What's the main difference between reading comics online and reading physical comic books? Flipping pages usually takes more time online, the speed depends largely on the user's computer and Internet connection speed.
The userscript Webcomic Reader offers a partial solution for the problem. Partial? Yes, it is only compatible with site's specified by the developer. Among the hundred+ websites that are supported are popular destinations such as XKCD, One Manga or Penny Arcade. A full list is available on the userscript profile page, more about that later.
Back to why the userscript is a godsend for comic lovers. Probably the most noticeable feature is the ability to pre-load images or pages. Couple that with Ajax navigation for instant page changes and keyboard shortcuts, and you reduce the page load delay to an absolute minimum. The delay is barely noticeable on fast connections.
Webcomic Reader automatically positions the page so that the comic is shown at the very top. It adds several buttons right beneath the comic which can be used to navigate back and forth with the mouse (this can also be done by clicking directly on the images). There is also a button to remember the page which basically acts as a bookmark without saving a bookmark.
Configuration options are displayed below that allow the user to open the userscript's settings, switch between the standard and minimalistic layout (which only displays the comic and navigation basically), and enable or disable the fit to screen option.
The following keyboard shortcuts are available to navigate even faster:
Keyboard shortcuts can be changed in the program settings.
What else; Oh yeah, it is possible to add your own site to the userscript. How is that done? Well the developer explains it in detail on the userscript's homepage but there is a quick rundown. Please note that this only works in Firefox with Greasemonkey installed.
Webcomic Reader offers everything that one expects, it fastens up page loading times thanks to pre-loading, Ajax and better navigational options, can remember page positions without saving bookmarks and has options to add support for new web comics that are not supported by default.
The userscript works best in Firefox thanks to the advanced options that are available there. It is however compatible with Opera and Google Chrome as well. Check the userscript page for restrictions on this. The userscript is available for installation at the Userscript.org website.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.