Main      Site Guide    
The Film-Lover's Check List

New Features

In February 2010, The Film-Lover's Check List was rewritten almost from scratch. The rewrite was important for several reasons: One, to provide new features and functionality; two, to correct what I was seeing as a growing problem with the check list, the details of which are unimportant, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you just want to get to the list of new features. The problem was that users were phrasing movie titles in all different ways on their own pages, such that, if a user wanted to use all those pages, they'd have to check off separate entries for, say, "Star Wars," "A New Hope," "Star Wars: A New Hope," "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," "Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope," and so on. This problem was compounded with foreign titles, which often go by multiple alternate titles in different languages and can also have multiple release years when they're released in different countries at different times. The casual user of this web site probably wouldn't notice a problem, but it was ugly and unwieldy for power users.

The various new features introduced by this February 2010 rewrite are all listed below. If you are new to The Film-Lover's Check List, you probably just want to read the regular documentation instead, or just explore the site on your own. But if you are familiar with the site and don't want to wade through the full documentation just to learn the new stuff, keep reading.

Viewing Check Lists

  • Clicking on a movie title will take you to the IMDb page for that title. This is a handy way of looking up further information about a movie that appears on a list, including credits, plot synopsis, DVD information, reviews, and more.

  • Statistics are displayed at the top of each page which show how many movies appear on the page, as well as how many you've seen, not seen, and need to see again.

  • Each movie has only one canonical title and year. That is, if a movie is phrased a certain way and listed by a certain year on one page, it will not appear under a different title and/or release year on another page.

Checking Off Movies

  • There is an "All Movies" page that lets you check off all movies that appear on any one or more of the pages you are subscribed to. This replaces the "Alphabetic Forms."

  • Titles are color-coded on the "check off" forms. Previously, only the state of the radios buttons indicated what a particular title was set to, which made it harder to skim through a long list and pick out the ones you'd seen or not seen.

  • Television shows/seasons can be expanded into lists of individual episodes. If a television show, or a season of a television show, appears on a check list page, then, when you go to check off movies for that page, there will be a "+" (plus sign) next to the title. Click it to reveal the list of episodes that make up that show or season. The list of episodes can be individually marked as "seen" or "not seen" or "need to see again." Setting the whole show or season to a particular status will cause every individual episode within that show or season to be marked the same way.

    Note that if you mark any episode(s) within a show or season as "unseen," then the whole show or season is considered "unseen." Once you mark every individual episode as "seen," then the show or season as a whole will be marked as "seen."

    Note also that multi-part episodes can be grouped into single items on a check list page. See the "Creating/Editing Pages" section for further information about all this.

Adding/Removing Pages

  • When you first click on Add/Remove Pages, you will be able to see a list of "featured" templates. These are templates that I (the administrator of this site) have either created myself or recognize as a page that is well done and potentially of interest to other users. You may wish to browse this list of featured pages for any you may be interested in. Note that if you have a page that does not appear here, it does NOT mean your page isn't well done or potentially interesting to others. The fact is, I haven't even seen most people's pages, let alone passed any sort of judgment on them.

  • You can now see how many subscribers there are to each page. On the Add/Remove Pages screen, there is an additional column that lists the number of subscribers each page has. This is particularly useful if you have created a page of your own and are interested in knowing how many other users are using it. This column will read "1" if only you are subscribed to it.

  • Many new check list pages have been created. Although this wasn't technically part of the rewrite, I've created several new check list pages that you may be interested in. To find them, go to Add/Remove Pages and browse the featured templates listed there.

  • You may find that you are subscribed to some of these new pages. Specifically, you'll have been subscribed to those new pages that new users are subscribed to by default. If you don't want to remain subscribed to these new pages, no matter: simply remove them from your check list. Note that there are also new pages that you have NOT been automatically subscribed to, so you may still which to glance at the list of featured pages to see if there are any that interest you.

Creating/Editing Pages

  • IMDb codes are required for titles that appear on check list pages. Unfortunately, this will be inconvenient in some cases, such as when you want to list a very obscure movie that does not have an IMDb entry. (But the IMDb has over 1.5 million titles in it, so it is quite exhaustive.) It is because each title is tied to an IMDb code, that you are now able to click on a title to jump directly to its IMDb page. This also enables The Film-Lover's Check List to ensure that alternate titles (for example, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone") are recognized as the same actual movie.

  • Various new features for listing television shows have been added. In a nutshell, you can add whole TV shows, TV show seasons, multi-part episodes, or individual episodes as single items on a check list page. When you go to check off what you've seen, you will always be checking off individual episodes, but The Film-Lover's Check List is now smart enough to recognize that if you've seen all episodes of a season of a TV show, then it should consider that you've seen the season as a whole. See the regular documentation on editing pages for how to list TV shows.

  • The .R and .C directives have been modified to allow you to specify how wide the columns should be, as a percentage of the total width. You can use this to force columns to be of equal width, which can sometimes make for a more attractive page. You can also specify that a particular colspan spans multiple columns in the table (like HTML's "colspan" attribute). See the regular documentation for more specific information on how to do this.

  • A new .S directive lets you specify subheaders. They are like regular headers (.H directives) but appear in smaller print.

  • A new .I directive lets you list text as if it were a title. Among other things, this lets you put titles in your pages that do not have IMDb codes.

  • A new .B directive lets you insert a blank line between titles.

    You can also use the .H, .S, and .N directives with no arguments to create different sizes of blank lines.
  • The .n directive has been modified to let you specify a delta value (e.g., +5 or -1), which means to modify the current .n count by that amount. Previously, you could only modify the count by setting it to an explicit value. ".n -1" is useful if you want to repeat the previous number (such as you would if you have, say, a "Top 10" list that includes ties).

  • A new .e directive lets you automatically prefix TV show episodes with the episode number (e.g., "0103" to denote Season 1, Episode 3).

  • A new .b directive lets you suppress the prefix on the next title and automatically resume prefixing with the title afterwards. (This is another way that a "Top 10" list with ties could be handled.)

  • A new .p directive lets you prepend the next title with a specified string. See the regular documentation for why you might want to do this.

  • A new .a directive lets you append a specified string to the next title. See the regular documentation for why you might want to do this.

  • New .ts and .te directives lets you specify whether TV episode titles should be prefaced with the TV show name or not.

  • Macros let you automatically create pages for entire TV shows or list out all the episodes within a show or season, without requiring you to type in every episode manually. See the regular documentation for how to do this.

  • There is a new 'Save and Continue Editing' button, which can be useful for tweaking layout issues. While using this button in one tab, view the page in another, refreshing it to pick up new changes.

  • Submitting new or changed pages is a lot faster now. Previously, inordinately long delays were required for submitting lengthy pages. Now, although there still may be noticable delays sometimes, the process is dramatically faster.