A Simpler Previews Interface

tldr: New web site: Goshenite.

I’ve been reading American comics since the 80s.  To put that into perspective for you youngsters: That was before Snapchat even existed.

Think about that for a moment.

goshAnyway, back in those days, Mile High Comics sent out a condensed list of everything all the comics distributors would be selling in three month’s time (including snarky comments), and I scanned through the list (on paper!) and ordered (or subscribed to) the stuff I wanted.

This was very efficient.  Scanning lists on paper is something human beans do well.

Then the Internet happened, and everything went s-l-o-w.

These days, there’s only a single distributor — Diamond Comics.  They do sell catalogues of everything they sell, but they’re big and annoying and not very scannable.  The other options are a few comics shops that list the Diamond data (including Mile High), but they’re all so… old fashioned.  Small, paginated lists and a whole lot of clicking.

In my opinion.  Mileages vary more than the NOx output from a Volkswagen.

So I’ve just been web-scraping tgosh2hose sites the past few decades to make the data scannable again.

But yesterday I had an idea: What if I were to put that data up on a more modern site that allows for better zombie-like scanning?

Design objectives:

  1. Zero wait browsing.  When I want to see the next listing, I don’t want to wait.  So: Everything preloaded.
  2. Avoid having to move the eyes around.  This means that each category of data (title, creators, the cover) stay in exactly the same spot.
  3. Keyboard-based navigation between the comics and the publishers.
  4. An ability to filter out variant covers.
  5. No storage of data on the server.  Everything happens in the browser, and the users’ subscription lists are not sent anywhere.  The secret of your subscription to Magic Whistle is still safe!

I implemented this today, and you can see the results on Goshenite.  The data is scraped from the Diamond web site — I hope they don’t mind.  I mean, they’re distributors, so more channels to hawk their wares, the better?

The source code for the scraper is here, and the source code for the web site is here.

(Goshenite is a crystal that kinda looks like diamond.  Clever, huh?)

The idea is that you can sit yourself down before your screen, tap happily on “arrow down” and the other keys, and when you see something you might want to buy, you hit “b”.  After you’ve done, you hit the “Export” button and you get a list you can give to most any normal comics store in the US, and they’ll order the stuff for you.

Or just send the list to Mile High, which is what I’ll be doing.

3 thoughts on “A Simpler Previews Interface”

    1. Hm… I didn’t think the information from Diamond was specific enough, but looking at it now, most graphic novels have TP/SC/HC in their titles, so that should be possible. I’ll give it a try…

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