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Latest news and updates.

Reviewing 2020

The year 2020 was like no other for a lot of us. When I look back, I can’t help but think about the World of Warcraft achievement, What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been. This is one of my favorite WoW achievements. Each special event has to be completed for an entire year to earn it; so, you not only have to invest a lot of time, but also consistently. This year-long journey of unique challenges could also describe this past year. Whether it was adjusting to a work from home atmosphere, publishing new updates, or working in uncharted development territory; the year was a long consistent grind.

I’m quite pleased with what we were able to accomplish in 2020. We released 16 updates covering: privacy, security, better appearance for BootStrap, many new shortcodes, 6 new widgets, new team management options and tools for admins, new tournament management features, an entirely new player dashboard, completely reworked the match reporting and confirmation screens for consistency, added support for custom player profile and social icon fields, updated FontAwesome to use version 5, updated the database to support MySQL 8, and improved almost ever page with asynchronous behavior. We also hired our first (non-family) employee! And while we didn’t quite get as far as I hoped we would, we kept busy and improved the software significantly.

This year should be exciting for us. I have some ambitious goals again this year for Tournamatch. My primary focus is to replace all of our proprietary database tables with custom post types. The end result is software which may be more easily integrated with other WordPress plugins and the ability to develop new Tournamatch features more quickly. There are quite a bit of indirect advantages of this change – too many to hash out here. Almost all of our work over the last 1.5 years has centered around this ultimate change. I think we’ll get there this year. I sincerely appreciate the patience while we take care of some important backend business.

If I could tweak my achievement for 2020, I’d shorten it to just, “What a Long Trip it’s Been.” And I should emphasize that I am now completely okay with long. This past year has taught me that long is fine. Terrific. I honestly hope for many more long slow-moving years. Time goes by too quick and there isn’t enough time left in the universe for me to spend with Little Tournamatch. Twenty-twenty also marked a tragic year for my family; our second child, Jayden, was born in June and experienced several complications which ultimately led to his passing eight days after birth. Life is a precious gift and much too short.

Thank you for your support in 2020, and take care.

Admins may manually add players to teams.

Version 3.19 Released

Tournamatch version 3.19 is now available.

Highlights

  • Improved match management
  • Improved security of i18n/i10n translations
  • Added ability for an admin to add players to teams
  • Added ability for admin to add players or teams to tournaments
  • Reduced plugin size

Improved Match Management

Match management for users now requires fewer pages and clicks to save and confirm. In addition, the match report and confirm pages for ladders and tournaments are now identical. Tournaments now also have the ability to rate the opponent, report team match players, report scores, and attach files.

Improved Security for i18n/i10n

All i18n translations have been properly escaped in version 3.19. This security vulnerability is only relevant if you use a Tournamatch language translation file written by another [nefarious] user.

Admin Team Management

This update includes a new ability for admins to manually add players to teams. To do this, you must be logged in as admin and view the team profile page for whichever team you wish to modify. The input box to enter a player name is located below the team roster table.

Admin Tournament Registration

Another new admin feature in this update is the ability for admins to manually add players or teams to an event. This may be done via the backend Tournament Administration screen. Click on the users icon on the line corresponding to the tournament for which you wish to add competitors.

Reduced Plugin Size

One of the primary focuses this year was to remove all third-party source code dependencies. We finally achieved this milestone in version 3.19.0. As a result, the plugin size is approximately 58% smaller than before. This change isn’t just about download size. Removing third party code libraries means less exposure to potential code vulnerabilities in packages not maintained by the WordPress community.

Add players to a tournament in bulk via email.

Version 3.18 Released

Tournamatch version 3.18 is now available.

Highlights

  • New admin bulk registration
  • New leave ladder option for users
  • Edit profile password fields
  • FontAwesome upgraded to 5
  • Numerous bug fixes

New Admin Bulk Registration

You may now populate tournaments in bulk from a list of email addresses using the new admin bulk registration feature. This is a tremendously helpful feature for admins running fully-managed events. We should have a comprehensive guide for setting up this type of solution in the days to come.

