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Full Version: Should "Part Alias" files be listed in parts.lst
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Currently "Part Alias" files do not have any leading "_" in their descriptions, so are listed as duplicates in parts.lst. This class of files includes duplicate LEGO numbers for part re-issue (e.g. 44237 for 2456) or transparent part moulds (30065 for 3960). We are also starting to get LEGO numbers for patterned parts, which I have treating simlarly, continuing to use NNNNpXX numbers to "tie" the patterned parts to the un-decorated versionand creating an alias for the true number.

I thinking that from a user's perspective these "Part Alias" files are not that different to "Physical Colour" files which are hidden by the use of a leading "_". They are both in the library so that if someone wants to insert a part by number, then the file is found, but do we really need the same description twice in the parts list, and the image twice in the visual parts catalogue?

There are currently 64 official "Part Alias" files and the descriptions could be changed in the background without re-cycling through the Parts Tracker.

What do people think?
I'd prefer to see them hidden. In particular it reduces the chance that instructions will have multiple copies of the same part thanks to the model maker choosing different numbers.

Tim
This is actually something that's been on my mind recently: The case of part aliases and physically colored parts. It's my understanding that these parts exist primarily to ease conversion from LDD to LDraw. However, this comes at the cost of having additional files which, as you say, tend to clutter up the parts list and cause confusion for those who don't understand why two versions of the same part exist.

I have thought of a couple possible solutions for this, although I don't know how well they'll be recieved.



1. Right now, there currently exists one main "library" with all the certified parts in it, called the "Core". One could seperate out the alias and physical color parts into a seperate library called "Conversion" which could be downloaded seperately. Both library's could be included in the AIOI, if desirable.

Pros:
- Only those who want the parts will get them.
- Parts will no longer exist in Parts.lst for those who don't have the files.

Cons:
- May cause confusion for those who don't know the second library exists.
- Potentially causes segmentation in the PT.



2. A more radical approach would be to eliminate these files and include the information in the original part files as META data. There would likely be a need for new keywords to such as "0 ALIAS [Alias_Number]" and "0 PHYSICAL_COLOR [PColor_Number]"

Pros:
- Would eliminate the files altogether which would save space.
- The Data exists for those who need it and those who don't won't know of it.

Cons:
- Would break current conversion software. A solution to this would be to introduce the new files (with the meta data) while keeping the old ones for a period until the software authors have had sufficient time to update their software (say 1-3 years).
- Several files would need to be updated, which would cause additional work. Additionally, as time goes by and more aliases/physical color parts are released, the files would need to be constantly updated.



Of course, there's always the option to simply "underscore" them as Chris suggested, although in my opinion this only serves to clutter the "Other Parts" section in MLCad even further.

Personally, I'm more a fan of my 1st suggestion than the 2nd, but I thought I'd put them both out here as food for thought.
Option 1 is exactly how it implemented for those who install the library using the Windows installer (e.g. LDraw1102.exe). In fact there are three optional libraries; Alias parts, Physical colour parts and Non-redistributable parts. I don't know what the AIOI does, but from what you're are saying it sounds like it installs everything.

But this does not solve the question I posed, because Alias Parts currently have identical descriptions to their target, so users that install them still see the part twice.

Rather than dumping them in "Other Parts" I think editors like MLCad should put "underscore prefixed files" somewhere "special" - only selectable by parts number.

I don't like option 2 because it requires an update to the source of the base part when a new alias or physical colour version appears in the wild.
Hide 'em. IMHO users get confused as they usually pick from the preview panes and don't care about the part number. Sometimes you get models with different numbers for the same part and it looks weird on the model's part list.

As for the AIOI I guess I'm going the way the installer does and let the user decide if they wanna have them on the disk.

w.
I don't like the idea of hiding anything. Using the _ prefix, the aliases or physical colors can be sorted in another bin in a correctly configured editor. IMHO it's enough...
Yes, that's what I was asking. I don't want to hide anything either, just allow them to be put in the "bottom drawer". Currently only Physical Colour files have the "_" prefix. It sounds like everyone supports extending this to Alias files.

Or would it help to have a different prefix for Alias files?? "+", "|", "?", "<", ">" would probably all work.
A different symbol would probably be better. '>' makes most sense to me since it's an 'arrow'. Is it acceptable on all systems though?
I would tend to prefer a different prefix for aliases.

Maybe we should have more discussions about this with LDraw editors too... Eg. I was not able to access any ~ or _ prefixed part in SR3D, and it's rather clumsy with LDCad (on the latter I may be wrong, since I'm not used to it...)
what about the "number sign" '#' ?
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