Head on over to http://www.ryumaru.com/2013/02/ryuzine-0-9-6-3-available-now/ to get it!

The plan is for this to be the major update to the Ryuzine webapps for 2013.  That is, of course, barring the release of any OS or browser updates that break them and require another update to fix things (cross fingers).

The big thing with this release is the dropping of support for “legacy” browsers.  After looking at the major browser usage stats sites the numbers of people still using those old browsers is thankfully dwindling.  Since I’m actually the ONLY developer for all the Ryuzine webapps I had to weigh the value of my time spent coding exceptions and testing the webapps in old browsers against whether it was even worth continuing to accommodate people who – for whatever reasons – aren’t updating to more modern browsers capable of handling all the great features of the Ryuzine apps.  Result?  It’s not worth it.  At least that’s what the usage stats convinced me of.  So I stripped out all the exception code and the internal support for Robert Nyman’s legacy support script.  That script itself wasn’t a problem, but the 500 lines of code with all the “if-else” and “case-switch” stuff was slowing down the apps far more than I could have imagined.  So an upside for users with modern browsers is that all that decision making no longer needs to occur and the webapps are faster and more efficient.

Ryuzine Writer also got quite the behind-the-scenes overhaul.  Namely that a bunch of functions and options within it have been broken out into a new “Add-Ons” architecture, and that architecture has hooks for third-party developers to create their own extensions to the authoring app.  No, I’m not open-sourcing the authoring app itself, but it’s much more open to extending it now.  Third-party add-ons can add Start Screen shortcut buttons, dialogs, Output Options, code injection during webapp building, even entire tabbed workspaces.  If the PHP file operations are enabled the addon can also be an option in the Packaging panel and auto-install a corresponding Reader add-on to the development environment.  Pretty much all the Add-Ons that have appeared in the Output Options dialog are now optional through this new system.  In fact the online demo for Ryuzine Writer now has all the demo elements defined through the new Add-On system (meaning I no longer have to maintain both a “release” and a “demo” version).  There’s a detailed manual on how the Add-On stuff is implemented now: http://www.ryumaru.com/library/addons0963/ (in Ryuzine Reader format, natch!)

Ryuzine Writer also now has Webcomic options in the Template Wizard!  A lot of the inspiration for how it works was based on my prior experience creating the Comixer shell script.  Now all someone needs to do is have a folder full of their comic page scans (of course it had better be their OWN artwork), tell the Template Wizard how many pages and what the filename format is, and if they want to compile and build it in one run (that is, if they don’t plan on editing the comic or adding extras to it at all).  Lastly, if the PHP features are enabled it can be packaged into a stand-alone ZIPped publication.  I’m hoping this will appeal to the less tech-savvy indi comics artists out there who want to repackage their print work as digital webcomics.  The even simpler solution for webcomics, though, is probably to use a WordPress website running Ryuzine Press and any of the popular comic publishing plugins (Webcomic, ComicPress, and Comic Easel), but that’s assuming the work is already being published online as free content.

If you’re a little more advanced and use Abobe InDesign to put together publications and want to re-purpose them as Ryuzine publications as well this new version of Ryuzine Writer also offers better import support for InDesign CS4 and later projects exported either for Dreamweaver  or structured documents exported as XML files.  Ryuzine Writer can’t read the native .indd files, but being able to import HTML and XML files exported from InDesign is a big step and a serious time-saver when converting print content to a Ryuzine publication.