Author Topic: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?  (Read 5750 times)

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Offline bombledmonk

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Well, sorry to disappoint, but this isn't going to do it....  But I have been dabbling in the javascript hacking world.  (I'm serious, simply hacks)  The Firefox addon Greasemonkey and some userscripts have allowed me to try some concepts out.  This build was really just a learning experience in javascript so I apologize if anyone decides to look at the code and it seems awful.  It's more of a proof of concept than a rolled out and polished script. I knew no javascript before starting this venture and don't write javascript in any other capacity.

There's two main scripts.

picturesearch - http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/116443

This adds quite a few features. 
  • statically positioned box with instant # of results when clicking on attributes in the drilldown
  • creates an interactive box that allows you to browse products in a category via pictures (handy for connectors), enlarge pictures, and get extra info without going to the product page
  • auto apply of any attribute that is clicked. (some bugs here, ctrl button will send data if it doesn't seem to be working)
  • text filters or checkbox filters that assist in finding keywords and combinations of keywords in the attribute filter lists.(handy for lists with comas, ie MCUs peripherals)
  • individual reset function per column
  • loads up to 10 pages of parts and always orders by price accending @ quantity 1  (if you want anything after the those 10 it breaks)
  • lots of bugs (errr... i mean extra features)
I'm quite familiar with what it does and doesn't do, but feel free to comment.  I haven't really had time lately to play with or polish it, but there might be some more polish in the future.

collapsedk - http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/100989

This adds some features to the initial search results.
  • collapses the less relevant columns in the search results
  • bolds and enlarges headings that are include the search terms
  • more "it's not a bug, it's a feature" elements

I'm not sure if these will really work outside the US site.  Like I said, this is really more of a proof of concept than a full time use tool.  Greasemonkey makes it easy to shut on and off so it shouldn't be a big deal if you don't want to use it most or any of the time.  If you don't know what Greasemonkey is, it just lets you run javascript code on the pages you already visit.  You can fix annoyances and add features for which you've always wished.  Just install Greasmonkey and click on the links for Userscripts.org.  There's nothing funky in the scripts and the code is freely viewable before you decide to click the install button.

Offline slateraptor

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 12:30:53 am »
If memory serves correctly, there was a time when Greasemonkey was the only reasonable option for sorting through a DK search query. That was maybe a few years ago. DK search features have since improved to the point where I don't even bother with Greasemonkey anymore.

As far as students in EE, I've noticed that there's a reasonable period of acclimation necessary for those new to DK's system. The students I've spoken to complained that DK's system is a chaotic mess of information overload, and they tend to prefer distributors like Mouser or Arrow for their more user friendly interface even if certain components might cost a bit more. But I've also noticed that the lab rats who tinker a bit more than the usual semester project tend to prefer DK. I figured this has a lot to do with a few noted observations:

1) they've established their design goals beforehand (i.e. not casually browsing for design ideas),
2) they know the proper nomenclature of the component they're looking, and
3) they have a general idea of DK's product index layout and don't hesitate to use Ctrl-F if necessary.

From personal experience, I don't necessarily prefer Mouser's layout because I feel it's an unoptimized use of limited screen space; in contrast, I don't like Future's layout because their parametric search is a bag of suckass. Of course, Findchips takes a lot of the out of searching for components, but the caveat is you have to know exact part numbers, which makes discovering suitable substitutes difficult; Octopart remedies this a bit but isn't as well organized IMO.

Just me 2 cents on the subject. Best of luck on your JS musings.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 01:23:23 am »
Well , Premier Farnell/Element14 has the best parametric search i ever seen but you CAN'T in my knowledge sort by price .
And i agree with you , Mouser's been going upside down .
RS has a good one too although it's easy to miss , but that's because i have only two options , RS or E14 .
But yeah , anything's good as long i can good prices since DK for me is a bomb when it comes to shipping .
 

