Comic Vineyard v1.0: Manage your comic collection with Comic Vine

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morbus_iff

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Edited By morbus_iff
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5 days ago I showed off a preview screenshot of Comic Vineyard, a way to catalog your comic book collection using Comic Vine. Today, and as promised, I'd like to show off Comic Vineyard v1.0. It's still got a healthy way to go before I consider it As Awesome As I Envision In My Head, but it's ready for other people to start poking at it. Without further posturing:
 

There are still a few things that aren't exactly right. For example, if your Comic Vine list is over 50 volumes, Comic Vineyard will only process the first 50 (this is top priority for the 1.1 release scheduled for next Monday). Similarly, Comic Vineyard was designed so that the output is entirely customizable... but, due to time constraints, there's currently only one theme available. This is where you can help out: give me your suggestions for theme displays, tweaks, features, approaches, etc., and I'll see about getting them done. If you have any general features you'd like, not necessarily display related, don't hesitate to also wax poetic about them.

One of the "odder" things about Comic Vineyard, I suppose, is that it was written as an "as needed" utility as opposed to an "always on" program. This fits my particular needs, but it does mean that it's "slower" than one might expect: every time you run it, it needs to grab data about your comic books from Comic Vine. The rendered output is bookmarkable (like this one) so that you only have to run Comic Vineyard when your collection changes. This reduces the load and bandwidth both on my server and Comic Vine's server, but "forces" you to watch a little progress bar whenever you update your list. My current belief is that most people only update their list once or twice a week, and the "cost" of a "slow" render is acceptable. What about you though? Is the slowness of rendering a large collection a problem?

Anyways: Comic Vineyard v1.0 is now available. More next week.
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Om1kron

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#1  Edited By Om1kron

I think one of the computer nerds on comic vines side will have to give you a readout of the server strain something like this would add when you consider that over 9000 people could be using it at the same time. I mean pretty rare occasion but again it's something an analyst would have to look at to see if it would make any real world impact on the site itself. I definitely will try and grab my list next time I visit the rents and give this bad boy a try. Thumbs up for creating something very rad.

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Decept-O

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#2  Edited By Decept-O
@Morbus: 
Will definitely poke at this with a stick in a bit, sounds like a very helpful way to help out here.  Kudos to you for doing this.    
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Red L.A.M.P.

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#3  Edited By Red L.A.M.P.

Cool checking this out now.

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ChrisPartin

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#4  Edited By ChrisPartin

Awesome! Checking it out now!!
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fajkimajki

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#5  Edited By fajkimajki

Someone should do as standalone app. If API of CV is sweet, whe could write a simple app for win/mac/lin.

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morbus_iff

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#6  Edited By morbus_iff
@fajkimajki:  it kinda already is a standalone app, in the sense that a) you can use the online version without installing anything, and b) it does, in fact, already run on Mac and Linux machines with no problem, and it'd only require PHP to be installed on Windows to work ;)
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shatterstar

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#7  Edited By shatterstar  Moderator

Very nice

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Skywarpgold

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#8  Edited By Skywarpgold

This is fantastic, thanks so much!!!

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cbishop

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#9  Edited By cbishop

This is kinda cool.  I've been using the CV Lists feature to list my collection, and this works near-perfect with those.  I have to tweak the way I put one-shots in there - I usually link right to the issue page, instead of the volume page - what's the point of a volume page with a one-shot? 
 
Also, if I have more than one copy of an issue, the comicvineyard doesn't read it.  For instance, with Blood Syndicate, I have two copies of #19, so on my list, I typed "19(2)."  I have to tweak that so it reads #19, but will it render two copies if I put in "19, 19"? 
 
Last thing: I have multiple lists for my collection - for instance, this was my "Milestone" list.  My DC collection is broken up into categories.  Can I render as many lists as I want, or do I have to have it all on one list for comicvineyard?  That would get very... unweildy... espeically having to wait each time for it to grab info on each title. 
 
EDIT: I lied, one more thing: in no way being critical, because I have no knowledge of writing applications, but if I'm making the list on CV anyway, why do I want to use comicvineyard?  I now have the list - does that make sense? 
 
