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The Advanced Collection Manager beta test phase has begun!

HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
edited June 2011 in
OK, so I don't know how I found the time this week to get this written, but between several early evening cycle rides round the Solent and erecting a greenhouse yesterday, I did, and it's now just about ready for you to test.

So, the ideas behind this are as follows:

- If you don't want to use it, you don't have to. If you don't opt in, Brickset will look and behave as it does now
- Its purpose is to allow you to record information about your collection beyond just own/want and a simple notes field and to manage your entire collection on one page.

To get started, go to Click on the button and wait a minute or so. This initialises the database (creates a row in a table for every copy of every set you own) and, once done, provides information about how the ACM manifests itself and also some customisation options. You can change them straight away or leave them as the default and come back later to do so.

Now, when you view a list of sets you'll have an extra icon in the collection column which'll bring up the ACM data for that set. I'm sure you'll work out how to use it.

As I mentioned in another thread, the way it handles you increasing/decreasing the quantity owned (in the normal way) is as follows:

-If you increase the quantity, additional rows will be added to the ACM table
-If you decrease quantity and you haven't added any ACM data, the rows will be deleted in the ACM table
-If you decrease quantity and you have added ACM data, the rows will be marked as deleted and appear greyed out in the ACM window. You can manually delete them from there.
-If you subsequently increase quantity, any rows marked as deleted will be unmarked and appear normally again.

That should thus work seamlessly with the 'I own' tickbox/qty input, while ensuring data is not lost.

You can also export all the data you've entered as a CSV from the main ACM page.

There's still some stuff to do, but the core functionality is there and we can now work together to refine it.

Still to do: [List edited 5 Jun to show progress]

- Indicate in the set listings when the set has ACM data, probably by changing the icon like with notes [Done]
- Display it on the set detail pages, maybe in a tab (although available page width may be a problem) [Done]
- Create the 'entire collection on one page'. This will break out of the Brickset page template and use the full available width of your monitor so that all columns can be viewed. [Still to do]
- Refine the fields in terms of drop-down list options and maybe add a few more if we identify any (perhaps even some user defined ones) [Done]
- Decide what best to do about the date field, which at the moment is still free-text [Still free text]
- Implement any other suggestions you come up with [Ongoing...]

That's enough for now. Get on and have a play...



  • Fantastic, thanks for this Huw! I'm taking a look right now...
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    Many thanks, Huw. I'll have a play with this when I get some uninterrupted time and report back.
  • Looks great so far. One suggestion, if you select the Condition Now as MISB, the P, M, I and B checkboxes should default to selected to save a bit of input time.
  • "Indicate in the set listings when the set has ACM data, probably by changing the icon like with notes" Yes please, this will make it much easier to see which sets still need data to be entered.
  • When exporting, could you export the total price paid as well as the individual amounts?
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    First thoughts :

    - need a key to let people know what P (pieces ?), M (no idea), I (instructions) and B (box) refer to
    - need to include ACM icon/link within box displaying "I own [X] of the set" on set page. Too cumbersome to access ACM at present.
    - I can't find the totals (amount paid etc.) anywhere - are they yet to be added, or did I miss them ?
    - need to be able to change which fields to show or hide; I selected all to start with in order to have a play, and can't now find how to hide some of the ones I don't want to see
    - if you don't enter an estimated value, box should be blank, not show "0.00"

    More to follow.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member
    edited April 2011
    ^ Responding to your points in order DrD:

    - M=Minifigs, but I agree some form of key would be useful.
    - I think Huw was thinking of putting the ACM info as a new tab on the Set Details page, which would address this issue
    - The total is calculated from the 2 Price Paid values you can enter.
    - There is no link to the page you're referring to yet, you'll need to use for now to get to it. Not sure where Huw is planning to make this accessible from in the long term.
    - Yes, I agree, null/blank is very different to 0.00.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    ^Thanks Andy.

    OK/yes to the first 3; the ACM link will be on my sets tab page when it goes live; OK to #5, I'll change it.

    ^ When exporting, could you export the total price paid as well as the individual amounts?


    ^ One suggestion, if you select the Condition Now as MISB, the P, M, I and B checkboxes should default to selected to save a bit of input time.

    Agreed, that is a refinement I intend to make.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    To Brickset user 'kari' if you're reading this, I can see some errors in the log when you've tried various things. I'll try and get to the bottom of them later.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    ^^^ Thanks, Andy.

    Regarding totals, I was talking about the location of the grand total for all sets entered into the ACM rather than just individual total for set + postage.

