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!