Launching the New Overtime Central

As promised, the new Overtime Central is here. After ceasing development of the old site in 2005, I took a year to examine what I wanted to do with the site, whether abandon it and move on to other projects or rewrite it in a new framework or something else. The decision came when over the past 9 months the contest code for the site was rewritten into a plugin for the WordPress CMS software in use at Overtime Central. Despite some setbacks delaying the launch by a couple months, I am happy to launch the new Overtime Central for the 2007 CFL season. The new Overtime plugin, as it has been named, was written modular, accepting plugins of its own, allowing me to drop in new contest types easily with no affect on the rest of the site. This type of ease of use and flexibility is what I have been wanting to build for the last 10 years.

The code is not ready for release yet. It could take another year to fully test the code, clean up and standardize some of the legacy code, complete the administration interface and develop some more contests. However, the plan is to release the Overtime plugin as open source (exact license to be determined) so anyone can use it to operate their own contests on their site, customize it and add their own contest plugins.

With that news out of the way, what about something our regular readers are interested in? Here is a list of changes in the new Overtime Central.

  • Redesigned and styled site with a more uniform look and feel.
  • New forums for contests and other sports discussions.
  • Unified login system for blog comments, contest login and forum posting.
  • Fixed the bug in Performance History where it would show the end total for Month points for each Week rather than the running total. (That has been bugging me for a while.)
  • Data conversion of all previous contests, excluding cancelled contests.
  • New contests! To trial our new contest plugin infrastructure, I have added a Hi-Lo contest and Starter Draft.
  • Ability to have private and public contests.
  • Many other fixes to bugs and other inconsistencies.

I am far from done yet. With some help (thanks Cin) I have performed extensive testing, and am confident with the critical pick saving abilities of the code. Some more real life testing will have to be done on contest updates, notifications, etc. once we are under way. There are also some features that are missing, incomplete or still need some work. Here is what I plan to add this summer.

  • Reworked advanced Poll feature, allowing multiple choice and better review of the results.
  • RSS feed for your entry which includes contest forum posts and results.
  • Additional interface design and style tweaks.
  • Return of the account balance view, with fees owing and prizes won information.
  • Monitoring performance and tweaking when necessary.

In the long term I have more features planned.

  • PayPal integration for payment.
  • Additional contest types, like board pools.
  • Hockey contests returning!
  • A return of the League feature, for private groups to compare results.
  • Hosting private contests for others. (Long, long term.)

As you can tell, I am beaming like a new father. To celebrate this “alpha” launch in 2007, I will be chipping in extra prizes for all contests this year. I have not decided exactly the make up yet, but I will publish the details later in June. This is to express a big thanks to all those who have participated and stuck with Overtime Central over the years.

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