a new beginning

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Ralph Herold
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a new beginning

Post by Ralph Herold » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:41 pm

Dear members,

After a time of sometimes unexpected and sometimes deliberate phases of inactivity, I am very happy to announce that the new master design for Magic Sets has been completed. This new design will eventually spread and completely replace the entire website.

Unlike previous occurences, I have decided to take a different path in handling this latest update of the website. Instead of completing it first and showing it to you afterwards, I will reveal it to you now and let you take part in every step of its evolution. Feel free to voice your questions and suggestions.

So far, I have completed the new coverage of the Alpha and Beta Limited Edition in order to give you an idea how everything will look like and exactly what kind of data will be covered when it will be done. You can see the new pages here:

http://www.magiclibrary.net/magic-sets/ ... index.html

The next step is to create pages of the shown kind for ALL the other Magic sets in ALL languages. While this project is ambitious, I have no doubt it can and will be completed.

YOU can help me to achieve this goal. While much relevant data is already available, even more is still missing or needs to be processed before it can be integrated. YOUR skills can help me speed up this project tremendously. Here is a list of tasks I can be supported with:

- image processing: All expansion logos and symbols need to be cut out, resized, and converted carefully without losing much quality. Experience with an image processing software (Photoshop...) is required.

- code editing: All card names have to be typed in or copied and pasted into the website code. Some basic understanding about HTML coding is required.

- web scouting: Missing data such as release dates and foreign card lists have to be found in the net. Experience with navigating and translating non-English websites is required.

- product scanning: A lot of products have to be scanned.

- data support: A lot of product codes and lists of contents are missing or need to be confirmed.

Should you wish to support this project, contact me, and we will discuss the details.

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l0qii
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Post by l0qii » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:31 pm

This looks great Ralph.
Is the data on these pages in a database, or are these flat files?
Just wondering how difficult it would be to tweak the layout after everything is done.

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Ralph Herold
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Post by Ralph Herold » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:02 am

Thanks. All the data is coded in flat HTML / CSS pages, so layout changes will cause a lot of trouble as more and more pages are created. The next incarnation of this website, should there ever be one, will probably be database driven, but I will have to learn programming PHP first before ever thinking about switching to such a system.

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Post by bigfatkitty » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:09 pm

Not to be negative, but I liked when the focus of the site was about rarities. Print runs of normal sets and what you have put together for this new launch seems to be targeted to only a very small minority.

I understand this is your site and you put it together primarily for yourself. I just wanted to voice my opinion.

Any idea on when we can move forward with updating actual rarities? There's a lot still not covered on the site.
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Ralph Herold
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Post by Ralph Herold » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:49 pm

I heartilly disagree. Regular Magic cards are the backbone of the game, and most collectors worldwide start to collect regular cards way before they even think about collecting more obscure items. And these people are fairly interested to learn about all there is to know about regular cards - and there is a lot to learn.

Up to this date, there is no single place (magicthegathering.com included) where all this information is available, and especially information about non-English cards is spread thin over the net. And believe me, there are enough people who long to have such a website available, I read their emails regularly.

And among our community, there are enough people who are interested about specific aspects of regular Magic cards. Just think about the global set collectors who need to know how many versions of a card exists and how the different versions can be told apart from each others.

Besides, I think you underestimate the depth of the new coverage and its importance for more traditional "Rarities" collectors. There are lots of ties between Magic Sets and Magic Rarities. Just think about Box Sets, alternate art cards, and misprints. All these areas will be better organized and interconnected appropriately by the new layout.

Fact is that the focus of this website does not change. Magic (Card) Sets has been available for a long time now and is finally in the progress of being rebuilt and enhanced. This does not mean that Magic Rarities will dwindle. Quite the opposite is true. I have many plans for improving and enhancing Magic Rarities as well, but time and support by others will decide if and when these changes will come true. In essence, the more you help, the more and the quicker can be accomplished. Help me, and help yourself in the process.

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Post by bigfatkitty » Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:50 pm

My point was information on card sets is readily availible on several other websites. The only difference is you are offering specific information regaring sku numbers and other detailed items which will only go to serve a limited set of people. Why not just save the effort and provide a link to another site and fill in the blanks not provided rather than reinventing the wheel?

If you do feel it necessary, why is it important to have this information on newer sets? I guess I really don't understand the motivation for wanting this information especially on newer product other than for the 'Hey, look what we have' factor.

As far as support for this type of work, I'm sure those people will post in this thread to back your ideas. I'd really like to know what they feel more important to update this or rarities. I still feel the draw of people to your site is the rarity information.

Again, its your site. You can do what you want. Personally, I'm just over no real consistancy in regular site updates for about two years now and thats led to a real lack of interest. Other people must share my feelings.
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Post by ende73 » Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:53 pm

I appreciate the efforts to enhance the regular card sets section, especially regarding cards in foreign languages (for example, it is almost impossible to obtain the image of a non-English card through the Net).

I can contribute scans of items in the same format as the Havic ones. I have complete sets of Italian FBB, italian DK and Italian LG I could scan over time.

EDIT: Just read BFK's newer comments too though, and I must agree with him insofar as priorities are concerned i.e. I would prefer all necessary rarities updates to be performed before the regular section is touched.

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Post by Gryfalia » Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:10 pm

Having as much information as possible in one place, organized well, is a great thing. I don't mind if what you have is the same as elsewhere, as long as it's all here, and you add 'value added information' (aka SKUs, etc), I'm a fan..;-)

Of course, it's great to get completely different information too.

