IMGER 2006 – Review

What a chaotic weekend. Chaotic, but still successful for Rankz as it proved its reliability at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. Unfortunately, there were some problems with the timing, but these had nothing to do with the functionality of Rankz. In fact, we – as the creators – were pretty stunned how robust it is, although there was timing data missing. We also added some more features such as separate output of rankings of all the age groups and flexible athlete import.

Despite all the work we had to do, there was also time to relax a little in the heart of Frankfurt. Actually, it was pretty funny that someone mixed up the words Mainkai and Mai Tai, so the next day we were a little worried about where the Hel(l)mut is. The race day itself was pretty hot, although it had rained early in the morning and it also rained in the evening. We were located in a container directly behind the finish line. The air conditioner didn’t really work or was just not powerful enough to get all the sweat and heat out, and so it had about 33° C all the time – which is a pretty high temperature to work and concentrate.

All in all it was a great experience being a part of such a big event. I’m sure we can get some pictures posted here soon.

KIMA 2006 – Review

Besides from running around with the Funniest ID Card Everâ„¢ (inofficial award, but still trademarked), getting up way too early in the morning and then waiting long hours for timing data, the Kärnten Ironman Austria was still great fun ;) Although we were a little left stranded because the timing company had some problems with getting data from all their splits into the database, Rankz, as previously mentioned, turned out to do its job very well – in fact, it outperformed the old solution (student project) like a Ferrari outperforms your rusty moped.

idcard.JPGThe Funniest ID Card Everâ„¢

However, this was only the beta test for Rankz, so I’m really looking forward to next weekend, where we’ll get an impression if it’s worth all the praise…


It’s time to disclose a secret. Something I already mentioned marginally here and there. I’m talking about Rankz – a high speed ranking calculator we’ve been working on for the last few weeks. In short, it’s an application that can be used to support press coverage and commentatorship at a sports event such as a triathlon.

Originally, when we were students, we wrote a similar piece of software which was the goal of a student’s project at the CTI. It was basically a web based solution for some ranking calculations. With Rankz, however, we took it one step further. It is now a highly flexible standalone ranking calculator which supports different plugins for input, calculation and output.


One of the output plugins, for instance, is a web server, but others provide CSV output as well. As for the calculation plugins (we call these “stats plugins”), a bunch of different calculations are done such as the overall ranking, ranking per split or ranking in the athlete’s age group, plus – and that is a very important feature – the relative ranking based on certain splits. And most important fact: it’s superfast – nearly live during the race, a great way to track athletes.

Tomorrow, Rankz will experience its first live action test at the Kärnten Ironman Austria 2006 in Klagenfurt. After this beta test it will – hopefully – succeed in the calculation of rankings for the Ironman Germany in Frankfurt, next Sunday. We’re very excited about that and I hope we can get some more facts posted here…

XSLT (Part #2 – Dynamic Links)

As previously mentioned, I’m a bit into XSLT at the moment. And again, to help me remember it, here is a snippet from an XSL file that creates a hyperlink with dynamic parameters:

<xsl:attribute name=”href”>
<xsl:value-of select=”param2″/>
<xsl:value-of select=”param2″/>

Update: Somehow WordPress ate an important detail in the code above – it’s necessary to use &amp; instead of just &…

XSLT and Firefox

If you do a lot of programming each day, you learn tons of things or how to do things. Solutions to difficult problems, crazy ideas that turn out to solve the issue in the end or details you bug around with for hours. It’s very often the case that you fix a problem but shortly after you completely forget how you did it. Ok, at least for me it’s very often the case.

Maybe that is why I thought about writing solutions down to avoid forgetting them. Today, I had to do some XSLT stuff and somehow there was no problem using an XML file with an XSL stylesheet in IE6, but Firefox refused to render it correctly. The solution to that is rather easy. It’s that easy that I invested hours and hours of continual distraction to not solve it in just a few seconds.

So here is my remark: Be sure to use text/xml as mime type of the XML document if you want Firefox to render it correctly when using a XSL stylesheet.