As I was sitting here noodling on how to implement SDIF, I kept staring at the default WordPress theme on this site and it became a distraction. So I took five minutes and found a theme to load – Silver Light 0.1. It’s ok, I don’t particularly care for the footer but it is better than the default and now this site looks a little better.
I have learned quite a bit about Swim Team software in the past month or so that I have really been working on this project. Once I got the basic plugin working, I started looking into how we can use the registration data we collect with some of the commercial Meet Manager software. Hy-Tek seems to have the vast majority of the market for Swim Team and Meet management. Unfortunately Hy-Tek has a really closed software solution and have no plans to open it up.
I find it amazing that Team Manager cannot import a roster from Excel or other ASCII (CSV, tab delimited, etc.) file. I spoke at length with their tech support yesterday and they fully believe all of the data entry should happen in their tool. That would be ok if it was the least bit user friendly but it isn’t. One of our coaches shuddered at the thought of entering the roster in Team Manager this year – after enter a couple of swimmers, I completely understand why. It will take a long time. A really long time.
I am now on a mission to produce US Swiming’s SDIF v3 files from our database to try and import them into Team Manager. If this works, then we should be ok. The SDIF v3 specification is old – about 10 years old and reminds of old FORTRAN punched cards or CoBOL. Each record has specific character widths and positions. It doesn’t look to hard. USA Swiming’s new XSDIF specification would be better but Hy-Tek has no plans to support it. XML is absolutely the way to go with this sort of interchange data.
For the time being I am using the default WordPress theme for this blog. I’ll change it in the next week or two – for now I am happy it is installed and working. I love SourceForge – what they offer for developers is A+ but I am still figuring how all of the services they offer work together. I need a good SFTP client, I don’t think FileZilla supports it but I could be wrong.
If you found this, you probably have an interest in managing a web site for a Swim Team. In an effort to bring our swim team (MacDolphins) into the Internet age, I began searching for software to manage a Swim Team web site, facilitate swimmer and parent registrations, track swimmer results and history, and anything else we might want to do.
Like many clubs, our swim team had a paper based ad-hoc process which was passed from volunteer to volunteer each year. The duplication of effort and loss of data year over year was criminal. When my wife got involved with running the swim team, I offered to help solve that problem.
My quest for a solution yielded nothing of any real interest. Anything I found addressed one or two pieces of the puzzle but nothing was a complete solution. I had used WordPress for some other projects so I decided to build my own solution based on WordPress. WordPress provided me much of what I needed (easy posting by numerous people, links, categories, database, etc.).
This blog will document the process I am going through to solve our Swim Team’s problem – hopefully it will help others as well.