taxi - but davids offering will be cheaper than using full on sport etc... so to make it accessible to smaller events on tighter budgets per user
david, what about ongoing maintenance? as we know software/systems fall over. who is going to be on call free of charge to set this up. Look at this forum, something falls over and it takes weeks to resolve. A small running club event will be anxious to take such a risk.
Anyway it sounds like you have an excellent opportunity to make some very easy $ david. This easy to set up system can be created off the shelf for events and maintained by you in your down time. It will be repeat business as the event is each yr and can be rolled out to many events with no re-work.
Like Dean says .... the way I would have it planned is you wouldn't need an individual set up per running club, and all the hassle that entails, since it would be one system, one website, that any running club could use. They just fill out the form, and it creates their table in the database to track the participants. Once that is created, there is an admin page for the race organiser to access (password protected of course), as well as a public facing page created for people to sign up to which would also allow them to change their details on the fly if the organiser allowed it, so it would stop this nonsense that transferring names is SUCH a hassle (which in the digital world, its not).
But seriously, its relatively straight forward.
Oh and to address Dean's other points.
To prevent too many maintanence issues, you keep things fairly generic and straight forward. In truth the whole site containing ALL of the races by ALL of the clubs could be done on 4 or 5 pages, so you would only need to maintain 4 or 5 pages, not thousands ...... even if you had 100 clubs sign up with their races, and they put in 10 races each, to the average person you would think 'Well surely thats like 3,000 or 4,000 total pages to maintain.'
Wrong ...... its only 3 or 4 pages TOTAL, since the page you would send people to, to sign up for your particular race, would have a unique number attached, so that it knows what details to display on the page.
So maintainence would be dead easy.
In terms of backup, you could easily have a system where it backs up the database every 24 hours or so (or even more often), so that if it did crash you have backup data available so you dont lose any information (or only a few hours worth, you could have the back up every couple of minutes in truth).
It could also be easily set up to email the organiser of the event a csv file of the event and its participants on a regular schedule or by request, so that the organisers themselves can keep a backup which can easily be viewed in any spreadsheet, if they wanted even further 'backup'.
If there was a real running club who was hosting a real running event that wanted to trial it, I'd probably knock it up for free just to test it out.
Will you also donate the server that this is going to be hosted on? Transfers sometimes require additional payment - have you thought that through? As a small business owner the amount of red tape I get caught up in with PCI security etc can be a nightmare.
David as a developer, are you not reinventing something that already exists? Why not look at the online event registration systems that exist, e.g. regonline.activeeurope.com Some of these systems can cope with transfers, although someone somewhere either has not spe'd the full requirements, or the developer got bored and moved on to more fertile pastured.
There would no doubt be existing PHP scripts lying around that you could modify. The problem with an 'existing' system, is that no matter what, it will always require modification to suit your particular need. Having said that, in this particular case, it would be fairly easy since its a bog standard data collection tool. There really is nothing fancy involved for this particular task, so you could grab an existing script, modify it slightly and you are good to go.
In terms of hosting the server, I would probably just hire one through a generic hosting company (admittedly this in itself brings in the added element that if they go down, what mechanisms in place do they have to come back online) but most systems these days have a 99.9% uptime. I wouldnt go to the effort of hosting a server myself for such a low level activity. A reasonable host on reasonable equipment would probably run to a couple of hundred pounds a year. Remember we are only doing a simple data collection that even with lots of events would only be taking in several thousand entries per day, thats pretty small fry in server talk. I would probably just swallow that cost or throw the odd ad up to help pay for it. Job done.
In terms of additional payment, this could be a pain, but what you would probably do is something that already exists with things like paypal and world pay, where on the registration process, after the user has entered their details, if additional payment was required, you would then send them off to paypal etc (via a link which would tell paypal it was 'Swindon Harriers' or whoevers account it was) and then they would process the payment, before returning back to your form to complete the entry. Most payment sites have this mechanism in place to allow websites to send them to the payment page and then return them where they came from.
So if I was running such a system, I could wash my hands completely of any additional payment, the organiser would have to put on his sign up page, the link to the payment part of paypal or whatever method he was using to collect payment, and I could then have the person signing up, click on that link to pay the organiser, but the actual setting up of payment methods etc would be down to the organiser, I would stay out of it. But setting up a paypal account is p... easy and practically everyone has one anyway. So linking it up to accept payment for your race, from my perspective would be quite straightforward.
Also Ran - Just for a laugh I looked at the site you listed: "regonline.activeeurope.com"- apart from the fact that if you go to sign up and click on Terms of Service it comes up with a redirect to their main page, and then if you click on Terms of Service from THAT page, it comes up with a Whoops 404 error (how bad is that? Terms of service isnt just an optional extra with these things), here is the thing that floored me:£2.95 per registrant. £3 charged for every single person that applies for your event. Are they taking the Piss????? And sure they make it sound all fancy, bullshit, its a straightforward database table collecting data, thats it.I wouldnt even charge £3 for an entire event, let alone £3 per registrant. And thats the thing, how many small running clubs can afford to be running an event that costs £3 per person. Imagine youve got 100 people signed up, oh that will be £300 thanks ...... I dont know how rich most running clubs are, but thats an expense Im sure they can do without.The IT industry is full of rip off merchants. In my last job I was working for an agency doing work for a well known high street 'Game' company that went bust ...... I saw how much my services were being charged out per day. Want to know what that figure was? £850 a day!! Now I wasnt getting that, thats what my time was being charged out and I was getting less than half of that.But of course companies are suckers so they pay it because hell its the IT industry and we all know its very complicated so of course it must cost that much for such complicated things. It keeps me in a well paid job admittedly, but its all bulls.it.
as a lead on an IT project with a budget of approx $200m i know exactly how the charge out rates v quality of work ratio isnt in line
but as a pet project why not build it and charge less than 50p a user and see who bites.
but lets not forget how this all kicked off. It was about transfers not entries. you will need a central control over transfer changes unless you go down the user password option which is adding more potential issues. So the transfers will be maintained by a nurse/gardener/surveyor who is the race director who doesnt feel comfortable using this tech. they will need support which entails more cost/time.
uses paypal or similar for payment gateway
This company also does a lot of value add stuff like race packs, chip timing etc, each with a price and profit for the company. Works really well.
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