I have a great pleasure to announce that FD Archive is basically ready to start uploading. There are still some things that need to be sorted with Advanced Search features, but they should be sorted out within days and they don't interfere with basic structure of the archive.
Now, before the upload (which will be done by me - please, don't upload anything on Your own yet, until I will finish the "main upload" - and it will take several months, I'm afraid
) I want to discuss with You how it's being organized and also ask about Your opinion about certain things, particularly categorization and filenaming.
That way, if/when in the future You'll be uploading Your works in the future, You'll know how to do it without making the mess in filename formats (like we used to have in the old SB Archive in the past).
I want You - the Users of the Archive (especially the prospective users of it's FD part) to read it and voice Your opinions.
Remember - if You will say nothing now, then once I start uploading it will be too late!
(And lack of answers would mean that I have a free license to do it any way I want, and if You won't like that way... well, that would be Your problem, not mine)
(There was a similar thread before, but some changes to the planned structure were made in the meantine, so I think the new thread should be made for clarity)
I hope to make the description below reasonably clear, but English is not my native language, so if You don't understand something, just ask.
1) Structure of the FD Archive
1.1) Basic elements
Besides such standard elements like "Basic Categories" (Real-Life/Never-Were and Land/Sea/Air/Organizational Charts), Authors, Countries (depicted on picture), the FD database is built around four elements:
- Drawing (individual picture with specific filename)
These elements are created by archive admins (me, Colosseum or Watchwood), practically "work" in two pairs:
1.1.1) Role and Subrole
These two elements, which are multiple-choice options, are linked to each other in that sense, that each Subrole belongs automatically to certain Role. Both of these will be chosen during upload from the pre-defined list. Specific Roles and Subroles are the most important things I want to ask Your opinions (in later chapter of this entry) so now I just want to discuss their general meaning and relation.
- is a broad definition, roughly comparable to SB's Ship Type - (depending on what exactly we agree on) these can be such wide categories like "Armored Vehicles", "Artillery", "Combat Aircraft" and so on.
- roughly comparable to SB's Subtype (which in SB is non-searchable, though) narrows the Role to such things like "tank" (or perhaps "main battle tank", "light tank" and so on), "tank destroyer", "fighter" (or perhaps "fighter-interceptor", "fighter-bomber" and so on) etc. etc.
1.1.2) Class and Drawing (filename)
- rough equivalent of the SB's Class - essentialy it's a "family name" into which multiple various vehicles could belong. They would be defined by the basic name of the "original/most common" vehicle of the family, without getting into production models, modifications etc.
For example, MiG-17 family would also include Chinese J-4 and J-5, Polish Lim-5 and Lim-6 etc. QF 25-pounder family would also include Bishop self-propelled gun etc.
- basically combines SB's Ship and drawing name
in one. Here, the drawing showing, say Shenyang J-5 would be named as such (and would be linked to Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 class).
1.2) Upload Screen
Upload screen is something most of You isn't going to ever see in person since the number of Members allowed to actually upload ("staff members") is limited (around 20 people at the moment), but it's good that everyone understands how it works.
- window where the url to the actual drawing is entered;
- the name of the drawing as it will appear in the Archive ("filename" from previous sub-chapter);
- selection between Real Designs
and Never Built
- selection between Air
, Organizational Charts
- selection of the Class. In most cases only single Class ("family") would be chosen, but it has been made a multiple-choice selection since some of the drawings show completely different vehicles, that are/could be presented also on stand-alone basis, for example aircraft carrying another one (B-29 carrying X-1 for example) or a gun being towed by a truck (M101 with CCKW 352);
- multiple-choice selection of roles fulfilled by vehicle on the drawing. Note that only Subroles are selected since by chosing them the relevant Roles are selected automatically. Subroles should be selected only as relevant to the particular drawing, so if the drawing shows the "basic" C-47 and AC-47 Spooky then roles covering "transport" and "gunship" (however they will be actually called) should be selected, but if the drawing shows just "basic" C-47 then only "transport" should be selected;
- multiple-choice and entirely self-explanatory;
- multiple-choice and also rather self-explanatory - for "painted" drawing the countries depicted are selected, for "blanks" the manufacturer(s) country is selected;
- free text field where the background info can be inserted.
2) Roles and Subroles
That's the part where I really want Your opinion (although I will have the final word
The essence of these two elements has been already described above (1.1.1), but what needs discussing is the granularity of these two classifications and then what elements should be included (or maybe rather: how exactly they should be named).
