The Parts Tracker is the site of certification of new and updated parts to the official LDraw parts library.
Before being able to upload files to the Parts Tracker, you need to become a Part Author. After that, 2 ways exist for getting parts onto the parts tracker:
- Files that currently are already official cannot be uploaded to the parts tracker initially: Instead, if an official file needs a correction, it needs to be e-mailed to the Parts Tracker Admin. This ensures that no accidental overwriting of an official file occurs.
- All other files, i.e., new ones or such that already are on the Parts Tracker, can be uploaded there using the Parts Tracker's web user interface.
The parts tracker is where all new and updated parts go to before entering the library. There, the parts go through a certification process. Reviewers go through parts, do various quality checks and give their vote based on their findings. There are three kinds of votes reviewers may post:
- novote: Indifferent - neither certifies nor holds. Typically used to give comments, point out suggestions or to cancel previous votes.
- certify: The yes vote - two of these plus admin certify is required for a part to get released.
- hold: Acts as every reviewer's veto. It is given when errors are spotted that must be fixed before the part can be released in the official library.
In order for a part to be released into the official library, the following criteria must be met:
- the part must have two certify-votes given by normal reviewers and one certify-vote given by a parts tracker administrator.
- all subfiles the part references must be certified.
- no hold vote may be present, not in the part nor in the subfile tree.
Primitives or subfiles are not released in the official library if it is not referenced by any certified part.
The hold vote is very powerful as it prevents the release of any part. Because of such, it typically is only used if the reviewer sees that the part may not be released until the error is fixed. Hold votes may be canceled by the reviewer by them changing their vote to novote or certify. Also, the parts tracker administrator is able to overturn hold votes but only does so in extreme cases. Different reviewers have different holding thresholds, some use novote to point out a dubious issue, whereas others give hold votes on a similar issue.
When a part is submitted to the parts tracker, the author has a type of protection over his part - other people are not to submit new versions of the part without the author's permission. However, parts that have been held for three months without message from the part author are open for anybody to fix and modify. The rule is occasionally, albeit rarely, flouted by parts tracker administrators in order to carry out necessary action to further the certification. These changes are typically origin and orientation changes and positioning fixes in composite parts.
Part authors without reviewer rights can submit novote "reviews" to their own parts. This can be used to submit comments if originally forgotten out or to respond to reviews.
The parts tracker also has a number of functions for the administrators, including a part renumbering function, admin editing function, a deleting function and the release function.
Files on the parts tracker have a status code shown in their detail page or usually in any links to them. These codes are composed with:
- one A per admin certify
- one C per reviewer certify
- one S per uncertified subfile within first branch
- one H per hold vote
The codes end with N or F, the former meaning a new file and the latter meaning a fix to an official file.
There are three types of rights existing:
- Submitter rights: Allows the user to submit parts to the parts tracker and to post novote reviews to own parts.
- Reviewer rights: Allows the user to post reviews to parts.
- Administrator rights: The parts tracker administrators are Chris Dee and Steve Bliss.
Submitter and reviewer rights are given to users by the parts tracker administrators.
The parts tracker contains a range of tools, some of which are interfaces to other tools such as l3p, some are functions that operate on the tracker, some are general tools unique to the parts tracker.
- Activity Log: Displays a log of recent activity - useful for keeping an eye on latest updates.
- Parts List: Displays a list of all parts on the tracker sorted on the certification status and part title.
- File Scan: Scans the tracker's parts for the content given and displays the list of parts that match.
- Patterned Part Summary: Shows lists of patterned versions modeled to parts. Also has an akin function for composites.
- Subfile Tree View: shows subfile trees of parts.
- File Check: Runs the part given through l3p and does some extra checks to it.
- File Queue: Displays a list of all parts on the tracker sorted on the timestamp of the last action to it.
- DAT Diff: Generates a diff of two files.
- History: A bar graph of the parts tracker history.
The parts tracker also hosts a number of reference files written and maintained by the administrators. These contain FAQs, information files and even the laundry list of the parts tracker application itself.
- The current parts tracker had one predecessor.