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Model Railroad Collector Wiki - What's New

Update #10 - November 28, 2019

One of the joys of model railroading is that our hobby is truly international.  Because of the MRC Wiki project I have had the opportunity to correspond with MRR collectors from all over the world - expanding both my knowledge of model railroading and my understanding of other cultures. Currently the Wiki project has registered users from the 28 countries listed below.  Since the MRC Wiki database contains mostly European (Marklin) items it is no surprise that the majority of users are from Europe, but there are also representatives from South America and Asia. 

Model Railroad Collector Wiki - Countries with users
Australia Austria Belgium Bolivia
Canada Chile Denmark Finland
France Germany  Greece Hungary
Iceland Ireland Italy Mexico
Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal
South Africa Spain Sweden Thailand
Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom United States


While it is a joy to welcome model railroaders from all over the world, this internationalization raises a number of challenges from an application development point of view.  How to create an application that is useful for users that speak languages other than English?  The MRC Wiki launched nearly 2 years ago supporting both the English and German languages.  It is possible to add additional languages to the Wiki, but the time investment would be severe and dependent upon others donating a significant amount of translation time.  One of our Spanish collector users recently reached out to me and pointed out that the date formats in the Wiki were in the American style for anyone using the English version of the application.  Clearly few, if any, European collectors NOT using the German version of the Wiki, were satisfied using the formatting of dates in the US style (month/day/year).

With that challenge in mind I have created a solution, much simpler than would be required to add all new localized text, and added a new Wiki configuration that allows the registered collector to format the dates in their collection BASED ON THE LANGUAGE and DATE FORMAT of their choosing.  This customization now includes language specific calendars as well with day of week and month names displayed in the language selected.

 

Localized calendar


In addition to choosing the language for the rendering of dates the collector has the option of choosing any one of four (4) possible display options.  There are two abbreviated date options and two expanded date format options that may include the day of week and month names in their favorite language.

While is it not possible to completely localize all of the display text in the Wiki into all possible languages, the addition of custom date formats should provide a useful feature to all those collectors that wish for more relevant date fields in their collection lists.

To use this new feature follow these steps.  Samples are shown for the Greek language.

1) Log into your Wiki account.
2) Navigate to the "My Collections" / "Meine Sammlungen" page.
3) Click on the row containing the collection you wish to customize.  The row will become highlighted letting you know that it has been selected.
4) Click on the "Edit" / "Bearbeiten" button in the table button bar area.
5) The "Edit collection" / "Bearbeiten Sammlung" form will appear.
6) Using the dropdown selector select the "Language for dates" / "Sprache für Datumsangaben" and set your preferred language from the 75 different languages available.

Language Selector


7) Once the language has be selected then, using the dropdown selector for the "Date format" / "Datumsformat", select one of 4 different formats available for the chosen language.  The two abbreviated date formats at the top may appear to be the same, but the difference is that the first option will display months and days with a leading zero when applicable.  Example January 5th will appear as "01/05" or "05/01" (European format) rather than "1/5" or "5/1".  This difference will only be apparent in dates that contain months represented by only one digit.

 

8) Click the "Update" / "Aktualisierung" button.
9) Repeate steps 3-8 for any additional collections you have (including Want Lists / excluding Shared Collections)

When viewing and or exporting collections the three date fields - order date, received date and appraisal date will be rendered in the language and format selected.  The created on and modified on dates will be rendered in the language chosen, but the format is fixed.

Localized dates

Column sorting continues to be maintained regardless of the language and formats selected.  Click the column header once to sort the column dates in ascending order, click it again to sort in descending order.


Update #9 - August 23, 2019

Item Maintenance - New functionality has been added to convert the collection Maintenance list from a simple list of completed maintenance tasks on a locomotive or car in a personal collection to a full blown Task List that includes TO DO tasks as well as already completed ones.  To access this new functionality start by selecting an item to which you wish to attach a task.  Click on the row of the item desired to enable the "Item Maintenace" button (identified with an icon of a "wrench").  See image below for location of  the button. 

