This is a simple little script whose primary purpose is to aggregate various webcomics onto a single page, for ease of browsing. It's intended to be run via cron on a daily basis. Given a strip definition file, it will grab a page from the web and find the comic URLs using regex, in defiance of all common wisdom about parsing HTML using regex.
pydailystrips is written in Python and only tested on Python 3.4+. I've coded this without a safety net (ie: there are no unit tests). It's meant as a personal replacement for an ancient Perl-based project called dailystrips, found here: http://dailystrips.sourceforge.net/
The original Perl project has various features not replicated here, such as
the ability to define strip "classes" which individual strips inherit from,
some different methods of finding comic URLs, and the ability to use some
arbitrary code in the strip definition file itself. The
packaged here is also far smaller than that provided by dailystrips, since
I've only included the strips I actually use myself. (Though in fairness,
I suspect very few of the dailystrips definitions still work, since it was
last updated in 2003.)
pydailystrips does have one major feature which dailystrips does not: the ability to capture more information from the comic's webpage than just the comic image itself. The most common thing to look for is "title text" attached to the comic image, but it also supports pulling down secondary images, such as the "Votey" image from SMBC Comics.
In addition to Python 3, pydailystrips requires the following Python modules:
pydailystrips assumes that you're running it on a system which supports symlinks.
usage: pydailystrips.py [-h] (-s STRIP | -g GROUP | -l) [-d DOWNLOAD_DIR] [--css CSS_FILENAME] [-v] [-c CONFIG] [-u USERAGENT] [--ca-certs CA_CERTS] optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -s STRIP, --strip STRIP Strip to process (default: None) -g GROUP, --group GROUP Group to process (default: None) -l, --list List available strips/groups (default: False) -d DOWNLOAD_DIR, --download DOWNLOAD_DIR Download the specified strips into this directory, rather than showing on STDOUT (default: None) --css CSS_FILENAME Use the specified CSS filename in generated HTML (only has an effect with --download). Will copy the CSS file from this directory to the project directory if it doesn't already exist, but will NOT overwrite an existing CSS file. (default: dailystrips-style.css) -v, --verbose Verbose output (for debugging purposes) (default: False) -c CONFIG, --config CONFIG Configuration file (default: ./strips.def) -u USERAGENT, --useragent USERAGENT User-Agent to use in HTTP headers when requesting pages (default: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:51.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/51.0) --ca-certs CA_CERTS Use the specified CA bundle instead of python- requests' own bundle (default: None) One of -s, -g, or -l is required.
To get a list of all supported strips and groups, use
(output truncated here):
$ ./pydailystrips.py -l achewood: Achewood Artist: Chris Onstad Homepage: http://www.achewood.com Search Page: http://www.achewood.com Base URL: http://www.achewood.com Main Strip pattern (Image): (?P<result>/comic.php\?date=\d+)" Title Text pattern (Text): <img src.*title="(?P<result>.*?)" ... Group cj: * achewood - Achewood * alicegrove - Alice Grove * basicinstructions - Basic Instructions ...
To retreive all the information for a strip or group of strips, specify them as an option - you'll get the results of the regex searches at the bottom:
$ ./pydailystrips.py -s smbc smbc: SMBC Comics Artist: Zach Weinersmith Homepage: http://www.smbc-comics.com/ Search Page: http://www.smbc-comics.com/ Base URL: http://www.smbc-comics.com/ Main Strip pattern (Image): (?P<result>comics/[0-9-]+( \(\d+\))?\.(gif|jpg|png))" Title Text pattern (Text): img title="(?P<result>.*?)" Votey pattern (Image): (?P<result>comics/[0-9-]+( \(\d+\))?after\.(gif|jpg|png))' ------ Main Strip: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/1487000736-20170213.png Title Text: I really can't tell if this one will get hatemail or lovemail. Votey: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/1487000752-20170213after.png
To download all specified scripts into a directory (which also creates an
HTML page inlining all the strips, and symlinks
index.html to the new
$ ./pydailystrips.py -g cj -d /var/www/htdocs/dailystrips
The HTML output of pydailystrips sets CSS IDs and classnames on basically all
attributes, and it should be possible to style the page however you like. By default
it will copy the file
dailystrips-style.css into the output directory, if it doesn't
already exist, and use that for CSS. You can specify any arbitrary filename (or URL)
--css option and the outputted HTML will use that, instead. The CSS you use
need not be present in the same directory as
pydailystrips.py itself. pydailystrips
will not overwrite CSS in the destination directory, so the CSS file in the download
directory can be modified without fear of having it overwritten.
A quick perusal of the generated HTML source and/or the bundled CSS file should give
you an idea of what elements are available. I believe I've got just about everything
you'd care about in there, but let me know if I've missed anything that would be useful.
For instance, the main strip image will have a CSS ID of
and classes of
By default, pydailystrips will use the CA bundle which comes with Python's "requests"
module. In the event that you need to talk to a server whose SSL issuer is not found,
you can use the
--ca-certs option to specify your own CA bundle to use. As of
June 15, 2019, this seems to be required to talk to www.comicskingdom.com (which hosts
Zits), which is currently signed by
Go Daddy Secure Certificate Authority - G2.
- Some kind of "archive" page would be nice - dailystrips had been linking to one which doesn't seem to have ever been updated...
- Move "groups" definitions to their own file
- Proper pypi-compatible packaging/versioning would be nice, wouldn't it?