A simple trick - easy finding of model parts

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by Tonino, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I think it's possible to build a fairly straightforward Javascript application which will run inside a browser - this will capture the data and generate a data file which can be uploaded to Cardmodels. Viewing and searching the data could be done with the same Javascript application that is used to generate the parts list. This will be a bit more complicated than just a simple html page but the user interface will meet most of the requirements (I think).

    ( Pulls out object-oriented Javascript book and starts revising )


  2. Tonino

    Tonino Member


    if I'm understanding well you are talking of a sort of little program that, once downloaded, will allow modelers to input the data, within a friendly interface, and, when data entry is completed, to produce a file which can be shared on cardmodels.net
    This file, in a second time, can be utilized from any other modeller who has downloaded the same program to search in the data.

    This could be a very elegant solution and a nice tool, but, who can develop it? Are you offering yourself as a volunteer? (I for sure haven't the required skills). Well this is a good idea but it requires some work to be done. If you can take the time to study this object and to make the gift to us this will be very nice.

    I, reading Rob's message, was thinking to a "simple" way to let other guys give their contribute. For example, uploading a blank table (I, as a Windows user, should put in the Word version, some other Mac user should give a version for the "other side") so anyone could simply fill that empty table with his data and export it to a web compatible format with the tools he has in the application he uses.

    Rob, what platform do you use? (Windows or Mac?) And, if you use Windows, do you have Microsoft Word installed? And what version? (hit the "?" key and choose "about Microsoft Word")
    I'm asking just to know and to give you some "personalized" tip.

  3. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I guess I am volunteering.

    The core issue with this application is that we are walking around the obvious solution - use a database. All the requested functionality can be easily implemented using the standard features of a database query engine. Tools like Word and Excel will get part way towards the full functionality - and promptly cut out those that don't use MS products. I'll have to give it more thought about how to tackle this.


  4. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Tonino

    Thanks mate for the offer of the help.

    The thing I was pointing out is that if the data base is hard to use and takes a lot of time to set up each time you use it, then a lot of computor brain deads like myself won't use it or add needed info to the project.

    As you say a blank data table in a standard format would be best, fill it in and upload the info to the site. This could be a tool of great value to us all, all Iam going at is don't make it complicated please.

    I use Office 2000 Premium 2003 version 9.0, I have full Windows XP setup.
    The bit in the post about learning programs is that Iam following Tims design thread for one and a lot of the other threads with regard to resizing, colouring and the tons of other ideas. This all takes time and then add building, work/home ect ( I think we need a 48 hour day :lol: )

    Don't get me wrong the work you guy's are putting in to this is great, Iam just saying please don't make it hard to use!!


  5. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Point noted - I spend most of my working life writing Web applications which are used by people of very limited IT skills.


  6. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Charlie

    Thanks mate, it would just be a shame if it was not used as its a great idea.
    As for IT skills what are they :lol:
    I know what I need to know for my business they rest Iam learning from you guys :oops: :roll:

    Thanks again

  7. Tonino

    Tonino Member

    Thank you very very much Charlie,

    after your spontaneous :wink: joining to this project I look forward to see what your efforts will create for us. Please feel free to contact me for any help I could give, if any is possible with my limited informatic knowledge. I really would like to help so please let me know if you have an idea on what I can do.

    Ok guys, I think, for now it's better if we hold on and wait to start in the right way...

    Lots of data to come for everyone enjoyment :D

  8. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I've got a sort of project roadmap for my contribution.

    1. Build and put up a test application to try to meet the requirements. This will be quick and dirty but should give a flavour of the final application. It will be written in ASP/SQL Server mostly because I've got a lot of code I can borrow to build the application.

    2. Gather feedback and modify the test application (people always come up with new ideas when there's something concrete to talk about).

    3. Figure out how to rebuild and integrate the application into the PHP/MySQL system that Cardmodels uses. Fortunately the Cardmodels system is freeware so the source code is available which will be a big help.

    The function set I've come up with so far is:

    - define a model
    - maintain pages within a model
    - maintain parts within a page
    - search for part(s)
    - download parts list for a model as a .csv - at least it can be poured straight into Excel from .csv.

