Author - Andrew

Week-End Review – 2020.03

This week wasn’t quite as productive as last week. We did manage to get a small update for several changes a couple new customers requested. I appreciate getting these seemingly small but helpful requests. Chances are that if you want something, others that use our software also want the same thing. I won’t rehash those changes here because they’re explained in our release notes.

My morning routine was thrown a curve ball this week after staying up for the National Championship game, catching up with terrific friends we rarely get to see, and car shopping (thbptttttttt). I don’t anticipate any distractions next week, so we should see a major asynchronous update before the end of January.

Between the changes for the update released this week and sleeping in, I did find time to begin scoping out custom work for two other communities. I haven’t accepted any requests for custom modifications in quite a while because we’ve been laser focused on completing our 2019 objectives. As 2020 unfolds, I expect we’ll take on a few more pseudo-partnerships to continue to build out this software. Have a great weekend!

Week-End Review – 2020.02

We wrapped up a major update initially started before the holidays this week. It was big in that it included a lot of minor details. Stuff like extra CSS for situations that sometimes occur or fixing a broken redirect link for a deleted tournament. A lot of minor things that don’t seriously impact the ability to run your league, but which are still important to maintain quality. It was great to clear out a chunk of our backlog.

We also updated our friends at GhostWarLeague.com from version 2 to the latest version. This turned out to be a lot less painful than anticipated. If you are out of the loop, version 3.x migrated Tournamatch from a stand alone bridged location to the native WordPress directory. It was a big change and we were dreading major migrations such as on their website.

After another quick patch later on in the week, I think the software is in a great place to move on to more ambitious changes. We’ve avoided major new features for months because we were focused on consolidating match logic and giving those pages (match list, details, and reporting) a small makeover. We are happy with the outcome, but there is still some more work to do.

Before these changes, ladders had their own report and confirmation pages which were separate from tournament report and confirmation pages. Conceptually, a match is a match regardless of which competition. Having separate pages makes adding new match related features more difficult so the obvious solution was to merge those.

We’ve completed the new pages and parts of Tournamatch use those new forms. You should especially notice this when users report tournament results because you may now record score, report team match players, and include attachments with those matches.

The next ambitious step we’ll focus on before building out new features is some asynchronization. We can eliminate several forms if we just change certain actions to use Ajax. For example, disputing a match result, confirming a result, accepting or declining a challenge – none of those activities require a stand alone page with a button allowing the user to interact with the page. The initial button or link that loads each of those pages is sufficient to complete the action.

Once we have eliminated the unnecessary pages (there’s about 14 in all), we’ll be left with that much less code to update. That’s the name of the game right now – eliminate legacy code which if left would need to be edited in order to move forward. Ha! I just realized we’re kicking off our 2020 by eliminating the fat. What a fitting New Year’s resolution I suppose.

How to install Tournamatch via FTP

One of the two main ways you can install Tournamatch in WordPress is via a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program. FTP programs connect to the web server where your website is hosted and permit you to transfer files between your local computer and the server. In some scenarios, such as when file upload permissions or file size limitations restrict web uploads, it is necessary to upload Tournamatch via FTP. This article will walk you through using FTP to upload Tournamatch.

The first thing that you need is an FTP program. I highly recommend FileZilla. It’s a free program widely recognized as one of the best. You can use whichever FTP program you wish, but screenshots throughout this guide will reference FileZilla.

After installing your chosen FTP program, you need to acquire FTP credentials from your web host. These are typically found within the cPanel dashboard from your web host. The process can be slightly different for each web host depending on the presence of cPanel and which version, so the best way to retrieve these credentials is to hit up Google. Simply Google “how to find FTP credentials on ____” and replace “___” with the name of your web host.

Once you have these credentials, open FileZilla and go to File -> Site Manager.

Click File, then Site-Manager.

Click on New Site.

Click on New Site.

Enter the host name for your hosting account in the Host field.
Enter the host name for your hosting account.

Select Normal Login from the credentials drop down.
Select Normal Login from the drop down.

Enter your username in the User field and password in the Password field.

Enter your username and password in the appropriate fields.

For the majority of web hosting accounts, and if you entered your credentials correctly, you should now be able to connect to your web host. When the connection is established, you will see a directory listing on your right. These are the files in your web hosting account. You shouldn’t rename, move, or delete any folder unless instructed to do so as most of these will have been created by your hosting provider when they setup your hosting account.

If you don’t immediately see the folders wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes along with several other files ending in .php, you may need to navigate to another directory. Look for a directory titled “www”, “public_html”, “html”, or “html_root”. These are the most common names for the “root” directory, or the directory that actually loads when a user visits your-domain.com. If you still can’t find the root directory where WordPress resides, you may find opening a support ticket with your web host is the best place to start for help.

Once you have located the WordPress root directory, navigate to the wp-content/plugins/ directory. Here you will find folder names corresponding to every plugin you currently have installed. This is where you should upload the “tournamatch” directory.

The root WordPress directory contains the wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes folders.

