I have posted on this subject before but after spending a bunch of time with WinSwim this weekend I want to talk about it again. I really like WinSwim. Gary Wood (the author) provides top notch support. I have run into a few bugs and his turn-around time to fix them is phenominal, usually within a day or so.
The last one was a wierd one though. I was unable to run any of WinSwim’s reports. I installed it on my wife’s computer and they ran fine. WFT?!? I provided a slew of data to WinSwim Support and got an e-mail back from Gary explaining that in his opinion, what was happening was I likely had Hytek’s Meet Manager installed (I do) as it uses an old version of Crystal Reports, the same Report Module which WinSwim uses. Because WinSwim expects the newer version, they won’t work. Bleh, what a mess. I am still trying to figure out how to rectify this situation. I can’t imagine what I’d do without Gary’s support.
Yesterday I completed the first pass of exporting a LSC Registration Pyramid SDIF file. Since I only have the demo versions of the Hy-Tek tools (Team Manager and Meet Manager), I sent the SDIF file to the support contact I have been working with at Hy-Tek. Meet Manager can’t read the file which makes sense because it contains roster information, not meet entries. Team Manager can’t read it either because it doesn’t import SDIF. Great. It turns out Hy-Tek really only supports a subset of SDIF. Now what do I do?
When I first started looking into this problem, I found a couple other similar applications which manage swim team rosters and meets. One was from EasyWare, the other from WinSwim. I tried to import the data into WinSwim and didn’t have much luck. I then sent the file to their support e-mail address and hoped I had simply made a mistake in my SDIF file. I got a nice reply stating that WinSwim didn’t support the LSC Registation Pyramid and suggested I structure my file a little differently OR use their ASCII import method.
The ASCII import method didn’t look too difficult but instead of tackling it last night, I played Rock Band with my son. I am really glad I played Rock Band instead of working ont he plugin! This morning I woke up to an e-mail asking me to download and try a new version of WinSwim which support the LSC registration pyramid. Yeah! I installed it and imported my sample data without any issues. How cool is that? Unless I run into a problem, I expect our team will make an investment in WinSwim instead of Hy-Tek.
Today I finished the first pass on generating an SDIF file for the roster. I sent it to Hy-Tek and it doesn’t import. Great. Apparently they don’t seem to support all of the SDIF specification, just some of it. No mention of that anywhere on their web site.
On the plus side, I found a better version of the SDIF specification on the WinSwim web site. If I can get WinSwim to digest the SDIF file I generated, I may push our team to use it.
I have been trading e-mail with a support guy at Hy-Tek regading Team Manager’s ability to import SDIF. After our dialog, I am not sure Team Manager can import the roster I am trying to generate. It can import results but based on the samples Hy-Tek sent me, it isn’t clear if it will deal with the D1 and D2 records or not. Since they won’t send me an evaluation version, only the Lite version which doesn’t support SDIF import, I have to sending them my SDIF file for them to import and see what I get back.
I am also looking at WinSwim which actually looks like a better solution for most club swim teams. WinSwim also offers a really useful SDIF Checker which will help me out greatly. Using the checker, I should be able to send Hy-Tek what I believe is a good SDIF file.
It really boggles my mind that Hy-Tek is the defacto standard when their tool is so hard to use and to get data in and out of. Convincing our team that WinSwim may be a better choice for us will be no small feat.