HTF Film Tracker Tool

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dana Fillhart, Apr 23, 2003.

  1. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    (Note to admins here -- if this is better served in the Movies forum or another place, feel free to move it.)

    Hi all,

    This week I will be wrapping up the last bits of work on the Tracker tool I've been building. Some (lucky? [​IMG]) folk here have been testing it, providing feedback and helping me eliminate bugs (for which I'm extremely grateful for -- many thanks to my guinea-pigs, er, I mean ... beta-testers! [​IMG]). Still, there are many features and conveniences still left to put into the tool, and perhaps a few bugs we've missed, which is what (among other things) this thread is for.

    For problems with the tool (bugs or problems with using the site), or for feature requests, please use this thread. Also, if you're interested in signing up to use it, let me know here as well. Currently the site is living on my personal server at home, and as I use Comcast as my ISP, I have a VERY pathetic upstream speed -- it's actually significantly worse than modem speed, if you can believe that. As such, I've decided to have my site hosted elsewhere -- when I've done the move I will provide the address: It WILL be a domain name, not an IP address. Until then, I'll collect the new-member requests here and create the user accounts -- when the site is ready I will provide each with the account name and password. The site is not a public site, it is only available to HTF members.

    Now, onto the tool itself...

    What is the HTF Film Tracker Tool, you may ask? Why use yet another website to keep track of your films? Well, the answer to those questions is two-fold: One, the Tracker can provide you with exactly the same output (or in uncommon cases, a close approximation to it) that you use in each of the yearly film list threads here on HTF (2003 Film List, 2002 Film List, etc.). In fact, the Tracker allows you to create multiple "stylesheets" -- templates that allow you to format your list of films very closely to (or exactly as) the format you have on HTF. By building your stylesheet(s), you can use the output on the yearly film list threads, the yearly top 10 threads, or even outside the HTF (though why anybody would need to do that is beyond me... [​IMG]).

    The second part of the answer is this: By keeping the naming of the films consistent (i.e., everybody uses the same name for, say, Le pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf)), we can keep very detailed, and accurate statistics that apply just to HTF members: HTF Top 10 for 2003 (or 2002, etc.), Top 50 HTF Most Watched Films, Average Number of Days per Year HTF Members Go Out and Enjoy a Life Outside of Watching Films...you get the idea [​IMG]

    Here are some of features available to members of the HTF Film Tracker Tool:[*] Select from a list of films in a given year and assign them to your own list. Each list is categorized by year, so you can have multiple lists -- one for 2003, one for 2002, etc. -- with (if you wanted) the same films appearing in those lists.[*] Fill out your personal details for a given film: Date Seen, Locale Seen, Times Seen theatrically/nontheatrically, rating and ranking, and even a URL to link your film to, say, your post in a review thread for that film, or perhaps another website (like IMDB).[*] Create custom attributes for a film that can be entered like the personal details above. Some common examples are: Comment/Review, Aspect ratio seen, type of film print, sound type, etc.[*] Keep a personal list of theatres, to use in the film details in your personal film list.[*] Build your own "stylesheet", or template, to generate output -- exactly as you want it -- for use in HTF threads. In fact, you can create multiple stylesheets, allowing you to have different outputs for different threads on HTF.[*] Run pre-defined reports ("canned" reports) to view certain statistics.[*] Request enhancements to the site directly to me via this thread! [​IMG][/list]Some additional benefits (or headaches, depending on your POV [​IMG]) administrators gain:[*] Maintain the "master" film database. It is VERY important to keep the naming of films consistent (as well as categorizing them into their proper years), weed out duplicates, and ensure that new films are entered into the database as they come out.[*] Maintain the base ("reference") data that everything else (including the master film data) relies upon: Countries, Persons, Feature Types, Aspect Ratios, Studios, etc.[/list]
    The tool's interface is very easy to use to select the films you've seen and enter the properties for each, but it can be a little confusing at first when it comes to building your own stylesheet(s). I've provided a FAQ inside the tool to cover the basics, as well as bubble-help on the stylesheet items themselves, but I know that won't cover everything, so this thread is meant to address any issues regarding building your stylesheet(s) (or using any part of the site).

