Database Updates
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Find out what’s changed on the site! Check back here for information about database additions, reading order placements, error fixes, or new user features.

We’re updated every day, often more than once!

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By | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 8:40 pm | 3 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Big things! Thank god for clever code. I’ve managed to take a few fun ideas and put them all together, making for a drastically awesome update.

Update: a couple more tweaks added.

Let me run down the list.

– Bigger Cover Images On Reading Orders

I re-sized the default thumbnail size and made a couple other sizes, so the reading orders and front page has nice big thumbs now. I also made some larger “thumbs” (actually 300 and 600 pixel auto generated images) for later use. Will probably come in handy for mobile stuff.

Thickboxed Images On Reading Orders

This is awesome. I’m already having so much fun with it. Basically, now you can browse large covers just by clicking on the thumbnail, just like in the blog posts and database pages!

– No More Default Thumbnails

Bye bye gray boxes. I liked them, but we had to remove them to make way for…

– Amazon Image Backups!

Now, any book with an ISBN number will automatically query amazon for an image. This will work for thumbnails and even large images!

Awesome, right? This means when I upload those 3000 marvel books, about 90% of them will come with some kind of picture!

Obviously it doesn’t work for books without the ISBN, but it’s already made a difference for our Novel Reading Orders since they were all uploaded with isbn numbers!

– Preferential Treatment to Our Scans!

Amazon images are often wrong, low quality, or simply not the right edition (especially if I want to show all the same cover runs for a set of books, often Amazon just picks random editions to show the cover of.) This way, all I have to do is upload my own image and it takes preference over the Amazon one. Eventually, every book will be using our images, not Amazon’s (I like higher res scans and take some care in correcting.) but this way we’ll be able to upload a lot of content and have it look pretty good – plus, a book with an isbn number will automatically get an image added to it as soon as Amazon updates the cover!

– Image Pecking Order

Update: I wanted to figure out some way to display covers for books regardless of their edition, IE, SC, HC, or weirder. It works now – I created a conditional statement that pulls in this order:

TRO Uploaded Cover > Hardcover by ISBN from Amazon > Softcover by ISBN from Amazon > General ISBN (catch-all/older custom field) from Amazon > Gray Placeholder Image

So there should always be something on a database page or in the reading order listing. Even if it’s just the return of the gray box.

Sweet, right? I’m really excited about this. Until last night, I didn’t even know it was possible.

I also fixed some formatting, hover-over-image-title-display stuff, centering the find-book info on database pages.

I’ve still got some issues to figure out (wordpress is scaling down images to the new thumbnail size instead of using the generated thumbs, which results in jagged images and slower loading pages) but I’m pretty happy with this latest update.

I can’t wait to see how the Marvel list looks!

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By | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 6:28 am | 3 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

A few of you have been asking about international links (especially Jonah X and Simon, who are in germany and the uk respectively, though I know there’s a lot more of you.)

I’ve just gotten them implemented on the database entries.

They’re not visible from the reading orders (yet?), but any book that has an isbn number now should have four little flags on the page, like this:

International SC:

I feel like these are pretty self explanatory. Nonetheless, let’s go over em. These are the four main non-Us countries with amazon affiliate programs I can use. There does seem to be possibilities for china, japan, and italy, but I can’t figure them out and I think they won’t actually pay TRO without a bank account in those countries. In any case, these were pretty easy to sign up for (the three EU ones all worked at once.)

There’s the UK, Canada, France, and Germany. Which conveniently covers a good chunk of our international traffic. I hope those links help people in nearby countries as well.

I did have some questions that perhaps you guys could help with. Right now, the “search” structure is the same for each link. They’re generated using the ISBN number, since titles are not reliable internationally.

But while the “books” category links seem to work fine for UK and CA, while it finds the right book, the FR and DE links seem to show error messages. Anyone know how I can fix that? Maybe my links are formatted incorrectly?

Let me know!

While doing this, I figured out a way to get cover images from amazon for any book I that has an isbn number. It’s possible we could use this to have 90% of the marvel books upload with covers.

What I want to figure out, though, is a way to have the default amazon cover replaced if I upload my own cover scan (because a lot of them are low quality or the wrong book.) I’ll get working on that.

I think I’m going to increase the thumbnail size to 75×75 pixels though, since that would match up with amazon’s default thumbs, making it easier to have a mix of both.

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By | Monday, January 31, 2011 | 12:57 am | 20 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

You may have noticed a lack of new reviews last night (though hopefully you’re planning on getting in on the new giveaway!)

Here’s the reason:

I’ve gone through and made sure every DC book has the correct era tags! While there were a couple other fixes, the bulk of this update was Modern Age tags – 476 more books are added to that category!

These lists may not get that much traffic on their own, but are insanely useful in filtering. For example, many people want to read just Modern Age Batman. That list has gone from 175 to 315 books!

Remember, there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with those filtered lists. Want to read just Green Arrow and Green Lantern in the Modern Age? No problem – just put “Green” in the character field!

If you’re having any trouble with the filter, or have questions, let me know.

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By | Friday, January 28, 2011 | 11:20 pm | 2 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

A bunch of books have covers now, but I haven’t been keeping track – so no list. Just know that more covers are in.

I also moved Flash: Born to Run. The stories are about Wally West as Kid Flash, but they’re all told from a perspective of the character later in life looking back. There’s no perfect spot for it, since the back stories in the volume are from a few years later (and contain cameos from characters important later on) but the main story is best read WAY after events in Barry Allen and Wally West‘s lives. I’ll go into more detail soon.

Main reason for this post is that I changed some style code and the reading lists now display book titles in a bold, black, san-serif font. I’m not sure this is the way to go, but I felt the titles of the list entries deserved some sort of differentiation from all the other info that’s now coming in.

It looks a lot better on the lists where every book has a title (though those are still rare.)

Let me know what you think!

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By | Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 9:13 pm | 12 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

I’ve now got over 1000 books sorted into place and 2927 books in the offline database. I may actually do an update of the text list soon, though I’d rather just try and get to the point where I can transfer the offline information into the dynamic database online.

Here are the new books as of last update:

Invaders Now!
The Marvel Art of Mike Deodato
Warriors Three: Dog Day Afternoon
X-Men: Lifedeath
Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff
X-Men Vs. Avengers / Fantastic Four
Red Hulk: Scorched Earth
Spider-Man: New York Stories
Spider-Man: The Extremists
X-Men First Class: Class Portraits
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Vol. 15: Peter Parker vs. The X-Men
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man: Amazing
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man: Spectacular
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man: Sensational
Marvel Adventures Thor featuring Captain America, Dr. Strange & Ant-Man
Marvel Adventures Thor and The Avengers
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and The Avengers
Marvel Adventures Black Widow and The Avengers
Marvel Adventures Avengers: Iron Man
Marvel Adventures Avengers: Thor
Marvel Adventures Iron Man / Spider-Man
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four: Spaced Crusaders
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four: Doomed If You Don’t
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four: Four-Three-Two-One?
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four Vol. 1
Franklin Richards: Not-So-Secret Invasion

There is definitely a lot of Marvel Adventures and All Ages stuff on the list now. Unlike the Ultimate universe, there isn’t really an all encompassing continuity, though, so I still think it makes the most sense to just place them by date along the main list. Any thoughts?

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