, you are sometimes getting so many series results, that it can be hard to find the exact comic you have in your hands. You may find yourself expanding series after series, to find the issue you need.
But not anymore, as today’s update will make this a lot easier: Just use the new “Add Issue” tab in the Add Comics screen to search by Series title AND Issue number in one go.
E.g. search for “iron man 17” and it will instantly show you a simple flat list of all issues 17 of matching Iron Man series.
Note that the list of matches will automatically be a lot shorter, because the results will only include the series that actually have the issue number you are looking. For example, search for “action comics 214” and it will instantly give you the exact comic you are looking for:
Since we introduced the Update Values from Go Collect feature, one of the most common questions we received at customer support has been:
After I update the values for my comics, is there any way I can see which comics have been updated?
So, after one year of having to say “sorry, no that is not possible”, we figured, let’s make it possible.
And of course, we went way beyond just showing which comics have been updated. As of today, after you run Update Values, you will get a nice “Updated Values” report, showing you:
- which comics have been updated
- their previous values and the new values
- the value change, in green when increased, in red when decreased
- links to GoCollect to see further historic values
- total value changes for the updated comics and for your entire collection
Last week we implemented several small improvements to the Connect software, based on suggestions (and complaints) from you all, our loyal users:
Configurable Date Format for Edit screen
Two months ago, we introduced a Date Format setting to control how dates are displayed throughout the Connect software. But the date editors in the Edit screen still always used “yyyy-mm-dd” as the format. Which could be confusing to some users.
So in the Settings screen, under Editing, we have now introduced a new setting, specifically for controlling the order of the year, month and day boxes in the Edit screen:
New “Year” options for folders, colums and sorting
Some dates were already available as Year-only options for folders, columns and sorting (like Release Year, Publication Year, etc…), but we have now updated the available options to include ALL date fields as Year-only options, for example:
- Added Year
- Purchase Year
- Seen it Year
- Read it Year
Improved Auto-Capitalization feature
Small tweak for the Auto-Capitalization tools: it now correctly auto-caps letters that follow a parenthesis, bracket, square bracket, single quote or double quote.
More Totals in Statistics screens
The Statistics screen has been updated with more Totals at the top, e.g. for Purchase Price, Current Value.
For most new comics you purchase every week, you are probably paying cover price. So we figured, why not make it a bit easier for you and let you auto-fill the Purchase Price field with the Cover Price?
You can now do so by enabling the “Auto-Fill with Cover Price” setting in the Field Defaults screen:
At customer support, we were regularly receiving questions about the Edit Multiple screen, so in today’s update we made several changes to make it clearer.
- The checkboxes (for unlocking fields) have been replaced by clearer “lock” icons. Click the lock icon to unlock a field for editing.
- Or, just click on a lock field and you will receive a popup asking you to unlock it.
- An extra notification at the top explaining the unlocking and clearing of fields.
- Save button now indicates the number of comics that are being edited.
- Extra warning when saving “You are about to change data for 4 comics. This can not be undone. Would you like to continue?”
Using “Edit Multiple”
Quick reminder how to use Edit Multiple:
In the main list, use the checkboxes to select some comics, and click “Edit” in the blue action bar that appears above the list.
As you all know, we have seen no new comic releases in the past 2 months. Luckily, things are slowly starting up again. At Collectorz.com, we took this opportunity to focus on the older comics in our database, especially the 1970 to 2000 era, where barcode recognition by our Core was still “below par”. And as of today, you can start enjoying the fruits of our labor!
Better barcode search results for older comics (1970 to 2000 era)
- Over 35 thousand extra barcodes are now being recognized.
- Add By Barcode feature now correctly handles multiple comics with the same barcode (quite common in this era) and nicely just presents to you all comics that match your searched barcode, even when spread over multiple series.
- Improved barcode search engine.
In the screenshot below you can see a barcode that is used in 9 issues spread over 3 series. The Add Screen will now show you all possible results we have for that barcode:
Re-designed search results in Add Comics screen
While we were at it, we also re-designed the search result entries for both title and barcode searches:
- Clearer layout of all search result entries.
- Issue numbers are now listed in “badges” on the left, separate from series titles and now change color depending on Collection Status.
New in the Cover tab of your Edit screen: built-in Crop and Rotate tools for your cover images!
