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Alfred

A web based comic book reader and library manager.

Alfred

Features

  • Scan & manage comic books.
  • Read your comic books anywhere.
  • Log in with your Google account or username & password.
  • Continue reading while offline.
  • Automatically sync progress when connectivity is restored.
  • Make use of embedded metadata from ComicRack.
  • Look up missing metadata from the Comic Vine API.
  • Edit metadata on individual comic books.
  • Switch color schemes (aka dark mode).

Stack

  • Spring Boot 2 back end.
  • MongoDB.
  • Google Sign-In or username/password authentication.
  • Ionic v5 / Angular 9 PWA.

Requirements

Building requires either Java 11 SDK or Docker.

Running the application requires a Java 11 JRE or Docker

Recommended: a Client ID for Google Sign-In.

Usage

Docker

This is the recommended way to build and run Alfred.

TL;DR

docker network create alfred-net
docker start mongo || docker run -d -p 27017:27017 --name mongo mongo:3.6
docker network connect alfred-net mongo
docker build -t de.wasenweg/alfred .
docker run --dns 8.8.8.8 -p 5000:8080 --net=alfred-net --rm \
  -v <Path to your comic library>:/comics \
  -v <Path to where you want to receive log files>:/logs \
  -e SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE=prod \
  -e SPRING_DATA_MONGODB_URI=mongodb://mongo/alfred \
  -e COMICS_COMICVINE_APIKEY=<Your Comic Vine API key> \
  -e LOGGING_FILE=/logs/alfred.log \
  -e AUTH_CLIENT_ID=<Your Google Client ID, ends in .apps.googleusercontent.com> \
  -e AUTH_USERS=<Comma separated list of allowed user IDs, e.g. email addresses> \
  -e AUTH_JWT_SECRET=<Your own generated or custom JWT secret> \
  --name alfred \
  de.wasenweg/alfred

Configuration options are explained here.

For a detailed explanation, please continue reading:

1. Network

Set up a common network:

docker network create alfred-net

2a. New MongoDB

Set up a new MongoDB connected to the network:

docker run --name mongo -p 27017:27017 --net=alfred-net mongo

2b. Existing MongoDB

If you want to use an existing MongoDB instead, run and connect it to the network:

docker start mongo
docker network connect alfred-net mongo

3. Build

Build the docker image:

docker build -t de.wasenweg/alfred .

4. Run

Run the image and connect to the MongoDB:

docker run -p 5000:8080 --net=alfred-net -v /path/to/comics:/comics de.wasenweg/alfred

Replace /path/to/comics with the path to your comic library.

The application will now be available at http://localhost:5000.

Alternative (Gradle)

Running Alfred on the host system directly requires Java 11 SDK and a running MongoDB instance, e.g. on localhost.

./gradlew clean build -x check
java -jar build/libs/alfred.jar --spring.data.mongodb.uri=mongodb://localhost/alfred

The application will now be available at http://localhost:8080.

Configuration

Apart from the JWT secret (auth.jwt.secret), all settings can initially be passed to the application via Spring's configuration options. They're then stored and maintained in the MongoDB settings collection and take precedence over configuration options. Once the application is running, settings can be changed on the settings page.

To pass an option via docker, use an environment variable, e.g.: docker run -e AUTH_CLIENT_ID=000000.apps.googleusercontent.com ....

Comics path (comics.path)

The default comics path is /comics which allows you to associate it via a Docker volume mount.

Client ID (auth.client.id)

Required when using Google Sign-In. Create a set of client credentials in the Google API console. Configure the Authorized JavaScript origins as well as Authorized redirect URIs to reflect the host name of your Alfred instance. The Client ID format should be 000000.apps.googleusercontent.com.

Allowed users (auth.users)

The initial set of allowed users must be passed to the application on the first run. They're a comma separated list of email addresses associated with a Google ID when using Google Sign-In, otherwise they can have any format. Only matching users will be allowed to use the application and its API.

Passwords (auth.passwords)

Required only when not using Google Sign-In. When using username & password authentication, a comma separated list of passwords must be specified here matching the users in auth.users.

JWT secret (auth.jwt.secret)

Once the application authenticates the user, it issues its own JWT authentication token which requires a secret key. A default key is supplied but should be overridden whenever the application is run (it's not stored in the DB).

Comic Vine API key (comics.comicVine.ApiKey)

Comic books not containing a meta data XML or an XML without enough attributes won't be usable. Missing meta data can be fetched from the Comic Vine API for which you need an API key.

Metadata

Comic book files need to be in CBZ format which is essentially a zip archive containing page images. In order to recoginize a comic book, Alfred needs at least the following information:

  • A publisher, e.g. DC Comics.
  • A series, e.g. Batman.
  • A volume, e.g. 1940.
  • An issue number, e.g. 380.

It expects to find these in a file named ComicInfo.xml which is located on the top level of the zip archive. Its format is loosley compatible with that produced by ComicRack, see docs.

Failing that, Alfred will attempt to retrieve metadata from the Comic Vine API based on information found in the file path, which is why it must match the followin structure:

/any/directory/<publisher>/<series> (<volume>)/<series> <issue number> (<volume>).cbz

Logging

By default, the application logs only to the console it was started in. In order to output logs to a file, use the logging.file application property, e.g. start the app with LOGGING_FILE=alfred.log.

In docker, this can be achieved by settings a volume and an environment variable. Starting the container with these parameters

-v $PWD/logs:/logs -e LOGGING_FILE=/logs/alfred.log

will log to ./logs/alfred.log on the host.

Notes

Reverse proxy

When running the application through a reverse proxy, make sure to enable streaming. This will allow for server-sent events to push updates during a library scan. Otherwise, there would be no feedback until the scan is complete.

To enable streaming in lighttpd, use the server.stream-response-body option.

Development

To run the entire test suite, install Docker and run:

docker-compose -f .docker-compose.test.yml up --build --abort-on-container-exit

This will:

  1. Install all dependencies
    1. Install Java 11
    2. Install Chrome
    3. Install Node.js
  2. Build and test the backend
    1. Run Checkstyle
    2. Run PMD
    3. Run Spotbugs
    4. Run JUnit unit & integration tests
  3. Build and test the frontend
    1. Run ESLint
    2. Run Jasmine unit tests
  4. Run end-to-end tests
    1. Build the both the front- and the backend into one Spring Boot application
    2. Start a MongoDB instance
    3. Run the Spring Boot application
    4. Execute Protractor end-to-end tests

These steps are also executed as part of the GitHub Actions workflow.

End-to-end tests

End-to-end tests run against a real application instance. The test runner will drop the specified MongoDB before each test scenario and fill it with configuration seed data.

These steps illustrate how to manually run end-to-end tests.

Preparation

Start a test instance

docker pull mongo:3.6
docker run -d --name mongo mongo:3.6

./gradlew clean build -x check
java -jar build/libs/alfred.jar --spring.profiles.active=test --spring.data.mongodb.uri=mongodb://localhost/alfred

Switch to UI and install dependencies:

cd ui && npm i

Run tests

Run via the ng-cli wrapper:

npm run e2e -- --base-url=http://localhost:8080/ --dev-server-target=

or directly via protractor, skipping webdriver update:

npm run protractor

There is also a headless version:

npm run protractorHeadless

Debug tests

In order to debug, add a debugger; next to the statement you want to debug and then run the protractor config manually through node. Example for debugging library.e2e-spec.ts:

node --inspect-brk node_modules/protractor/bin/protractor e2e/protractor.conf.js --specs=e2e/src/library.e2e-spec.ts