MRC Wiki - Menu button - Item Maintenance

Next click on the "Item Maintenance" button and a new table will open.  You will see a list of previously attached tasks OR an empty table if no task has previously been created for the item.   If you have existing tasks then you will notice the "Status" checkbox in the first column of the table.  An unchecked box indicates that the task is in TO DO status and a checked box indicates that the task has been completed.  See image below for a visual explanation.

MRC Wiki - Maintenance List Form

To add a new task start by clicking on the "NEW" button.  A simple form containing 4 fields will open. 

  1. Service Type - The first field, called "Service Type" is a dropdown list.  If this is the first time your are using the Maintenance List then the Service Type dropdown list will be empty.  To add new items select the dropdown option called "<< Not in list - add new >>".  Selecting this option will pop up a small window which will allow you to create your own Service Task type.  Enter the name in the text field and click "Save" to register your new custom type or Cancel to return to the Service Log form.  See example below.
    MRC Wiki - Add new Service task window
    It is not uncommon to have many different custom service types.  Below are some suggestions.  Feel free to copy some of these or create your own.
    MRC Wiki - Maintenance form
  2. Service Date - Use the calendar selector to select the date that the task was completed or, in the case of a TO DO task, the date by which you want to perform the task.
     
  3. Notes - Use this field to enter any supplemental information that you need related to the task.
     
  4. Status - Select either "Completed" or "To Do" from the dropdown list to indicate if the task has been complete or is scheduled for some time in the future.  In this manner you may schedule future necessary service on a needy locomotive - perhaps, for example, to indicate that you need to add or replace a decoder, or change the tires or brushes.  See below:
    MRC Wiki - Maintenance task list Status types

 

Task List -   To complement this new task status functionality a collection menu feature has been added called "Task List".  The Task List summarizes in list form all of the completed tasks within a collection as well as all of the TO DO tasks.    The Task List can be filtered by Completed or To Do items, sorted by date or type of task or service to perform, and, like all other lists in the Wiki, may be printed out for reference on your workbench. To access the Task List first make sure that no item is selected (highlighted) in your collection list.  The new "Task List" menu button appears in the button bar as shown in the image below.

MRC Wiki - Task List

Click on the "Task List" button and you will be presented with a list containing ALL of your tasks, both completed and TO DO for the selected collection.  Once the list is displayed you may filter (using the Search box), sort (click on a column header), Edit (click on a row and then click the Edit button) or Print the Task List.  TIP:  When a TO DO task is completed simply edit the task record  - change the Status dropdown to "Completed" and update the Service date to the actual date that the task was completed. 

Task List


Update #8 - April 27, 2019

Several updates to report on the latest progress for the Model Railroad Collector Wiki project. Big performance improvements and updated eBay searches highlight this month's updates.

A few highlights of recent changes include:

Calendars - It was brought to my attention that the calendar date pickers (used in personal collections for setting the "ordered on", "acquisition" and "sold" dates) had some anomalies especially with the international (German) version. All date pickers in the Wiki have been upgraded.

Date rendering in Directory and Collections - The formatting of dates in the Directory and Collection lists were not always consistent, nor correct - especially when viewed with the German version of the Wiki. Renderings now correctly reflect the English or German localization of date formatting.

Checkbox columns indicating if item is "In Collection ?" or "In Want List ?" - Now adding an item from the Directory to one of your Collections or Want List immediately updates these columns thus allowing a quick check if you have an item already in one of your collections or have flagged it as "Wanted".

Performance tweaks - Extensive reworking was done to the common processes of adding new records to the Wiki Directory and to User Collections as well as editing these same lists. Adding or updating records is now significantly quicker even when using slower internet connections.

Price History list - The Price History list (used to record the date and price items sell for) now supports entering dates and displaying them correctly in both the English and German versions of the Wiki. Previously there were issues choosing and rendering the dates.

User Collections - Moving items from one collection to another - Bug fix to correctly allow easily moving an item from a Want List to another collection or vice versa.