Super useful for fine-tuning images that you uploaded or found through the Find Online tool. You can even Crop/Rotate images that you received from Core, in which case they will be automatically turned into a custom image.
To use the new Crop/Rotate tools, open your Edit screen go to the Cover tab and click the “Crop/Rotate” icon on the top right above the Front or Back cover image:
- Click the Rotate icon to rotate the image 90 degrees to the right.
- Drag the blue crop rectangle to indicate your desired crop area.
- Click Apply to apply the changes.
Previously, the “Add to …” button in the Add screen let you choose between “Add to Collection” or “Add to Wishlist”. But as of today, you can now choose from ALL possible Collection Status option directly. For instance, this lets you add an item as “On Order” straight from the Add screen!
Now, the possible choices are:
- In Collection
- For Sale
- Wish List
- On Order
- Not In Collection
A big update for Comic Connect again, in which we introduce many new settings for further customizing your software to your own liking.
And while we were at it, we updated the Settings screen with clearer grouping and naming of settings.
Here’s what’s new:
Choose how date formats are displayed throughout Connect.
Choose your own timezone and all Date Added and Date Modified fields will be displayed according to that timezone. (previously these all showed in UTC time)
BTW: also new today: new column options Date/Time Added and Date/Time Modified, for showing the full added and modified timestamps.
Two new options that control the sorting by Series and how Series are displayed:
- When sorting, ignore sort names for Series and Signees: check this if you prefer to ignore all sort names when sorting and just have the software sort on the display name.
- When displaying, show sort names for Series and Signees: showing the actual sort names that it sorts on can make your list a bit “easier on the eye”.
A very nice cosmetic update for your Connect software today: a new “Shelves View”!
Shelves View is a fourth view for your comic list, similar to Cover View, but with your cover images standing on a nice shelves background. You can even choose between 6 different shelf styles using the Shelf Style selector:
- Wood Light
- Wood Dark
Also new, for both Shelves View and Images View, as “Size Slider” to control the size of the images.
Because of the introduction of the new view, the Shelf Style selector and the Size Slider, we have also made several changes to the various Connect toolbars:
- A new “View” toolbar right above the list, with 4 buttons for switching between the 4 views (List, Card, Cover and Shelves), the Size Slider and the Style Selector (for Shelves) and finally the Sort Order button (on the far right).
- The new “View” toolbar replaces the “Filter” toolbar that was in that spot.
- The “Filter” toolbar now only appears when a filter is actually active, and now has a pale yellow background to make it super-clear that you are looking at a filtered list.
- The number of comics indicator has been moved (back) to the center of the top toolbar.
It’s been a bit quiet with Connect updates in the past 2 months, as we have been preparing a *huge* update. BUT it is live now!
All settings are now saved server-side, in your CLZ Cloud
We have taken the advantage of the Connect web-based software to the next level, by storing all your settings on the server side, your CLZ Cloud (instead of in local browser cookies).
So any computer or device you log in to will automatically have the same folder option selected, the same columns selected for the list view, the same sort order, the same layout, etc..
Connect now even stores your Add screen’s barcode queue on the server side, so you scan barcode into the queue on one computer and process the queue later, from any other device.
All your existing settings will be automatically transfered to the server, the first time you login.
BTW: this change finally resolves the problem of losing all settings for users who have their browser configured to remove all cookies on exit.
Create your own Favorites for Columns and Sort Orders
While we were working on the settings, we figured this was a good time to add some more customizability to the Columns and Sort Order features. You can now create and save your own Column and Sort Order settings as Favorites, then easily switch between them.
To create and manage your Favorites, click the Column or Sort Order button and choose Manage Favorites:
Manage Column Favorites:
Manage Sorting Favorites:
In general, our CLZ Core online comic database gives you excellent results on your barcode searches. However, it can always happen that you scan a comic’s barcode and it comes up as “unrecognized”, meaning that the barcode is not listed in our CLZ Core yet.
In today’s update, we have added a new “Unrecognized Barcode” screen, that serves two purposes. It lets you:
- Easily add the comic to your database anyway
- Report the barcode as missing, so that we can add it to our Core ASAP
Just fill in the following fields:
- Issue No and Variant
- Variant Description
- Cover Year and Month
and hit Add to Collection at the bottom.
BTW: please make sure that you scanned the FULL barcode before reporting it as missing!
