For the past few weeks, I have been working on creating and refining a new Sports Day System and felt I should publish some of the things I have learnt from creating the project.
To explain the need for the system, I first have to give a little bit of background to explain how sports day operated previously at Clevedon School. Everything used to be paper-based. As events would complete, the results, positions, names of students, year groups, genders, and the event type would all have to be written on a piece of paper. Then the paper would be passed along to a runner. After several minutes, it would then make its way from the field back indoors so manual copying into a large excel document could take place.
All the qualifiers would take place in the morning. But an actual headache started to occur when the names of the finalists for afternoon events would have to be run back out to the staff so they could call the right people. This caused problems with data as it needed to be in two places at once. All very inefficient and time-consuming.
So, I thought the process could be simplified. During one computing lesson alongside Cody Isaac, we set out to design a new system which could cope with the challenges that were being faced and within two weeks, we had a demonstrable system for testing.
Firstly, the system is (on the user end) a web-based interface where staff can input the results with many validation routines to ensure no mistakes are made. After, it is imported into a database. The “processing team” then have another interface where they can download CSV formatted excel documents which automatically format the data which allows for it to be easily transferred out of the online system into an excel document for calculations to take place.
Then for the afternoon events, staff could access their own dashboard to see the names of finalists which should be competing in afternoon events to prevent the running around and getting data messy.
Looking back at the project, it was slightly rushed due to our deadline of getting the system finished and ready for Sports Day. Although given the circumstances, it has been functioning better than expected through system testing and hopefully will function as expected when it is depended on.
Opposed to any system I’ve previously worked, this one was highly different in terms of both the modularity of the system and the thought put in behind the procedures.
With the project consisting of 3 main systems (the interface, Excel document, and database), the extra thought put in highly reduced the dependency on each system and should anything go wrong with either of the systems, there are worst-case scenarios put in place that could replace either of the 3 systems.
The procedures were also thought about in a way which allowed for less dependency on server-side processing. In this case, most of the validation is performed client-side and within the excel document hence there shouldn’t be any issues in terms of concurrently handling network requests.