JudgeApps Updates – August 2018

Hello everyone and welcome to the JudgeApps update for August. This month we have only a small number of updates thanks to the ongoing efforts to upgrade Django to version 2.1, and migrating our system to new and hardware. We also have updates relating to the new TLTP role, and a few upgrades to our ability to answer your problems quickly.

When it comes to judges who already hold a TLC, upon a successful completion of a TLTP panel that certification will be automatically upgraded to the TLTP certification.

Site Upgrades

Over the past few months, we’ve been working on moving the entire magicjudges.org family of sites to new infrastructure. We’re happy to report this is now done, and the JudgeApps family of sites is now hosted on Amazon Web Services instances administered by Dan Collins and Paul Baranay.

Moving our infrastructure has allowed us to upgrade to the latest versions of Linux, Python, PHP, and various other systems; and we’re looking forward to making other improvements in the future. The migration was done during the scheduled downtime on August 24th. The change caused a few issues with creating new accounts for the site for a short while, but everything seems to be in order at the moment.

One example of the benefits of this new infrastructure is the Judge Map. Some combination of outdated software on our old server was preventing us from accessing the Google Maps API. With that problem resolved, we’ve re-activated the Judge Map feature!

We have also completed a number of upgrades of the site’s infrastructure, including upgrading to Django 2.1. This is an important upgrade for us, as it will keep the site running on the latest release of Django. We make these updates to ensure we have the latest security patches, bug fixes, and other new features from the Django team.

TLTP Certifications

We have been busy switching everything that had to do with the previous TLC (Team Lead Certification) to the new TLTP (Team Lead in Training Program). This switch comes in two flavors: the first is the TLTP panel and the other is the TLTP evaluation. The various review types have been created in JudgeApps – and are available to the appropriate people – so that when TLTP testing starts up, we’ll be ready to display that role for the judges who have earned it.

Account Assistance

In addition, we also added a few more people to the site’s “Account Assistance” staff. This team of volunteers is dedicated to helping judges and judge candidates with issues regarding their JudgeApps accounts as they arise. You can contact these friendly folks using the JudgeApps Account Assistance form located here.

We have added new judges to the staff to help us with any and all problems judges might encounter while using the site. This has reduced our average response time dramatically and will enable us to help more people in a timely manner.

New Support Website

As part of our mission to give you the best user experience possible, we’ve launched a new help and support website!

In the past, user feedback was sent to our internal bug tracker. This was great for letting the JudgeApps team discuss or act on it, but the user would hardly ever get any direct response. Moreover, the bug tracker was private, so there was no way to see what types of feedback had already been submitted, or how the developers had responded to them.

The new support website is designed to address all of these problems. This new site will supplement our internal bug tracker by providing a place where we can respond to feedback, where someone can go to see if an issue has already been reported, and where we can ask for more information or discuss suggestions

This website is conveniently named support.magicjudges.org. It is now the place to go in order to  provide feedback or ask questions. It’s a full discussion forum, so if any judge knows the answer, they’ll be able to help you out. Of course, the JudgeApps team will also be there to give more official answers if needed, engage on bug reports, and answer questions privately for sensitive issues.

Grand Prix Forums

This subject isn’t new, but we want to make sure that everybody knows about how JudgeApps forums for Grand Prix events work in their current form.

Whenever an event forum for a Grand Prix is created, it is split into two: the main GP forum that should be used for formal and official announcements, and a miscellaneous sub-forum. Posting to the main forum is available to a few people who hold key positions (Head Judges, for example). Everybody on the GP staff can write to the miscellaneous forum. The purpose of this separation is to allow people to silence notifications from all the chatter (the sub-forum) without missing the important announcements (the formal forum). And since threads in the main forum are automatically locked, this change also helps prevent folks from accidentally replying-all to the whole staff.

You can configure your JudgeApps-wide event notifications here.

We hope this month blog update finds you well and that we were able to provide you with some insights into the working of JudgeApps. If you happen to have a question, request, or an issue you encountered, please let us know.