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Road To 1.0: Despite the quiet, development marches on

The Road to 1.0 is a series of articles chronicling the journey of this mod from conception to full 1.0 release. Follow the OOTP Fantasy leagues Development Blog at: http://www.ootpfantasyleagues.com/category/development/.

It's been a while since the last development update, but that's not really due to inactivity, just a lack of time to make actual blog posts. But I plan to start adding some more insight into the 1.0.5 development and beta process as we wind down towards a final 1.0 (non beta) release this fall. The Road to 1.0 continues and this is the home stretch of preparations for the big release.

1.0.5 Beta is coming in one week!

I've been announcing and moving the release date for 1.0.5 for several months, but now that the bug list is cleared, 1.0.5 is ready to go. The new official release date for 1.0.5 will be Monday, July 18, 2011. Included in this release will be:

  • 1.0.5 Updates Including
    • Rotisserie Scoring Support
    • Trades
    • Revised Sim processing engine with sim summaries
    • Major Draft Enhancements and Bug Fixes
    • User Sign-up, activation and team request work flow improvements
    • Revamped email system
    • Major and Minor bug fixes
  • Updated Administrators Guide
  • New! Commissioners Guide

NOTE: Due to the number of major changes to the mod, there will be no patch upgrade from 1.0.3 or earlier versions to 1.0.5. A complete reinstall is the recommended upgrade method.

Dec-Jan: Hemming and hawing out a direction

Let's look back quickly to the beginning of 1.0.5 this past winter.

The scope of 1.0.5 was a bit of an internal struggle for me. On one hand, I really wanted to see the last big core fantasy feature included in the mod and ready for a final 1.0 release. This so that fantasy site owners had a complete set of features and a stable reliable build with which to run their fantasy games with.

On the other hand, I also really wanted to move forward with an architectural overhaul and upgrade to support better user administration, themes and a streamlined UI. The latter will likely be a 6-8 month project and require some big decisions on how the visual architecture will be structured.

Seeing how the mod is built using an MVC design (Model-View-Controller) architecture, I chose in favor of completing the full feature set to give myself more breathing room to rebuild the UI from the ground up. Coding the core functionality is smart because it is built independently of the UI, allowing flexibility on rebuilding the UI without requiring changes to the core functionality and behind the scenes logic. So while I was making some smaller fixes as part of 1.0.3, I laid the groundwork with technical plans to build the trades and rotisserie features.

The Development Cycle

As it stands, 1.0.5 is a pretty big update. Development took place from the beginning of February up until early April. I coded the new Trade and Rotisserie features and threw in a number of enhancements and bug fixes for good measure. Behind the scenes, a lot changed with the mod including a completely recoded sim processing engine that adds increased speed and efficiency and more importantly, summary logs that record the details of what happened during sim processing. As much work as went into that, the real work was still to come when we started beta testing.

April-June – Beta Testing & Back to the Basics

The members of the PEBA (Planetary Extreme Baseball Alliance) (especially John Rodriguez, the commissioner of the PEBA and Corsairs on the OOTP Forums) have been my beta testing team for much of this mod's life. Last summer at this time, we tested the very first builds and they helped shape many of the decisions that led to the first beta release on September 30, 2010. This time around, they've been just as helpful, if not even more so with their insightful feedback and loads of bug reports.

As eager as I was to get into testing the new features (and honestly play some actual fantasy baseball at last), I felt that given how much time had passed and development had been done since the last formal beta testing took place, one of the most important things we needed to do was proof the mod as a whole again. So we began the beta at the beginning, with everyone testing out the user signup, team request and account management features. This dominated the month of April and led to some very important fixes, and even some upgrades in the signup and team invite/request process.

Behind the scenes, there was also work done to shore up some weak points in the user management and messaging area as well. Recovering passwords, managing user activations, managing one's profile all received attention and upgrades.

Once we had sufficiently tested the user workflows, it was on to filling out the leagues and testing team management. We caught numerous bugs in this process as I continued to tweak and fix things behind the scenes as well. Luckily, this area was in pretty good shape, so we moved forward to the next big hurdle, the draft.

Egad, the Draft has some pretty big bugs

At this point, we ran into a bit of a break period as summer arrived in full force. I went on vacation with the family and came back to find myself unemployed (well shifted from full time to a consultant role as least). John helped rally the troops to schedule a live draft in early June. John put a positive spin on the nights results saying that while the draft didn't go all that well, we identified some issues that clearly needed addressing so the failure was worth it. I had a less that positive take given that neither of the two league drafts went as expected (one falling victim to an unwanted complete auto draft I couldn't readily back out of and the other just broke down when testers started time running out of time) and it generated a long list of bugs. Well, that's what beta testing is for right? So onto the list went the bugs.

Since then, things have stayed slow as I found and began ramping up on a new job. But as of the week before the July 4th holiday I climbed back on the horse and got moving with draft and other necessary bug fixes. I've reviewed issues related specifically to the draft (and there were plenty to say the least) and fixed some other small issues around the mod like AJAX request/response issues, some missing waivers features and cleaning up some repetitive/poorly documented code. A follow up live draft is planned for later this month and then a real live OOTP fantasy season begins. Once the trade and rotisserie features are fully tested, the mod goes gold to final 1.0.

You'll be able to read more in depth information about many of the changes to the mod and specifically the trade, rotisserie and draft features and development process in several upcoming “Road to 1.0” posts. Until then, you can browse the forums, catch up on past development posts here on the blog or even browse the live beta demo site at http://www.ootpfantasyleagues.com/fantasy/. The Road to 1.0 is starting to wind it's way to the end. Get ready for some real live OOTP Fantasy baseball very, very soon!

Get the mod today and start playing OOTP Fantasy baseball!

Download the latest stable release version from the official Download page. All the documentation you need is right there with the included Administrators Guide. New for 1.0.5 is the Commissioners Guide which includes all the instructions necessary to run your fantasy leagues.

Give Feedback

Sound off on the forums. Head over to the OOTP Fantasy Leagues forums to let us know your thoughts on the mod. Interact with other users and let us know if you're running an OOTP Fantasy League.

Contribute to the development

Hack the source!

OOTP Fantasy Leagues is a 100% free and open source project. The source code is publicly available on GitHub.com. If you want to contribute to the development, simply head over to the official Github page, fork the project, hack the code and send pull request with your updates.

Want to help test?

Testing assures everything works as expected and that everyone gets the best fantasy experience possible. You can request to join the OOTP Fantasy Beta team. You'll get access to join the beta demo season, access to the private development and beta testing topics on the mod forum and exclusive access to features and changes BEFORE they become public. Use the official contact form to request to join the team today

jfox015

Jeff Fox is an almost twenty year web front end/ digital user experience technology leader. He cut his teeth in the web's early days and has worked for fortune 100 companies, small startup agencies and several companies in between. In addition to being a passionate developer and technical speaker, Jeff is a dedicated tech and sci-fi geek gladly indulging in Doctor Who and Star Wars marathons. He is also a talented musician, writer and proud father of three little Foxies. And don't get him started about his San Francisco Giants.

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