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Interactive Knife Steel Chart 2.0

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Gator97, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Hi All,

    Version 2.0 went live tonight - Knife Steel Composition Chart 2.0.

    It has retained all the functionality from 1.0 so I'll skip that part and only review new functionality.

    The goal was to avoid data loss, or in other words, to be able to store the various versions of the same alloy produced by different manufacturers. E.g. CPM 10V, A11 Mod, Duratech A11, K294, PM A11 are all AISI A11 steels, yet their composition differs slightly. D2 is a champion having around 40 different names and more than 20 different compositions.
    You might want to see them all, or the vice versa, you want to see in general A11 steel composition, element range values.
    The idea of having the ability to view by certain standards came out of the discussions with Fred Haakonsen, Norwegian knifemaker with phd in metallurgy.

    So, we have 357 alloy compositions for now. 1005 names for them.
    By default the chart is in "show everything" mode. In addition to old columns there is a maker column, which lists the manufacturer of the alloy when known.

    Filter button was renamed to search, may be not the best name either. It displays the updated query form, which now has view options section which covers new functionality.
    In View Options:

    Name Column - Controls the content of the Name column. This is where you choose the view standard. Name is default, it will contain alloy list names. I.e. proprietary name of the alloy or standard definition of it. In general those are arbitrary names not necessarily associated with any standard.
    You can choose: AISI, UNS, W-Nr, DIN, JIS, UNI, UNE, GB, AFNOR, GB, SAE. SIS, JUS standards as view names. When you choose the standard instead of Name, then the alloy will have corresponding name for that standard in the Name column, or if there is no name for it in the chosen standard, or I don't have such record in the database, it'd display - and the alloy list name in the parentheses. If alloy consolidation is not turned on then you could have several records for the same alloy.
    E.g. let's say we have chosen AISI standard, then in the chart database, A11 has 5 alloys corresponding to it, so we'd get 5 A11 names, to distinguish them, original alloy name is attached to the standard name in parentheses. So, in the end, if the alloy has a chosen standard name you get StdName (Alloy Name), if there is no standard name, chart displays - (Alloy Name).

    Consolidate Records - When checked, combines compositions of the same standard name. In the example above, we had 5 A11 records for AISI A11, but with consolidation checked we get only 1, with combined compositions shown as ranges. Also, turning this on forces standard names, i.e. you can't have name chosen in the Name Column control. Also, in this mode maker and tech columns are not available.

    A.k.a. In Notes - Hides A.k.a. (alternate names) column, which can get pretty long for popular alloy. Content is moved into mouseover popup which shows up when you move mouse over the alloy name.

    A.k.a. Has Only Std. - If you are not interested in proprietary names, turn this on and all you get in A.k.a. column is the standard names.

    Other than that, there were bunch of speed optimizations including php and SQL stuff, later wasn't really part of the plan, but as the tables grew and complexity of the queries increased I had to dig that stuff too.
    Because of the speed considerations, autosuggest in the graph builder now only returns top 25 suggestions, which I think is still plenty.

    As before, all the help with information or improvement suggestions are welcome.
    Information about steel names in various standards is quite difficult to find, especially for non US standards. I've subscribed to efunda which is a paid source, but it's still a fraction of the data. Other, bigger data catalogs of steel names are much more expensive and outside of my budget. So, if you have reliable info please share.

    Near future plans include alloy name conversion table and ability to show/hide most of the columns.

    As before, I'd like to thank everyone who helped with suggestions and data in this project.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  2. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Finally added cookie support :)
    For now, 4 settings in view options are saved in the cookie when you click the Save button in the Search form.
    That saves those 4 view options in the cookie. That is if you have the cookies enabled in general, or if you enable them for zknives.com domain.
    I promise, the only thing that's in the cookie is the values of 4 fields. You can easily examine that btw.

    So, after clicking save button those settings will be restored in the search form next time you load the chart.
    However, the saved settings are overrideable from the form and from the query string.

    In other words, those settings are in effect unless you change them in the search form or specify different value in the query string.
  3. cgmblade


    Jun 4, 2009
    Very nice chart. Thanks for all the work.
  4. catspa


    Oct 25, 2009
    Wow, what a project. Thank you for providing us with this info, even though it's more than I'll probly ever use (or understand).

  5. A.P.F.

    A.P.F. Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Brilliant work, Gator, well done and thanks!:thumbup:
  6. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Outstanding work
  7. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Hi Gator97 -

    Very nice! Thank you!

    best regards -

  8. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Thanks guys.

    :) You never know. Even with all the steel digging I did for last 6 month(very often few hours a day) it was just yesterday I've learned about N680 steel and added to the charts...

    Latest improvements:
    The new code works as per following: a) for the chart - if A.k.a. in Notes flag is set, alternate names are combined with notes, and in addition each name has corresponding standard or maker name appended; b) in the steel composition comparison graph - if the graph is generated for the single alloy alternate names have standard or maker appended.