Let’s work together to get all comic barcodes added to the CLZ Core!
Barcode search now supports multiple results
For older comics (1970 to 1990 era), publishers sometimes re-used barcodes on different issues in the same series. The CLZ Comics app has never supported that situation well, it would just returned ONE of those issue.
However, with more and more barcodes for older comics now being added, we have updated the barcode search engine to fully support this situation. When searching for a barcode that was used for multiple issues, the app will now give you all matching results, for you to choose from.
Here’s a handy tool that will save you a lot of time when adding new comics to your database: the Quick Fill popup!
In the Add Comics screen, when clicking the Add to Collection button, the new Quick Fill screen will popup, and lets you set some fields for the comics you are about to add. This way, you don’t have to go back later and use the Edit screen to set these!
The following fields can be set:
- Collection Status
- Purchase Store
- Purchase Price
- Purchase Date
- Storage Box
The popup will show and work for all different add methods (Series, Barcode, Pull List) and will work for single and multi-adds alike!
Switching the Quick Fill popup ON or OFF
Don’t like the popup? Then just uncheck the “Always show..” checkbox at the bottom. Switch it ON again through the menu > Settings > “Show Quick Fill popup when adding comics”.
An old feature from the Windows and macOS editions, that somehow never made it to Connect: Re-Assigning Index Values. But now it’s available in Connect too!
What are index values?
Connect automatically assigns and increments index numbers to items that you add to your collection. The Index value is assigned when you add an item to the database. The next item you add to your collection will have an index number that is incremented by 1.
Index numbers are only used once. When an item is deleted, the next added item will still increment on the highest index number present in your collection.
New: Re-Assign Index Values:
With the new “Re-Assign Index Values” tool, you can automatically assign new and consecutive index values to all your items, according to a sort order you select, e.g. by Title, Release Year or your own Purchase Date.
To begin, click the menu top left and select “Re-Assign Index Values”. Now choose your desired Sort Order.
Please note that this action can not be undone!
WebP is a new image format, developed by Google, that is producing smaller images compared to JPG and PNG, while preserving image quality. All modern browsers fully support the new WebP format so many websites are now using WebP for a faster browsing experience, consuming less bandwidth.
Of course, our Connect web-based software and the free CLZ Cloud viewer sites are quite heavy on cover images, especially in the Image and Card Views. So we figured switching to WebP could produce a nice boost in performance!
So today, we switched over and are now delivering all cover images and backdrops in WebP format, on all browsers that support it (older browsers still get JPG images).
You will find that your Image View and Cards View will load faster now. The difference is especially noticeable on slower internet connections and mobile devices (if you have a very fast internet connection, the difference will be minimal).
Noticeable on all connection types is the faster loading of the details panel after selecting a different item in your list. Because of the huge difference in the backdrop image sizes, viewing item details is now a lot snappier.
Multiple small tweaks to your Connect software today, improving both the Edit Comic screen and the Add Comics screen.
Editing pick list fields: checkbox multiple values in one go
The Edit screen is where many users are spending most of their time, so we’re always trying to make your editing life faster and easier.
Today, we improved all multi-value pick lists fields (e.g. Genres, Tags) by letting you add multiple values in one go. In the Select Value screen we have introduced checkboxes now, that let you checkbox multiple values and add them instantly.
This is now available for the following fields:
- Signed by
Adding Comics by Barcode: instant adding to queue
Previously, when you searched by barcode (either by typing or scanning), the barcode instantly disappeared from the search box, but only appeared in the queue when the search was complete. Also with no “loading” indicator showing in the meantime. Not a problem when searches are instant, but it could lead to confusion in situations where it took a bit longer for the search to complete.
So we got to work and made it better: after hitting search, the barcode now instantly appears in your queue, showing a “Searching” indicator. This gives you instant feedback the barcode was accepted and is searching. Then, when the search has completed, the queue entry is filled in with the comic details and cover image.
The above tweak also applies to the opening of the screen while you still had some barcodes in the queue. This saved queue list will now populate faster.
New in Comic Connect: a Collection / Wish List summary bar for comic series!
To see the summary bar, make sure your folder panel is set to show Series folders, then select a folder. The summary bar will then appear above the list panel, showing a compact overview of the issues you own and the issues that are on your wish list.
BTW: if you don’t want this panel, you can disable it through the Settings screen.