Background

This web site chronicles the development of the wp-SwimTeam WordPress plugin.  I started developing this plugin when I was unable to find a suitable solution for managing our neighborhood swim team.


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The plugin is developed in PHP and is dependent on the phpHtmlLib library.  I have been using the phpHtmlLib library for a number of years on various projects and at this point, can’t imagine developing without it.  It greatly simplifies the development of PHP generated pages, has a robust and flexible forms processing engine, and provides a collection of widgets to display data nicely.  Because WordPress is based on PHP4, I continue to use the 2.x thread of phpHtmlLib.  Walt Boring has allowed me to continue the development of the 2.x thread so I add enhancements to it and fix bugs from time to time.

The goal of this plugin is not to replace a piece of software like Hy-Tek’s Team Manager but instead work in conjunction with it.  I want to leverage the end user and have them enter as much data as possible and then import it into Hy-Tek Team Manager and Meet Manager, WinSwim, or Easy Ware’s Easy Meet Manager and Easy Team Manager.  My goals is to minimize data entry and duplication and eliminate paper.  I would like to build a system which is not dependent on other online services where the look and feel of the data being presented to the user is inconsistent with the team’s primary web site.  I would like to build a system which is easy to use for novice computer users.

I decided to start with WordPress because it does (or has plugins available) to do much of what we need – post news, post pages of static information, allow multiple contributors, etc.  I figured it shouldn’t be too much work to extend WordPress with a plugin to take care of the Swim Team specific stuff.

14 thoughts on “Background

  1. There are TONS of people that seem to share this frustration with Hy-Tek on the data entry side. I think the merger with Active has just made it worse. They want to be the “everything” for all team sports. As we know, those “software silos” only last so long in this day and age before somebody without any legacy comes in and uses new more effecient tools and whips butt and starts a ground swell in the trenches.

    All I want to do is get a flipping registration dataset spreadsheet into Team Mgr that I collected from using formstack forms for our online summer swim team registration process.

    Great to share the frustration with you!

  2. Hi,

    I have also been looking at ways to import data into team manager and have run into similar frustrations as yourself. As you say it is a very closed environment Hytek has adopted. I have managed to extract and present data onto our club website through some extracts and data manipulation (you will see this in the tools -> club database menu). However importing data is a very different proposition (eg meet entries). I have opened one of the entries files which appear to have a very complex data structure which contains significantly more information than it needs to.

    Happy to correspond more if we can assist each other.

    • I am more than happy to collaborate. I’ve been looking at the .HY3 file lately in an effort to figure it out. Some of it is SDIF and some of it is Hy-tek specific but the checksum at the end of each line in the file is the big unknown. What sort of data are you looking to import? The biggest challenge I face is getting Meet Manager to read heat and lane information as pre-setting it is a function of how we run dual swim meets for summer swim league.

  3. We aren’t trying to interface during meets. We are attempting to allow the club members to enter meets online. To simplify this we want to upload a meet events file (which we get from the meet organiser) and then download the meet entries and load these into Team manager where they are validated before being sent to the meet organiser. We will validate age and gender online but not entry times.

    Based on a quick look at the event and entry files they appear to be Hy-tek format fixed field length. Some of the fields are obvious but others are a complete mystery. I haven’t checked if there is a checksum.

  4. I too would be interested in collaborating on useful software to interface with Hytek Swim software. We have been developing tools to read and transcribe Meet Manager result files with some success. Would love to have more tools to interface with Team Manager, without having to pay for new modules, or support for program features that could easily be written at home.

  5. I have have done a bit of work on the files particularly the meet entry files and meet result files. My main purpopse was to generate html pages of meet entry and meet results. Also I process the result data to generate files for eventual use in a MySQL database. What I am trying to get to is an independant open system that holds all of the team information for archive purposes. We have lost a lot of history in the past and I would like to create a central repository that is not dependant on the software we use. Right now our on line sign up is manually entered into hy-tek to be submitted but I would love to see the option to push a button and generate the entry file. I plan to start working the checksum not that I have what I need for HTML generation.

    • Troy – what you are describing is essentially what I have built with my wp-swimteam plugin. My goal is to get all of our information in master form on our web site and export what is needed for each swim meet. I too would like to get to the point where our coaching staff can assemble a line up via the web using an drag and drop AJAX interface and then export entries in SDIF format so it can be imported into WinSwim or Hy-tek. Not sure when I’ll get there but that is the long term goal!

  6. Mike,

    I have been working on parsing .hy3 files as well. I have made good progress and would be happy to share what I have found with you. Send me an email if you are interested or want more details.

  7. Mike,

    I come from the XC/T&F world, am similarly intent on developing a system for importing hy-tek results for our meeets … and i’d like to join forces as it were. My goals are clearly stated on my website … and i’d really like to talk. My end goals are intense … priorities right now are to create a freely-shared database back-end system … to support projects like Go Pre. See my website for a project proposal.

    • I saw your web site and I think your goals there are similar to what swimming people are working on. I’d encourage your to sign up for the SDIF forum as I suspect the data format Hy-tek uses for Track and Field is the same, or similar, to the formats they use for swimming. There has been some good data on working with CL2 and HY3 files on the SDIF forum.

  8. @Jay

    Jay – I am interested in parsing the results from the HyTech Manager files for swim meets – I would to use the data to build a cube and do some reporting from that cube. Is there a layout document available that defines the swim meet results file mappings?

    Thanks
    Steve

    • Parsing results from Hy-tek should be similar if not alnost the same as parsing results from a SDIF file. The Hy-tek .CL2 file is very similar, but not exactly, an SDIF file but there are some utilities floating around that will convert Hy-tel results in CL2/HY3 format into a standard SDIF file. Once you have the SDIF file you can use the USA Swimming Specification to parse the data. It is fairly straight forward to parse although tedious to do so. The Flip Turn project I worked on earlier this year loads SDIF results into a MySQL database so they can be easily browsed. I haven’t worked on it in a while but you can see what it looks like on the Flip-Turn Demo site. The code is written in PHP and can be downloaded from Google Code if interested.

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