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Parts database suggestions

chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
Brickset is a great collection manager, but is incomplete with respect to its handling of parts. This forces anyone who has interests beyond simply the collecting of sets to have to use at least one other collection manager, such as, for instance, Basebrick. In order to become a one-stop collection manager (which would alleviate a great deal of headaches in terms of trying to keep multiple different managers updated and in synch with one another), there are several things that would need to be done:

1. Support "loose parts" as distinct collectable entities.

2. (Very important) Do not rely solely on TLG's parts inventories of sets. They are incomplete, even if they do appear in a more timely manner than those on Bricklink. Basebrick pulls its inventories from Bricklink. They tend therefore to lag, but when they finally appear there, they are far more complete than what appears on this site.

3. Support "loose parts" in the advanced collection manager. Here are some issues to think about:

How can you keep track of the fact that you have x amount of an element in condition a, purchased for $n, and y amount of the same element in condition b purchased for $m?

How can you allocate a subset of your parts to a specific MOC, or to one of your children? Being able to have named (potentially overlapping) subsets (i.e. a tagging feature) would help in this regard.

Suppose you like to keep the parts for sets together, rather than just dumping everything you have together into one undifferentiated collection, but you raid the parts from your sets in order to MOC. You need a way to know that a given MOC used n copies of element p from set s, so that when you tear it down, you know where to return the parts to. Conversely, you need to be able to look at the inventory for set s and see that at the moment it is missing a number of parts, and that they are presently in these specific MOCs. So tagging parts with metadata needs to not be restricted to "loose" parts only, but to any part anywhere in your collection.

Bringing these kinds of functionalities (in addition to the related ones I have suggested in the Advanced Query Builder thread) would help widen the audience for this site to include more MOCcers, for whom it would become more useful.


  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    Re: Point #2. Another collection manager, Peeron, supported user-submitted inventories. This could be another way to obtain more complete and timely inventory data, though it also carries a burden of administering the process, with some kind of moderating/review process.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,116
    We won't ever be using BrickLink's inventories because they don't allow it, when asked. Other sites that use them probably haven't asked.

    It's possible that we'll allow user submitted inventories at some point, or maybe team up with other sites that do and are forward thinking enough to share their data, e.g. BrickOwl.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    I think the guy that does Basebrick does have a working relationship with Bricklink. But his site is a pure collection manager, so there's no conflict. Now that I think about it, it makes sense that they wouldn't want to give this data to you, since you do operate a marketplace of sorts. But working out something symbiotic with BrickOwl would be awesome, if it could be accomplished.

    Anyway, issues #1 and #3 are separable from #2.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    As for having parts be first-class manageable objects, with ACM/tagging, it would become possible (for example) to mark particular parts (either in sets, or loose), as being broken, or discolored, and so forth, which would help support managing the restoration of older collections, especially if you could issue queries that produced a dataset of parts.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    We have no way to view "Parts you own" / "Parts you want." This is too bad. I just uploaded the set list from a collection I'm negotiating to purchase. I'd like to examine its parts inventory, but can't do it here.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,116
    I could add that fairly easily, and probably will on the new site, but it would only be as good as the inventories which, as we know, are not much good :-)
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    I like rebrickable for that, when looking up parts for MOCs, you can have the collection of lose parts and/or remove sets from your part lines (sets you don't want to break apart).
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