cubecomps.com - for delegates and organizers

Discussion in 'Software Area' started by Luis, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
    2009PARE02
    I've been working in a website for official competitions management: cubecomps.com

    My main goal in this project has been helping as much as possible to delegates and organizers in their tasks. Some of the benefits of using cubecomps.com are:
    • Three separate ways to use the web: as an administrator (all permissions), as a score taker (different password) and as audience in the public live results sub-domain: live.cubecomps.com
    • Uniform, easy and fast way to input scores, omitting "." and ":"
    • Allows concurrency: unlimited number of score takers can multiply your speed entering scores.
    • Allows importation of WCA's .CSV registration file.
    • Prints personalized, customizable 'time sheets' including competitor name and id, event name, round number and the exact number of boxes for scores (plus one).
    • The results will be available for the public as soon as you submit every one of them.
    • Statistics for special podiums/prizes, like youngest and oldest competitor, females, etc.
    • And the very best feature: :D One-click production of the .XLSX file to export all data to the WCA.

    Delegates and organizers who could like test the website, please contact me through http://www.facebook.com/cubecomps

    A sample of the public part (live results) can be seen at http://live.cubecomps.com/live.php?cid=11

    Finally, here you are a short video showing main features. This video is a week old and some things have been added, changed or improved, but all in all it will be fine for a first contact:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2016
  2. antoineccantin

    antoineccantin Member

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    Nov 8, 2010
    near Ottawa, Canada
    WCA:
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    I'm not sure about the data entering part, but it seems very similar to live.cubing.net
     
  3. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
    2009PARE02
    Well, maybe that someone who used live.cubing.net can say whether it is similar or not. I didn't use it. :) Previous to make this website, I searched for webs working for organizers, instead of making organizers work for them. I always found webs focused on live results, what usually means an extra task for organizers. (Please note: I'm not meaning anything bad for any web out there. I don't know what those webs have in its inside; I just got an idea from their instructions pages.)

    Then I stopped searching and decided to built up this site (for the fun of it) and offer it to anyone who could wish to make use of it. That's all. :D

    But in any case, my web is focused in making easier the work for organizers. Live results come 'naturally' as a result of putting all the information in the internet from the very first beginning of the organization of the comp.
     
  4. Lucas Garron

    Lucas Garron Super-Duper Moderator Staff Member

    Supersede as you wish, as long as we use something good and reliable (and permanent).
    From navigating around live.cubecomps.com, it seems to do the same as live.cubing.net, although not with as much "getting out of your way" in the nav as I might like to see.

    My main gripe here is that "cubecomps" sounds like slang, and might not sound very official, especially to non-cubers.

     
  5. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
    2009PARE02
    If the domain is a problem, I will change it, of course. No problem. In fact I thought of something including "wca", but didn't decide to use it without permission.

    About the real difference with other websites, don't expect to find it in the live results part. As I already mentioned, I focused in the organization tasks. And for this, you need a test competition and a password. I will be more than happy providing both to anyone who might wish give it a try.
     
  6. Anthony

    Anthony Professional Speedcuber

    2,215
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    Mar 18, 2009
    Texas
    WCA:
    2008SEAR01
    YouTube:
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    I took a chance and relied completely on cubecomps to run the Hillsdale Winter 2012, and I must say that a system like this should be implemented on a broader scale as soon as possible.
    The interface is very easy to use and it sped up the entire data entry process. It also was very convenient in other aspects - such as printing personalized score sheets, adding events on the spot and displaying live results.

    The only major issue I see with it that it requires internet access. Mike dealt with the system more than I did so I'll leave the rest to him.

    Overall, Luis has done a fantastic job and cubecomps is certainly a step in the right direction.
     
  7. Mike Hughey

    Mike Hughey Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Indianapolis
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    I agree very much with Anthony's overall assessment.

    I think it is probably true that the other delegates and Anthony were probably sick of me raving about the cubecomps system by the end of the day. All day, I kept saying, "I can't believe how nice this is" or "I can't believe how easy it is to use it".

    The day of the competition, the system proved valuable immediately. We were able to make adjustments to the registration very quickly, and changing the registration page automatically enters the competitor in the results page for each event, which is so much nicer than is true with Excel. Since we had a computer lab nearby, we could have actually printed timesheets for the late registrants on the spot, but we didn't take advantage of that. The system makes it very easy to do that.

    Data entry was much faster than anything I could have done in Excel, and it is much less error-prone. It has a couple of quirks that might be nice to fix, which I have mentioned to Luis, but even with those quirks, it took me no more than a few minutes to get comfortable with working with it, and I would say I was probably entering results at least twice as fast as I would have been with Excel.

