Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ramblings

As mentioned a few weeks ago, there are a number of webcomics I like to read that are hosted on GoComics. There are a couple more on other sites that are a little more inconvenient to access so I normally don't read them consistently anymore (Funky Winkerbean and Tumbleweeds). What I don't like about GoComics is the lack of a way to organize the strips that I want to read on a daily basis, and having to read comments from other readers that seem to think that they are funny and/or original. Naturally, I don't HAVE to read the comments, but sometimes it's unintentional.

The idea of automating the process of obtaining the strips that I want had been sitting at the back of my mind, and a few days ago, I decided to act on it. Visual Basic Scripting works well enough that I could get the majority of the code running in about an hour. The two key elements were: How to read an html file from a URL, and How to extract the picture filename from the html. After that, it was a simple matter of looping through an array of comic strip names, grabbing each img src name, and putting an html wrapper around it all for reading within a browser. The code's not that elegant, but it works well enough, and having all of the strips in one page makes it almost like reading a newspaper. Additionally, I added Funky Winkerbean to the list and now I can read that along with the rest, again. Cool.

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