kitsunebi77

Game Player's Database Cluster%#$

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kitsunebi77    730

Wow.  I just took a look at the (non PC) Game Player's mags, and my god...Both the galleries and the databases are in need of a thorough cleansing.

The problem, once again, seems to boil down to the fact that when the databases were created, someone assigned issue numbers to magazines that did not have issue numbers.  And so inevitably, without infallible complete information on every issue published, mistakes were made.  If the issues had been labeled correctly from the start (i.e. Vol.3 No.6) then not only would there be no need to rename anything, but adding in missing issues (or removing extraneous ones) would be easy and would not affect the naming of issues already in the DB or download section.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case.  I haven't thoroughly checked everything yet, but the first big problem that jumped out at me: Game Player's Nintendo Guide ends at Vol.6 No.5 (arbitrarily referred to as "issue 49" in the DB), at which point it became simply "Game Players" (or "Game Players Nintendo Sega," if you like) with Vol. 6 No.6...which is arbitrarily referred to as "issue 48." 

Sigh.

Nevermind that covers in the Gallery are just named willy-nilly.  The same mag called "issue 41" in the cover Gallery is called "issue 60" in the DB.  Sometimes two different mags in the Gallery have the same issue number.

WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY is there a need to have everything called "Issue xx" when the mag itself is labeled by Volume and Number?  Is it really so confusing to know that Vol.1 No.1 is followed by Vol.1 No.2?  Then all we would have to do is look at what is printed on the cover to know exactly what issue it was.:sad:

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sqwirral    15

Some mags that use Vol X No X may miss out a number here and there, so that the number still matches the month. Think GameFan did it for example. So you have no way of knowing if there's a missing issue or not.

Numbering them all would fix that, but as you say there's no way of knowing 100% if you're getting it right so it can cause more confusion.

Game Players' entire output is a bloody mess.

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kitsunebi77    730

Yes, that's my entire point.  If the issues themselves don't have issue numbers printed on them, they usually follow one of two formats: month/year or volume/number.  With either one, it's impossible to know if you're missing an issue, but if you later find out that you have missed an issue, it can be added in without causing everything else to be labeled incorrectly. 

For example, when I created the DB for Game Player's PC Entertainment, I forewent issue numbers and named all issues using the volume and number printed on the cover.  At the time, it appeared that the mag was bimonthly and each volume consisted of 6 issues.  Later, I found that volume 5 had a 7th issue (a holiday buyer's guide).  No problem - adding it into the database required nothing more than giving it the same "volume/number" title as everything else, and everything was as it should be. 

However, if I had forced issue numbers upon everything from the start (issue 1, issue 2, etc), then every issue that came after the newly discovered issue would be titled incorrectly and have to be renumbered.  Furthermore, the Gallery pics and downloads of those issues would also have to be renamed.  Anyone who had already downloaded any of the affected issues would either have to change the name of their files or else (most likely) live in ignorance of the error and possibly spread it around even further on the net.  A huge problem.

Issue numbers are great, if the publisher has seen fit to actually print them somewhere on the magazine.  But if not, imposing them upon the database is courting disaster, as we've seen many times now.

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RetroDefense    136

If I'm not mistaken, @TheRedEye once mentioned something about Nintendo stepping in and requesting some changes.  The second cover features an affiliation disclaimer along with trademark info.

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kitsunebi77    730

But it's the first cover that's odd.  The second cover's name and logo match the previous issues of Game Player's Strategy Guide to Nintendo Games, whereas the logo on the first cover seems to be a variation based on Game Player's magazine's logo.

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kitsunebi77    730

Nevermind, my mistake.  Actually, it looks like the title of the magazine was changed in between the printing of the two covers above.

Vol.1 No.1 was "Game Player's Nintendo Buyer's Guide"

Vol.1 No.2 was "Game Player's Nintendo Strategy Guide"

and then with Vol.1 No.3 it looks like they printed one cover as "Game Player's Nintendo Strategy Guide" and then did a second printing as "Game Player's Strategy Guide to Nintendo Games", which was the title the mag stuck with for a few years before changing yet again to "Game Players Nintendo Guide."

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Phillyman    415
On 7/15/2017 at 7:06 PM, kitsunebi77 said:

WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY is there a need to have everything called "Issue xx" when the mag itself is labeled by Volume and Number?  Is it really so confusing to know that Vol.1 No.1 is followed by Vol.1 No.2?  Then all we would have to do is look at what is printed on the cover to know exactly what issue it was.:sad:

The short answer is SQL sorting :P

Way back in the day, Retromags was just a forum. We just posted new releases to a topic called "New Releases" and linked off to Mininova for people to grab the files. When we decided to host files at Retromags, we got a Download Manager and sorting became an issue. The reason why we created artificial "Issue numbers" was the same reason why those issue numbers had to have preceding zeros.....and that was so that they would sort correctly.

Only since January/February when we upgraded, did we get the ability for the Magazine Database to sort by a predefined field. However this functionality does not work on other area's of Retromags.

In the Magazine Database we have a field called "Sort By", this field is a numeric number and each record in a publication category can have a unique value. So Nintendo Power Issue 1 has a sort by value of "1". Now when you go to the Gallery or Download Manager sorting is being done on the Title/Caption. So in those sections we need to do...

  • Nintendo Power Issue 001
  • Nintendo Power Issue 002
  • etc..

So if we decided to forego the issue numbers on publications that did not actually use them....the Download Manager and Gallery would not know that GameFan v1,i2 comes after GameFan v1,i1 and before GameFan v1,i3.

I can poke around and see if anyone familiar with this software suite can create a modification for us, just add a sort field into the Gallery and Download Manager. But that is why we use the artificial issue numbers.

