Running WordPress under SourceForge project web hosting service can be frustrating. It just doesn’t work as seamlessly as it WordPress normally does. When I first installed WordPress, the Akismet anti-spam plugin wouldn’t work (still doesn’t) because SourceForge doesn’t allow remote connections. Yesterday I wanted to include an image in a post only to find that I couldn’t upload an image due to a permissions problem.
It took a while to figure it out and with the reorganiztion of SourceForge, a lot of their documentation is either wrong or missing. SourceForge allows a “persistent” directory for uploads but it isn’t in the htdocs tree – it is in a different area of the file system. To get uploads working I had to create a uploads directory in the persistent file system space for my project and then create a symbolic link from wp-contents/uploads to the uploads directory in the persistent directory. Certainly not real striaight forward but at least it is now working. It shouldn’t be this hard. I did all of this with sftp, I couldn’t figure out a way to get a shell open via SSH.
While I was at it I also updated WordPress to the latest (2.6.2) version.
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.