MOP-DB Help

My Online Plant Database


MOP-DB is a shared, member based, on-line database for plant collectors.
Membership is free but is only offered to friends of Admin.
The primary use is to keep a record of the plants in one's own collection.
The database has multiple fields that cover taxonomy, description, plant care, photos, colors, properties like height and water needs, purchase history, etc.

Members can add data describing their plants and can add photos from files or directly from any device equipped with a camera such as a phone.

There is export capability that saves all your data to a spreadsheet along with any photos you have uploaded.
MOP-DB gives you on-line storage for information about your plants along with photos. You can use MOP-DB anywhere you can get on-line. The search engine allows complex searches of the many data fields, helping you to find your plants even when you can't remember the name. Uploading photos allows you to browse plants visually.

Once you are a member there are a number of scenarios:
1) Search for the name of a plant, using photos uploaded by yourself or another member as a visual aid.
2) Keep accurate details of the taxonomy of a plant.
3) Store information about a plant, such as description, origin, cultivation.
4) Keep track of plant properties, like when it blooms or how much sun it likes.
5) Use the history fields to keep track of a plant’s purchase and progress.
The main reason for creating MOP-DB was the number of times I got frustrated coming across a plant in my collection that couldn't be identified because the label was either missing, broken off, or faded. With MOP-DB when one gets a new plant the name of the plant can be saved along with a photo that helps to identify it later when the label is long gone. I have also found that taking the time to research and fill in the details of a plant teaches me a lot about that plant. Also looking up the meaning of the latin name can create a mental picture that helps to remember the name.
No. At the time of writing (March 2020) it doesn't work with Internet Explorer. You need a modern browser that adheres to HTML5 standards, like recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. Although Internet Explorer might be improved in the future.
You don't need to become a member to view plants that have been made public, but you do to add or edit plants.
Due to limited resources only friends of Admin are granted membership. So if you don't know Admin you will only be able to view plants.
No, of course not. Any site is a target for hackers. A lot of effort has been put into security, which at times can be annoying. MOP-DB will log you out if it sees anything suspicious.
The approach in MOP-DB is to only store sensitive data that is absolutely necessary.

Personal data stored is your display name, your username and password, your email address, and optionally your phone number and any comment you offer.

Your display name is shown on screen and used in email, it can be seen by other users including non-members when they view a plant you have made public.

Your password is encrypted before storing, nobody can read it, not even admin.
Being a secure HTTPS site your password is encrypted when you send it over the internet at log in.

All your personal data can be changed at any time, you are identified internally by just an ID number. However your display name, username, and email must be unique among MOP-DB members.

MOP-DB does it's best to adhere to best practices, such as never including your password in an email, and allowing passwords to be long phrases with spaces.
If you are a friend of Admin you can use the 'Sign Up' form to request an account. You have to supply an email address when you sign up and if your request is accepted by Admin you will be sent an email with a link to confirm your email address. Your email address must be unique among MOP-DB members.

NOTE: email providers like Yahoo, AOL, etc. are becoming over-zealous about blocking email.
To make sure that email from MOP-DB reaches you it is recommended that before you sign up you add our email to your address book a.k.a. contacts a.k.a. safe senders. You can find our email address on the 'sign-up' form.

The 'sign up' process is as follows:
1) You fill in the 'sign-up' form a.k.a. 'Account Request' which sends the request by email to Admin.
2) If Admin approves your request a provisional account will be created and you will be sent email with a confirm code and instructions.
3) You click or tap the link in the email which connects you to a MOP-DB page that asks you to create a password. When complete you are sent another email with your account details.
4) If all steps completed you can immediately log in and proceed to change your settings, add a plant, etc.
After logging in your display name will appear on-screen at the top right. Clicking your name reveals a menu where you can choose to view/edit your Profile or your Settings and change your password. You can also view your personal notepad which is just a place to store any text you like such as reminders. You can also logout using this menu.