    From the messages above and Huw's responses, it looks like most of my 'wants' and suggested refinements so far, including the ability to show a 'master list' of ACM data all on one screen (and scroll through it) are already on the 'to do' list - great !
  • This is great! I'm only using the 'Date acquired' and 'Acquired from' values for now.
  • WOOT, can't wait to dive into this.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    The prices paid are now shown more intelligently and the total for the sets is shown at the bottom of the table. On the 'all on one' page this will of course be the grand total.

    The export now includes the sum of the two values.
  • ^ Great thanks Huw. I feel cheeky even asking but any chance of having a different icon display for sets that have ACM information added as the next enhancement?
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    ^ If you insist :-)

    It should be possible, although it will complicate the search stored procedures somewhat. I'll have a look later...
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    For me the ability to access the ACM from the set details page is a priority, plus the ability to access the full list of sets with ACM data, perhaps via a new tab next to the 'forum' tab.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    OK, OK, give me a chance! I give you an inch and you want a yard (or whatever the saying is :-) )

    It'll all come in time...
  • ^ Sorry Huw, you know that you just delivered my most wanted feature and I just got a little over excited :-) Thanks again for finding time to add this, now I need to find the time to add all the information (that's what paternity leave is for right!)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    "that's what paternity leave is for right!"

    Sure is ! You'll feel utterly useless - I've been there - so might as well use the time for SOMETHING constructive...........

  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator
    "that's what paternity leave is for right!"

    You're kidding me, right? Today was my seventh (and last) day off in a row and I'm still exhausted and feel I've accomplished nothing....well, one thing. :o)
  • GalactusGalactus NLMember
    "Regarding totals, I was talking about the location of the grand total for all sets entered into the ACM rather than just individual total for set + postage"

    Maybe this can be shown on the My Sets page (as well as on the 'entire collection on one page' page)? It would make the data in the box Sets You Own more complete.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    @atkinsar, "having a different icon display for sets that have ACM information added as the next enhancement? ",

    This has been done.

    The null/0.00 problem is causing a few headaches though, seems I can either display nulls as 0.00 or not display 0.00 at all, but not what we want. I'll continue to play but I don't see it as a show stopper.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu UKMember
    edited April 2011
    I like it a lot! Thanks.

    @Huw - Your comment above about user 'kari's errors in the logs made me wonder if you are checking what is entered into the fields is valid and not an injection attempt? Just a thought as not everyone is as friendly as the crowd in this forum...
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    ^ Yes, that is taken care of by the stored procedure layer. Brickset was the subject of an injection attack in c.2007. It was quite scary. Since then the whole site has been rewritten properly and, touch wood, we have not had any problems since.

    Kari's errors were to do with null values where a varchar/string was expected which is now resolved.
  • ^^^ Thanks Huw, much appreciated, that makes it a lot easier to go through and see which ones I still need to do.
  • Wanted to chime in that the advanced manager is quite awesome and I wanted to thank everyone behind it for providing us with more tools and input :)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    ^ Thanks crack: it's only me behind it, though, driven on by everyone's ideas and enthusiasm :-)
  • MatthewMatthew UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    ^^^^ Quite possibly I'm being stupid and ignorant (:-)) but what is an injection attack? I tried googling but no joy.
  • ^ try Googling for SQL injection attack. In short it is a method of attacking websites with databases behind them by putting a DB command into a field that should contain a user value. An example would be to instruct the DB to drop (i.e. delete) ALL of its contents.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    ^ I didn't know what this was either and Googled it earlier. Just to let you know that your explanation is both shorter and much clearer than what I found online, so well done !
  • ^^ BTW Not stupid or ignorant at all. It is not something I would expect many of the forum users to be aware of. I should have prefixed the post with "Huw -" really.

    ^ Thanks.
  • MatthewMatthew UKAdministrator
    ^ I've done it for you
  • Hello, new feature is cool. I have a question - the fields
    P M I B
    What do they mean?
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator

    Tick them if you have them!
  • Ah, I see. Thanks for the quick reply!
    btw if possible put Bulgarian Lev in the currency list?

    and keep up the good work, Huw!
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    ^^ I imported all currencies from a table on Wikipedia but didn't use them all otherwise the list would be huge, but I can certainly add that one and will do so tonight.
  • Hey @Huw, there's strange goings on afoot! When clicking on the ACM button, the majority open up the extra fields in a popup just fine, but some sets don't, they open as a full page, this seems to happen consistently with the same sets e.g. 4738.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    Try refreshing the main window: there's a session timeout issue I need to sort out.
  • ^ tried that, F5 and ctrl F5, it still opens as a full page, tried it in ff and Chrome and it happens in both.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    Right, found it! That set has an apostrophe in its name (Hagrid's Hut) and it's not upsetting the javascript. I'll sort that out.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    edited April 2011
    I've uploaded a few changes this morning:

    - Set detail pages now have an ACM tab. The ACM data is still shown in the pop-up window, though, as there's not enough width available. Your thoughts on whether this is OK or not will be appreciated.