Multiple column sorting - Now clicking on a column header in either the Directory or a Collection will intelligently sort on multiple columns. It is now possible to do custom sorting on multiple columns simply by sorting on one column as usual (by clicking the column header title) and then holding down the SHIFT key and clicking on another column header with your mouse.

Adding New Directory items - Smart defaults - Prior to adding a new item to the Directory many users have discovered that preselecting a similar item, opening it for editing, and then immediately closing the edit form, will save those details and then PREPOPULATE the form fields with that item when creating a new entry in the Directory. This not only saves a considerable amount of effort when entering details for the new item (only change the fields that are different), it also ensures consistency when creating the same items with different versions. The update in the April release prepopulates the Railway company and prototype class from the previously selected item.

EBay Global search improvements - 1 - Custom search keywords You may now enter your own keywords for a custom eBay seach. The text box will prepopulate with the manufacturer name and article number that was selected when opening up a new eBay search, but you may change the keyword text to anything you like. The eBay search syntax is quite powerful for those users that understand the formation of search keywords and operators. It is not possible to go into detail of how this works in this forum post, but if you would like more information you can visit eBay for a technical summary of search syntax. https://developer.ebay.c...PIGuide.html#usekeywords . The important take-away is that the Wiki eBay search can now accomodate ANY custom search in the "eBay Search Keywords" textbox

EBay Global search improvements - 2 - Select if eBay search is related to Model Railroads or not While most of your eBay searches will be related to trains, the Wiki eBay search functionality has a configuration checkbox which allows a user to search for an item on eBay that is NOT related to the Model Railroad hobby - just uncheck the checkbox next to the text "Search is related to model railroads ?". Depending on the type of search you wish to do checking or unchecking this checkbox will produce more relevant results.

 

eBay Search Pop up editor

 

EBay Global search improvements - 3 - Remove duplicates The global eBay search functionality which allows a user to search for an item in all countries (previously announced) now has a feature that tries to remove duplicate items from the same seller's auction in different countries. To make this feature work registered users may now sort the list of countries according to their needs by clicking on "Preferences" in the main menu and then select "EBAY SEARCH". A new list will appear with all countries. You may then drag and drop the country names from highest to lowest priority. The settings only need to be configured once and the settings are persisted. In the event that the eBay seller posts an item to more that one country - only the country at the top of the priority list will be shown and the others will be removed. Make sure to check the checkbox "Remove duplicates from results ?" to experiment with this new feature.

Country preferences

Special thanks

Although many users have contributed several items to the public database of (mostly) Marklin trains, the MRC Wiki would like to thank collector Nic B., who single-handedly entered more than 350 items in the Wiki Directory in late March and early April covering most if not all Maerklin items from the 1980's. This is a significant milestone as it means that all collectors that own any items from this decade can easily add them to their collections in a matter of seconds WITHOUT having to register new items. If you have any items from this period or desire any for your Wish Lists then have a look (thank Nic for all his work.)


Update #7 - February 22, 2019

eBay Search - eBay continues to be the auction website of choice for most collectors of second hand trains and accessories and the Model Railroad Collector Wiki is pleased to announce support for eBay searches without leaving your Wiki collection(s) or the Model Train Directory. So how does it work? Simply select an item in one of your collections or in the MRC Directory and a newly added button to the menu bar entitled "eBay Search" will become enabled.

 

Clicking on this button will open a new window showing the flags for all those countries in which eBay operates their auction web platform. The MRC Wiki is proud to offer collectors  the ability to search ALL eBAY websites WORLDWIDE. Select either the globe icon to initiate a worldwide search OR select a specific country flag to only search that country's listings. If you are unsure which flag matches which country you can hover over the flag and the name of the country will appear in a pop-up helper tool tip window.

 

 

Once you select the country that you wish to search the MRC Wiki will open up a new table listing all of those eBay items currently offered for auction or fixed price sales.

 

 

As with all Wiki tabular data the eBay results may be filtered (use the search box), or sorted (click on the column header). More results, if available, may be seen by using the scroll bar on the right side of the table and/or selecting additional pages using the paging links on the bottom of the table. See attached screen shot above for sample output and the location of the controls.

