Archive for July 2009

StackOverFlow

July 30, 2009

StackOverflow

During programming, in whatever language, there is one thing I regularly do: Google (the verb). There are not too many problems nobody else ever faced. When looking for the answer on a given problem you come across all kinds of sites, but during the last few months I noticed a new site : http://stackoverflow.com/. Not only did it keep turning up, it seemed to always have the right answer.

Next thing I noticed was that one of the (most interesting) bloggers on my blogroll, Jeff Atwood, was actually one of the co-founders of this site, so I decided to sign up. Two weeks later I can only say I’m glad I found this website. Within a year of it’s creation it has turned into a great gathering place for all kind of programmers, and thanks to it’s badge-system most questions are very quickly answered in a very good way. There is a lot more to the site, but you can find that out for yourself, I’d recommend browsing through the most popular questions.

It’s very hard to believe that you can have a good new idea for a programming website in 2008, but they did. And they made the website, congratz for that. But not only did they make the website, they also made it work. Because like explained in this great post, sites like this “can be thrown together in a weekend.”

Different kind of site than SoccerProject, but I’m quite sure we share a few frustrations…

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Expenditure limit

July 11, 2009

It doesn’t happen too often, but this time I only got positive forum reactions on the latest change in SoccerProject. Quite a relief acutally 😉

My aim for this particular feature was not only to prevent new managers from spending all their money at once, I also wanted to make life a little harder for cheaters and even slow down the injection of money in the economy by short-life managers. It actually took me a while to find a good and simple solution, but I think this must be the simplest option available. I don’t mean programmatically of course, it’s much more important be easy to understand for a (new) manager.

I always try to stay away from complexity, most of the time simple solutions are simply the best. At first I wanted to gradually increase the budget of starting managers. By means of pre-announced money injections, they would see their budget slowly grow. I wasn’t sure however of how many messages and injections would be ideal in this case. We surely don’t want to overload a new manager with all kinds of info.

Then I figured we could simply create an expenditure limit on transfers, depending on the time a manager has been a member of SoccerProject. I started out by creating some (complex) formulas on how to calculate the weekly raise for the limit. Luckily I then noticed, it would be much simpler to simply use the number of seconds a manager has been on SoccerProject. That meant a very easy check in the code, and a very easy-to-understand solution. That is also the reason the limit will grow by EUR 604 800 each week, there are 604800 seconds in a week.

There is also a nice (imho) little side-effect. Each time a manager tries to make a transfer that limit will have grown. In other words it’s a live-limit and managers will be able to follow the growth. I hope some managers wll like that about it. If not, you can safely ignore this closing paragraph 😛