Piperka blog

Push notifications

Piperka has a new feature: push notifications. I'm not pushing them (heh) at you as a default but if you'd like to have Piperka tell you when there's something new to read then click on "Notifications" check box on the updates page. The way it works is that whenever you load the updates page Piperka will mark which of your subscribed comics don't appear on it and it'll raise a notification when some of them would have new pages. So if you are like and have a dozen comics waiting with hundreds of unread pages then it won't do anything about them. Acting on the push message will take you to the updates page.

The push notifications feature is largely independent of the earlier watch feature. The former sends notifications and the latter will just update the page you have open in a browser tab.

The push notifications have been available for a week now and some of you have found the check box on your own. I got the impetus to implement this feature since I spotted a user refreshing the updates page every few minutes via a program and I ended up asking them what they're up to. I'm decidedly pretty lax about any site usage policy and it wasn't much of a strain that someone set up that sort of a thing but whenever I see something unexpected it's often the case that there's something I could do better. So feel free to poke around Piperka (within reasonable limits) but give me a tell if there's something you'd like to do that's currently not readily possible.

The notifications feature hasn't been all that thoroughly tested yet so please let me know if you encounter any bugs. Especially since it's something I won't be personally using.

A couple of other visible more minor updates since the last time I wrote on the blog are validation checks for the links to external sites (Twitter, Facebook, Patreon etc.) and I added more sites to the mix. Another new thing is aliases for comics in quick search. Some comics have their site names differ from the comic names and some use diacritics in their names.

I have plenty of maintenance work ahead of me. Smack Jeeves did a major site redesign and all the archive links I have with them are broken now and plenty of comics have moved away from there. Some of them had just left Comic Genesis when it went read only earlier this year. I'm not all that impressed and I'm half tempted to build a web comic hosting service of my own. Filing tickets on the comics affected by the fallout helps but please be mindful to fill in the first page field too if it has changed, it helps.

Somewhat relatedly to this, I've updated the bookmarking feature to be more lenient about the tail ends of URLs. Some sites aren't all that consistent about whether they use a slash character at the end of their addresses or not and Piperka likes to stick to one version of them and that has caused some friction. I had used an optional regex to help the match but that's been somewhat brittle and they need to be updated manually. I changed the bookmarking function to try out a few variations with regard to the tail part of the address. This ties to Smack Jeeves' changes since one common destination for the comics leaving them is ComicFury and they're prone to tailing slash issues and I didn't want to deal with any of that anymore.

On a personal note, I'm out of work. At least it cut the amount of drama in my life. I don't know for how long, I don't think I could tolerate another dev job where I couldn't use Haskell and those where I could are rare indeed. It would be less awkward if I got a bit more income from Piperka but I'll be comfortable for quite a while as is. After a decade and a half it's hard to see that Piperka would gain a significant popularity boost at this time. As I measure them, I've 26 fewer active users than a year ago. I have more available time right now but that hasn't translated to time used on Piperka all that much yet.

I may pursue other interests besides Piperka for a while. I've not run out of ideas with it but I feel that I could diversify a bit. Find something which may or may not involve other income sources. At least some of my Debian packages are due for updates, I should see to them (this one won't).

Sun, 15 Dec 2019 21:27:12 UTC