    - The apostrophe problem noted above has been fixed

    - Session timeout issue, which nobody encountered, has also been solved.

    - I've made a start on the 'spreadsheet view'. It's very rudimentary at the moment and only really released to see how well it performs on the server:

    Change the theme at the end to suit. That will be selectable via a drop-down list on the page eventually.

    It needs optimising, but if I can get it working at a reasonable speed, is it what you were expecting? I hope to add sorting to the table, but I don't think it's going to be practical to show one's entire collection on one page given some of us have thousands of sets. So, to keep the page size down without having to resort to paging, I'm proposing to show just one theme at a time. Do we need set thumbnails on it?

  • ^ great thanks for those fixes and improvements, it all looks good to me. I noticed a tweak to the tabs on the set details too, very nice.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator
    Yes, to make room for the ACM tab
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator
    Many thanks for the continuing improvements, @Huw - much appreciated !

    Regarding the 'spreadsheet view', what's the downside to just dumping all the info into one large scrollable list using the format you've trialled with the Atlantis theme ? My current spreadsheet does this and it works fine - easy to scroll up and down it at speed as necessary. I'd certainly appreciate it if this option existed, even if some might find it cumbersome. I personally don't find filtering by theme very helpful as SW apart I don't generally conceptualise my collection in this way. What would be ideal is to have an 'all sets' view to scroll through, and then allow people to filter by theme, year etc. so the view can be customised to taste.

    Thanks for adding the ACM tab to the set details page - that was number 1 on my wish list !
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member
    edited May 2011
    I finally finished adding all of my ACM data this morning, it was fun but got to be a bit of a drag when it came to the CMs. Anyway it's done now and will be fine to keep up to date from now on. Thanks again @Huw for adding this feature.

    I've spent an hour or so playing around with pivot tables in Excel to do some basic data analysis, so I'd thought I'd share a bit of it with you all just for fun:

    Where I've purchased my LEGO (by volume):
    S@H: 30%
    ebay: 13%
    Bricklink: 12%
    Daily Mirror(!): 12%
    US Contact: 5%
    TRU: 4%
    Argos: 3%
    Amazon: 3% 2%
    WH Smith: 2%
    Tesco: 2%
    Other (various): 13%

    Where I've purchased my LEGO (by value):
    S@H: 41%
    ebay: 20%
    Argos: 7%
    TRU: 7%
    Amazon: 5% 4%
    Bricklink: 3%
    Tesco: 3%
    Other (various): 10%

    Highest Spending Month: September 2010 (£796)

    I won't tell you the specifics (you never know who might read it!), but I spent almost exactly the same amount on LEGO in 2009 as in 2010, I guess this must be my natural cap. Shockingly I seem to have averaged over £300 per month since October 2008, and I have not had a single LEGO purchase free month since!

    Current Set Condition:
    MISB: 60%
    Boxed: 29%
    Assembled: 10%
    Parted Out: 1%

    Condition When purchased >95% MISB.

    There's lots more I could do, but I'm going to concentrate next on valuing my collection.

    Conclusion so far? Build more, buy less!!
  • gruetzmacherdgruetzmacherd USA, WIMember
    @Huw, thanks so much for the work on the ACM!

    From a usability perspective, I would prefer the ACM to be embedded directly in the details tab, even if it means having horizontal a scroll bar. Of course, even better would be for the ACM to take advantage of the full width of the browser, but I understand that would have further-reaching effects to the site.

    I second drdavewatford's comment that filtering by theme for the spreadsheet view isn't critical, but as long as their is an "all sets" option, I am okay with it.

    Thanks again! :)
  • @atkinsar For the where I purchased my LEGO stat, I take it you're referring to the percentage of sets purchased at each store. Out of curiosity, what is the percentage of money spent on LEGO at each store?
  • ^ Yes it was, I've just updated my post to add the stat you asked about. Any other ideas about interesting stuff you could do with this data?
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