    Handling extra rounds was especially nice. A single click and entry of a number selected the people for the next round, and we were immediately ready to go. We were also able to print timesheets for the later rounds with competitor names, which took less time and was less error-prone than writing names onto blank timesheets. Adding an extra event was also outrageously easy.

    People loved the fact that they could see times enter on the live results page as I entered each person's times. When I wasn't too busy doing 4x4x4 BLD, most of the times the results for a given round were finished and available for people to see five to ten minutes after the round ended. And I had so much extra time that I was able to double-check almost all the results as I went.

    Generating the spreadsheet to send to the WCA also went very well. I neglected to copy Ilkyoo's Korean characters in for his name, and there was an issue with a country change that was again my fault, but other than those two things, it went in without any corrections being done by me to the spreadsheet.

    I agree with Anthony that the biggest concern I have is what to do if Internet access is flaky (or even worse, unavailable). Currently the approach to deal with unreliable access is that you download the spreadsheet often, and if access goes down, you start running off the spreadsheet as you normally would. But then I don't think there's an easy way to go back to using cubecomps once you've done that. And if Internet access is unavailable, you can't really use cubecomps to run the competition.

    I was very impressed with how professional the interface felt overall. There were a couple of strange things visually with the interface, but for the most part it was very nice and clean, and very efficient and streamlined to use. It was also very reliable. A very nice job by Luis.

    Overall, this experience was so nice that I must admit I never want to have to deal with Excel at a competition again. This is a much better way to run a competition, and I hope cubecomps or something like it will be used at all future competitions that I attend. Especially since it's not that pleasant to see a grown man cry, which is what will probably happen if I have to go back to using an Excel spreadsheet again. :)
     
  8. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
    2009PARE02
    Can't help writing a few lines to thank Mike and Anthony for their dedication this weekend. I couldn't have dreamed a better and more enthusiastic debut. I will consider all the valuable comments and suggestions you sent me by email, Mike. I've got new ideas from this first competition that will make CubeComps even better shortly.
     
  9. Lucas Garron

    Lucas Garron Super-Duper Moderator Staff Member

    We didn't end up using this for Stanford Winter, mostly because we already have a working system in place.

    I was wondering about that, because there's a lot of room for improvement from Excel. I can't seem to log in to the test page. How did it work?

    In particular, how do you find a competitors' name?

    Trivia: The first live results in the US had this. And basically none since then. :p

    (People went into a frenzy over the fact that one of Dan Dzoan's times was entered incorrectly - which immediately went online.)

    That's good to know. When I tried to do this with the Polish system for SF09, Bob got so annoyed at my formatting that I've stayed away from generating spreadsheets with results on them.

    This was also a big motivating factor for the spreadsheet uploads powering live.cubing.net. A lot of organizers who were initially interested in our system had very spotty access.

    Overall, this seems like great progress.

    Which leaves my biggest qualms at the following:
    - While cubers might get used to it, "cubecomps.com" still doesn't feel like a *great* name to me. I'm not trying to disparage Luis's choice, I just feel like there could be a better one that goes with his great work. (But it's a hard problem. It took me months to find cubing.net)
    - URLs are still of the format http://live.cubecomps.com/live.php?cid=12 . I think it would be a *great* benefit to have the competition name in the URL, even if it's just inserted as a useless parameter (like thread titles in speedsolving.com URLs).
    - The layout of the site still feels a bit gimmicky. Which can be okay, but I like simple pages that get right to the content.
    - There's some opportunity for usability and practicality improvements. In particular, it would be great if result entry could be cached offline in case of lost internet access (using localstorage).


    Luis: The only reason I'm being picky is because I want organizers to end up with the best system in the end. And there can certainly be disagreements about how it should be done. But if you want to ask me, I could talk some more about the points above.

    Also, is your codebase public / open-source (/ on GitHub)?
     
  10. Mike Hughey

    Mike Hughey Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you need to get a password from Luis to log in.

    I guess this is one thing that I forgot to mention to Luis that I thought might be able to be improved. (It really wasn't a big deal, so I forgot about it until you mentioned it.) The competitors that have not competed yet are always sorted by first name at the bottom of the list. So if you were running a big competition, you would have to scroll down to that competitor and click on it, which might involve scrolling pretty far for a 200 person round. (Unless there is a keyboard shortcut that I was unaware of.) You can also type in the competitor's ID number, but that seemed impractical. With just 50 competitors, it was always very easy for me to click on the competitor's name - I never had to scroll very far. Also, the entry form is in a fixed place on the page, so if you have to scroll to the bottom of the list to click on the name, you might then have to scroll back up to see to enter the data. I wondered if making the entry window float might help, but I liked the fact that the current method was very simple and hence very reliable - I've seen some of those floating windows act up sometimes. Anyway, using the scroll wheel on the mouse made it pretty quick to scroll down to select a user and back up, so it really wasn't a big deal for me. I could see this being a little slower for a big competition. But it is very nice that the names were always alphabetical for the people who hadn't been entered yet - it really was still pretty nice.

