Proposal: Shop World Database

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Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/1/2013, 9:21 pm

First of all, I just came up with this idea and am eager to try starting it, but I may in fact be way in over my head.

I've been thinking how convenient it would be if someone (that someone being me, unless someone else really wants to do it) maintains some sort of database online of store locations and what they're selling. I'm totally willing to do this, but I'm not familiar with any free database software. Currently I'm looking at using LucidChart, which is a charting/UML editor that can connect to Google Drive. The only problem is that UML can seem really weird to people who aren't used to it. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

I also thought about just making a wiki, but I'd really like to have some data base functionality so that players can look up items by shop and conversely shops by items (and sort by prices). Maybe this is doable in a wiki, but having never administrated one myself, I can't be sure.

Edit: So I found another Google Drive app called Fusion Tables. It looks like it might just be exactly what I need, but it's experimental so I dunno how buggy it might be. I'll get started on a proof of concept.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by mickdude2 on 10/1/2013, 9:34 pm

Shop World. I know many people shop exclusively at shop world, so the best place to place a shop is shop world. Go figure.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/1/2013, 9:35 pm

Sorry, but I don't see how anything you just said has anything to do with my proposal. Do you know what a database is?

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Beginning Alpha Development

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/1/2013, 11:56 pm

I'm about to jump back onto the server and begin hashing out some kind of database system. I had to wait for the second computer in the house to free up so I wouldn't alt-tab myself insane. If you would like to view the development live, the link will be at the bottom of this post. It's going to be pretty convoluted at first, as I am learning the software and relearning RDMS concepts as I go. If it garners enough interest, I can also setup a Google hangout so you guys can give me feedback as I go.

Once the alpha is complete, I will attempt to make a Youtube video tutorial on how to use the database for those without any experience.

https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1bRz1RTskVyDp0vV1EHzk3wTY0V2lHf7ws4AkPsY

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by OsgaTharp on 10/2/2013, 12:22 am

Seems really interesting, do you think you could pull off shop buy and sell prices along with the shop and what it sells? It would be amazing to find out the location of a shop that sells the cheapest item you are looking for by looking at a database.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 12:28 am

That's exactly what I'm hoping to do. I'm not sure if the software I'm using is complex enough to achieve that, but worst comes to absolute worst, if enough people like the idea, I may look into trying an SQL server. Never even touched one of those before (I'm no database admin, but I love messing with the stuff)

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by mickdude2 on 10/2/2013, 12:37 am

caffeinegoddess wrote:Sorry, but I don't see how anything you just said has anything to do with my proposal. Do you know what a database is?
I was trying to say that we have a database- it's called shop world, where most of our shops are kept. Although, I price comparison on these would be nice.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 12:48 am

Shop world is not a database in any useful sense.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 1:26 am

The database software is pretty clunky, so data entry is going slow, but I think I have it figured out now. The only problem is the application doesn't seem to support relationships between elements beyond individual rows, but it's got some good filtering. I'll just have to demonstrate how to do it in the video for the uninitiated. I'll post a video after I get 2 shops entered.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 3:11 am

Look! Look! I made a thing! Imma go sleep now!


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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by Mr_Big_Mac_Joe on 10/2/2013, 8:23 am

This is a great idea, but I foresee one issue. I have actually tried this on another server and we came across the same issue every time. When players have a way to bypass having to travel from store to store and actually explore they miss a lot of stuff. Example... If I was looking for stone and used the database all I have to do is look for stone and travel straight to that store. If I didn't have a database then I would have to actually take the time and go from store to store looking for stone and the cheapest price (I actually do this myself). While I am doing this I could find many things I need in the future. The way I look at it is if I am too lazy to get the material myself then I should have to take the time and search for it in a mess of shops. Also, this database will make a lot of stores go unseen and end up going out of business. But that is just my 2 cents.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by Grimtongue on 10/2/2013, 10:18 am

The huge problem I see here is that you have no way of keeping this database updated in real-time; it's simply way too much work for one person. There will be problems for any shop when you neglect to update their prices - creating an unfair advantage for certain shops (even if their prices suck!).

My suggestion:
Make a spreadsheet of the prices of shop items and use Functions to populate the average cost for each item at the bottom of the spreadsheet. This serves as a price-guide for the users, so they can avoid getting scammed. This also benefits the shop owners, so they know how much to charge for things.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 11:55 am

Mr_Big_Mac_Joe wrote:This is a great idea, but I foresee one issue. I have actually tried this on another server and we came across the same issue every time. When players have a way to bypass having to travel from store to store and actually explore they miss a lot of stuff. Example... If I was looking for stone and used the database all I have to do is look for stone and travel straight to that store. If I didn't have a database then I would have to actually take the time and go from store to store looking for stone and the cheapest price (I actually do this myself). While I am doing this I could find many things I need in the future. The way I look at it is if I am too lazy to get the material myself then I should have to take the time and search for it in a mess of shops. Also, this database will make a lot of stores go unseen and end up going out of business. But that is just my 2 cents.
Thank you for sharing your past experience! Tbh, I do much more selling at shop world than I do buying, and going from shop to shop looking for the best price, especially on the slow machine I'm stuck with this week, was so frustrating, that I completely stopped what I was doing and decided to make a database xD. Of course using the database is completely optional. Those who enjoy the shopping experience can still do so, and I believe the directions to the shops that are stored in the database are vague enough that well designed stores will still get some foot traffic as people look around (I hope).