Specific countries supported for targeted searches include:

  • USA
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Switzerland
  • Canada (English speaking)
  • Spain
  • France
  • Belgium (French)
  • Canada (French)
  • United Kingdom
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • India
  • Italy
  • Malasia
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium (Dutch)
  • Phillipines
  • Poland
  • Singapore

 

A few notes

  • The worldwide search may take 10-15 seconds to return the full results from all of the countries above. Be patient for the results to appear.
  • Worldwide results include duplicates since often times sellers market worldwide. Therefore their items may appear multiple times from different countries and with different currencies.
  • Initial sorting of worldwide results is by the item's description so it is easy to identify duplicates from the same sellers
  • Clicking on the result set description will open a new window in your browser with the eBay auction item details directly from the official eBay website.
  • The searching algorithm sends the item manufacturer name and the article number to eBay. eBay then searches BOTH THE TITLE AND THE FULL DESCRIPTION in the listing and returns matches for auctions and fixed price items that include the manufacturer name and article number to the Wiki for display.
  • You will be surprised at some of the results that come back from eBay.

 

Full disclosure - eBay rewards those affiliates that promote their items for sale on third party websites such as the Wiki. The Model Railroad Collector Wiki has signed up for this affiliate program and should any eBay bid or "Buy it Now" winning auction originate from the "Wiki eBay Search" eBay will compensate the integrator (myself) with a small percentage of their profit from the sale. This compensation is transparent to the bidder and he or she will not pay anything in addition to the winning bid.

If you buy or browse eBay items often and would like to help support the Wiki project (aside from contributing to the public database) then please consider searching for an item from the Wiki eBay search and immediately placing a bid on an item of interest. Thanks.

Update #6 - December 22, 2018

What's New Flipping Cards - Wiki users now have the ability to view a list of flipping cards that show what new items have been added to the Wiki database (the most recent additions appear at the top of the list). If you click on a card (or tap when using a mobile phone or tablet) the card will flip over and show additional prototype and version information about the item. Additionally there is a search box that you can use to filter the results list of cards by a word or phrase. The list automatically updates when new items are added.  Below is a screen shot of what the new card module looks like.  The Flip card module can be seen in action on the Wiki homepage: Click here for English Version OR Click here for German Version

Wiki What's New Cards


Update #5 - October 26, 2018

Shared Collections ! - Wiki users now have the ability to privately share any collection with any other Wiki user. This feature is useful for private sharing of Want Lists or For Sale lists with other collector friends. The only requirement is that the collector that you wish to share with is also registered on the Wiki. Besides allowing the collector to share any collection this feature also allows for choosing which columns of collection data you wish to share. You may, for example, choose to hide the costs and or appraised values of those items in the collections you share. Shared collections can only be edited by the collection owner (not the collector with whom it is shared). Shared collections are dynamic - in other words any changes, additions or removals of items from collections that are shared are immediately visable to those users with which the collection is shared. There is no need to "Re-Share" a collection if changes are made.

Wiki Collecion SharingCollection Sharing - Choose to share

Moving items between collections - Added functionality to easily move an item from one collection to another. For example you can now move an item in one's Want List to one's Collection WITHOUT deleting it from the Want List and then having to recreate it in the Collection.
 
Railway Company helper - The Railway company dropdown selector list now displays the full railway company name in addition to the railway company abbreviation. Helps avoid confusion when a collector is not certain what railway the abbreviation represents.  See example below.

Railway Company

 
Hide export buttons - Added feature to hide all export buttons in collections. The menu button bar is now less cluttered when the Copying, Printing and Export to Excel buttons are hidden. Display these buttons now only when needed for moving data out of the Wiki and on to your local computer or mobile device.
 
'Sticky" menu bar - Menu bars are now "sticky". They stay in place at the top of the screen when you scroll to the bottom of a product or collection list. Avoids having to scroll all the way to the top of a list to see which column is which.
 