The way I see it, they can be sorted in 3 ways:
1) Very wide Roles and fairly wide Subroles - that's, in fact my preferred option. Roles would be, for example: Armored Vehicles, Artillery, Rail Vehicles, Combat Aircraft, Helicopters and so on. Sub-roles would be, for example: Tank, Armored Personnel Carrier, Armored Car, Howitzer, Multiple Rocket Launcher, Locomotive, Tram, Fighter, Bomber, Combat Helicopter, Utility Helicopter and so on.
2) Very wide Roles but narrow Subroles - Roles as above, but Subroles would be, for example: Main Battle Tank, Light Tank, Heavy Tank, Fighter, Fighter-Interceptor, Fighter-Bomber and so on.
3) Narrow Roles and narrow Subroles - here the Subroles would be like in 2), but in Roles instead, of say Armored Vehicles would be separate Tanks, APC's, Amored Cars etc.
My suggestion of Roles (in bold) and Subroles - according to option 1) is as follows (remember, that it's a multiple-choice, so a StuG III for example is simultaneously both "Self-Propelled Artillery" from "Armoured Vehicles" and "Assault Gun" from "Artillery"):
- Armoured Car
- Scout Vehicle
- Infantry Fighting Vehicle
- Armoured Personnel Carrier
- Amphibious Assault Vehicle
- Self-Propelled Artillery
- Armoured Recovery Vehicle
- Armoured Engineering Vehicle
- Armoured Vehicle (other)
- Multiple Rocket Launcher
- Ballistic Missile Launcher
- Cruise Missile Launcher
- Assault Gun
- Coastal Defence Artillery
- Coastal Defence Missile Launcher
- Anti-Tank Gun
- Artillery Tank Destroyer
- Missile Tank Destroyer
- Anti-Aircraft Artillery
- Anti-Aircraft Missile Launcher
- Fire Support Vehicle
- Ammunition Transporter
- Command and Control Vehicle
- Air Defence Radar
- Artillery Support Radar
- Signals Vehicle
- Electronic Warfare Vehicle
Military Auxilary Vehicles
- Mine-laying Vehicle
- Bridging Equipment
- Maintenance/Recovery Vehicle
- Amphibious Support Vehicle
- Special-purpose Vehicle
Logistical Support Vehicles and Civilian Vehicles
- Truck (Lorry)
- Light Utility Vehicle (jeep)
- Car (civilian passenger car)
- Firefighting Vehicle
- Wagon (horse-drawn)
- Trailer and Semi-trailer
- Maintenance Equipment
Rail Vehicles (a.k.a. Trainbucket)
- Steam Locomotive
- Diesel Locomotive
- Electric Locomotive
- Multiple-Unit Train
- Armoured Train
- Railway Cannon/Gun
- Rail Car
- Road Roller
- Construction Equipment (other)
- Dive Bomber
- Ground Attack (Close-Support)
- Electronic Warfare (incl. Wild Weasel)
Military Training Aircraft
- Flying Training Aircraft
- Crew Training Aircraft
- Photographic/General Reconnaissance
- Early Warning
- Observation/Forward Air Control
- Maritime Patrol Aircraft
- SAR Aircraft
- Cargo Transport Aircraft
- Passenger Aircraft
- Communications/Liaison/Utility Aircraft
- Executive/Government Aircraft
Special Mission Aircraft
- Research Aircraft (testbed conversion)
- Experimental Aircraft (purpose-built)
- Airborne Command Post
- Weather Reconnaissance Aircraft
- Aerobatics Aircraft
- Light Aircraft (general aviation)
- Crop Duster
- Combat Helicopter
- Maritime Helicopter
- Utility Helicopter
- Special Mission Helicopter
Special Air Vehicles
- (as needed: convertiplanes, tiltrotors, gyrodynes, autogyros... - to be determined ad hoc)
- Reconnaissance Drone
- Target Drone
- Spacecraft (manned)
Here the basic SB classification would be used.
Here I think that it's not practical to create any Roles and Subroles beyond generic "Organizational Chart" in both categories.
Of course even within framework of 1) certainly some more Subroles can be created so I'm open to suggestions, as well as suggestions of better names. And obviously that's just proposal - if You insist on option 2) or 3) it can be done, just please, take into account that somebody
(me) would have to implement it.