    I guess this sort of thing is a personal preference thing; to me it didn't feel gimmicky at all, which is part of what I liked about it. It seemed to be very simple and get right to the content.
     
  11. theZcuber

    theZcuber Premium Member

    2,077
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    May 8, 2011
    Central NY, US
    WCA:
    2012PRAT02
    Control + F?
     
  12. Lucas Garron

    Lucas Garron Super-Duper Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, I had one, but the competition doesn't show up in the same URL anymore.

    I think the best solution to this would be a fuzzy matching algorithm. You type a few letters of the competitors' name in order, and the system automatically selects the closest match. Sort of like using Cmd-F, but more lenient and less annoying.

    I used to have a crude version working at http://cube.garron.us/misc/names/WCA_names_live.htm, but this would probably need a slight rewrite.

    Maybe the actual system is pretty clean. But the front and live results pages seem to have a lot of colors and large header / side images that I think could be improved.
     
  13. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
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    Why? :) It's supposed to be the shortest method, as long as you print the timesheets with cubecomps.com too.

    I will put scroll bands when the list exceeds bottom margin. Guess it's the best solution. (Exactly like the "competitors" page, where the scrolls are already implemented.)

    I will contact you shortly through FB, Lucas.
     
  14. Mike Hughey

    Mike Hughey Super Moderator Staff Member

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    When Luis pointed this out to me in a separate email, I felt pretty silly. Of course, this is the best way to do it; it didn't occur to me that the user's ID was sitting right in front of me on the timesheet. If he can get straightened out the problem that I had with the enter key sometimes not working for "submit", there would be no reason to ever touch anything but the numeric keypad. I was doing it the hard way (and yet it was still twice as fast as using Excel).
     
  15. Yuxuibbs

    Yuxuibbs Member

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    Ann Arbor, MI
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    Just want to point out that when I accessed cubecomps.com for Hillsdale on my ipod, the scroll thing for the list of competitors didn't work. Not sure how you would fix it because I don't know much about computer stuff but I think it would be easier to have the whole list of competitors show up (extend out?) when you click competitors and not have to scroll down inside that window so you just scroll down the whole screen. Maybe make a mobile version of the website if it's possible because a lot of the competitors will be using their phones/ipods to access the website. It was slightly annoying when I had to click other people's names about 6 to 10 times just to get to my name because it was at the end of the list.
     
  16. Luis

    Luis Member

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Granada, Spain
    WCA:
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    Yuxuibbs, I made some changes. Can you check if you can navigate now more comfortably through the page with your iPod, please?
     
  17. Yuxuibbs

    Yuxuibbs Member

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Ann Arbor, MI
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    It's a lot better.
     
  18. shelley

    shelley chang

    1,679
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    Apr 23, 2006
    WCA:
    2004CHAN04
    I had the pleasure of using the cubecomps system at Berkeley Spring last weekend, and I'm a fan. It definitely streamlines a lot of tasks (not limited to data entry). I love not having to sort results manually and not messing with the old VLOOKUP formula for WCA IDs and not converting sup-minute times to seconds. We didn't get to use the scorecard printing feature as we still wrote scorecards by hand, but I can see that coming in handy for big competitions like US Nationals.

    One bug we found: the dropdown navigation that takes you to other rounds doesn't work on Chrome on OSX.

    Features/changes I'd like to see:

    Competitor list:
    - Easier CSV imports for spreadsheets that don't come from the WCA site. A lot of US competitions use CubingUSA for pre-registration. When I was playing around in the test sandbox, I had trouble getting the event pre-registrations to show up.
    - Confirmations for deletes - it seems like it would be too easy to accidentally delete something, which could potentially be an issue.
    - Option for bulk deleting competitors - for example if you accidentally uploaded the wrong CSV file, or for deleting no shows at the end of the competition.

