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RepArchive's 6th Birthday! Transformation completed!

Date: 10/27/2023

I have a lot of interesting thoughts and news to share, but I feel like a birthday post needs to start with a few personal words.

So read this post to

  • find out about our transformation progress
  • a review of year 6
  • did we fall short anywhere?
  • what's there to come in year 7?

Personal Words for the 6th Birthday

Who would've thought that RepArchive would still be here after 6 years? With more users than ever before?

We certainly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your support. As a free site, I depend on you guys choosing to support me through the affiliate links. So thank you for everyone reading this for making this possible.

Year 6 was certainly my most active year, something I never expected. You would think that after 5 years, everything has been developed and things are slowing down. But that's not true. I still have plenty of ideas. If anything, this whole deal has gotten more serious, there's no sign of slowing down.

The Transformation

Since Christmas of 2020, RepArchive hasn't been one. That's when we released RepArchive LIVE v1, our first dynamic app or tool (I still don't know what to call them).

From this point on, there were two RepArchives:

  • the old part consisting of the (now defunct) items list, the sellers list, the blog and core pages (e.g. welcome guide)
  • the new, dynamic part with our apps

While the items list was automatically updated mutliple times a day and contained thousands of lines of code, it only existed within the bounds of a static shop system.

Over the following years, it became clear where RepArchive was heading as a site:

  • With RepArchive TOP, we introduced a sibling app to LIVE, exactly one year later
  • the items list shut down due to legal reasons
  • the shipping calculator followed. It put the user in the driver seat and gave you full control of how much you want to ship where.

At this point, the dynamic part of RepArchive, was clearly where we had to go in the future. They were much better. But they all existed in isolation.

I realized we had an isolation problem, so for year 6 we had three missions.

  1. develop new apps (duh)
  2. create a uniform platform for all apps
  3. port parts of the old page.

We were successful in all three areas. The releases (which will be listed in the next chapter) were spectacular, a uniform design was created and the sellers were ported into a much better dynamic app.

So, when October, the anniversary month, rolled around, 95% of RepArchive was transformed. Everything, except the blog and the home page. And that was a big problem: the homepage is really important. People who visited the homepage and then headed to one of the apps faced two completely different sites.

I'm very happy to announce that, just in time for our birthday, we finished 100% completed the transition. All parts of RepArchive and apps are now a single, uniform design, that works together..

new reparchive homepage

Review of Year 6

As mentioned before, year 6 has been the most active year yet, with the most releases.

  • complete overhaul of the shipping calculator
  • weidian search engine
  • RepArchive browser extension
  • complete overhaul of the sellers list
  • tmall, taobao, hybrid search engine
  • taobot integration
  • spreadsheet search
  • declaration calculator

Every single part of RepArchive was either created or reworked this year. Nothing has been left untouched.

bubble chart showing reparchive releases per year

What I'm especially proud of this year? Definitely the spreadsheet search. The concept is perfect: Update duty is spread among >100 people that all act in self interest, it contains, >55,000 items (an unheard of amount) and it's easy to search because all items are manually named.

Where did we fall short?

We reached our goal of expanding our features and making RepArchive one again. This is going to be great, it makes the user experience much better and makes it easier to work on in the future.

I should use this opportunity to at least mention GLFinder. GLFinder is a site of ours that has been hit by reddit's API restrictions. To keep it short: it looks like it's doomed. I'll make a dedicated post.

Since I do this kind of post every year, I think it's time to take a look and see if we fell short on any of last year's goals.

Last year's goals

Back to the Roots

We did not deliver on this goal. The plan was to create a site for user generated items list.

The project is 90% ready, but it was developed by a partner who "disappeared". So finishing the last 10% would require me to familiarize myself with all the details.

What ultimately made me decide to freeze this project is that user generated content didn't really work all that great for us in the past. China Haul Community and the FashionReps forum also went offline, so it's not really because we are too small of a community. People would just rather post on on reddit for internet points.

RepArchive Section as a web app

This is exactly what we did with the "transformation". As you can tell by the singular "section" that we used in last year's announcement, I think originally it was only planned for the sellers list to be ported.

We definitely over delivered on this goal

Due to working so much on RepArchive I didn't get to this.

What to expect from year 7

Account Features

The fact that RepArchive is one again, means that I can reimplement user accounts and actually add account features.

The only context in which user accounts were used in the past is to leave comments on items and to add items to a wish list.

The new account features will go beyond that.

Translations

We had the spanish rep guide in the past. I hope to publish in more languages.

More redactional content & opinions

Last year, I pretty much only posted release notes. Other than the occasional word of wisdom regarding customs, exchange rates and agent fee structures there haven't been many strong statements or opinions.

A ranking of what agent is actually the best, updated video guides and trusted sellers lists are in order.

Items

A page for each item, combining information from the spreadsheet search and RepArchive TOP. Including historical data.

Shipping Calculator Price History

We have been collecting this for a while, but I have to see how complete it is and how we can ensure it's 100% stable. Only then it makes sense.

Closing thoughts

Once again, thanks for your continuous support. I will continue to do my best to provide you with the best tools. And while doing that, I will not sacrifice my neutrality, the reason RepArchive is so trusted.

I'm not sure if I'll also do a YouTube video about this topic, the last two years they only reached 100 views and they are a lot of work.

Categories:reparchive-psa

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