3) File Names
By naming of entries I understand what essentialy amounts to the name of depicted vehicles as seen on screen (in captions under thumbnails or on top of the screen).
For practical reasons, drawings of Land, Sea, Air Vehicles, as well as the Organizational Charts, need all slightly different naming rules (although all within the same framework).
My intent is to use basically the same method of naming the files as it was used in the previous incarnation of the FD Archive (from 2013). Of course, I'm open to suggestions on how it could be modified, but I would be against any fundamental changes, not least because that system was accepted by plurality of then-members in 2013 when it was introduced, and I believe it was working quite well.
Actually, many more issues can be raised in regards to these names, but I think it would take too long to list them all, so instead I would only like to suggest one thing: when uploading anything, check if there isn't already something with a similar name (product of same manufacturer, or using same service naming sequence etc.) and follow the example - for the sake of consistency.
That part is IMHO most straightforward, as it can simply use the same rules as the ships in the Main Archive.
3.2) Air Vehicles
Within the broad category of Air Vehicles, for the purpose of naming, three main groups can be found: manned vehicles (airplanes, helicopters, gliders and the like), missiles and drones, space vehicles (boosters, spacecraft, satellites etc.) - last one included in the Air Vehicles category as a matter of convenience, since there are very few drawings of these in the FD scale so far.
In regard to manned air vehicles, filenames would consist of up to 6 elements (with particular elements used - or not - as needed and relevant, of course):
- for example: Grumman
- MANUFACTURER'S DESIGNATION
- for example: G-303
- USER'S (alphanumeric) DESIGNATION
- for example: F-14
- VEHICLE'S NAME/NICKNAME
- for example: Tomcat
- for example: USA (separated from the rest of the filename by hyphen)
- for example: 1 (if there are more than one drawings sharing exactly the same remaining elements)
In regard of the use (or not) of particular elements:
- with manned air vehicles that's the only part that would be present in all entry names. However, because many aircraft in the course of their production run had these changed (for example: F-16 was originally designed and manufactured by General Dynamics, but currently is manufactured by Lockheed Martin), I would use only the original manufacturer's name
, or most commonly associated manufacturer's
name (like for example Scottish Aviation Bulldog, which was orignally named Beagle B.125, and later also BAe Bulldog) or completely alternatively - original/most important name
followed by "secondary" name in brackets
(for example General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16 Falcon).
- MANUFACTURER'S DESIGNATION
- refers to producer's in-house name for the project, like G-303 (F-14), '698' (Avro Vulcan) and the like. Often, of course, these become also commonly used designation of the type, but that's not always the case.
One thing about these need to be raised: while majority of manufacturers use single designation for all models of a given type (for example all versions of Mosquito share manufacturer's designation DH.98), some producers use (at least for some of their projects) separate designation for each variant, for example Vickers or North American (for example: XF-86 was NA-140, F-86A was NA-151, F-86B was NA-152, F-86C was NA-157 and so on). In such cases, I would either use only the designation of the earlierst version (for example: NA-73 for Mustang), or skip that part altogether - it is important, however, to be consistent and for a given manufacturer apply ALWAYS either one option or the other, but not mix of these.
Another important thing, is to keep the format (mainly the use of hyphens, periods etc.) consistent - for example in literature/internet, German World War II era aircraft are sometimes named Bf-109, He-111, Ju-87 (with hyphens), sometimes Bf.109, He.111, Ju.87 (with periods) and sometimes Bf 109, He 111, Ju 87 (with spaces) - in any case BE CONSISTENT (both with other filenames of the same manufacturer and with other manufacturers of the same periods - if in doubt, check how other such files are named, or ask.
- USER'S DESIGNATION
- this part refers largely to designations applied by US Armed Forces (A-10, TBD, HU-1), with similar systems applied in other countries being applied only occassionaly (mainly for their domestic designs).
As a rule of thumb, in regards to pre-1962 designations (when Air Force, Navy and Army had their own designation systems), the designation of the most common operator would be mentioned first (for example: SBD A-24 - so Navy first, AAF second). When the aircraft in question used both pre- and post-1962 (Tri-Service) Designation systems, these would be applied chronologically, although if one of these systems was used only fairly briefly, it could be skipped (no point in adding F-110 and F4H designations to F-4 Phantom II or F-9 to F9F). Also - especially in regards to WW2 era transport planes - no point in adding all the designations that were sometimes applied to civilian aircraft impressed into war service from airlines and private users (for example, besides the common C-47, C-53 and R4D, also the designations C-41, C-48, C-49, C-50, C-51, C-52, C-68, C-84 were used for aircraft of that type that were taken over from airlines).