Add new motor types "on the fly" - When adding a new item to the public database a collector can now add/create a new motor type on the fly. Previously you were forced to select from a predetermined list of motor types.
 
Digital decoder address - New field added to collection item form to allow a collector to register the address of a digitally controlled item. Store the digital address of your modern locomotives/other digital accessories in an easy to visualize location.
 
Bug fixes - Numerous small bugs fixed and rendering inconsistencies resolved.


Update #4 - August 10, 2018

New manufacturers - Recently we've had a number of new item contributions to the MRC Directory (train database) from manufacturers other than Maerklin. While the Wiki Directory continues to grow with collector contributions from their Maerklin collections, we have seen new European manufacturer items added this past couple of weeks. These include Bemo, Brawa, Electrotren, HAG, Herpa, Hobbytrain, Jouef, L.S. Models, Liliput, Piko, Roco, Rowa, and Sachsen Modelle. While the quantity of items from these manufacturers is (at the moment) small, their inclusion clearly indicates the diversified tastes of those collectors using the Wiki to manage their collection, and how the Wiki can accommodate any item from any manufacturer.  

Manufacturer icon logos - Manufacturer logos have been augmented and updated (now even easier to filter, sort, and create ad-hoc reports that include manufacturer banner logos)

Non H0 Scale items - Our first non H0 scale items have recently been added ("Z" and "H0m" scale)

Photo Uploads - Thanks to several new collectors for photo uploads to the Wiki photo galleries with a special shoutout to an excellent photo set upload of "beer" wagon freight cars.

Want/Wish Lists - Want Lists/Wish Lists are now editable - Add notes, thumbnail icons, sourcing (dealer) information etc. to Want Lists, just like you can do with regular collections.

More Locomotives - The quantity of locomotives in the Wiki database has passed the 1,600 milestone. Thanks for all your contributions!

Bug Fixes - Numerous small bug fixes

Road Map - The Model Railroad Collector Wiki future roadmap plans to continue to focus on improving the quality of existing items in the database, adding new items, and augmenting the item photo galleries with more images from both scale models and prototypes. 


Update #3 - April 7, 2018

Marketplace - The first major announcement is the launching of the MRC Wiki Marketplace.  The "Marketplace" [url=http://www.modelrailroadcollector.wiki/en-us/Marketplace]http://www.modelrailroadcollector.wiki/en-us/Marketplace[/url] is a publicly accessible list of model railroad locomotives, wagons and accessories that have been flagged as "FOR SALE" by their respective collection owners.  You are now able to list items from your private collection(s) to a public facing list from which potential and interested buyers may contact you and negotiate a deal.  The Wiki will send the name and email address of the buyer, along with a message to you for follow up.  This is a FREE service available to all registered users of the Model Railroad Collector Wiki.  I have prepared a short video on the Wiki YouTube channel demonstrating how to use the Marketplace.

 


Analytics - The creation of a new analytics pie graph which allows the collector to view his entire collection percentage by "Railway company".  The new graph is visible when viewing collection "Analytics".  If you have a collection in the Wiki then please check out this feature and see how useful it is for both building trains from existing collection items and discovering what might need to be added to your collection. 


Update #2 - March 2, 2018

UPC field for items - Added in an extra field to allow the registration of a product’s UPC number.  After entry of this reference number collectors will be able to look up an item by its manufacturer’s product code. Thanks to Rick Sinclair for this suggestion.

BUG FIX Menu bar dragging - Could not drag collection menu button bar on mobile devices . In addition to desktop computers, the collections menu bar now functions on both tablet and phone devices.

Image Uploader - Image Uploader added to Edit Product form – Now it is possible to upload product images directly from the image edit forms.

Item Quantities - New quantity field for collection items – A new field has been added to support the cataloging of multiples of the same item (duplicates) without requiring a separate entry for each item.  An example could be track pieces, decoders, transformers, or scenery pieces where typically you would own duplicates, each of which would not require a separate entry in one’s collection. Thanks to Will French for this suggestion.

