Brickset enhancements

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I've just rolled out some changes to the core functionality of Brickset -- searching and browsing -- that I've been working on for the last few weeks.

Most of the changes I've added over the last year or so have been targeted at making it easier for you to part with your money via Brickset, so changes to the basics are a bit overdue.

The changes are mostly subtle, there's nothing revolutionary here, but I'm hoping that they will make it much easier to search and browse, and also make it a more pleasurable experience when visiting Brickset.

Here's a list of what's changed:

  • New list view: To complement the familiar tabular and gallery views of search results, there is now a list view that shows results in a compact table. You'll see a new button above the search results table that will allow you to select the list view. You can sort the table using the drop-down column list above it, or by clicking on the column headings.
  • Table view has been tidied up: The default search results view has been tidied up a bit, particularly the details and collection columns.
  • Theme browser enhancements: There are now new ways to browse through themes, and improved information in the menu. Previously you could use links above the table to browse by year, moving backwards or forwards through time to view sets in the theme released each year. Now, you can also browse through subthemes in the same way. The section in the menu 'My {theme name} Collection' now shows totals by the links, so you can see at a glance how many sets you own and want.
  • New year browser: Browsing all sets released in a given year was a bit of a PITA before now because the general search results page was used for displaying them which didn't have the same features as the theme browser. So now, whenever you're looking at sets released in a given year, you'll now do so using the year browser (here's an example) which provides easy ways to flick through themes, or move back and forth through time. There's also a 'My {year} Collection' section in the menu so you can easily see which sets you own, and want, that were released that year.
  • Non-normal set highlighting: Anything that's not a normal set, or hasn't been released, is now shown with a light grey background in the table/list views. A 'normal' set is anything that has a numeric set number allocated by LEGO and is not Gear.
  • Enhancements to the web services search method: See the documentation for more information.
  • The Advanced query builder is now out of beta. If you haven't tried this yet, it enables you to create complex queries on the database and retrieve very specific results.
  • Search help page: Now that there are multiple ways of searching, I've written a help page explaining them all.

I hope you find the changes useful. I'll be keeping an eye on the error logs today to see if any problems surface, but if you find something that's not working, please let me know.

Next, I will tackle the pages that display minifig lists as there are too many different versions of them and they are somewhat hard to find.

23 comments on this article

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By in Czech Republic,

Seems like a lot of efforts and amount of work done. Thanks. After briefly clicking thru Brickset I like a lot the new "list view" + non-normal sets highlighting. This is very handy to organize my collection.

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By in Netherlands,

'By 'Normal' I mean anything that doesn't have a LEGO-allocated number ' should be 'By 'NON-Normal' I mean...', right?

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks Huw, like the new list view and year searches already!

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By in United Kingdom,

That is what I love about this site ... it is constantly being improved for our benefit.
Great job, thank you.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^ Er, yes not the best English was it. I've changed it, thanks.

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By in Netherlands,

^ Welcome. Great work by the way; Brickset keeps getting better and better!

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By in Germany,

Clicking the "Buy" tab on top redirects you to the Brickset home page. :/

EDIT: Aaaaand there's a typo at the bottom of the search help page: "Hopefully we've provided enough flexibility to enbale you to find and list what you're interested in!".

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By in United States,

Wow. I just went to search for something and...this is so much easier! I love it.

Thank you so much for all the work you put into this site, Huw. It's easily my favorite place to spend time.

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By in Germany,

In the mean time, a couple of tips:

Please put back colour in the new article categories, seeing grey makes me sad. :P Same applies to set details in search results...

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By in United Kingdom,

@Alemas, the buy tab behaves like that for you because you're in Germany and there is no buy page like this, http://www.brickset.com/buy/UK/, for Germany.

Typo will be corrected, thank you.

What colour is missing in the set details?

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By in Germany,

@Huw: *Facepalm* Oh yes, I forgot to do Ctrl + F5 when changing country to see whether the link had actually disappeared. :P No colours are actually "missing", but for "Year", "Pieces", "Minifigs" etc. in the search results page, having something other than grey would be nice. The grey "blends in" a bit on the background white.

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By in United States,

Thank you Huw, your hard work and that of your team is clearly appreciated. You guys really know how to run a website.

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By in United States,

Looks great, Huw! My only complaint thus far is that you can't add or remove a set as a want without going to the individual set detail page.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ In list and table views you just click on the Want checkbox. That's not shown in gallery view because you can both want and own a set and I can't colour the box 2 colours, so it shows green if you own it, purple if you don't own it but want it.

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By in United States,

^ Ok, thanks!

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice changes Huw. When you add items to My Sets, do you store the date it was added? When you click "View the sets you own" it would be nice if one of the sort orders could be based on date added. I quite often wonder if I've remembered to add new purchases to the list (regardless of the Year of release) and having this order would really help.

Also, maybe nothing you can do but I can't log into the website using Chrome on iPhone/iPad. It doesn't display an error, it just doesn't log in. Safari is fine so not causing any major issues. Just thought I'd mention it.

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By in United Kingdom,

The date isn't stored because there are millions of records in the table and doing so would expand the size considerably.

However if you use the advanced query builder you can sort by the order they were added, which simply sorts by the table's ID field.

The login problem on iPads is a mystery, it happens to me from time to time, but then works fine next time I try.

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By in United States,

Is there another way to access the search help page besides the link in this article? Thanks in advance.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ yes, it's on the meu of the sarch results page

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By in United States,

I think I may have spotted a small glitch.

It is when you set a column value to descending, switch to a new column sort by clicking on column headers, it stays in descending until the page is changed then the sort value defaults to ascending.

Example: If you have results that continue on more than 1 page regardless of results per page being set to 25, 50, 100 and now 200! :-) Sort Set name to descending. Click to page 2 or 3 or 4 etc, Set name stays descending; click Number of pieces column header link; current page will change to sort results by number of pieces descending; change page to 1 or 3 or 4 etc if you were on page 2 and sort value defaults to ascending.

It happens in both Table and List views and happens as long as you select a different column header link than the one you started with.
Hope this helps.

I love all the new features. I am really glad we can now see 200 results per page and the ability to sort each column with one click is very efficient. Great work!

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By in United States,

With the searching change, we seem to have lost the ability to go directly to a set. For example, if I type 10228 and hit return, I used to go directly to the haunted house page. Now I go to an interstitial and have to click again. That's a whole other click! I can't take it!

Good changes otherwise though, nice work.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Thanks, I'll check that out.

^ Yes that is a byproduct of the changes, but you can still go directly to the set if you select it from the autocomplete list.

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By in United States,

^ Just some feedback, it's MUCH easier for me to type in the number and hit return. Your suggested workaround is for me to type, wait, move the mouse down to the correct set, then click again. Again, I'm a very lazy man, and not ungrateful for your work here, just giving you constructive criticism.

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