History

Excel on one computer

The genesis of OnTheDay.net was in 2003 with Richard Brockie volunteering to run registration at the Fremont Freewheelers criterium that year. He remembers a comment by Casey Kerrigan that the list of USAC licensed riders was available to race promoters. This prompted Richard to think about ways in which a list of pre-registered riders could be combined with riders who day enter.

As a programming exercise, Richard created an Excel macro which was used with success by the Fremont Freewheelers for several races.

Excel on multiple computers

However, a single point of data entry causes significant time pressure on the one person at the keyboard when the start list must be in the hands of the officials before a category starts.

For 2006, Richard re-wrote the Excel macro to allow multiple networked computers running the macro to access & share the same data files.

Though cumbersome to set up, this approach lifted the data entry bottleneck. With up to 3 people entering data simultaneously, data entry at the 2006 & 2007 Fremont Criteriums was much improved.

Website

To get round the problem of the cumbersome setup required for multiple machines using the Excel macro, Richard started thinking about re-writing the application to place it behind a web interface and run it on a single computer.

The original thought was to host a webserver as part of a temporary network set up at race registration, but again, this would require significant time to setup and configure.

Smartphone web-app

The real breakthrough in concept occurred in November 2009. Richard purchased an iPhone at an Apple store and noticed that Apple’s staff were using iPod touches with card readers as their point of sale devices.

The concept crystallized: smartphones or other similar devices provide 2 things in one convenient package, Internet connectivity and a method of data entry – let’s use them!

OnTheDay.net is the result – a smartphone optimized web-app for management and publication of race data and results at bicycle races.

Posted November 1st, 2010 by OTDadmin
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