I agree, if the database is not properly maintained, shops that are on the database will have an unfair advantage. I'm still trying to come up with the best way to prevent that, and I will likely need the support of server staff in the near future.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 12:11 pm

Grimtongue wrote:The huge problem I see here is that you have no way of keeping this database updated in real-time; it's simply way too much work for one person.  There will be problems for any shop when you neglect to update their prices - creating an unfair advantage for certain shops (even if their prices suck!).

My suggestion:
Make a spreadsheet of the prices of shop items and use Functions to populate the average cost for each item at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  This serves as a price-guide for the users, so they can avoid getting scammed.  This also benefits the shop owners, so they know how much to charge for things.
Yes you are totally right. The reason I made sure to find a Google Drive application to create the database on was so that, after I got the bare bones laid out, I could release edit rights to interested server staff and we'd have many more people working on it simultaneously. Another idea I had which would require server staff support would be to open up a new section of the forums dedicated to Shop World (if there isn't one already out there somewhere). I would want shop owners to post changes to their prices in that forum not only to make it easier for database staff to keep the data up to date, but also to advertise their wares in a more accessible way. This way, it becomes the shop owner's responsibility to keep their prices up to date, as I believe it should be anyway.

At the moment, fortunately, I have a ridiculous amount of free time. Until January I neither will be working nor going to school (unless I get some kind of seasonal part-time job, which this far into the season is unlikely), and if we can get this rolling, I feel it is a very productive use of my time.

I agree with your spreadsheet idea and I was hoping to figure out a way to implement something like that once I had all the initial data entered. If the application I'm using supported relational databases, aggregating all the data for one item would be a piece of cake, but so far I don't see that functionality. I THINK there's cross-compatibility with Google Spreadsheets, which could be made into a workaround. There could also be a better way of organizing the data within the currently existing system to suit this end more effectively, and it wouldn't be too hard to change things around... hopefully. I would just need to export the database to a plain spreadsheet and then manipulate the columns/rows altogether there.

The database as it is currently conceived is still little more than a concept. I would really like to know if any server staff would be interested in helping this become a reality. Either way, it's good practice in data management for me! xD

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by madscientist032 on 10/2/2013, 12:26 pm

I don't mean to put this idea down - it has a ton of potential - but right now, having all the shop owners manually manage a spreadsheet would be more cumbersome and time consuming than you'd think. But, it's a start. I wouldn't mind helping out.

If you are going to make a database, you'll need somebody who knows how to use it and run it. I don't know how much database experience you have or what you know about databases and shops like that. However, I do know that I have that knowledge, and lots of it. I also know java. I'd be more than happy to collaborate with you with this if you want. I'd be down to actually help you as much as I can. PM me on the forums if you want my help.

Sources: I'm a full-time DBA.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 12:39 pm

madscientist032 wrote:I don't mean to put this idea down - it has a ton of potential - but right now, having all the shop owners manually manage a spreadsheet would be more cumbersome and time consuming than you'd think. But, it's a start. I wouldn't mind helping out.

If you are going to make a database, you'll need somebody who knows how to use it and run it. I don't know how much database experience you have or what you know about databases and shops like that. However, I do know that I have that knowledge, and lots of it. I also know java. I'd be more than happy to collaborate with you with this if you want. I'd be down to actually help you as much as I can. PM me on the forums if you want my help.

Sources: I'm a full-time DBA.
Yaaaay! Thank you for your tenuous support, sir! I'd really very much like input from people who actually manage databases, but didn't want to actually put that work on them since I figure most of us play MC to kinda get away from work xD. I took just one class in RDMS but it all seemed fairly intuitive and I was eager to see if I could use some of what I learned in practice. My father is also a DBA/Designer (contractor, so full time when he's got one) and I was just talking to him about the idea (we all just woke up). He agrees that it would be a lot of work but if we could have multiple trusted people working on the backend, it should be doable. He also suggested I use mySQL instead of Google Drive, and then code some kind of web-based UI in either Perl or some super fancy html, both of which I'd have to learn if it were left up to me. The FusionTable thing I've got right now is really more of a concept/prototype.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by madscientist032 on 10/2/2013, 12:45 pm

Glad I could help.

Honestly, it's gonna run off of mySQL and mostly likely use Java as an interface with Minecraft. Oasis has a bunch of plugins that use mySQL for the database, so it shouldn't be too hard to make something like this. I have an idea for both the back and front end, and I think it will work.  If all goes well, the only input from other players is when they make a shop and set up the prices!

Seriously though. Send me a PM and we can take this offline so that we don't clutter up the forums with all the technical details and jargon. There's much to discuss.

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by caffeinegoddess on 10/2/2013, 1:06 pm

Alrighty! If you'd like to lock/delete this thread so we can keep the discussion off-forum, that's cool! I would just like to say that normally I would never propose to help setup a system like this on any other server. One of the reasons I'm so excited is because in the short time that I've been a part of this community, I have been honestly impressed at how well it's being run and how dedicated most of the staff is, especially given the wide spread age distribution.

I really want to give back to this community. At the moment, I don't have much money, but I do have a fair glut of free time, which is only as valuable as I make it! =D

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Re: Proposal: Shop World Database

Post by madscientist032 on 10/2/2013, 1:12 pm

Consider this thread
LOCKED

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