Offline bombledmonk

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 02:59:08 pm »

1) they've established their design goals beforehand (i.e. not casually browsing for design ideas),
2) they know the proper nomenclature of the component they're looking, and
3) they have a general idea of DK's product index layout and don't hesitate to use Ctrl-F if necessary.


You are spot on with those comments.  I had the same difficulties in college and early on.  I am now quite adept at all of the major disti websites at this point, but I have a bias toward DK (that one might be obvious).

Just because Pictures are worth a thousand words I've added some screenshots.

First Pic:  Have you ever had to do the shift-click dance when trying to pick out specific combination of features.  There's both a text filter and a checkbox feature to help pick those combinations that exist.  You can simply do this with a normal keyword search, but this is a bit more visual and gives instant feedback.  It also alleviates some of the pain of using special characters and superscript.

Second Pic:  This demonstrates the multiple page load and a picture based search grid that is interactive.

Third Pic:  This demonstrates the interactivity.  Mostly it's a rollup of the information already on the page, but it also enlarges the picture and gets price break information (that last one is cut off in the screenshot).

Fourth Pic:  This shows the collapsdk script and this should generally be obvious.  It saves on the Ctrl+F and/or scrolling.  Unpictured is a hover-over popup for each of those links that gives a preview of pictures found in that category.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 03:13:35 pm by bombledmonk »
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 03:43:56 pm »
Well , Premier Farnell/Element14 has the best parametric search i ever seen but you CAN'T in my knowledge sort by price .

You can on the NZ farnell/element14 site, It's only based on the 1-off price though.

IMHO digikey parametric search is miles ahead of all the others including farnell/element14.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline sonicj

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 04:41:19 pm »
Just because Pictures are worth a thousand words I've added some screenshots.

thats purdy slick!
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 07:04:39 pm »
Well , Premier Farnell/Element14 has the best parametric search i ever seen but you CAN'T in my knowledge sort by price .

You can on the NZ farnell/element14 site, It's only based on the 1-off price though.

IMHO digikey parametric search is miles ahead of all the others including farnell/element14.

Looks like SG's E14 just added it in .
But really , i hate digikey's shift click dance , reminds me of the annoying tap dance procedure i used to do while jamming .
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2012, 07:08:49 pm »
Well , Premier Farnell/Element14 has the best parametric search i ever seen but you CAN'T in my knowledge sort by price .

You can on the NZ farnell/element14 site, It's only based on the 1-off price though.

IMHO digikey parametric search is miles ahead of all the others including farnell/element14.

Looks like SG's E14 just added it in .
But really , i hate digikey's shift click dance , reminds me of the annoying tap dance procedure i used to do while jamming .

really? i love the shift/ctrl + mouse click. It's so fast to select a range and still exclude some items.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline baljemmett

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 12:02:55 am »
IMHO digikey parametric search is miles ahead of all the others including farnell/element14.
The quality of data and number of available parameters certainly seems to be top notch, but when I'm using Digikey's search I find I sometimes miss the 'live update' feature of Farnell/e14's.  Having the number of matching parts shown as soon as you change a parameter, rather than after submitting the form, makes it very easy to see when you've over- or under-constrained your search without having to search, go back, search, go back etc.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2012, 04:05:00 am »
Previously E14's live search function was excruciatingly slow that i turned it off , now it's all fast ... and good .
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 08:47:57 am »
i still find the element14/farnell live update a bit slow to work.

But that probably depends on where people are in the world and the speed to the element14/farnell servers.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 01:10:56 pm »
i still find the element14/farnell live update a bit slow to work.

But that probably depends on where people are in the world and the speed to the element14/farnell servers.
Exactly . My server is local but yet recently it's got very speedy , will do a review about their live update .
 

Offline bombledmonk

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Re: Ever wish searching for parts on Digikey was a little easier?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 01:48:57 pm »
Out of curiosity, how fast does DK load for those overseas(and anyone else for that matter)?  At home I get 300-600ms and that seems to carry through to the instant results in the script


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