    Well, that about covers the introduction. I'll be sure to post here the URL to use when the site has been moved to its new host. I'll also give out at that time the new accounts to members who request them here, and guide anybody who needs help in setting up their stylesheet (or any other use of the site).

    So, let the fun begin! [​IMG]
     
  2. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Sounds neat Dana, I am in... as soon as I get a new PC (more comfy doing this kind of stuff at home), which will happen after I get a new car, which will happen after sell my current one, which will happen after... [​IMG]

    --
    Holadem
     
  3. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I just tested the new stylesheet dana built for me using the build your own feature in the testing area:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...79#post1500779

    there are a few bugs, such as the courier new font size and numbering the final list, but in all, it's pretty amazing that all that is automated!

    Adam
     
  4. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    *whew*...

    Most of the issues mentioned above have been resolved. The only one left is the font-size, but that's a setting in your stylesheet (Adam) and not a bona-fide bug.

    You (anybody) can now filter on 3 things at once -- a special dropdown of specific items (most relating to year categories), and two build-a-conditional-statement filters. At least one of the conditional filters must be entered to get content in your output -- to be precise, the first conditional-statement filter must be filled out. This is because the same table-row generation process is used to generate column headers without content as it is to generate regular content rows, and to differentiate between strictly generating headers (without content, such as the star rating headers in a grouping, like 4-star) versus content rows, the former must have no conditional filters applied. The easiest way to get content when you don't want a filter to apply is, on the first conditional-statement filter, select "Is Greater Than" for the comparison type, and "0" (without quotes) for the first textbox value, forming "Current Position in this List Is Greater Than 0", which is essentially a non-filter filter [​IMG]

    The Feedback section now contains a link to this thread.

    The FAQ has been expanded, and there is "bubble" help on the Build My Stylesheet to assist in building your stylesheets.

    Adam's stylesheet should be fully functional, although on my pathetic P2 Celeron 300mhz with 128mb RAM for a web server, the very rich content he has being generated actually takes close to 30 seconds to finish -- *before* the content actually starts being streamed! Now you see one reason why I want to host this site elsewhere!

    Colin's stylesheet is still fully functional.

    The other testers I'll build their stylesheets as I get time -- Jason Whyte's and Scott Weinberg's.

    All new users after that will have a very basic default stylesheet that gives a generic output list; they can create and build their own custom stylesheets (as many and as detailed as they want) if they want more detailed output.

    I'll be moving the site probably in about two weeks; I'll keep y'all posted!

    Thanks again to the beta-testers for helping, and putting up with my delays and other issues!
     
  5. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Dana, call me slow (Hi, Slow!!), but I just noticed the blurb on your 2004 list about your Film Tracker Tool. So, as instructed, I am replying here. How can I get in on all this goodness??
     
  6. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    Me too. This sounds quite interesting.

    It's too bad you never made anything more of this (or did you?).
     
  7. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    Wow, talk about a resurrected thread! [​IMG]

    I still have it running -- I can create accounts for any HTF member who requests them to me via email ([email protected]) or PM. Just send me the email address to reply to, and I will set up an acc't (I don't have a public registration because it's meant for HTF members only).

    It's kind-of in low usage right now (I've seen very few films this year, especially compared to last year), and right now only 1 other person is actively updating it (and infrequently at that), so the 2004 film list is pretty sparse compared to 2003, but if anybody's interested I can make 'em an admin to allow film data entry.

    I've been busy on another personal project right now (trying to finish a fantasy novel which I've been updating here and there for almost 2 decades ... about 75% done on the first book), but I was actually thinking last night, as I updated my film list with Harry Potter, about doing some upgrades to the film tracker tool, take care of some shortcomings and other features I'd like to put in ... hopefully I can get to that sometime this summer.

    Anyway, email/PM me with your email address if you want an account, and I'll set it up.

    Thanks!

    Dana
     

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