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kitsunebi77    730
6 hours ago, Phillyman said:

So if we decided to forego the issue numbers on publications that did not actually use them....the Download Manager and Gallery would not know that GameFan v1,i2 comes after GameFan v1,i1 and before GameFan v1,i3.

I can poke around and see if anyone familiar with this software suite can create a modification for us, just add a sort field into the Gallery and Download Manager. But that is why we use the artificial issue numbers.

I'm not sure I understand your point.  Surely anything named by Vol./No. would naturally sort in order (though as you say, it might be necessary to add zeros to anything that would eventually reach double digits.

GameFan Vol.01 No.01

GameFan Vol.01 No.02

...

GameFan Vol.01 No.12

GameFan Vol.02 No.01

I'm unaware of any sorting mechanic by which that wouldn't sort correctly.

 

Mags that only had cover dates would have to be sorted in Year/Month/Day order. 

 

The only argument I can see for using issue numbers where they don't exist is so that every mag is named using the same format.  But it's a silly artificial contrivance that as we've seen leads to mistakes and the spreading of incorrectly labeled files.  Furthermore, it's completely useless beyond the context of this site.  It you search google or eBay looking for an issue of Game Player's Nintendo Guide, you aren't going to look for "issue 10," you're going to look for "volume 4 number 2" because that's what's printed on the cover and is the only way of identifying the issue for anyone not familiar with Retromags' alternate numbering system.

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Phillyman    415

Pretty sure we tried this at some point in the past and the sorting did not work. I never said I liked artificial issue numbers, just explaining how they came about :P. I am not against removing them where we can.

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kitsunebi77    730
8 hours ago, Phillyman said:

Pretty sure we tried this at some point in the past and the sorting did not work. I never said I liked artificial issue numbers, just explaining how they came about :P. I am not against removing them where we can.

Not sure why that would have been the case, but at any rate it isn't any more, even without using the "sorting number" on the back end. 

To be clear, I do prefer sorting by issue number if the magazine has one printed on it.  If not, we should use whatever sorting format the mag itself uses.  I know Kiwi likes everything sorted by date using "year-month-day" (ex: 1995-07), but I have no problem with different mags using different sorting methods.  If they have an issue number, we can use that.  If not, volume/number.  If all they have is a date, then that's how we should sort it.  Again, whatever is printed on the cover is best.

Also, while I think imposing issue numbers upon mags that don't have them is wrong, I don't have a problem with imposing a cover date upon mags that don't have one, so long as the artificially imposed date isn't the method by which the mags are sorted.  In other words, if a mag is identified on the cover as Vol.5 No.7 and a publication date isn't printed anywhere in the mag, I have no problem with labeling the mag "Vol.5 No.7, July 1995" if the date can be determined to be reasonably accurate through context.  That way, someone looking for mags covering a certain time period knows what to expect inside.

So far as removing issue numbers goes, that's a lot of work, since nearly everything in the DB is labeled that way, and the galleries and download filenames would need to be fixed as well (though to be honest, probably 30% of all files in the cover Gallery are incorrectly named anyway, so those need fixed regardless)

The immediate priority should simply be to correct the titles where the "issue numbers" are incorrect due to a mistake or lack of complete info at the time the DB entries were created.  Since we'd have to rename everything anyway when correcting them (even if we stuck with issue numbers), we might as well rename those mags correctly in the process of fixing the mistakes.

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Phillyman    415

Step 1 cut a hole in the box

Wait...no sorry wrong instructions :P

  • Step 1 - Lets make a list of any magazines that do not have issue numbers
  • Step 2 - We will create Google Spreadsheets for each one, detailing that Issue X will become vX, iX.
  • Step 3 - I can then push the name changes to the Magazine Database with an script
  • Step 4 - We can then use the updated MagDB to push the changes back to the Gallery
  • Step 5 - We can then go thru the Download Section and fix them up there (probably not many)
  • Step 6 - We fix up the Publication Database tables

FWIW - I am not sold on the format of YYYY/MM/DD for releases without an issue or volume number. Will consult with the other two Admins and see how they feel on the issue....haha you see that I made a pun....get it?....issue....ha I kill me!

 

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RetroDefense    136
On 7/18/2017 at 2:24 PM, Phillyman said:

Step 1 cut a hole in the box

Wait...no sorry wrong instructions :P

  • Step 1 - Lets make a list of any magazines that do not have issue numbers
  • Step 2 - We will create Google Spreadsheets for each one, detailing that Issue X will become vX, iX.
  • Step 3 - I can then push the name changes to the Magazine Database with an script
  • Step 4 - We can then use the updated MagDB to push the changes back to the Gallery
  • Step 5 - We can then go thru the Download Section and fix them up there (probably not many)
  • Step 6 - We fix up the Publication Database tables

FWIW - I am not sold on the format of YYYY/MM/DD for releases without an issue or volume number. Will consult with the other two Admins and see how they feel on the issue....haha you see that I made a pun....get it?....issue....ha I kill me!

 

This can't happen soon enough.  :)

Along with catching up on scanning, I've been cleaning up the Game Developer dbase after making some corrections a good while ago.  This involved deleting several issues which in turn involved renumbering several more issues, updating the Prev/Next nav buttons, and I'm currently working on updating the numbering in the Gallery.  It's a slow, tedious process and - as a coder myself - it's especially frustrating knowing how easily the process could be batch processed or even automated entirely.  Or - if the rigid numbering system were dropped - not present a problem to begin with.

So yeah, I'd love to see this made the priority as far as custom code is concerned.  Even given some hiccups you'll encounter - incorrectly labeled issues, magazines switching their labeling format mid-run, etc - it'd make dbase maintenance all the faster and allow more time for scanning, cataloging, etc.

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