EVAlbum · 2 May 06
For the past few months (it’s all a blur!) we’ve been spending some free evenings and weekends working on an important EV project. Not making an EV this time, but creating a tool for all of the folks who have made or are thinking of making their own electric car, bike, scooter, boat, lawnmower, tractor, and, hey, maybe even an electric airplane.
It’s the new EVAlbum:
Back around 1997 Mike Chancey put together a site for everyone on the EVDL to post details about their electric conversions. This was a natural companion to the EVDL (EV discussion list) as it allowed people talking about a particular EV to easily post a link to a detail page.
The amazing thing about the EVAlbum is that for all of these years Mike has been maintaining it by hand. Someone would submit information via a web form, email one or more images, and Mike had the onerous task of cleaning it all up and making a page out of it: creating Prev/Next links, adding it to the “Latest EVs” page, and all of the other categories it fell under.
Lots of work and organization, not to mention emailing back and forth with the EV owner trying to clean up the information and getting the entry posted.
On Jan 30th Seth posted a comment on the EVDL wondering if there was a database with all of the EVs in it. Something you could query to find out things like “who’s using Kostov motors.” Mike put forth the proposal that if someone built the database he would be happy to rebuild the EVAlbum using it. I followed up volunteering to do the the web programming since I’ve done this sort of thing a number of times.
Seth wrote a perl spider to pull data from the old, static EVAlbum web pages and then Mike set about cleaning it up and getting it in shape to throw in a database table. At first the idea was to use a single database table which I’d draw from to programmatically make the site pages. In fact I got that very thing working within a few days of Mike making the first database cut.
Then someone suggested a more elaborate, multi-table database approach. A real database design. Yikes, I didn’t sign up for that! What that meant was redoing everything and writing a whole bunch of code…a bunch. Of course by doing so the site would be much more useable and able to answer some of the questions Seth originally wanted.
So a few iterations of table designs were followed by a few more and eventually, weeks later we settled down at around eighteen different tables of EV related data. This was more work for me, granted, but even more work for poor Mike who now had to now slice and dice over 700 EV records into NEW and IMPROVED methods of organization.
And then Mike says, “Hey, sure would be nice if we had a way for people to upload their own images, edit their EVs, manage all of their own information using a browser.” Uh, yeah, sure that would be nice, but, uh…dang, here we go again.
Along the way we added some cool new features to the Album. Mike geocoded all of the records (turning city/state into latitude/longitude) and I added hooks for showing the records on Google maps.
You can now see EVs organized by geography, find the most recently added, recently updated, EVs that are in progress of being converted, EVs organized by Make/Type, EVs organized by Battery, Motor, Charger, DC-DC, and more. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed to be notified by your RSS reader when EVs are added.
And over time, as we work out the kinks, we can add more features and options.
Most importantly YOU can now add and edit your EV relatively easily. That’s right, I’m looking at you James, Greg, Woody, Jerry and any one else I’m missing. Not that I want you to quit sending me updates and photos for EVConvert, but the EVAlbum is a great way to share all of the gory details of your EV.
So swing by and visit the EVAlbum and browse through some of the listings. There’s a lot of GREAT information to be found, lots of really interesting EVs, and some cool approaches to making electric cars.
Areas of note:
- EVs by Location
- Battery Types and Brands
- Motor Types and Brands
- Controller Brands
- Electric Car conversions in progress
Thanks again to Mike for all of the hard work over the years in maintaining such a valuable resource!