Your Profile is the information you supplied when you signed up, only you can see it.
You can change your password from the page where you view your profile.
Your settings control how some features of MOP-DB work, most are only defaults which can be overriden in each plant.
When you are editing there are blue labels associated with input fields. These are live, if you tap or click them you will see a tooltip, which is a popup explanation of the field. Tap the label again to hide the tooltip. If you have a mouse, hovering over the field will show the same help.
You need to be a member and be logged in to add a plant. Click or tap the 'Add Plant' button on the home page. In the 'Plant Add' form you can enter the 'Scientific Name' of the plant. That name is the binomial taxanomical name of the plant, sometimes called the Latin name. If you don't know the 'Scientific Name' of the plant you can enter an approximate name and maybe change it later.
When the plant is first added the 'Plant View' page is opened for that plant, click or tap the 'Edit' button to enter the plant's information. You can delete any plant that you have added.
Plants are referenced using an internal ID number, any field that appears on the 'Plant Edit' page can be changed at any time.
Photo files in JPEG or PNG format can be uploaded from any device.
On the 'Plant Edit' page in the 'Photos' section there is an 'Add' button.

During the process you can crop photos by drawing a box with your finger or your mouse.
The camera in mobile devices can be used to take photos and upload them in one sequence, which means you can snap plants wherever they are growing.
You can also add photos by dragging a file and dropping it on the 'Photo File' box.
Any photos (after cropping) that are larger than 1080p (1920 x 1080) will be scaled to 1080p during upload.

The procedure is:
> View a plant and press 'Edit', on the edit page press 'Photos' to slide open the Photos section.
> Press the 'Add' button then 'Choose File' (may have a differen name on your system).
> Select the file to upload, or take a photo.
> If you want to crop the photo click 'Start Crop', select the area to keep, and click 'Crop'. Repeat until satisfied.
> Press the 'Upload' button.
The photo will appear in a sortable area labeled 'Keep these'. If you have more than one photo you can drag them up and down to changedge the order. The one at the top of 'Keep these' will be seen at the top of the 'Plant View' page.

A sequence with a phone could be:
1) Use your phone to add a new plant while within your wifi range.
2) Press 'Add' then 'Choose File' and select to use the phone’s camera.
3) Walk outside to the plant and take the photo.
4) Walk back in to your wifi range, crop and upload the photo.
You can, of course, use your phone’s data instead of wifi to add plants and add photos when out in the field.
WARNING: When you take a photo with a mobile device do not rotate the device until after the photo has been uploaded or you may get unexpected results.
When you upload a photo you will need to visit the 'Photo Captions' section of the 'Plant Edit' page.
In that section there are three fields for each photo ... Alt, Caption, and Attribution:

Alt:
This should be filled in to help those who are visually impaired.
When someone is using an accessibility screen reader and a photo becomes the focus the reader will speak the fact that it is an image and read out the Alt field.
So try to enter something that is helpful. However the latin name of the plant does accurately describe the photo, although the reader output might turn out to be quite comical.

Caption:
This is the text that will appear under the photo when seen in expanded view (lightbox). Again the Latin name would be a good caption.

Attribution:
Defined as 'The act of establishing a particular person [or organization] as the creator of a work'.
Please add it when using photos that are not your own, if possible. Just the name of the person/organization or the url in square brackets should be enough.
Many public sites like Wikipedia show the attribution to use.
When looking at a plant in 'Plant View' any photos that have the attribution field filled in will show a small icon of a human figure in a circle centered on the right hand side. Clicking or tapping the icon will reveal the attribution text.
When browsing or searching plants the results are shown as thumbnails of the photos attached to plants.
If more than one photo is uploaded for a plant the photo at the top of the 'Keep these' box on the 'Photos' tab of the 'Plant Edit' page is the primary photo and is used for thumbnails. You can drag any photo to the top of that box to make it the primary photo.

Members can disable thumbnails if they are taking too long to display, there is an option on the 'Settings Edit' page. .

Thumbnails can be in one of three sizes, Small (100x100), Medium (200x200), or Large (300x300). The size can be chosen at the top of the 'Plant Browse' page and on the 'Plant Search Options' page.
The size you choose is saved on your device rather than the server so that you have a setting for each device you use, for example you may prefer 'Small' on a desktop and 'Large' on a phone.
MOP-DB can store three leaf colors and three flower colors.
The internal color system uses HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lightness). Where hue is the position in the color wheel, from 0 to 359 degrees. Saturation and Lightness are percentages, a Lightness of 0% is black and a Lightness of 100% is white.

