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Dr Ian Plummer

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Editorial
Editorials: On-line Tournament Management and Public Display of Results

The show games screen: clicking on a player's name gives a summary of their results.Last Easter an Internet-based tournament management system was trialled at the Surbiton Tournaments.

A proof of concept system was set up for a Swizz format tournament. It follows in the footsteps of the programs used by Samir Patel and David Maugham (which are hosted on their laptops).

The principal differences are firstly that this program runs on a web server, which may be remote from the machine where results are being entered. Secondly the interface for this new program is via a web browser.

The consequences of using a web-hosted system are:

  • Simultaneous multi-manager and multi-venue management.
  • Viewers around the planet can observe the real-time progress of the tournament. Additionally the results can be projected or viewed on a large screen at the venues.
  • No software needs to be installed on computers accessing the program since its interface is a simple web page or web form.

As with all computerised systems the data can be readily mauled to produce customised reports, e.g. number of hoops scored, pre-calculated Advanced ‘handicap card’ filling in data for a nominated player, player ranking, etc.

An individual player's results - showing automatic calculation of points for handicap and advanced play.

The Implementation

Winners by percent won.  Other algorithms can be implemented including iterative ranking on a whom beat who basis.The progress of the tournament is stored in an Access database on a web server and updated and interrogated via web pages. The program operates either in Viewer Mode, or Manager (admin) Mode.

http://www.oxfordcroquet.com/swizz/ is the current working model.

In Viewer Mode no changes can be made. In Manager Mode – accessed by a password (‘norbert’) new tournaments can be set up, games assigned and results gathered. You are encouraged to play – the real data for Easter has been saved.

The Viewer Mode display can be substantially different from the Manager Mode display.

Observations

The program operated without any major issues apart from very occasional long pauses whilst the underpowered laptop decided to do infrequent maintenance tasks such as download antivirus updates, etc. There was no problem with using a remote database. A number of enhancements were pencilled in for development.

Comments

The manager’s laptop can run a local web server on its hard disk and allow viewers to receive pages from it. That way a network failure does not frustrate the tournament management. A dynamic DNS name can be used on the laptop and information directly sent to viewers or relayed via another web server.

With the Manager login information can be added or modified.

This software is capable solely of handling a Swizz format currently; software would need to be written for other formats.
It would be wise to disable housekeeping tasks on the computer to maximise the response.

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Updated 10.iv.16
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