EDIT MODE

For the last few months I have been working on the next major release of Rebrickable. That's a bit of an understatement actually - I'm rewriting every single aspect of the site from scratch! I'm calling it Rebrickable v3.

Why?

Am I crazy? Probably. But it is needed, here are a few reasons why:

  1. New modern look and responsive design so that it works better on mobile browsers. Mobile users now make up 35% of the traffic and growing, so something needs to be done here. Plus a fresh design done by a real professional will go a long way to making it easier to use in general.
  2. New backend web framework. I'm switching away from PHP to a Django based website. This makes things way easier for me to maintain as the site grows in complexity.
  3. Completely redesigning some of the data models is going to allow some awesome new features which simply aren't possible with the current design. Stay tuned!
  4. Frankly, to keep me interested! Maintaining the current codebase is beginning to be a nightmare and every change introduces bugs elsewhere. I was a complete web design noob when I built Rebrickable, now I like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two about how it should be done. A fresh start is needed for my own sanity :)

Features

It's still very early days and I'm not ready to talk much about any features for v3 yet. But rest assured that the majority of current features will still be available in v3 (some may be removed, some will be renamed). What I can say is that there will definitely be plenty of new stuff too. If there’s a feature you’re dying to see added, let us know in the Suggestions Forum.

Timeframe

Most of the work done so far has been on data model designs, data conversion scripts, data model redesigns, testing out ideas, data model re-redesigns, and just generally proving to myself that Django can handle the complexity required for a website like Rebrickable. So there's not much to show off just yet.

I estimate there is at least another 6 months before I can start beta testing the new site with real users. However, I will try to provide updates along the way. My ultimate goal is to fully release v3 before Christmas 2016.

Screenshots

These are very early layouts and will almost definitely change, but gives you an idea of what to expect.

60 COMMENTS

  • 10 months, 2 weeks ago creator (320)
    Your site is one of the most useful resources on the web for Lego fans. Keep it up. You are doing an outstanding job while giving an extraordinary tool to the Lego community.
  • 10 months, 3 weeks ago chlami (20)
    Hi,

    I just discovered the website 3 days ago and the idea is fantastic. I wanted to post a suggestion on the forum but I can't because it says I have to log in even if it's already the case. I can post there so maybe this could be an idea for rebrickable V3.

    I started to do my loose parts inventory in order to be able to use the website and I know it mustn't be the right way of using it but I'm using the Parts List to do my own parts categorization that matches my "physical" sorting. (For example: Minifigures - Weapons, Minifigures - Body wear, Hinge (New), Hinge (Old), Technics - Functional, System - Functional, Bars & Flags, etc...). This would allow to make a full categorized listing for my parts that I never had before and find them quickier when I need them.
    I don't want to strictly use the Bricklink, LDD, LDraw, Brickset, Mecabricks or Rebrickable sorting because they are all different and doesn't always match my sorting method.

    The problem is that I'm just blocked by the Parts List number limitation. Would this be a big deal to remove the limit of 25 Parts Lists?

    Thank you for your amazing work anyway!
    • 10 months, 3 weeks ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
      The forum is separate software which needs you to login again, but it uses the same email/password as the main site.

