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Road to 1.0: The end if nigh!

AUTHORS NOTE: This is the final Road to 1.0 article. Thanks for following along on this journey through coding this mod. Development of the 1.0 version of the mod ceases Monday the 26th. Here's hoping we see some great Fantasy Leagues out there in the OOTP online community.

What began as a test to see if I could hack and incorporate standard scoring fantasy points for players on the Player Metrics page in StatsLab X has turned into a long and challenging side project that is finally about to conclusion. Exactly 18 months (and now two weeks) from the date the project started, the Final 1.0 version of OOTP Fantasy Baseball Leagues will be released on Monday September 26, 2011!

It's hard for me to fathom how far this little project has come from the initial build I previewed to a select group of OOTP communality members (E.G. The PEBA) last year nor how much has gone into creating, testing and revising it since. But at long last, the end of the 1.0 development cycle is almost at hand.

A long strange trip

I wanted to know what it would be like to see my longtime NABL solo league players in applied in a fantasy based environment. I got an eighteen month obsession that has dominated most of my free time. This process has seen me walk through the birth of my third child, change jobs, start and flame shamefully out of the PEBA and other assorted real life events. But I truly think the final result and the experience coding the mod has been worth the stress and loss of sleep. In addition to growing my skills in PHP and CodeIgniter, I've also expanded the scope of technical understanding in a few important areas:

  • JQuery and AJAX – Jquery has become one of the most popular JavaScript libraries out there and having an intimate working knowledge of this powerful yet elegant library has really helped move my career along. I dove into working with Ajax with The Comic Rack and further expanded on that with the fantasy league project
  • Further experience in UNIX server administration. Simming and pushing OOTP updates to a web server when not running an online league can be a bit tedious and time consuming. Thanks to a couple shell scripts, this process is pretty straightforward now. And my UNIX knowledge has grown further as well.
  • A better understanding and respect for number crunching – OOTP is all about the numbers. Lots and lots of them. I quickly learned some new techniques to speed processing of stats and more efficient ways to query them as well. This leads me to…
  • A greater understanding of a technology I've been using for 14+ years, SQL. Reviewing Frank's Esselinks' StatsLab code showed me better ways to query and work with huge amount of OOTP data efficiently though some of the most complex queries I've ever written. It's helping me in my day to day work understanding and working with my code writing and problem solving tasks for X Plus One.
  • Git and Github – I had previously pushed my ActionScript library FoxR to Github, but had yet to really dive in wholeheartedly and run a project using the site. Thanks to OOFL, I'm a huge Git and Github fan and can name it as a core competency.

My roll call of thanks

Projects like this one do not happen in a vacuum or encompass just one person. So here are some of the people who have helped make this mod what it is today.

  • Frank Esselink – Author of StatsLab. This is THE must have online league mod for OOTP and gave me a starting point from which to craft my code. Frank graciously allowed me to borrow his work and adapt it into my own and I say thanks for providing me with an excellent starting place. I hope you find things in my work you can apply back to future versions of StatsLab as well.
  • John Rodriguez – Commissioner of the PEBA and OOTP Community Leader – I came to know John working closely with him on the OOTP Beta team, as commissioner of my short lived stint with the PEBA and as a leader in testing this mod. He is a passionate and dedicated fan of this game and his league is #1 in my books amongst active OOTP Online Leagues. He brings passion, dedication and competence to anything he participates in. Without John's help, this mod would only be a shell of what it is today and honestly might not have never seen even it’s inital 1.0 beta release last fall. So thank you for you passions, dedication and evangalism, John.
  • The Beta Testers – Many member of John's PEBA league and other OOTP community members have contributed time, thoughts and bug reports for the mod. These include:
    • Pete Grassi
    • Mike Topham
    • Tyler Babcock
    • Kevin Lewis
    • Paul Tanner
    • Bill McKenzie
    • James Konopka
    • Robbie Wartburg
    • William “Bill” Thomas

  • Markus Heinsolm and Andreas Raht – Without the immense efforts of these two guys and their supporting team, there would be no OOTP Fantasy mod because there would be no Out of the Park Baseball game. Since I converted my baseball simming with OOTP 5 game, it has transformed my understanding of baseball and increased my enjoyment of the game tenfold. So thanks guys for making, in my and others opinions, the best and most addictive sports sim game on the planet.
  • Lastly, I dedicate the final 1.0 release to two baseball fans that we lost this past summer.
    • Eugene Huber – My father-in-law and a dedicated New York Mets fan who passed quite suddenly and unexpectedly this summer. Gene and I never saw eye to eye when it came to who should be top dog in the National League every year (yes, I insisted it be the Giants) but he had a passion for sports (golf and tennis being other favorites) and was a proud and loving grandfather to all his grandkids. His passing has left an irreplaceable hole in our family.
    • Bill Thomas (kagnew76 on the OOTP forums) was a highly respected and liked member of the OOTP community who also died this summer. Bill was an energetic beta tester of the original alpha preview and made his chat room available for our original live draft sessions last summer.

OK, it's live. Now what?

Well after 18 months of coding the fantasy baseball mod, it's time to PLAY some fantasy baseball! As the regular MLB season winds down, I hope to see OOTP online leagues spinning up their fantasy web sites and starting to get some competitive play going. I for one look forward to the challenge and see how some online GMs (and maybe some solo players) get their leagues going.

Keep watch here on this mod website or the official OOTP forums thread for news and updates on future plans and developments.

Support

Having an issue downloading, installing or using the mod? Technical support is available for the mod on the community forums Technical Support thread. Maybe you think you’ve found a bug? Use the Bugs thread in the Development forum. If you’re sure you’ve got one, you can submit it using the convinient online bug submission tool.

I thank the OOTP community for their gracious support in what has been a challenging but worthwhile endeavor for me. I hope everyone gets as much out of playing the mod as I have from working on it. Enjoy, let me know your thoughts and feedback and lets PLAYBALL!

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 and the Commissioners Guide 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.

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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