- VEHICLE'S NAME/NICKNAME
- that part refers to things like "Mustang", "Spitfire", "Catalina", "Huey" and the like. Sometimes there may be more than one such name (for example: "Dakota Skytrain"). This part may also include the British-style Mark designations (Mk.I, Mk.XV and so on) if relevant.
- separated from the previous part of the name with a hyphen. If the drawing is a blank nothing is written in that section (although in the upload screen the manufacturer's country is chosen). If the drawing contains aircraft of several countries, then "various users" is typed.
- number added if there's more than one drawing sharing exactly the same remaining elements - or in other words, if there are several drawings showing, for example, Supermarine Spitfire in service of Great Britain.
Two last parts - OPERATORS and ORDINAL may seem surplus when there is an option to sort drawings 'by country', but it is my belief that it's better to retain it, in order to make search for particular operators easier when drawings are sorted 'by type' instead. Feel free to comment on that.
Things get more complicated when it comes to missiles and drones. For many of these, their manufacturers are not so commonly known as with aircraft (and therefore rarely used for search), but instead they are much better known under their service designations (AGM-86, Kh-22 etc. etc.)
In such cases, if the missile's or drone's name is part of such sequential designation, I'd opt for skipping manufacturer and starting with USER'S DESIGNATION.
As for the Space Vehicles, I believe that leaving simply a "name" (Saturn V, Soyuz) and operator are sufficient.
3.3) Land Vehicles
For Land Vehicles, the general principle is broadly the same as with Air Vehicles, but with one important change: MANUFACTURER/DESIGNER part becomes optional here. Military vehicles whose names belong to standardized sequence applied by principal operator (M1, M113, FV101, 9K33, T-34, SdKfz.251), the MANUFACTURER/DESIGNER is not used. It remains, however, in the filenames of civilian/commercial vehicles, as well as those military vehicles that are not named according to particular sequence (other than manufacturer's own, in house designation).
When a drawing shows a rocket or missile launcher, the name of the launcher is given, not the missile (so M192 instead of MIM-23 HAWK although that can be used in the Class).
Mention must be made regarding German World War II era military vehicles.
First of all, I'd like to ask You if You prefer to use full words (for example: Panzerkampfwagen, Jagdpanzer) or acronyms (PzKpfw, JPz).
Secondly, certain thing must be made clear regarding the Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd.Kfz. or SdKfz.) designations and their relation to other designations. On one hand, I consider it unnecessary to use them for tanks, where the more popular PzKpfw. (or it's full form) would be perfectly sufficient and clear (Panther was SdKfz.171, for example). On the other, I consider it practical to use it for all other vehicles carrying them, together with other types of designation they might be carrying (for example: SdKfz.162 Jagdpanzer IV; SdKfz.138 Panzerjaeger 38t Marder III Ausf.H; SdKfz.7/3 Feuerleitzugmaschine)
3.4) Organizational Charts
When we were previously preparing for upload, I asked for suggestions about this, but now I see it's just something I need to decide myself on trial-and-error basis. What's sure for now, that because too long filenames simply wouldn't be visible in the Archive's layout, the "standard" elements like words "division", "brigade", "regiment" and the like will need to be abbreviated (Div., Bde, Rgt respectively) and that the names will be generally given in "big to small" way (so a tank battalion of the infantry division would be filenamed along the lines of "Infantry Div. - Tank Bn" or something similar).
Now I would like to hear Your opinions and suggestions about issues mentioned above. Perferably reasonaby soon, as I would like to start uploading in a week or so (although I plan to start with Ships and Organizational Charts and main discussion will be related with Land and Air vehicles that will be uploaded slightly later, so there is no specific deadline
Of course, once the actual upload will really start I will provide the thread with both list of Roles and Subroles and the samples of "proper" filename formats for various large groups of vehicles (like, say, British artillery, Soviet equipment using GRAU index etc.).
P.S. This topic should be basically in the New Site Data Load Project forum, but I'm posting it in General Discussion to ensure that it will be more visible (since the New Site forum is visible only when logged-in). Once that discussion is complete, I'll ask Colosseum or Gollevainen to move this thread there.