      The 25 limit is there because the Parts Lists require an enormous amount of storage/memory to process and to raise it would need yet more hardware. I have yet to finalise what the limits will be in v3.
      • 10 months, 3 weeks ago chlami (20)
        I understand how more lists could ask more resources, I'll figure something out ;) Thanks!
        About the forum section I tried to log in many times with my rebricable account email/password and it really doesn't seem to work (for mine at least)
  • 1 year, 1 month ago hezy12 (101)
    I think it would be a cool idea to be able to change individual colors in calculating which pieces you need for a set. for example changing the red in a fire truck set to say green.
  • 1 year, 2 months ago MyNameIsPhip (146)
    WOW! I just joined your site, its so cool. Looking at these screenshots.... wow.
  • 1 year, 2 months ago tomtom (14)
    Just a thought from a web frontend developer, and as you have not mentioned it in the article:
    Evaluate which features could be done in the client (the browser) with good use of javascript (and even CSS sometimes) instead of running on the server.
    many calculations, filtering etc. are not at all server dependent (or can be made semi-dependent with some leightweight AJAX). They can be distributed to the clients and take off a lot of load from the server request and calculation wise.
    The server on the initial request only provides the raw data with html structure and xml- or json-data, and the browser does the rest at the users machine that has never trouble to do this, as it has only one user instead of tens and hundreds the same time.
  • 1 year, 2 months ago Pingaware (156)
    Don't know if this has been brought up on the forums (haven't had time to check), but I'd love to see a feature where, if you have 100% of the set parts in your parts list, you can move it to your set list and the parts are automatically deducted. Doing it manually takes quite a lot of time...
    • 1 year, 2 months ago biodreamer (18693) MOC Designer
      Already exists, just use the build feature with exact color, if you hit 100% you get a link to combine the loose parts into that set and if you click it and you get all that.
      • 1 year, 2 months ago Pingaware (156)
        I had no idea. This is literally the best thing I've heard all week. (I mean, I'm in final year of University revision mode and student politics are being crappy, so it's not as great as it could be, but I'm still over the moon about this)
  • 1 year, 2 months ago Ychsel (754)
    How can we support you? You never asked for donations (or at least I didn't see it anywhere). I would like to donate to support your work. Thank's for this great website!
    • 1 year, 2 months ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
      I don't accept donations. If you're desperate to spend money, buy yourself some lego via the links on this site which give me a small % of each sale. Win-win :)
      • 1 year, 2 months ago Ychsel (754)
        You should! I am in the IT business as well and I know how many time you spend to deliver such a stable and well working software product. You could at least use it to pay the domain and server costs ... But of course it is up to you.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago BabasCustomLegoCreations (1819) MOC Designer
    i do understand you are trying to go modern but please add a bit of colour so it isnt as dull as brickset!
  • 1 year, 3 months ago msx (14387) Blogger
    Awesome! Looking forward for a refreshed interface :)
  • 1 year, 3 months ago davejbur (10)
    I would just say, please don't change it just for change's sake, and please make sure it still works for those of us who don't or can't use a mobile phone to view the site (very few sites work on my Blackberry, even those apparently "optimised" for mobiles).
    And for goodness sake please don't make it a navigational nightmare like the new National Trust site ( http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ ) - horrendous to view on a normal browser with just half a dozen words and a huge picture on every page!
    Thanks:)
  • 1 year, 3 months ago mbl77 (1829)
    While the feature requests are happening...
    I'd like to be able to make a list of MOCs, and then get a missing parts list and set recommendations for the the whole list together.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago Alan_Marvel (10)
    I'm a relatively new user and I am very impressed with the site. I love that I can find out which sets I can build from my parts. Amazing work. Thanks for all your efforts.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago psmyth (4366)
    I think that Rebrickable is the absolute best site for any Lego enthusiast young or old. I really like all the features it has now so if a newer version comes out wow that would be great...thanks for all your hard work!!
  • 1 year, 3 months ago Skargarim (485)
    Probably way too complex for you to make, but maybe a Feature for Users to work with: when building a Set Not only having the Option to use Same colors, similar colors and random, but also seperate visible and invisible Parts on the finished model
  • 1 year, 3 months ago Ingmar Spijkhoven (15842) MOC Designer DESIGNER
    Thanks for all effort you put in, this is such an amazing addition to any LEGO enthusiastic!

    Keep up the great work and looking to an even better version of an already excellent site!!! :-)
  • 1 year, 3 months ago Dragma (155)
    Are there any plans on changing the API? I hope not, it is fairly easy to use, and I have plans.
    • 1 year, 3 months ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
      Yes. v3 will have a proper REST based API. I will reproduce the current v2 API on the new site but plan to deprecate it within a year from v3 release.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago darkstonegrey (1795) Set Manager
    Ooh, this is interesting news!

    I'd really like to see proper accounting for lost parts in calculation totals, and the ability to track what individual parts from sets are in use somewhere else and exclude them from build calculations when I've got more than one moc project going at the same time.

