Commander Wolverine here reaching out to the excellent ED community for help. You might be aware of my "Complete list of all third party tools, spreadsheets, manuals and other data sources" thread". Its aim is to (eventually) provide a complete overview of all third party tools created by talented commanders. Also to provide a list of useful threads with existing/new excellent info about ED. There is an IMMENSE amount of tools and info out there - useful for new as well as seasoned commanders. Problem is finding the resources. Due to the high amount of traffic LOTS of threads get snowed under (lost) and the tools/info in it don't get the attention they deserve.
I've tried to use the forum for the 3rd party tools list but I've reached its limits. The text in it is approx. 60 Kbyte now. If you look at the current tools OP you notice that spoiler tags are leaking - as even when a tag is collapsed info is shown on the OP. This is because of the size of the text inside it. Also the forum software is starting to insert spoiler tags on its own on the OP - tags which can be removed but inserts themselves back automagically.
Another none technical problem is maintaining the OP. There is an updates section and to keep the OP clean also a 'updates history' spoiler tag. Actually multiple ones because of the leaking issue. When adding a new entry on the OP I have to update updates section, move the old ones to the history tag and do a few more admin things. Quite a few tools belong to multiple sections. Which means I have to copy/paste multiple times - and keep them all in sync when I have to change something in one section. This is all very time consuming. As a result I can NOT keep up with all new tools/info and I've created a TODO section tag - which already is leaking. In it approx. 60+ entries.
What I need is a website with a database. This would allow me to concentrate solely on entering data. The layout, updates sections automatically created/updated.
Phase 1: A database driven website (where I can enter tools/info) consisting of multiple sections. Could be tabs based or an index page which points to the correct page. It should contains at least an updates tab/section so commanders can see directly what is newly added. A "changes" page would be nice. What I need is an account to login and with the use of a form to add or update entries.
Phase 2: Multiple accounts. As its impossible for me to check the status of every entry - has there been an update or has new functionality been added for a tool- it would be great if tool authors (or thread authors) could login as well and update their entries. Adding new entries as well. The commanders don't have to be tools/thread authors it could be regular commanders as well who see a certain entry and want to let the community know about it.
Phase 3: For me the community is all about sharing data with each other. I don't believe in a "one size fits all" website, UI wise and/or functionality wise. What I would like to see is a REST API which allows others to access its data. Perhaps opening up the database (read only) would suffice. The data could be used by for example.
- Other websites who want to display the information different and/or add functionality.
- Wiki's. There are quite a few out there but the tools section is either rather small or outdated. Most modern wiki's are programmable. They could access the data and automatically and insert it on there wiki's.
- Smartphones. One could make apps for iPhone, Android, Windows phone etc.
- What else comes to mind of a talented author ;-)
I make a living as a Java software engineer and have created websites in the past. I just don't have the time to create a database driven website. One reason is that I would like to concentrate more on the EDDN and do some Python coding for that. Given my background I can rougly estimate the work involved. Its not rocket science but it will take some time to create the basics (phase 1) and eventually phase2 and 3.
With regard to data. Atm I have 53 entries in the different sections. Some of them are duplicates because tools like Trade Dangerous and the BPC belong to multiple sections like route planner, trading tool, captains log. There are approx. 60+ entries (one line each) on the TODO list. Currently the (leaking OP) is about 60 KBytes of text. When the FD API is available I'm convinced LOTS and LOTS of new tools will surface. I would however be very surprised if the complete data set would be more then 1 MB of text. The size of the database could be slightly bigger.
For the EDDN project we got free hosting - sooo grateful for that. If you could create the website but don't have somewhere to host it I can give you access to the server where EDDN runs. Its a 20 Mbps unmethered line with 80 GB of storage iirc. Its running CentOS 6.6 Linux. Can't provide you with a windows solution I'm afraid.
I've asked for assistance in the tools thread a few weeks back. One commander replied and could help me with a programmable forum software solution. Unfortunately this doesn't really fit. One reason being that entries belong to multiple sections. Also things like an updates section would be difficult - not automatized. When I move the data I highly prefer to do it only once!!!
Commanders, should you deem this idea useful for the community and being able to help me in any way please respond here or send me a PM.
Note: I'm hoping the thread doesn't get snowed under before potentially interested commanders are being able to read it ;-(