EDIT MODE

Almost two years after launching Bricksafe, I have just completed a huge upgrade. Actually, it's a complete rebuild using different technologies and hardware using everything I've learnt about web development in the last few years.

Check out the new and improved: Bricksafe

What's New?

All of the old functionality is there, I won't go into much detail but the highlights are on the front page of the site. Most importantly all your existing files and pages are still there, and all existing links to images etc will still work.

To access the images/files a similar hover effect to the old site is used. This time however, there are some more options.

  • The download icon will open or download the image/file directly.
  • You can browse all images on the page with simple left/right navigation by clicking the magnifying glass icon.
  • The resolution modifier links are available at the bottom left. Only three are shown for space reasons, but you can modify the generated URL to get any resolution you want.
  • The Edit link will allow you to rename or move the file to a different page.
  • The Edit link on pages will allow you to change the page details, or create a new sub-page under it.

Storage

I've doubled the quota for all users to 10 GB. In reality if you need more, contact me and I'm sure something can be done. The new architecture will allow me to store and serve more files than previously so I'm happy to extend the limits.

All files you upload are backed up to Amazon's S3 service which provides 99.999999999% durability. In case you're wondering, that's an insanely reliable storage solution, somewhere between outrageous and ludicrously good.

Search

Another new feature - you can now search through the public pages/files. It still needs a bit of work around finding decent results, but it's a pretty good start. The more information people put on their pages the more accurate the search results will be. At the moment, most pages don't have nice titles/descriptions and the filenames are pretty boring auto-generated ones.

Why Change?

The old site ran on an Amazon EC2 server. This gave me great flexibility in terms of scaling processing and storage requirements. I'm a huge fan of the Amazon Web Services capabilities. However, for the relatively small site that Bricksafe is, it was complete overkill and frankly turned out to be quite expensive for me to run - mainly due to the large bandwidth requirements.

With around 10,000 unique visitors per day and around 2TB of files served per month the costs were averaging around $200 per month and growing fast. While that may not seem like much money, remember I make $0 in revenue from Bricksafe and I hope to keep it that way.

The other reason to change is that I've been learning newer web technologies lately and wanted to apply them to a non-trivial website. I have completely rewritten Bricksafe in Python using the Django framework, compared to the original site that was written in PHP (same as Rebrickable). That basically means it took about 1/10th the effort to write and is far more secure, stable, maintainable and bug free than the original. Not to mention I think it looks far nicer now, having made use of professional templates and javascript libraries.

29 COMMENTS

  • 1 year, 4 months ago Elenoe (26)
    One change I noticed that is not welcome is that my sets are no longer highlighted in Green when checking which sets have a certain part. This seems to have started today for no obvious reason. Is this peculiar to me or something intentional?
  • 1 year, 10 months ago jhuangtw (76)
    Hi Nathan, I am a fellow python/web developer and lego lover, let me know if there may be anything I could help with development-wise :) I would love to pitch in.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Berth (34383) MOC Designer
    Hi Nathan, thanks again for your work.

    I thought a couple of day that the lxf's png extracted for thumbnail was no longer a feature but it's back now.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago p-sprogis (24270) MOC Designer
    Hi. I can't create a new album. It says invalid parameters all the time.
    • 1 year, 10 months ago Nathan (62253) Site Admin ADMIN
      Can you email me the details of where you're trying to create it and what you're calling it?
  • 1 year, 10 months ago cyberick (1560) MOC Designer
    comment on fait si on veut faire une donation pour le serveur ?
    sorry i m french !
  • 1 year, 10 months ago msx (13740) Blogger
    Super cool, i think the site has huge potential to become the standard file hosting for lego stuff.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago DLuders (17170) MOC Designer
    If one moves an existing Bricksafe file to a new page (using the Edit link), will the hyperlinks to Rebrickable automatically change to the new location? Or, do I need to manually change the hyperlink within Rebrickable to point to the (new) Bricksafe file location?
    • 1 year, 10 months ago Nathan (62253) Site Admin ADMIN
      You will need to update any links yourself. That reminds me, I meant to put a warning message on that function :)
      • 1 year, 10 months ago msx (13740) Blogger
        would it be possible to have a second type of link which is bound to the image itself and not its position? maybe with an id or hash of the image. This way one could move the images and not worry about breaking links
        • 1 year, 10 months ago Nathan (62253) Site Admin ADMIN
          It's certainly possible, but I decided not to. I figured it's not going to be used much, for the extra complexity required.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Mestari (3344) MOC Designer
    Thanks! I was waiting for it :) with no account anywhere else. Great effort! :)
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Bachaddict (5566) Set Manager ADMIN
    Are files directly stored on S3 or just backed up to it?
    • 1 year, 10 months ago Nathan (62253) Site Admin ADMIN
      Just backed up to it, and I'm working on being able to serve directly from there in case the file server becomes unavailable (nginx is awesome). I looked into mounting S3 directly but it was too slow.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago martijnnab (3387) MOC Designer
    Looks great and works like a charm!!
  • 1 year, 10 months ago TSK15 (3032) MOC Designer
    I did recently notice the update. The site looks much cleaner and more professional.
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Legolijntje (22683) Set Manager ADMIN
    Very nice work. I've been recently looking more into more advanced web development (until now, it was just html, css , copy-pasting javascript and a little bit of asp.net for web). Python is one of the topics I'd like to try out more and it's nice to see what can be done with it. :)
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Darksheep (461)
    Wow this is a big upgrade and the change over seems to have happened seamlessly well done dude !
    • 1 year, 10 months ago Nathan (62253) Site Admin ADMIN
      The migration probably took just as long to get working as the main site took to build :)
      • 1 year, 10 months ago Darksheep (461)
        Ha ha I am also an IT professional and have done many migrations of different types so I know what you mean!
  • 1 year, 10 months ago Bolbuyk (8529) MOC Designer
    The browse functionality is awesome. It was one of the few things that Brickshelf had, but yet using Bricksafe is a no-brainer for me.
    Thanks for all your good work!
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