EDIT: Okay, I'm just going to keep adding as I have more: I like that it puts the whole series in front of me, instead of splitting it up every twenty issues.  That's convenient if I'm just looking for a certain issue real quick.  I like how the covers go to the issue pages too.  Okay, I'm seeing advantages to this.  Some way of not having to wait every time would eventually be nice, since you asked in the OP.

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morbus_iff

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#10  Edited By morbus_iff
@cbishop: I don't have an answer for the one-shot problem you describe - I don't see Comic VIneyard being able to handle it specifically (there's nothing in the API that tells me its a one-shot, etc.). I'll look into the idea of supporting issues, and volumes, within a list. Regarding multiple copies, Comic Vineyard does handle this if you do it as "19, 19" or even "16-21, 19", but it doesn't currently indicate the count anywhere in the render (it does keep track of it internally). Instead of showing two covers, I'd likely just have it include "Count: 2" beneath the date or something similar. Anyways, I'll add it to my todo to look into support 19 (2) as a possible syntax.
 
Finally, you can render as many individual lists as you want - Comic Vineyard doesn't limit that. One of the features I'll be working on in the future will be a way for you to specify multiple lists to render one giant collection from. That is, you can maintain four lists at Comic Vine (something which I'll likely see myself doing too), and then feed all four lists into Comic Vineyard and, in one Render, get out a giant/combined collection of your books. Or, alternatively, you can render all the lists individually. It'd be up to you. 
 
Thanks for being an early user!
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cbishop

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#11  Edited By cbishop
@Morbus: The one-shot problem is on my end - I link to the issue page instead of the volume page.  I can just change that - no biggie (except that I've got about 40 lists to do that on - lol). 
 
Rendering multiple lists as one C'vineyard list is pretty cool.  Nice idea. :)
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morbus_iff

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#12  Edited By morbus_iff

 To respond to your edits: 
 
For me, a Comic Vine list, by itself, lends nothing more exciting than my previous way of managing my collection: a single text file with "Batman|3|600-615" (Batman, location 3, issues 600 through 615). If I specify just the volumes (as Comic Vineyard has you do), then the image I see is the first issue of the volume which isn't representative of any issue I actually have. The link to the volume itself just shows me every possible issue and not the ones I own, again, making it worthless. It serves no advantage of the text file I had before. Now, if I made a Comic Vine list that included items for every issue I had, it defeats the other purpose of Comic Vineyard: speed of data entry. If I had 5000 comics, I'd have to hit 5000 pages on Comic Vine and make 4 clicks for every addition. That's pretty painful. Even when finished, I'd have a 100 page Comic Vine list (50 comics per page) which would be nigh-near impossible to keep sorted with any semblance of speed. Again, not a solution I'm hoping for.  
 
As for "waiting", yeah, I have various ways around it that I can work on, but they're pretty "about face"ish from the original approach of the script, so I'll likely want to solidify things first before working on the speed and cache. And if there's no real big clamor for it, I might not even worry about it at all.

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morbus_iff

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#13  Edited By morbus_iff
@cbishop said:
" @Morbus: The one-shot problem is on my end - I link to the issue page instead of the volume page.  I can just change that - no biggie (except that I've got about 40 lists to do that on - lol).  Rendering multiple lists as one C'vineyard list is pretty cool.  Nice idea. :) "
I wouldn't go nutty changing all your lists just yet - I'd rather a) fix the underlying bug [which causes a broken image/link when you link to your one-shot issue] and b) figure out if I can accept issues in a list and still render/group them the right way. It's "easier" for me to fix one script than it is for you to go around fixing forty lists ;)
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cbishop

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#14  Edited By cbishop
@Morbus: Here's the list I used to check out your app: CB's VAULT: Milestone.  Very convenient for me, because I don't have to tweak much to get it to work with the app.  Looking at your sample list in the OP tho', what is "location: 1" on each of the entries, and is that something I need in my list?  I'm guessing not, since my list rendered.
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M.S. Feather

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#15  Edited By M.S. Feather

Uploading my collection now, everything's running smooth so far.
 