    In other words instead of A11, T30111, CPM 10V etc, in the cases described above you will see full information: A11(AISI), T30111(UNS), A11 Mod(PSM Industries), DuraTech A11(Latrobe), PM A11(Diehl), K294(Bohler-Uddeholm), CPM 10V(Crucible), ASP 2011(Erasteel)...
  9. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Functionality and speed improvements in knife steel composition chart and graph builder.
    Main difference is the static urls for the static data. I.e. steel compositions don't change too much, well hopefully not :) Mainly as I get better and more precise data, but for all practical purposes it is static. That also allows me to implement more caching, which means faster response times for visitors and less load on my server.
    So, this is correct now - http://zknives.com/knives/steels/A2.shtml

    Also, individual steels have their own page, like above. This is where the name links from the steel composition chart point. Selecting checkboxes and clicking the graph button still displays the old graph builder. Also, steel info page which is very similar to graph builder, minus controls can be immediately switched to graph for the steel where can add more steels to the one you are viewing as usual.

    Also, over 100 new alloy names since the last update. Mainly CSN, JIS and proprietary Japanese names. 363 unique alloy records for now. I have a few more to add, well that never ends...

    P.S. You do need to force refresh on the steel chart page, browser caching troubles, despite that I set cache headers properly. Just click CTRL+F5.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  10. godot


    Oct 12, 2003
    A lot of work went into this-any idea of how to tell a knife that doesn't have the steel mentioned on the knife itself?
  11. Knife Outlet

    Knife Outlet

    Jan 4, 1999
    Some manufacturers publish the steel type without putting it on the blade. You would need to find the information in their literature. Others do not. If they do not, then there isn't any way to know.
  12. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    That's pretty much it. Other than taking it to the lab to get the composition and then finding matching steel in the table...
  13. Slidetechnik


    Jul 16, 2009
    This is awesome, and you have an awesome website. Thanks!
  14. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Thanks Slide.


    Steel composition chart 2.1

    Major improvements in page loading speed. Before all the notes and help files were loaded with the alloy compositions. Even if it's all gzipped it's still considerable amount of data. Now all that non essential data loading is deferred.
    Functionality is still the same, click on the button(s) to see the help files, and mouseover the alloy name to see associated notes and alternate names if the flag is set in the settings. Notes and help files are loaded using AJAX.
    Besides loading times javascript speed improved, since I was able toremove few thousand DOM objects from the page.
    Depending on the browser page rendering speed improved from 30% to 50%.
    As usual IE sucks. Chrome is the fastest.

    Fixed bug, when proprietary names were displayed in the mouseover notes even if the standard names only flag was set.

    Since the last update there are 20 new alloy compositions, 382 total and 1300 names for them.

    Same optimizations for the steel comparison graph, although improvements are less noticeable, that page was faster to begin with.

    Dial up users should see the biggest gains, although because of the size and complexity of the table everyone will benefit from those optimizations.

    Thanks to everyone who was and still is helping with data, corrections and suggestions.
  15. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    gator we owe you big time for all this effort. i refer to this several times a week. thanks again guy.
  16. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    You're very welcome Dan :)

    What's new:

    Speed improvements again.
    Major one is the sorting. Before sort was done on the server side,click on the column header would cause page refresh. Not anymore. Sorting algorithm was implemented in JavaScript, and runs on the client side, i.e in your browser. Compared ot few second delays for refresh of the full table which includes few database queries and combining the data it is several times faster.
    Tested on MSIE 7, MSIE 8, Firefox 3.x, Chrome, Kameleon.

    You still can force the server side sort if you need it for some reason, by clicking on the search button and executing query from there after selecting and sort column and direction.

    Another considerable improvement was adding browser side caching of the main table.
    For now only the http://zknives.com/knives/steels/steelchart.php url is cached, including sort parameter if specified (sort-'col').
    All other parameters cause data refresh. I'll have to improve that too, but this is a start and that URL is the most used anyway.
    But from now, if you are browsing steel compositions from the URL above and hit F5 it will not fetch data from the server again, unless I add new data, and sorting is mucho faster.

    Fixed table sizing bug in Chrome when displaying standard names in combine records mode.

    Since the fixes/upgrades affected everything, html, php, javascript and style files you do need to either "force refresh" by clicking CTRL+F5 or alternatively clear browser cache manually for my site.

    Sadly, the slowest part is still the browser's table rendering engine. ~400 row table with ~20 columns is apparently very heavy duty task. Dunno how to improve that yet.

    P.S. All bug reports are very welcome as well as usability improvement ideas and suggestions.
  17. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    More improvements in both steel composition chart and analyzer graph.

    Knife steel composition chart:
    Added column management functionality. All of the chart columns except # and Name can be hidden. To a hide column you can simply mouse click on the column while holding CTRL button on the keyboard. To restore previously hidden column you will need the Column Manager window, which is invoked by clicking the Columns button in the chart control panel or toolbar, or ALT+C on keyboard.
    If you are viewing the full table (~400 rows for now) it takes about 2 second to hide the column. I can't do much about that, entirely browser engine dependent and as usual Chrome is the fastest, IE is the slowest.

    Added keyboard handling, Esc key now closes any open window including alloy not tooltips, search dialog, element help window, general help window.
    ALT+C invokes column manager. That works fine on Chrome and FireFox, but on IE it has it's own handler, so it's not much of a use on IE.

    Knife Steel analyzer graph:
    Implemented correct caching mechanism for the single alloy graphs. e.g. a2.shtml.

    Added similar kayboard handlers to the graph too. ALT+C in the graph invokes graph search dialog, same as clicking More button.

    Depending on the user feedback and requests I might add layout saving, so that the user can save visible/hidden column layout and have it restored later without the need to hide them again on next visit.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010

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