While uploading and converting a stream of LDraw mark-up might be nice, it’s certainly not all that intuitive (for me at any rate), whereas writing something like
[part:3700] and having it converted via some script into an image call for that part would be a great first step - and would then tie in with the way we can link to tags (for example
[tag:feature-request] is replaced with feature-request).
Any more advanced building images could then be manually created and uploaded by the answerer, allowing finer control over the camera position, layout and finish.
LUGNet offers their images up for use - however their servers can be a little slow and we’re hoping to grow quite large, so using their bandwidth might not be great:
Note: These images are presented here for anyone to reference as needed. You may link directly to these parts images from an off-site web page. To repeat: Yes, it's O.K. to link directly to these images from your website.
What Have I Done?
To that end, Kevin Cathcart and I have put together a script and web service that could be used to replace
[part:32181c02:0] with a nice picture of a piston ([part:32181c02:0]) – details of this work, and some examples of it in action can be seen here:
The web service builds up an internal database of parts as they are called, I’ve pre-populated all the supported colours, however at the moment it doesn’t auto-populate the part names, but I’ve got some plans for that.
The script now also replaces set ids with links to various sites, based on this question.
If anyone has any more advice or feature requests do let us know in chat, or post a question here on meta.
What Can You Do To Help?
I would be very grateful if people could test out the GreaseMonkey/UserScript I’ve built (at the suggestion of nhinkle) and provide any feedback you have as this will help my case when talking to the SE Devs about getting this script formally added to the site.
Install/Update BrickJax UserScript | Source – updated 05/01/12
Currently it only runs once on page load, so live/AJAX updates aren’t supported.
It's also posted to StackApps:
BrickJax: Brick Image Replacement for bricks.stackexchange.com
How Can I Use It?
The scripts current support the following mark-up – if the versions at the end are replaced with images or links, then everything’s working as it should.
Draw a part (Technic Brick 1 x 2 with Hole) in a colour (red) [part:3700:4].
Draw a part (Technic Brick 1 x 2 with Hole) in a colour (red) and link to it on Peeron.com [partlink:3700:4].
Link to set 5590 on Peeron: [set:5590].
Link to set 5590 on BrickLink: [bl:5590].
Link to set 5590 on BrickSet: [bs:5590].