The Northumberland Grading & Ranking System was set up in 2004 by Aram Dedeyan and Andrew McGill with the goal of increasing tournament participation through tournaments targeted at particular grades of player. Tournament participation has increased by over 300% in that time.
In order to track players results and improvement we needed to able to record all match scores taking place in all local tournaments and the Northumberland leagues. This page outlines how the technology has evolved over time to achieve that goal. Since the system went live in 2004 over 4200 league matches and 40000 individual matches have been recorded, and there are over 1400 players currently in the database.
The 2016 update is now complete, we no longer require flash player to view rankings and tables, or to submit and approve results. The new pages are now available in the main site menu and an email will soon be sent around detailing the changes. It will now be possible to input league results from your mobile phone, and hopefully receive near instant match approval from the away team captain!
2016 Summer Updates
After many false starts I finally decided to revamp the presentation tier as reliance on flash player is completely unacceptable in 2016. This will also allow results to be entered quickly from mobile devices potentially speeding up result entry even more.
Initial work focused on using jQuery but I wasn’t happy with the output, so I decided to start again from scratch. The current work is using Angular, Angular Material, Bootstrap, npm & Bower, with a Grunt based build process. The data and application tiers are unchanged at the moment. The goal at the moment is to remove all reliance on legacy flash player technology for the start of the new season, before considering any further changes.
In 2009 the system was rewritten from scratch to improve the service to players and to take the burden of result entry away from the administrators. As I was learning and using Adobe (now Apache) Flex at work I chose to use this for the presentation tier, to help further my knowledge and understanding of the platform. This was then combined with a MySQL database for the data tier and a lightweight PHP application tier.
Clubs were able to input their own league match scores and once approved by the away team results would automatically be included in live league tables and rankings. This saved administrators from having to enter approximately 350 league matches and over 3000 individual matches over the course of a season.
Examples of these legacy pages include:
2004 – Early Days
To get the system off the ground, I converted an existing Lotus Notes database I had created as part of the organising committee for an international student badminton tournament that was held in Newcastle from 2002 – 2005. The database held details on all registered players and clubs in the Northumberland Leagues, and had forms to allow easy entry of league matches and tournament results. Once the database was ready the results from the previous 2 seasons were inputted to validate the system.
The database was entirely offline, and every month I would run a script that would output static html pages with the latest results. These static pages were then uploaded to the NBA website. League results could only be entered after the traditional match card had been received in the post by the league secretary, and all results were entered by a few administrators, placing quite a large time burden upon them. Results were often quite far behind and the rankings were not always up to date as a result of this.