It’s a question on everyone’s lips: What has UltiMaker been doing with Thingiverse?
Last week, we uncovered that the newly minted UltiMaker – a collaborative venture managing the equipment and services of the former Ultimaker and MakerBot companies – has been focusing its sights on Thingiverse. For those not in the know, Thingiverse is a well-known repository brimming with printable 3D models.
Thingiverse: From Dormancy to Development
For years, the site has been mostly dormant with few updates to its software. Despite its size, it now grapples with competitors who are more aggressive about developing their repositories.
But hold the press! It appears there’s now a dedicated team of devs working tirelessly to improve Thingiverse. The squad is running two-week development sprints to roll out both fixes and enhancements.
This week, we were directed to a public changelog of Thingiverse modifications. It’s an open book for anyone to see, and their progress is very clear.
A Deep Dive into the Changelog
I took a dive into the changelog to see what’s been cooking, and here’s what I found.
First off, it seems the changelog kicked off last November. So they’ve been buffing and polishing Thingiverse for at least six months now. Judging by the frequent updates, they’re certainly gaining traction in implementing changes.
They’re churning out a medley of fixes to known issues, and occasionally throwing in some new functions. Sure, many of the changes are minor, and most Thingiverse users might not even notice them. Some of the fixes are happening backstage, setting the stage for easier maintenance down the road, so they may not be immediately apparent to users.
Navigating the Search Function
One major gripe about Thingiverse has been its less-than-stellar search function. I went digging for changes in that department.
I found they introduced a “back” button for search in February, a nifty addition to make searching a smidge more intuitive. They’ve also fixed the “like” count, which was apparently off-kilter, and ensured that all recently posted items actually make an appearance in search. Who knew they were missing before?
Here’s a search fix that caught my eye:
“Customized creations are no longer shown by default while searching, which greatly reduces the amount of repeating Things in the search results. Everyone say ‘thank you’ to the devs who took psychic damage while working on this.”
They’ve also fine-tuned the search algorithm to “more accurately return items based on the search term”. That sounds like a notable improvement. This was, in fact, one of the very first issues they patched up last November.
Welcome Updates and a Brighter Future
They’ve also managed to resuscitate their unique Customizer system, which was apparently on the fritz. A re-index has brought “lost” items back from oblivion. Printer and CAD lists have been given a modern makeover. PDF and ZIP files are back on the upload wagon. All good changes.
Sure, these may seem like small changes, but they’re updates and fixes we gladly welcome. More crucially, Thingiverse is back in the saddle, and over time, we should see the site improve by leaps and bounds.