Color entry is by clicking/tapping on one of the leaf or flower color boxes in the 'Colors' section in edit mode.
Colors are selected using the 'Colour Tuner', see this help.

Once colors have been entered you can search for plants with those colors using a search filter.
Only the hue is considered in searches.

In the search filter's left box select the item to search ... 'Leaf Color 1 (hue)' etc.
As colors can vary from plant to plant and season to season it's best to search a range of hues, so 'between' is probably the best operator to choose.
Clicking on one of the search filter's value boxes opens a 'Colour Tuner'. You only need to select the hue (position in the rainbow).
Colors are selected in MOP-DB using the custom tool 'Colour Tuner'.
A text description of it would certainly be too wordy, the best way to understand it is to play with it.
Only if you click/tap 'OK' will the color be accepted, and you can cancel an edit session to leave without saving.

Screenshot of a Colour Tuner on an iPhone 5 (note that holding a phone horizontally allows a better experience):
Colour Tuner on iPhone 5

Some aspects of the tuner need explanation:

Tuner Bar
The tuner bar is left of the step selector. It is a series of boxes where the middle one is the currently selected color. The other boxes are the same except their hue is successively changed by the step value. With 11 boxes, and a step of 1, for a chosen hue of 100 the boxes hue will range from 95 to 105.
The technique is to compare the object you wish to match with the tuner boxes, if the object's color matches one of the boxes it should become obvious.
The concept is like tuning a musical instrument. When you see a box that matches - click it to make it the current color. That color will then be in the middle box.
To find a match you could bring a leaf or flower to the computer, or you could take your phone/tablet to the plant.

Photos
In plant edit mode any photos you have uploaded for the plant will show at the bottom. You can tap or click on a photo to grab a color. When you either hover your mouse or tap-hold-slide a small square will appear above the pointer indicating the color that will be selected.

Two Finger Gestures - Pinch/Zoom
If your touch device can use two finger gestures you can use them to zoom and scroll.
Zooming a photo can allow more accuracy when tapping to set the color. However unzooming and scrolling after setting the color requires care to avoid changing the color again. It is important to have both fingers touch the screen at the same time.

Swatches
Colour Tuner Swatches
A number of default swatches are supplied, allowing a quick way to get near to the color you want.
You can also add your own swatches by clicking the Plus button. Please be aware that your swatches will only be saved on the device you are currently using, not on all your devices, this is a security restriction.
You can delete a swatch by selecting it's color first then clicking the trash button next to the Plus.
You can reset swatches to their default by clicking the reset button (circular arrow).

The black swatch allows you to remove any color you have previously accepted as does setting the lightness to zero. Clicking OK with a lightness of zero is considered no color, the Leaf or Flower color will be set to empty.
MOP-DB stores metric units in it's database. However there are tools on the Plant Edit page that allow input using other unit systems, English or American.
For example:
Unit Conversion Tool
Clicking on the icon with the left and right arrows brings up the tool that allows input in alternate units. The drop-down box allows you to choose the units.
For length the choices are centimetres, metres, inches, feet, and yards. For temperature the choices are Centigrade and Fahrenheit.
The export feature allows you to save your plant details off-line. The output is a zip file containing a spreadsheet and your photos.

The spreadsheet is in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format suitable for use in spreadsheet applications like Excel, OpenOffice Calc, Apple Numbers, etc.
It contains one plant per row, the last column containing a list of the photos you uploaded for the plant.
The photo files are included in the zip file inside a folder whose name is the year and month that they were uploaded, for example 2020/03/Aloe vera.jpg.

To export select 'Export' from the 'Tools' menu and select the plants that you want to export.
The 'Plant View' page is suitable for printing as a data sheet. It should be possible to send it to your printer using your browser's print feature. Ctrl + P on some systems. Be sure to click on any 'more...' to expand long text fields.
Any member can enter a bug report. Please do so if you spot an error or see an opportunity for improvement.
Use 'Report a Bug' under 'Tools' in the main menu.