    Note that this looks much less than the requirements posted earlier - most of the requirements are about the kinds of data items attached to each level.

    There's all sorts of issues about ownership and editing rights for a Web application to resolve but let's get the functionality right first.

    ( Sorry if this reads as nerd gibberish - the post would be excessively long and very boring if I tried to render it completely into human speech).


  9. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi Charlie,

    Sounds like you've made a project for yourself.

    One question though, do you think the average user will be able to use it to put together a parts data base as a service not only to himself but also the constituency? That would really be of a great service to all. Just think of a model like the Saratoga with 7,000 parts!

    Best regards, Gil

    P.S. This is sure to end up as an addendum page in a lot of the commercial cardmodels.
  10. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    That's the idea - the final target of the project is to create something (hopefully) on Cardmodels (after negotiations with mgmt) which behaves much like the message forums - all members
    can view/search/download but only the originator can edit.

    The first step - the test application won't be on Cardmodels but will just check out the functionality. I'll post the URL when I get it done.


  11. murban

    murban Member

    Dear Friends,

    I just discovered this thread and read it with great interest. This could be a very helpful application, especially when you could attach error reports to parts.

    I am somewhat involved in our German cardmodel forum "kartonbau.de" and I think that it would be great if we could somehow share this app - we would get twice the input (and twice the users) - and I don't feel that "stealing" the idea and doing our own app would be wise.

    If I can be of any help to this project, please let me know - I am programming PHP web applications using databases for a living...

    best regards,
  12. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Sounds good to me - we should be able to maximise the utility of our skill sets by collaboration. I should have the first cut up sometime next week -
    my thought is to get the functionality/features sorted out and then we can work out how to proceed with the application from there. I guess I should think about making the application multi-lingual from the start - will help later.


  13. murban

    murban Member


    yes, a multi-lingual app would surely help. I see a need for English, German and Polish language at least.

    I have talked with the admin of kartonbau.de and he is very enthusiastic about this project.

    If you want me to help with anything or to take over a part of the application, just let me know.

    Technical details should go off-list. You can reach me via murban@urbanitconsulting.de

    In case you want to know what type of guy I am, you might want to ask Barry, Larry or Jim Krauzlis - they might know me from Kartonbau.de

  14. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    First steps to on-line parts lists

    This is just a teaser to say there has been some progress on the parts list

    I've got the application to the point where you can build a parts list - (see screen shot - sorry about the quality). This is the page that creates and updates parts for a selected model and page. There are only the search and download functions to build - these are reasonably simple.

    Comments/demands/suggestions won't be actioned until the thing gets onto the Web and you have a chance to play with it - I'm aiming to go for first release in a couple of days.


  15. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi charlie

    Great stuff, nice and simple for brain deads like me :roll:
    Look forward to playing with it


  16. rickstef

    rickstef Guest

    OH, this is cool

    I can see that this will be very cool to all of us

    very well done Charlie

    good stuff

  17. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Prototype on the Web

    The prototype parts list application is running at:

    There is a modicum of security to stop casual surfers getting into the site -
    you've got to enter your Cardmodels username.

    If you were a contributor to this discussion you should be able to just enter
    your Cardmodels username to access the functions.

    If you find you can't access the site send me a PM and I'll register your username on the database.

    I intend to build a page where you can make comments but until then there is an e-mail link.

    I've put a test parts list of a couple of pages of a MM Tiger model - play as much as you like but remember this is only a test site. I'll probably leave it up for a week or so.


  18. Tonino

    Tonino Member

    Great work Charlie!

    This will be one of the most distinctive contributions to this site :D

    As soon as I will return home (ehm... now I should attend to my duties... :? ) I'll put in a couple of pages of the locomotive.

    The testing phase is starting, comments on the way... Charlie, prepare yourself, we are going to give you A LOT of inputs... :D


  19. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Charlie

    Well done even a thick head like me can understand it :D :D

    I will have a go with it over the next few days and see what happens.

    Thanks mate a tool well worth having 8)


  20. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    A couple of small updates to the test site:

    - Added a missing parts function
    - Improved the format of the html download and added a .csv (Excel) download.

    Too hot to do much over the weekend - 39 C on Saturday and it's only Spring.



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