What’s goin’ on everyone? Thank you for being so patient with me on this project. It’s taken a lot longer than I predicted it would (as is the case with nearly everything I do), but I wanted to check in and give an update.
1. The Scans
In the best interest of time, I’ve decided to use existing scans found on the internet rather than have people fabricate new ones. I realized the scanning process is pretty intensive, and that it was going to be hard to find someone who would be dedicated enough to do all the scanning and image editing.
In the future we could easily replace the current scans with nicer ones, but for now we’ll be using the images from Pokemon-Paradijs.com (who has given permission… I think) and PokeGym.net (who never responded to my inquiry).
Honestly I’d love to use PokeBeach.com scans, but Jon (their webmaster) said he’d prefer we not use them. Jon, if you’re reading this, I love you man and understand where you’re coming from. We would be honored to use your scans though if you were to change your mind!
Pokedad.com and BebesSearch.com are both using Beach scans and I don’t know if either has permission, but I’ll play nice (except for Computer Search and Metapod Base Set).
2. Need for Speed
I’ve been working really hard trying to make sure the site loads really fast. It’s been a learning experience trying to optimize code and get all the cogs well oiled, but I think the load times are pretty decent.
The bottleneck for the speed ultimately comes down how many features we want. Like if I were to remove the rating system, then things would probably load a little faster. But I think the rating system is cool.
A possible compromise is that I make it so that you have to register and login in order to rate cards. That would make things load a little faster… I think. (Plus that might be the way to go anyway.)
If I remove Disqus comments and stick to the default WordPress comment system, that would increase loads times slightly as well.
Or if the image zoom feature is removed, that would cut the load times too. I don’t even have real ads up yet (they’re fake placeholders), so those will inevitably slow things a bit too.
Basically the less features, the faster the site loads. I want to make sure the site is functional and enjoyable though. I’m still working to find that balance.
Here are the basic features I had planned, and then some new ones I’ve subsequently added:
- Image Zoom
- View cards by Set
- View cards by Name
- Random card button
- Rate cards
- Refine/reorder search results
Those were the main features I originally wanted to include, and they all turned out well. But here are a couple new features I decided to add for the hell of it:
A. Price Comparisons
Originally I was just going to put links to buy the cards on Amazon as part of their associate program, but I realized that most people don’t buy cards on Amazon, even though sometimes they do have good prices.
I got thinking that it would be cool if I could display prices from other online card stores, but I had no idea how to do anything like that. I wasn’t sure if it was even possible, but I remembered that BebesSearch shows prices from Professor-Oak.com, which meant there must be some way to do it.
So I researched for a couple days and figured out how to pull prices from any website and display them on the site. I can show the the prices in descending order to make it convenient to see where you can get the best deal. I’ve tallied in shipping as well.
I need to fix a couple bugs with still, but it should be a pretty cool feature. The only bad thing about it is that it slows down load times. The way it works is that when someone views a card for the first time, it needs to import the prices. So that first load is a little slow. Then after if imports the prices, it stores them for 48 hours, and the page loads are quick again until the price data expires.
As long as there are a lot of people using the site, then the sluggishness likely won’t be noticeable.
After I fix the last bugs and hear back from Professor-Oak, then I’ll upload the feature (which should be sometime tonight I hope). Immediately it should show the prices from Amazon, Prof-Oak, and a link you can click to search on eBay. Later on I’ll add TrollandToad.com and possibly more.
B. Search Suggest
This is really cool… if you start typing the name of a card in the search box, it’ll give you suggestions. You can then click the suggestion and it’ll take you so the card. It’s not quite as slick as Google’s auto-suggest, but it’s pretty good for my technical capabilities!
C. Firefox Search Box
Giorgio suggested today on Facebook that we add a Firefox search box. I got that figured out pretty quickly, and it should be live sometime tonight (or whenever I get the price comparison stuff sorted out).
4. Do you have any ideas?
That concludes where I’m at with everything, but I’d love to get your feedback! Please let me know if there is anything that you don’t like, that bothers you, doesn’t work as you’d expect, etc. I want to fix everything I can and make the site really intuitive and a great resource.
As far as new features I have planned… all I have in mind is to add a keyboard shortcut to put your cursor in the search boxes, and then I want to eventually make the site mobile friendly. I’m also going to keep working on making the site load faster, then upload more cards and eventually expand to other TCGs.
Anyway… thanks for reading and thanks for supporting this project!
I thought of another cool keyboard thing I’ll try to add: Using the left and right buttons to go to the next/previous card on single card pages. That way you don’t have to click the next/previous links.
Man, the random button is just not working. It brings me to a Fire Energy, no matter how many times I press it!
That’s odd, it’s working for me in Chrome and Firefox. It might be something to do with your cache, I dunno.
Try using a different browser and let me know if it works! :)
On Chrome it works fine. On Firefox I’m experiencing something odd.. if I press the random button just once, it brings me to a random card; if I press it a second time, the page remains the same.. I don’t know why!
Try disabling any add-ons/plugins you have installed with Firefox. That might be the issue. It works on my Firefox for Mac, but I’ll try to test on Windows if I have a chance.
Just some updates…
1. I’ve got the pricing like 95% automated now through some trickery, so uploading new cards should be pretty fast.
2. Keyboard nav is live. On single card pages (where the comments are listed), you can use your left and right arrows to go to the prev/next card.
3. If you press R on your keyboard it’ll show a random card.
4. If you press TAB, it’ll put your cursor directly in the search box.
What I’m going to do next is add some more (older) sets, continue to monitor stuff and clean up the code, then hopefully by the end of the week I’ll feel good enough about everything to make an official launch announcement.
Pages should also load faster after I’m done tinkering which is always good!
You could try doing something with abbreviations. They are really confusing for new players (myself included)
I’ve included set abbreviations within titles for all the cards, so you can search by them. Like try searching Weavile UD and the right card will show up.
Is that what you meant?