ComicReader – the Opensource comic reader for iPad

Hello dear reader!

I still remember my first iPad, it was an iPad 2 and it bought together a new era of improvements that would consolidate the post pc-era in a way we would never imagine. It was the birth of the smart cover, and it really pushed the iPad to become the mainstream project it went on to be. This was a such a big event Apple even made an ad just to showcase the smart cover.

It is hard to think that this was 10 years ago. One of the Apps I used most back then, was an app called ComicFlow. It was the simplest and most convenient way to read comics on an iPad. It created a web server that could be accessed with any browser on a computer and allowed the user to transfer the comics that would then be read on the iPad. However, over 5 years ago, the app stopped receiving updates and the developers open sourced the repo on GitHub. This repo was lately marked as read only and it was made clear they wouldn’t be making further developments.

For those of you who know me, nostalgia has always been one of my achilles heels. So I decided to take that old code and see if there was a way to bring it back to life. Mind you, this was not an easy task at all. We are talking about an old Objective C app that had embedded pure C libraries. However, going back to my roots and dealing with the type of code I dealt with when I started was an irresistible way to take a trip down memory lane to times when everything was more exciting and new.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and modernised the C and Objective C syntax, switched to the latest requirements, and ensured that the App adapted to all the new screen sizes. But why stop there? I was on a roll, so I decided to keep going and make sure performance on the latest iOS devices was top notch, implemented a new and dramatic dark mode, and even added the possibility of adding files directly in the App with the embedded file system. And finally, ComicReader was born! I was so proud of this I made the cool widget you can try below to show the new look of the App :)!

You might be wandering, what can the app do? Well allow me to share with you the App store description:

Finally a comic reader for iPad done right! ComicReader was designed with one goal in mind: providing the best experience for comic fans with large collections. This is an open source App based on ComicFlow, which stopped receiving updates and wasn’t optimised for the latest devices. Supports the following features:

  • Polished interface- Can handle very large comic collections (1,500+ comics and dozens of GB) without crashing or becoming unusable
  • Imports new comics in the background- Doesn’t need to pre-process comic files before you can read them
  • Supports .cbr, .cbz and pdf files.
  • Polished interface- Can handle very large comic collections (1,500+ comics and dozens of GB) without crashing or becoming unusable- Imports new comics in the background- Doesn’t need to pre-process comic files before you can read them- Supports .cbr, .cbz and pdf files

Importing comics with USB cable.

  • Connect your iPad to your computer and launch iTunes
  • In the Applications section, select ComicReader in the list at the bottom
  • Drag and drop comic files into the Documents area
  • If ComicReader is already running, display the settings window (upper-right button) and tap on “Update Library”

Importing comics with the build in web server over WiFi.

  • Make sure your iPad and computer are on the same WiFi network
  • Launch ComicReader
  • Display the settings window (upper-right button) and set the Web Server setting to “Website” mode
  • Open the provided URL in a web browser on your computer
  • To upload comics as part of series, first create a folder then upload the comic files into itInstead of a web browser, if you prefer to use a WebDAV client (e.g. Transmit or ForkLift for Mac or CyberDuck for Mac / Windows), set the Web Server setting to “WebDAV” mode and connect the client to the provided URL.
  • Alternatively you can use the “Add Files” from the settings menu to use the build in browser which will allow you to add from the files app.

Deleting or changing a comic or series status.

  • Tap and hold on a comic thumbnail or a series thumbnail
  • Choose the appropriate option in the pop-up menu that appears

ComicReader (like ComicFlow before it) is also the first (and only?) open-source comic reader for iPad: get the full source from, forked from under GPL v3 license.

Comic reader improves from ComicFlow by adding a dark theme, improvements to the efficiency and adapts to all modern iOS devices, taking full advantage of Apple Silicon.

But, hey, what would this be without a few pics to show you the App? Well no need to wait any further, you can check it out below:

Well thats a wrap folks! I am extremely happy to continue this App’s legacy and look forward to see where we can all take it to together. You can find both download links and the GitHub repository in case you want to contribute or check the code out below. It is released under the same GPL v3 license as the original.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!