Finally, after uploading Tournamatch, you are ready to install Tournamatch via the WordPress admin page. Login to your WordPress admin account and click on the Plugins menu option. In the list of plugins, you should now see the plugin “Tournamatch”. Click on the link “Activate” and Tournamatch will now install. If you have followed along this far, then congratulations! You’ve just uploaded and installed your first WordPress plugin via FTP. Stay tuned for our next article that will walk you through customizing Tournamatch and getting the most out of it.

Click activate in the WordPress plugins section.

Version 3.0 Released

Tournamatch version 3.0 is now available. This is a major update for existing users. Please reach out to us via email or by opening a support ticket if you want to migrate an existing Tournamatch 2.x website and all of its data to 3.x. This update relocates all of the source files into the native /wp-content/plugins directory. The relocation doesn’t add any features to ladders or tournaments, but it drastically improves the management of the plugin and lays the foundation for more rapid improvements in the future. Specifically, relocating the plugin immediately improves installation, administration, and updates; and, future updates will improve internationalization and user roles/permissions.

Installing Tournamatch now works exactly like installing other plugins. Upload the download to the plugins directory and click “Activate” inside of your admin. The plugin isn’t yet available on the WordPress plugin repository. We are trending towards that goal. Unfortunately, the file size of this plugin makes it unlikely you will be able to upload the plugin directly within the WordPress Admin. We are also working to reduce the dependencies and overall file size.

2019-08-01 17_40_05-Window

Updates are now automatic! When there is a new version of Tournamatch available, you will see a notification within your WordPress dashboard. Simply click the update link and Tournamatch will update itself. You may also find the patch notes here. We’re working to improve the updates further by providing an option to switch to the latest developmental build for trail blazers.

2019-08-01 17_39_02-Window

Administrating Tournamatch is now more native. Instead of a separate location to manage ladders, tournaments, games, etc, you can find those links directly in your WordPress admin menu. We’ll soon add custom roles so that you can leverage the WordPress role editor to assign capabilities to users.

Version 3.0 also no longer requires support for ionCube. We’re really excited about this – it was as much of a headache for us as it was for some of you. Several of the source code files we used depended on it, so after rewriting those source files, we were able to remove this requirement.

In future releases, we anticipate focusing on user roles/permissions first followed by fully adopting the native WordPress internationalization & localization system. Until then, Tournamatch is only available in English.

This update officially ends our support of Tournamatch for PHP-Nuke, phpBB, and Tournamatch version 2.x. If you wish to continue using 2.x, feel free to do so. We will no longer be patching, improving, or supporting version 2.x. We’re offering a free upgrade to version 3 for anyone who currently owns version 2, so we encourage everyone to take advantage of that offer.

We’re really excited about the future of this product. More than 90% of our customer support inquiries could be grouped into these topics: installation help, ionCube, are there updates available, installing updates, and how to find the administration section. This release knocks all of those barriers down. We should be able to focus more on product development and distribute those updates rapidly and seamlessly. It’s still a long way before we get to where we want to be. We truly appreciate you joining us for the journey.

Honing Our Focus

Jack of all trades, master of none. It means you’re competent in a variety of subjects, but not an expert in any one subject. I feel like you could apply this to Tournamatch’s development and list of supported CMSs. I’m a huge fan of including people. Including people just makes them feel great. I enjoy making folks happy which also explains my desire to include people. Over the years, this meant building out support of Tournamatch so that you can use it with any CMS system written in PHP. As of today, the exact same source code in Tournamatch works on WordPress, phpBB, PHP-Nuke, and a couple others I’ve neglected to publicize. Like a library you include in your source code with a package manager, except at a larger scale and Tournamatch integrates well enough in each system to appear native.

My ambition to support every customer’s needs has had consequences. In none of those systems does Tournamatch integrate the way the system was designed to use plugins. This has been a challenging hill to climb, especially in WordPress. Too often my time is spent overcoming these challenges instead of building or growing the software. In WordPress for example, the biggest issues standing in front of us right now plugin compatibility, distribution, and localization. Neither of those issues exist if Tournamatch were a native WordPress plugin instead of bridge to another PHP-powered CMS.

I’ve evaluated solutions to these glaring issues for well over a year. The best solution I keep coming back to is to build a native plugin. I’ve been reluctant to pull the trigger on this because it means dropping support for our other systems. This is a tough decision, but it’s important for the health of this project to focus on just one system in the near term future. All development resources moving forward are focused on making a truly native Tournamatch solution for WordPress. I’ll provide more details soon. In the meantime, know that if you are on WordPress, you shouldn’t be impacted. Your experience moving forward should only improve. If you are using one of the other systems, consider switching to WordPress. The copy that you have will continue to work on non-WordPress websites, but we will no longer offer technical support or updates for those other systems.

Thank you always for the support, and we apologize to the folks that will be excluded by this decision. We’re excited about the future and hope you’ll make the switch to grow with us. Cheers!

Reviewing 2018

At the beginning of 2018, our goal was to push out one update per month. We just missed that mark with only ten updates. Several changes required more time to build and test; so, the additional time was warranted. Of course, we could have released something just to hit my goal. We instead favored meaningful updates so to not waste your time patching over nothing.