    I've got a few other suggestions, but will mention them in the forum topic (after I figure out why I can't login to the forums).
  • 1 year, 3 months ago kgb (1257)
    I love Rebrickable and use it almost every day as my own Lego database. One feature I'm missing is moving parts from list to list - possible for sets but not for parts.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago biodreamer (18693) MOC Designer
    Even if rebrickable has the key functionality working great ie "the build feature" there is a lot of things that can be improved and added.

    How does it handle alternate parts/molds?

    is better subsets handling in there somewhere?

    does it handle super model mapping? ie MOCS with more then one set as source.

    How about Lego sets that doesn't include all the parts of the inventory needed to build them. will the new site handle that.

    what about "spare parts" can we as users define how we want to manage those in our own collection.
    • 1 year, 3 months ago zux (1836) MOC Designer
      Alternate parts - yes please! I've been denied this couple of times. You can add whatever part you feel needed into set's inventory as a default, but please make an ability to chose the one you actually received in a set.
    • 1 year, 3 months ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
      I was trying to refrain from commenting about specific features, but I can say that I am trying out an idea for multiple inventories right now :)
    • 1 year, 2 months ago biodreamer (18693) MOC Designer
      Tablet friendly MOC instruction viewing would be nice. (skipping downloads and software installations) just go to the MOC page and start flipping instruction pages.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago zux (1836) MOC Designer
    Sorry, I'm a bit sceptical on V3 announcement. I hope you can understand why. My main concern is, as it happens with updated versions of everything on the web lately, when developer explicitly knows features are required for user and which are not. Which is...um, far from being true :( I value Rebrickable for the possibilities it brings, where no other site exist with certain features available. My fear with all of the updates is that new version bring "something NEW, which has a WOW effect, but is not of a big need" while certain functionality is lost/reduced.

    Make it good, no - better! But please listen to your community if some changes you are looking to implement are no longer needed.

    Good luck!
  • 1 year, 3 months ago mhstnsc (150)
    i suggest to split the work in smaller releases..maybe even in parallel to existing version so you get an early feedback. If you are just rewriting then maybe replacing bits by bits would also fit the bill.

    be more agile :)
    • 1 year, 3 months ago mbl77 (1829)
      I agree. Launch it in parallel, with a manual option to migrate to the new one. Then after a few months when the early adopters have ironed out the bugs, move everyone else across and shut the old one down.

      And allow access to the new version way before you have feature parity with the old one. The bug-finding and feedback you get from users earlier in the process will save you tons of time later.
      • 1 year, 3 months ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
        I will definitely give early access to v3 to help stabilise it, but I have not figured out a decent way to run them in parallel. It's not just a different front-end. Data changes in v2 will have to be converted into v3, bypassing all native v3 checks... very difficult.
        • 1 year, 3 months ago mbl77 (1829)
          Keep them completely separate. So if a user switches to v3 they can't go back. This might entail some duplicate work with keeping the main sets/parts databases for both apps up-to-date, but perhaps you can automate that.

          A separate but related issue, and I have no idea what your commercial model is (if any?), but you could open-source the new codebase and i'm sure you'll get some help with improving the code. Not from me unfortunately (I'm a Ruby/Rails guy) but I'm sure there are lots of pythonista lego fans.
        • 1 year, 3 months ago mhstnsc (150)
          What i meant is to take vertical cuts of functionality, from UI down to the DB. Create a path of releases to success and replacing the old with the new (not necessarily as a dual stack)

          Then you can stretch even longer than that.

          Taken from high level, the deadline feels to me a bit long and usually consumers like "to get a small cookie every day", of course if you feel this will gain you something.....who doesn't want more visitors on the website :)


          Cheers.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago Dethace (112)
    Love your website, would appreciate if you can throw in an interactive walkthrough for new users to understand how to use all the functionalities that are available.
  • 1 year, 3 months ago jamesdm (416)
    I love your site, but if you can make it better then cool. Would happily pay a couple of quid for an App version. Keep on coding!
    • 1 year, 3 months ago Nathan (62922) Site Admin ADMIN
      A full Rebrickable app would take far too long to make, and is just one more thing for me to support. Hopefully v3 will work well enough on mobile that it doesn't need an app.
to your account to add or reply to comments.