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I don't tend to do a lot of development of the site over the summer but now we're moving into autumn I'll be looking to get going again.
Having said that, I have made a few changes this week that affect the behind-the-scenes functionality. The site gets data from a number of sources: LinkShare for the affiliate marketing info (sets available at shop.LEGO.com), BrickLink for minifigs and LEGO.com for instructions. Until last week the data was imported periodically using code on my local PC. It a wasn't cumbersome process but I did have to kick it off manually. The obvious problem with that is that if I'm not around the site isn't updated.
So, I've spent time converting the code to run on the web server overnight, so every night each of these data sources will be updated.
New sets that appear at shop.LEGO.com will appear in the home page list, as they always have, although, annoyingly, there is a 2-or-so day delay between them appearing on the website and appearing in the product feed.
The next logical step to this might be to get the instructions import routine to automatically post a news article with a list of the new ones, or just a message saying that some have been added and to check the new instructions list.
So, apart from that, what's in the development pipeline? Actually not much, and that's why I'd appreciate your input and ideas.
All I have planned for the immediate future is:
1. Following on from asking reviewers to state whether they are AFOL, TFOL or KFOL, I plan to provide a means of specifying a preference of what you want to see, in your profile, e.g.
[ ] Reviews written by AFOLS
[ ] Reviews written by TFOLs
[ ] Reviews writren by KFOLs
[ ] Unclassified reviews
This may go some way to meeting the needs of the three different audiences: some AFOLs are not interested in KFOL reviews but KFOLs probably are.
2. As an Argos affiliate, I have access to their product feed and it should be possible to show their prices in the search results (to UK users only, of course) and also flag up when they reduce stuff.
3. Extend the AFOL/KFOL/TFOL classification to BrickLists, and somehow make it possible for moderators to mark lists as 'recommended', so that the good ones that e.g. atkinsar produces are easily found among those less useful that KFOLs create.
So, over to you. What else needs attention? What new features would you like to see added? The site thrives on user feedback so don't hold back!
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Recent discussions •
- Ranking of items on Wanted List : allows the ability to prioritize collecting activity
- Rate but not review : allows a user to rate a set without writing an in-depth review
- List comparison (Owned vs Owned, Owned vs Wanted, Wanted vs Wanted): allows the ability to show similarities and differences between members
(existing) - Set 4736-1 Freeing Dobby, You own 6, you want
(new) - Set 4736-1 Freeing Dobby, You own 6, you want 10
But for the ACM collection it would be nice if I could see all the sets that are from "Garage Sales" or are the sets where I have not checked off the parts box.
So I can easily find out what sets I own that are incomplete
The ability to have multiple lists, or filter the the owned/wanted lists. Ie for separating out sets from different family members
I agree with atkinsar a trade list would be great so I can see if I have stuff people want and they have stuff that I would like.
I did toy with a spreadsheet-like presentation of all ACM data which would naturally lend itself to this sort of functionality but couldn't get the adding/updating working efficiently so I parked the idea, and instead opted to enhance the export/import features so that you could do this sort of thing in Excel.
@Matthew, "ability to input a number into the want field".
That's often asked for but I wonder if there'd be any point. I want 100 Super Star Destroyers but I'n never going to get them. Is there really a need to record a quantity? I'm happy to be convinced but at the moment I personally don't think there is.
@RJH, "links page to all the other LEGO sites and blogs would be great please"
I have actually started working on this, in the database at least, to enable users to submit LEGO related links and others to 'like' them so that they can be ranked. I parked it to concentrate on more core aspects of the site but maybe I'll ressurect if there's sufficient interest. There are already several good site indexes around, this perhaps being the biggest: http://www.bricklink.com/links.asp
@Redbullgivesuwind, "I love the pick of the week from you Huw"
Good, glad to hear it, such a simple idea that requires no work other than a bit of time to write something. I'll see if I can keep it up, and I'll certainly encourage other admins to contribute. Maybe I'll have guest contributors as well...
1) I'd like to be able to set in my profile that I use UK ebay/lego shop rather than the site deciding that I use US sites when I live in Europe. There is a link you provided to set it, but it's annoying to use it everytime I visit brickset.
2) I can never find the affiliate links to buy from LEGO/Amazon. Not the general buy tab, but directly from the item page (eg http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=3677-1) to shop.lego.com or amazon.co...
I know Dr Dave has started the daily amazon deals page on his blog (which is a great help when looking for deals) but this would be targeted to specific sets and would help to alleviate the need to continually scan prices.
On particularly popular threads, it becomes a bit of a chore to click thread, scroll down old page, click latest page, scroll down to bottom. (made worse if there's a lot of pictures uploaded to the thread, which can slooooow some machines down).
And/Or at least have the other pages button at the top of the comments page, so that you can quickly click to the last page, instead of always having to scroll down and click.
As for brickset main page, i'd like the comments on news topics to be numbered. So that when you check back to a popular topic, you know the last comment you read was number XXX, so you have a good idea where to pick up from (assuming there hasn't been a whole pile of deleted comments of course).
Oh, didn't work when logged out, so it's a user-setting thing... (silly me! I did wonder if there might be one of those)... LOL
Fyi - as it stands currently, Huw has no direct developmental control over the features of the forum since it is hosted by Vanilla on their servers. We can pass on suggestions to Vanilla but there's no telling if they'll listen or if they do, when they'll get around to implementing those suggestions.
Great site. Love the show.
This site is absolutly great (it's just costing me a fortune in lego)
With your link it works.
I could not find a published list of the 10 included add-ons, but rest-assured we've enabled the useful ones and will continue to monitor for new ones. When I have some time, I'm going to go through the list of popular approved add-ons and engage the support team about including the ones we think would be useful.
I've just noticed a couple of new ones that can be enabled, and I've enabled one for tagging. I can't see how it manifests itself in the ui yet though...
Someone seems to be using it so it must be showing up somewhere!
@drdavewatford is correct, and you should all notice a tag list on the right column. For now, it will only be visible when viewing "All discussions". There is an improvement to the add-on that is not yet approved by VanillaForum that allows tags to be viewed from within discussion categories.
Please exercise judiciousness in creating tags as they are best reserved for popular topics. If it quickly becomes a management and moderation nightmare, the feature will likely be disabled.