Tourney Bracket Control 2.0 Released

posted on 01/13/06 at 08:22:36 pm by Joel Ross

I remember sitting on a flight from Detroit to Orlando next to Brian back in June. Well, I sort of remember it. I had been up all night at the hospital with our two month old, who had come down with something. She had a temperature, and with very young kids (less than three months old), that can be very serious. It turns out it wasn't serious, but still not something you mess around with.

Anyway, on the flight, our plan was to talk about how we could simplify the Tourney Bracket Control. We'd already decided that the "1.0 way" wasn't the best we could do and an easier way would be to generate rounds and games based purely on the number of competitors. Now, all we had to do was figure out how to do that! So we spent part of the flight talking about it. And by the time we were done talking, we figured out the logical algorithm to take the number of teams and figure out how many rounds and games you'd need. We even figured out how to determine where the bye games should go.

Then I slept.

We then spent a week at Tech Ed learning about .NET 2.0 and the newly planned features there. We decided the best course for the Tourney Bracket Control would be to make it a .NET 2.0 control. It would be a great learning experience with Visual Studio 2005 and .NET 2.0, and it would ensure that our software was on the latest and greatest platform.

On the way back, we formulated a plan to conquer it. I mocked up a CSS-based bracket layout (which was later partially abandoned) while?Brian worked on coding the algorithm.

Fast forward seven months. We're done! We've both been working nights and weekends to get this out, and we're very happy with how things turned out. I'll go into more technical details in posts to come, but for now, it's out there.

So what made it in the final version?

  • It's just plain easier!: This is the big one! You no longer have to worry about how the bracket should look. Or plan out your?groups, rounds?and match ups. You just tell?it how many teams you want, and it builds the bracket?for you.
  • CSS-based layout: We used to use a table approach, and while tables are still involved, it's not nearly as much as before. There's a few side effects of this change: First, the bracket no longer natively supports nice coloring and filling of rounds with specific colors. Before, you could specify a group or round to have a certain appearance, and that's no longer supported. Why did we think that was acceptable? Because, using your own CSS, you'll be able to go in and create any type of coloring you want (see the advanced styling sample for a look at?what's possible now).
  • Databinding: We wanted to do this with 1.0, but never got around to it. With 2.0, you can now take a collection of competitors, and bind it to the Tourney Bracket Control. The Tourney Bracket Control will then use those teams to create the layout.
  • Pricing: We now have a professional licensing system instead of our homegrown system we were using. There are many benefits to the new licensing. First, because we can create all kinds of different limits, we are able to offer it to hobbiests for a very reasonable price - pricing starts at $19.99. But, it's flexible enough that it can also handle large installations easily too. The other benefit (and this is for both Tourney Logic and you!) is that licensing is automatic. Before, it required human intervention, and you were gauranteed a license within 48 hours. Now, once we receive confirmation of payment, you'll get an email with the licensing instructions included! I'm being intentionally vague here. It will either be attached or as a download. I'm not working on that part, so I'm not sure.
  • And more: There are a ton of other new things in this. It's basically almost a?complete rewrite, and we fixed everything that we didn't like about the original. It renders faster. It self-validates results. It can even make toast! Ok. No toast. But there's a lot there that's new!

We are missing one glaring feature: double elimination. It's something that everyone's been clamoring for, and it's coming! We're actually very, very close. I had it almost working (the end of the tourney was giving me a hard time - when the losing and winning brackets come back together), but we ran out of time. We backed out those features and solidified the Tourney Bracket Control for release. Double elimination is coming, I promise. But not until this summer.

What timeframe did we run up against? The Tourney Pool Manager. We need to get that upgraded to the new Tourney Bracket Control and get that ready to go. March Madness isn't that far away!

Anyway, after a lot of hard work, it's out! Go download it now - there's a 30 day trial!

Technorati Tags: | | |

Categories: Develomatic