What wasn’t always obvious is that we took on a major refactoring project in each new feature or change with a specific mission in mind. Those efforts will begin to come together in 2019. We already have a post detailing our goals for 2019 written and it should be released next week. Before that, I’d like to look back and recap our major improvements in 2018.

  • Ten new software updates.
  • Added support for manually seeding a tournament and seeding a tournament from a ladder.
  • Added support for limiting bracket size.
  • Added several bracket management features including replacing competitors, advancing competitors, clearing disputes, and confirming results.
  • We completely overhauled the email system with 18 new messages and notifications, beautifully formatted emails, and support for using SMTP and WordPress email system.
  • Added support for a new blind challenge mode.
  • Improved the cleanliness and layout of ladder standings, ladder and tournament lists, and tournament brackets.
  • Added new filters for Games, Ladders, and Tournaments.
  • Added new tools for “resetting” data post install testing and checking email settings.
  • Added support for users to upload their own avatar and administrators to upload game images.
  • Added new configuration options like disabling draws throughout the site and setting attachment file types.
  • Significantly improved automated test coverage.

Thank you all for the support and contributions through your feature requests, bug reports, and suggestions.

Version 2.20 Released

It took a bit of extra time, but version 2.20 is finally here. Development for this update actually started back in August. We’ve been looking forward to this release for quite a while because it focuses on an area that needed the most attention: tournament brackets.

Matches from tournaments now appear on the match list page and you can see match details just like you could with ladder matches. A link to get to the match details is available via the three little ellipses on the brackets page. In addition to the “View Match Details” link, users who are participating in the tournament will have appropriate “confirm” and “report” options.

Confirm Result

Administrators who are logged in will have various options depending on the state of the given match. If a match has a pending dispute or result, you can “clear” that result so that a user may correctly report a match. You can also advance a user to the next round and confirm reported matches for the users from this drop down. Finally, an admin may replace any player or team with another competitor also participating in a tournament. Note that this behavior is not recursive meaning it only affects that one match. You will need to replace that competitor any where applicable.

Result Pending

Along with new features to tournament brackets, we adopted the tabbed style sub navigation on tournament and ladder pages. General tournament info is displayed at the top of each page and the specific (rules, standings, registered, brackets, etc) is displayed below.

This release also added support for filtering the game list and ladder list pages by Platform. Just specify the platform in the URL to filter accordingly.

Please use the same download link to retrieve the latest version and open a ticket or email if you run into any issues.

Version 2.19 Released

We released the an update today (version 2.19). This is a relatively minor release with a handful of bug fixes and a couple new features. From Tournamatch Admin, there is a new “Tools” page that allows you to Purge Data and also to Send Test Emails. Purge data is useful for when you are organizing and tweaking the software initially. Once happy with how everything is setup, you may use the Purge Data tool to clear match, challenge, ladder, tournament, teams and individuals’ win-loss records. This will not remove configured games, maps, or delete settings. You must be a super admin to perform this action.

You may use Send Test Emails to verify SMTP or PHP mail() settings are correct.

You should use the original download link to retrieve the latest version or send an email to support@tournamatch.com for a new one.

Individual Team Record

There is no “I” in team. You’ve probably heard that cliché so many times you’re preparing to strike that back button if this turns into another retina-detaching eye-rolling message. This is not one of those messages. No, there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in Individuals Team Record. The version 2.18 release added a new feature that permits you to track the career and team records separately for individuals.

Before this update, an individual’s record was solely determined by his or her player’s performance. When enabled, you may record the individuals who participated in a team match. The player’s overall record is displayed separate his single’s ladder record on his profile:

Player profile showing singles and overall win-loss record.

Player profile showing singles and overall win-loss record.

Over on the team profile page, you can also view the records of members on the roster. Note that this will display the player’s record relevant to that team’s competition only:

Team roster displaying individual's team record.

Team roster displaying individual’s team record.

This setting is useful for communities where you permit a team to have “extras” on their roster and encourage competitors to reuse existing teams. You can enable or disable this feature in the Ladder Settings section in Tournamatch Admin > General Settings:

team_individual_records_03

The setting is disabled by default.

Version 2.18 Released

This release blog is a two-for-one, as I failed to write one for the previous update. We added a couple new features in the last two updates. In the most recent version (version 2.18), there are 18 new email notifications for various admin and user actions. See below for a concise list:

New email notifications in Tournamatch 2.18.

New email notifications in Tournamatch 2.18.

In addition, the email system received an overall makeover. Tournamatch no longer uses plain text emails but HTML-standard compliant messages that look quite nice on gmail and other popular email clients. Most email messages also include a link with button for the main desired outcome, such as approving a petition, confirming a match, etc. Several minor bugs introduced in version 2.17 were also released as well as another which affected the loser’s bracket when check-ins were used.

Earlier this month, we released a version 2.17 update which mainly focused on the individual team members records. Tournament results now affect a team/individual’s career records. If enabled, you can also choose to record the individual players that competed on team matches. This is useful if you have one team with more members than what is actually required for a match. More details in another post to come.

You can find a detailed list of changes in the release notes. Please use your existing download link to grab the latest. Thanks!