An IMDb rant AKA how to get back to the old design

Tuesday, 26 October 2010, 22:48 | Category : Computer Stuff, Film, Slices, Uncategorized
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I absolutely hate IMDb’s redesign. It’s horrible. I hated when they decided to show English titles rather than the original ones as well, but the redesign is ten times more difficult to stomach. In fact, it’s so bad I seriously started wondering if I could move at least some of my film site needs somewhere else.
Fortunately, if you’re registered, you can switch back to how it was before. Just go into your site preferences, tick the Show previous title and name page design (reference view) option and adjust Title display country to Original. There’s some other things you can tweak there also - check out imdb’s help page. My site preferences look like this now:

Something I haven’t managed to fix, however, was how all their redesigns kept effecting my film spotting and film diary python scripts. You see, rather than doing lots of copying, pasting and typing to put all the film info down in every review or film spotting post, I’ve been running a small command-line script and copying and pasting what it spat out, then adjusting the text if need be. Unfortunately, imdb isn’t particularly supportive towards people who try to access their data in automated ways for free, even if it’s for non-commercial purposes.
What I used to do, like many other people in my position, was just have a script look through the HTML code of the page and get the relevant data out of the HTML. Of course the redesign totally broke my script, which I’m used to because it’s broken many times before when they’ve made even very minor changes.
IMDb does provide alternative and more practical methods of accessing their data, but their prices start at $15 000. And so I’ve decided I’m going to be getting my data from from now on. They don’t have anywhere near as much film data as imdb has, but it’s sort of like wikipedia - everyone can edit it and anyone can use the data there in any way they see fit. And the important thing - they provide a nice API to their data, so that my scripts will not break with every small design change! I figure this whole script breaking thing is a much bigger nuisance than filling in data that happens not to be on the TMDb site. And if I fill in the missing data on TMDb, I’ll have the satisfaction of helping other people in my situation. So I’d say this is win-win *grin*
And so, I’m officially announcing that most of the links in my film posts will be to TMDb and not IMDb from now on. I’ve already written the TMDb script and it works… well enough for my purpose anyway ;) Which doesn’t mean I’m completely turning on IMDb - they’re still the best film site out there. But I do think that $15 000 is asking a bit much from people using their data non-commercially on a very small scale and linking back to them at that!

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