Gryfalia

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Post by bigfatkitty » Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:31 pm

Gryfalia wrote:Having as much information as possible in one place, organized well, is a great thing. I don't mind if what you have is the same as elsewhere, as long as it's all here, and you add 'value added information' (aka SKUs, etc), I'm a fan..;-)

Of course, it's great to get completely different information too.

Gryfalia
I agree completely, however, the main focus of the site has been lost for a long time to focus on what essentially is a personal side project.

Again, its your site, Ralph. But, you do need to decide if it is a collection of information mostly for yourself or if you are going to maintain the integrity of the sites original intent. This was all more understandable when it was schooling which got in the way of updates. With a lot of that out of the way, I'm seeing the info I want is now losing out to redundant information and SKU's.

For anyone else who posts to this thread, please pick a preference to which project you feel should take priority. Neutrality and support for both sides doesn't really accomplish much.

I've been coming to this site for a long time and frankly, I'm getting bored and its causing me to lose the passion I once had for rarities.
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Ralph Herold
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Post by Ralph Herold » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:42 pm

bigfatkitty, I will not spend any more time to convince you of the general value of a site like Magic Sets. As Mark Rosewater uses to say, Magic is a different thing for different people. And it is true, even within this very community.

Nonetheless, I wish to make one thing clear: The website will never work flawlessly again. What you have experienced a few years ago was a luxury nobody can maintain infinitely. I am not paid for my work, and I, like everybody else, have a life to master, especially now that I am no longer a student, and time is a resource I have to spend wisely.

In addition to that, things change. Interests change. Opinions change. If your interest in collecting is receding, do not blame the website for it.

And yes, I had phases of doubts where I wondered whether to continue with this website which consumes such a great portion of my life - and believe me, statements like yours do their part to make me wonder. So far, I did not run away from it. Instead, I felt responsible to work out a solution, a solution which is just on the verge of being set into practice. The solution is teamwork. The website has become too huge to be maintained by one person. This new project is the first step to find people who are willing and capable to take some of its workload off my shoulders to allow the website to prosper.

Speaking of Rarities, I wonder what made you believe that I deliberately abandoned this part of the website. Fact is the WHOLE website is outdated and the WHOLE website needs to be rebuilt. All I did was decide to start with Magic Sets, not Magic Rarities, simply because it was even more outdated at that time. Depending on how it evolves, I will start to work on Magic Rarites way before Magic Sets will be fully assembled. Just be sure to take into account that there will be no thing such as a quick Magic Rarities update. Crafting a new design for Magic Rarities will take time (although I can take advantage of many decisions I have made while working on Magic Sets). Again, the greater the support, the quicker the progress.

Finally, let me emphasize that there is a an important distinction to be made between a lack of interest in the website and the discomfort I feel about its current incarnation. The website - ALL parts of it - definitely no longer fulfills my quality standards which have raised over time. It starts with technical details (flawed code, browser problems), and it ends with aesthetical issues (tiny images, illegible logos, blurred card texts). For me, the desire to revamp everything is compelling. I just can not stand working with the old website any more.

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Post by bigfatkitty » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:58 pm

Maybe then its time to start making money off the website and using that to employ people. You've gained recognition in the Magic community and from WOTC itself. Why not expand the reputation of the site itself by by utilizing what you've gained. I feel you're passing or have already passed on a great opportunity at secondary income.

This is all just my opinion and I'm not trying to pick a fight.

Part of my interest in discovering rarities was a direct result to the discovery of this site. The decline in interest is in direct correlation to the direction and advancement or lack there of. I'm sorry, but for me it is true. I have no joy or excitement in visiting a site I would often visit multiple times daily to keep up to date. It doesn't happen here anymore.

I just need to know if things will improve in the near future or if I should realize the rarity glory days are behind me and I'm mostly on my own in the discovery process.

Maybe you are at the empass where Bob was when he turned the site over to you. Should the torch be passed again?
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Post by silver.paladin » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:55 am

I was not originally going to post anything on this particular thread, but as BFK is asking for other opinions also, I suppose it is safe to post my opinion, but other than that, will probably maintain silence.

I am almost 100% completely for the 'rarities' side of things. I have also stated my opinion of what I consider is and is not a rarity, so will not open that can of worms again either. I lost my interest in the majority of regular Magic cards years ago when a sizeable portion of my cards was stolen - and ever since then have not cared to play anymore or concerned about standard type cards much, other than collecting the purely Red and Land cards, which coincidently also stopped doing just shortly before Kamigawa I think it was.

So the only thing I do anymore is promo's, and sadly that interest has been waning the past little while also.

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Post by random » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:45 am

This is a very good site Ralph! Do whatever you like as long as you're happy with it :-)

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Ralph Herold
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Post by Ralph Herold » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:59 am

I have finished the coverage for the Unlimited Edition and created a new Magic Sets main page. You can see it here:

http://www.magiclibrary.net/magic-sets/ ... index.html

On a side note, a friend of mine has advised me that some people might miss the fact that all the set logos on the index pages are active links. Please let me know if you indeed missed this.

If anybody can provide missing images or data for the sets covered so far, please let me know.

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Post by AXIOS » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:32 am

off course, do whatever you like Ralph, it's your site and you're doing a great job.
But i completely have to agree with BFK.
No need to cinvince me either, magiclibrary once was a place purely for rarities collectors, now it i sstarting to turn into a "normal" magic site.
It's starting to loose it's original focus.
The way Bob raised this site.

But again, do whatever you may like ;)
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