Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Features: Aliases, Cities, RSS Feeds, Stats

Hey Folks --

Just wanted to let everyone know about some new features I added to the site:

Aliases. Game owners now have the option to use an alias instead of a game ID. This works for linking to your game as well as for logging in:

You can still use your game ID if you'd like, but I thought an alias would be easier to remember and more search engine-friendly.

Cities. There are now city-specific links to certain regions of the map:

The list of cities is pretty small right now because I'm inputting them manually, but I will add more as I get a chance. Hopefully this will let the webmasters of city and region-specific websites link to their city on the site so they don't have to keep tabs on all the local pickup games in their area. If you don't see your city on the list you can help me add it by finding the center latitude/longitude and sending me an email or posting on the blog. You can use this site to find the coordinates.

All games RSS feed. I added an all-games RSS feed so others can use the data on the site. Also hopefully it will help to increase search engine traffic to games. The feed is here.

Stats Page. Finally I added a stats page. It's pretty basic and could use some more styling, but I needed a place to list the cities and thought the game data might be interesting. I'm hoping for this page to evolve more in the future.

The site is still growing, albeit slower than when it first launched. It would be nice to get more of an international precense; I think I'll take a sign to Paganello and try to get some exposure there.

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me emails, left comments on the blog, or joined the Facebook group; I appreciate your interest. Feel free to keep giving me feedback and don't forget to share the site with your friends :)


-- Chris

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Initial Feedback - Wow!

Hey Folks --

Wow! The initial response to the site has been nothing short of phenomenal; I never imagined it would grow so quickly so fast. The feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you all so much for the kind words about the site; I appreciate it more than you know :)

I have received some questions and suggestions for improvement to the site. Let me go over some of the more commons ones here:

What are you going to do about inactive games? How are you going to keep the data on the map up to date?

If a game has not been updated in 4 or 6 months (I haven't decided which yet) then I'm going to send an email to the game coordinator asking if the game is still active. That email will have a one-click link in it that allows the game owner to refresh the game for another X months. If the email goes unanswered for 2 weeks, then the game will either automatically be deleted or moved into an "inactive games" bucket (I haven't decided this either). Of course nobody knows about this feature yet because it hasn't been X months yet ;)

Have you heard of

I had seen briefly a few years ago, but not anytime recently. I've had it in my head to do this with pickup games ever since I made a map for the Houston Ultimate Community's website.

What does this mean for the UPA's pickup page?

It doesn't mean anything right now :) I haven't contacted anyone at the UPA yet, but I think I will soon. Which leads into my next question . . .

This is great, but there are already places on the Internet for this. I don't want to have to update my game in more than one place!

Good point; I agree completely. My attitude toward this is in the spirit of greater community benefit, so I'm all ears for collaboration. The webmaster of already contacted me and I think I'll be working with him to collaborate game information and possibly some future projects. Basically I want to do the best thing possible for the Ultimate community; not try and compete or squeeze anyone out. More on this as I have more information.

As far as the site is concerned: no major problems. I did fix a small display bug in IE and made a few tweaks to the edit page as I saw how people interpreted the input fields (ie: by "Facilities" I really meant "Fields". I don't think people care if there are bathrooms at your game ;) The server has handled the increase in traffic without blinking an eye and noone has reported any major technical errors so far.

For those who are curious about how many games are on the site I set up a small status page mostly for my own reference: (update: this information can now be found on the stats page). I may turn this into a full-blown "Stats" tab on the main page if it generates enough interest. As of this writing there are 148 active games and 3 comments. I don't think people are all that interested in the comments functionality so far. Maybe people don't understand it?

I also appreciate how many people have said they shared the site with others. If you like the site the best thing you can do to support it is to share it with the community. The more people who know about the site the more useful it will be. Keep forwarding those emails; I'm going to make a Facebook fan page tonight so it can spread through that social network. Edit:

Thanks again for all the positive emails; your feedback makes my day :)

-- Chris

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Hey Folks --

The time has come; the site is ready to go public!

I going to send out the email to the UPA list soon and then once some games get added I'm going to start spreading the word as best I can throughout the broader Ultimate community.

I would like to give a quick thank you to all the people who gave me ideas and feedback while the site was in development. I won't list them here (you know who you are), but your suggestions made the site what it is. You all have my gratitude.

As always; feel free to post here with any feedback you may have. Let's hope no one finds any bugs ;)

-- Chris

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Open for Testing

Hey Folks --

The site is ready and open for testing. Feel free to add a game and see how the process works. Don't worry if your game isn't real; you can always delete it later. Also I will probably purge the database one more time before the site goes live for real (ie: I advertise it to anyone).

At this point I estimate the site's functionality is around 95% and style is nearing 100%. I welcome any feedback you may have on any aspect of the site: user interface, design, ease of use, speed, etc. I am especially interested in anything you do that may have been confusing or not easy to understand; I want this site to be as easy to use as possible for first-time guests. Please let me know if you find any bugs.


-- Chris

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Starting a Blog

Hey Folks --

I decided to start a blog for the site. This is primarily for 2 reasons:

1. I didn't want to write any custom blogging or news features and I didn't want to host any blogging software on the server.

2. I wanted to provide an easy way to give feedback on the site. Feel free to make comments here with your suggestions or thoughts.


-- Chris