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Full Version: Should "Part Alias" files be listed in parts.lst
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Does this mean that people no longer feel the need for a one-character prefix in the Description line for aliases?

There are a bunch of ready-to-approve aliases on the Parts Tracker that I'm happy to admin-edit if we still think it is useful to have a "=" prefix (and I'll fix the 78 parts already in the official library).
Mixed opinion here: I like the "=" prefix as it allows to tell at 1st sight which is an alias and which is base type - Now question is which is "base type"? And so, if we don't have "=" prefix, the user has the possibility to choose the exact design number he wants (without "=" all such aliases are sorted together) and if he doesn't care, then LDMakelist can simplify things for him.
Using no prefix finally seems a (weak) winner...

in my opinion, alias parts and normal parts should be handled as equal as possible. It is too bad that LEGO uses different numbers for equal part designs but they will have their reasons. And I think that Philos argument "choose the exact design number" is weighty. So, I think it is not useful to have that "=".

Another possibility to get rid of the alias files would be to deposit the alias numbers in the original files. Maybe with some kind of new META statement. That would save time and space but make the search algorithms more difficult. Anyway, I think that the ldraw file format (and the tools based on it) is too deadlocked to accept such a cut.

I agree that all known DesignIDs should be available to someone to wants to select a part by number, but the duplication of identical descriptions in a descriptive list is frustrating to users who don't care about the existence of aliases. Randomly choosing an alias instead of a base part unnecessarily complicates model files. LDMakelist helps to solve that (with the appropriate options) by excluding aliases from parts.lst.

Adding alias numbers into the base part as metadata is not a restriction of the LDraw file format - we can invent whatever meta-statements would be useful. The main problem is lack of support for such extensions in tools that are no longer in development (e.g. MLCad).

However, adding the alias numbers to the base part would mean that we would be forever re-issuing parts when a new alias is released. Managing the existence of an alias as a separate file has strong benefits to me from a release management perspective. Support questions like "why is this model not finding this part" are much easier to answer with "that part (file) was not released until update YYYY-XX" than "well, that's really an alias of part NNNN and the relationship between the two was not established until the version of NNNN released in update YYYY-XX". So, I'd much prefer the unit of release control to be the Design ID.
I think the '=' still has merit. It allows the user to keep the alias files in parts.lst, but hide them away in searches via the first character.

I'll certainly be excluding them from my own parts.lst, but other people may not and it's best to give them the wider choice. Removing the '=' is easy (there's an option for it). Adding it is harder.

Quote:Removing the '=' is easy (there's an option for it). Adding it is harder.
Good point.
I have two question here

There is still no GUI for LdMakeList. How would a user do, without that?

May I again point out the difference between an "Part_Alias" and a "Part number used for transparent/laquered parts".
Will I be able to find what number to use, if I want to build with, say, only transparent parts.

Please read more below in this thread.
Don't forget the all important playabillity...
After some doubts I am happy to see that the aliases now have appeared on the PT
carrying the "=" prefix.
That character IMHO is the ideal choice for that purpose.

The small weakness that an alias and its "base part" this way are not "equal"
is _tolerable_ for me.

Sadly I will not be able to exclude all the aliases from my parts.lst
because I will then not be able to open models using them.

So I'll use the "=" just for filtering.

I like that we have it now.
So far I have only updated the descriptions on the "ready for admin certify" files on the Parts Tracker, but I'll work through the others and re-cycle the 78 existing official alias parts through the tracker with Fast-track approval.
thank you very much for all this tedious work.

repetetive tasks like this are probably the most boring things to do as a PT admin,
but this cleanup is necessary and needed.
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