    Data entry:
    - I'd like it if you can click on an individual time that has already been entered, and it would go directly to that competitor and highlight that time to be changed. Currently, you have to click twice to change a time that has already been entered.
    - Related to above, typing in the ID of a competitor who already has results should reload those results (i.e. same behavior as clicking that competitor's name).
    - With smaller competitions, the process of searching for a competitor's name is not too bad, but it could get cumbersome with large competitions if we don't have the competitor's ID on the scorecard. I'd like to see something like Google's instant search feature, where you start typing and it locates the competitor as soon as it matches a unique name.
    - Alternately, it would be nice if the results frame didn't scroll to the top every time a new result was added. In general I want to be looking at the bottom of the list where the names without results are, not the results that have already been entered. (This is a "nice to have" feature, not necessary especially if there are better ways to work around the name finding issue).
    - I use the numpad on the keyboard to enter results (and actually invested in a USB numpad for laptops), so I liked being able to select a competitor by typing the ID number. Following this, it would be awesome (and probably not hard to implement) if I can use numpad symbols for DNF and DNS (perhaps / and *) so I don't have to "regrip" the keyboard at all.
    - I did not see a good way to remove no-shows from advanced rounds of an event (e.g. if a competitor left early). I had to remove them manually from the generated Excel spreadsheet. Maybe add an option to mark someone as a no-show so that he doesn't show up in the final spreadsheet?

    Interface:
    - I'm used to seeing the average on the rightmost column. Could you switch the position of the best time and average columns to be consistent with all the other results interfaces?
    - Having a function to resort the competitor list alphabetically would make it easier to find competitors to make edits to their registration (e.g. competitor wants to add an event, I scroll to where his name should be, only to find that he was a day-of registration and have to scroll to the bottom again to find him).
    - Show the total number of competitors somewhere. Just makes it easier to figure out WCA dues.
    - The scorecards are pretty and all, but I'd like to see a version that's more economical on printer ink.

    Misc:
    You may want to work with the [email protected] team to get the necessary event/format IDs and SQL statements on the generated spreadsheet. These are used to actually submit the results to the WCA database, and when the SQL statements are already in there it makes the results team's work a lot easier. The CubingUSA workbook generator has them, and it would be nice if this did as well, especially if it's going to be widely adopted.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  19. Mike Hughey

    Mike Hughey Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Now that you mention them, I agree with pretty much all of your suggestions. As for the idea of removing no-shows (which is definitely needed, although we didn't have that issue at Hillsdale), I was thinking it might be nice to be able to mark a competitor as not competing in that round, so they stay at the bottom of the list, but then don't get exported into the file when you're done. It would also be nice to mark a competitor as a no-show overall, so you can leave them in the registration page, but they get removed from all the rounds. That way, if they show up late, you can just uncheck that box and remove them from whatever events they missed.

    Using the scorecard printing feature is a REALLY BIG DEAL, as I noticed when we used it. I would say that shaved about a half hour off our total time for the competition, just because of how much it simplified things, especially since we had lots of extra rounds at Hillsdale. After using this system, I will always want to make sure I get a printer to the venue, even if it's as painful as bringing our home all-in-one to the competition.

    I did try to put Luis in touch with Tim about the SQL statements for the generated spreadsheet; it seems like that should be a really easy thing for him to add, once he understands exactly what is required. I'm not sure anything ever came of that yet, though.
     
  20. Luis

    Luis Member

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    First of all, Shelley, many thanks for all your suggestions and the time taken in writting them. I do really appreciate it.

    I will consider all of them and most of them will be done soon, I hope. Would like to check some points with you, if you don't mind, just to be sure we unserstand each other:

    Unfortunately, I can't try this by me. The way it works is by a simple Javascript code. Did the rest of features work fine? Was JS enabled?

    I already implemented the importation of the registration details inside the CubingUSA's XLS file. In fact, this ability was already available for the time of your competition. :D Steven was informed, and I thought that it was he who imported the final file. Please let me know if I'm wrong.

    I'm not sure to understand this point. You mean that if someone left an event on second or next rounds, you'd like to see that line removed from the .XLSX results file? If so, wouldn't it cast more light about what happened if we left the line blank?

    Apart from this, I understood that the XLSX file will be better if I remove any reference to a competitor that didn't compete at all. Please let me know if I'm correct here.

    Glad to have the chance to talk about this point. :D Really. As recently as yesterday I discussed it with Mike Hughey for a second time.

    I got in contact with Tim Reynolds just two weeks ago, and after chatting with him for a while, I offered something that I find better that the SQL fields embedded in the XLSX file. My idea is as follows: once a competition is finished, the organizers simply inform the results team. Then, someone of the results team enters to the competition (with all the permissions) in order to check everything. When they think everything it's alright, they get a file (private for them) including just the SQL sentences. Besides, they could get the XLSX file too, of course.

    About this idea (or whatever else with the same spirit: giving the results team complete access for the sake of comfort and security), I really like it. And I think that Tim also liked it. He went to ask the WCA about it.

    If I finally have to embed those SQL sentences in the XLSX, I will be happy to do it. It's just that it seems a poor solution, now that Cubecomps.com opens a world of possibilities for us.

    Shelley, again, thanks so much. Will keep you informed.
     

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