Again, great job!

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morbus_iff

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#16  Edited By morbus_iff
@cbishop: Check the documentation on the front page of Comic Vineyard. The short/technical answer is: you can add additional key/values to your volume's comment for your own notes. The theme currently understands "location" (which I use to indicate what long box or shelf they're in). In the future, I'm planning on supporting "group: ", which would allow you to specify a custom grouping (so, say, instead of rendering 20 one shots as 20 separate groups, you could say "group: One-shots" and you'd get one group called "One-shots" with 20 individual issues in it). But, as you've noticed, they're entirely optional.
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cbishop

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#17  Edited By cbishop
@Morbus said:
"I wouldn't go nutty changing all your lists just yet - I'd rather a) fix the underlying bug [which causes a broken image/link when you link to your one-shot issue] and b) figure out if I can accept issues in a list and still render/group them the right way. It's "easier" for me to fix one script than it is for you to go around fixing forty lists ;) "

If you see it as a need for the app, great, but don't change it on my account.  I'm not asking you to change the app to conform to my pre-existing lists - that's crazy. 
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xkoenig

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#18  Edited By xkoenig

How do you do variants? I'm trying to include the Bachalo variant of New Avengers #54, but I don't know the correct syntax. Thanks!

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morbus_iff

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#19  Edited By morbus_iff
@xkoenig: Currently, Comic Vineyard doesn't handle variants - there's no standard way that Comic Vine says "Hey! This image is the 2B variant of issue 2" and, even if it did, that information isn't available in the API. You can fake it by doing something like "2; variants: 2B". The themes don't currently support the "variants" key/value, but they will. When they do, you'd STILL see the normal issue 2 in your collection, but there'd be a nearby note saying you own variant 2B.
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xkoenig

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#20  Edited By xkoenig

In any case, this rocks - yay! Love it - a good approach. I look forward to seeing it get better and better. :)

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carnivalofsins00

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#21  Edited By carnivalofsins00

i started with the list, but how do you put down that i have a variant cover for certain issues. also, how do you end up having it come out like he does in the end?

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Mercy_

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#22  Edited By Mercy_

Wow. This is insanely impressive. Fan-freaking-tastic job. 

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carnivalofsins00

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#23  Edited By carnivalofsins00

also, can you add trades to the list?

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morbus_iff

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#24  Edited By morbus_iff
@carnivalofsins00: See a previous reply (on page 1) for variant handling. As for trades, you can add them to the list, but Comic Vine gives all trades a single issue #1, so you'd want to type in "1" for the "issue" you have. I haven't tested trades myself with Comic Vineyard, but it Should Work. If it doesn't, I'll fix it.
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carnivalofsins00

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#25  Edited By carnivalofsins00

my list is 5 pages long, can you only do one page at a time on the comic vineyard or can you do all of the pages at once?

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Skywarpgold

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#26  Edited By Skywarpgold
@Morbus: Trades definitely work, check out my beginning Vineyard: 
 
http://www.disobey.com/detergent/code/comic-vineyard/renders/skywarpgold-20657-default.html  
 
As you can see though, I found a bit of an issue with the single-issue volumes as well.  The Walking Dead trades are all in one volume, so they look great together, but you can see the Fable trades are all separate.  I think your suggestion of a :group command would be perfect for this!  Or maybe a :TPB command for trades? 
 
Excellent job btw, this is really awesome.  Thanks! 
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Bencif

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#27  Edited By Bencif

This is great. Having the covers is another great way to quickly identify what you own but like some have said it is a shame there is no support for displaying variant covers. I can easily live with this as I think this will prove to be a very handy app to have. I'm looking forward to seeing what new features are added to it.

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morbus_iff

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#28  Edited By morbus_iff
@carnivalofsins00 said:

" my list is 5 pages long, can you only do one page at a time on the comic vineyard or can you do all of the pages at once? "

As noted in the original post, multiple pages do not currently work yet. They will in the next release, next Monday.