New Leave Ladder Option for Users

When enabled, users may now leave a ladder. A user would previously have to request an admin to remove them from a ladder. Keep in mind that this will erase any ladder standings data associated with this user. Allowing users to leave may result in standings reset abuse; however, we added this feature anyways at the request of many customers. The option is disabled by default.

Edit Profile Password Fields

Users now never need to touch the WordPress user dashboard. One of the best parts about WordPress is how easy it is to completely transform the appearance of a website using templates. Unfortunately, templates don’t typically touch the WordPress Dashboard section. Before version 3.18, a user would previously have to leave the “styled” website and visit the user dashboard to reset his or her password. This is no longer necessary because edit profile screen now also includes the edit password field.

FontAwesome Upgraded to 5

Front end screens now use FontAwesome 5. FontAwesome 5 supports thousands more icons than version 4, including countless brand icons. This change should be mostly transparent to your community. The biggest immediate advantage is that site admins now have more branded icons for custom player profile icons.

Bug Fixes

A big part of this release was focused on bug fixing. Tournamatch should work as expected – better than it ever has! Please open a support ticket or shoot us an email if you ever run into any issues.

Version 3.17 Released

Tournamatch version 3.17 is now available.

Highlights

  • Clone ladder and tournament events
  • Host Tournamatch as a child page
  • Full Admin i18n
  • New options and filters

Clone Ladder and Tournament Events

Creators of multi-region events rejoice! You can clone an existing ladder or tournament which will create a new event with an edited titled and the exact same settings as the event cloned. The icon to accomplish this is located in the all ladder/all tournament screen.

Clone ladder or tournament link.

Clone ladder or tournament link.

Host Tournamatch as a Child page

Hosting Tournamatch in a child directory (child page) is now possible and works as expected. There is no additional setting to use this feature. Tournamatch now correctly determines the correct URL path and behaves as expected. Hooray for ‘just works’!

Full Admin i18n

The administrative section in Tournamatch is now fully internationalization (i18n) compatible. An updated .pot file has also been included for your localization (l10n) pleasure.

New Options and Filters

There is a new option to disable the extra double elimination match for tournaments in version 3.17. When the winner of the winner’s side faces off against the top seeded player from the loser’s bracket, a win for the first seed ends the tournament. If the first seed loses, then an extra match is necessary to determine the winner because this is that competitors first loss. This new option will disable that match for those that wish to do so.

In addition, you may also now filter the email messages Tournamatch sends to users and admins. A complete list of messages may be found here and steps to add a filter are here.

Version 3.16 Released

Tournamatch version 3.16 is now available.

Highlights

  • Custom player profile social icon fields.
  • Custom player profile text fields.
  • Online Statistics Widget
  • More Asynchronous behavior
  • Match table CSS

Custom Player and Player Social icon fields

What a long overdue but excited to finally have feature. In 3.16, it’s now possible to extend the available player profile fields your users may input for both the social icons and the text-displayed items. You can do this by hooking into two new WordPress filters. Using these two new filters allows you to make these customizations *without* losing your changes on subsequent updates. The plan is to expand upon this filter in the future with additional functionality, but the basics for simple text or social icons is set and shouldn’t change. We updated our documentation
to demonstrate how to extend both filters, so check it out.

Online Statistics Widget

New Online Statistics Widget

New Online Statistics Widget

A new widget which displays online user and visitor activity is now available. This neat little widget displays data about recently registered users, guest and registered user visitor information, and which users are currently online.

More Asynchronous Behavior

We continued our initiative to rewrite as many pages as possible to behave asynchronously. In this update, player profile, team profile, and competitor check were all updated. The end goal here is to reduce the amount of front end code and front end logic (outside of JavaScript) which will make it easier to template everything.

Match table CSS

Player and team profile match history now also includes table row CSS for wins and losses you may style. Using WordPress -> Customize Appearance -> Additional CSS, you can color the rows to indicate win, losses, and draws.

Use CSS to color wins, losses, or ties on player and team profile pages.

Use CSS to color wins, losses, or ties on player and team profile pages.

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.