BUG FIX – Cannot delete collection item – Fixed a bug preventing the deletion of an item in a collection.

BUG FIX – Cannot sort on manufacturer – Fixed a bug preventing the ability to sort the collection list on manufacturer.

Add Manufacturer "on the fly" -  Collectors can now add a new manufacturer to the product Directory database "on-the-fly" if it does not already exist without leaving the new item entry form.

Category Updates - Complete overhaul of Categories – The original list of categories proved to be limited and did not support popular groups that collectors require for a complete inventory.  New categories and subcategories for scenery items, model structures (buildings), and electrical items now allow granular categorization of common items.  Thanks to Dale Schultz for his suggestions and contributions.

Weight field removed - Weight field – Not sure where I got the idea that a collector wanted to track the weight of an item in his/her collection, but since this field was never used it has been removed.

Marketplace preparation - Added field “For Sale item is Public?” – In preparation for the launching of the “Wiki Marketplace” a field has been added to the collection item form to allow granular control of whether or not to publicly display the item in the For Sale list. Thanks to Javier Escribano for suggestions here.

Category drill down pie chart – The product Directory now has an interactive drill down pie chart showing the live composition of model railroad categories that make up the public railroad database.  (Soon to be released for user collections!) See below for sample chart.

[attach]43878[/attach] [size=7]Roadmap[/size] [list][*]

Roadmap (Marketplace) - Plans are underway for the rollout of the previously mentioned Wiki Marketplace – a free service where Wiki users may opt to publish items in their collection marked as “For Sale”. Potential buyers or interested parties may choose to contact the seller for more information.  This service will be FREE to all registered users of the Wiki.  Also currently under study are ways to “marry” a user’s Want List with items currently “For Sale”  We will refer to this “matchmaking” service as “Railroad Dating” (Thanks to Dimitris Grimanis for coining the term)

Roadmap (Graphs) - We will be adding additional graph elements similar to the pie chart of categories added to the Directory this past month.  These charts will provide alternative views of your collection to assist in creating train consists and help guide the collector to identify items needed or duplicates that may be sold or traded.


Update #1 - January 19, 2018

Unknown production years - Added in support for unknown manufacturer's production start and end years. (Before the update these dates were required)

Image Uploader - File uploader for images completely rebuilt (original was buggy)

Collection image thumbnail selector - Now collectors can associate any custom image they upload to the Directory to the corresponding item in their collection.

"Sticky" collection configuration settings - Custom views of collections including columns selected for viewing, custom search parameters, sorting and page length are now saved between sessions. It is no longer necessary to reset these controls each time you return to your collection.

Floating menu buttons - The menu button bar now "floats" above the list of collection items. No longer is it necessary to highlight a collection item for editing and then scroll all the way up to the top of the page to click on the Edit button - it is always in plain sight now.

Storage of part number fields - It is now possible to register common part numbers together with the details of items in the Directory database. These parts include traction tires, pickup shoes, pantographs, bulbs, brushes, front and rear couplers.

Boxed set contents field - A new field has been added so that it will be possible to list the individual items in a boxed set (Set Contents)

Functions field - A new field has been added to allow storage of digital and analog functions of the item (whistles and bells)

International currency support - (Previously announced) - All international currencies now supported. Apologies to all those collectors in countries whose currencies were previously absent. As a side note - All personal collection fields that pertain to values in any currency are 100% optional to use. Collectors are NOT REQUIRED (nor have they ever been required) to enter any costs or appraised values into the Wiki.

Some interesting statistics - Since launch 3 weeks ago there have been 115 new items added to the public Wiki Directory - contributions from 9 different collectors (many thanks for your donations)

The smallest collection has 1 item in it (obviously a test item) and the largest collection (not including my own) has over 200 items].

3 collections have over 50 items. More than 200 new images have been added to the public photo gallery.  There are 82 registered collectors representing 14 different countries

The MRC Wiki YouTube channel - now has 5 how-to videos to help with getting started. All new videos now contain narration (in English).  Visit by clicking the link below.

Model Railroad Collector Wiki You Tube Channel