Hey everyone, we’ve been working on something that, with a bit of luck, could be a huge help to all FIRST teams. With everyone’s help, it could help immensely with both scouting and keeping a solid record of all the awesome hard work teams do.
We just spent the last couple of days at the Colorado regional writing and testing some code for our database that allows it to hold some fairly extensive things previously found only on more traditional scouting databases. Now that we’ve given it a try locally, it might just be ready for a somewhat more extensive test. Basically, we can now store (in a pretty generic fashion, meaning we can add tons more) data specifically on the actual robots that compete at events.
With that in mind, our goal is to gather as much info as we can on as many teams’ robots as we can this year, to hopefully lend a hand to everyone scouting at the later events this year (e.g. championship) as well as for historical records. As far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong!) there’s no real central place to get extensive robot info for past or current years, so hopefully with everyone’s help we can try to fill that niche!
So here’s our challenge: If every team can input their and one other team’s robot info (even partially!), we could cut down the number of people who’d have to help to make this possible by about half! So with some serious FIRST crowdsourcing, we might just be able to have complete historical records for 2011! Let’s try to make that happen! Oh yeah, and tell your friends!
On to the “how”…
It’s essentially wiki-style and super easy to fill out, with a number of fields that are more or less self-explanatory. So, if you want to lend a hand, try to fill in or correct any info for teams that you can. Anything can be left blank if unknown, so there’s no pressure to fill anything out that you’re unsure of. It also works great on mobile devices, so if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even pitch in from the pits over a mobile connection!
Anyway, we attempted to gather the basic info for (almost) all the teams at the Colorado regional as an example, which can be seen here by clicking on an “Info” link for a team under the “Attending” category:
Now, contributing is pretty simple. Browse to one of the Robot Info pages for a team (either directly from the URL, team page, or by clicking through from an event page, whatever floats your boat). Then, click the “Edit” link which brings you to an easy to use Editing page. Simply fill in whatever you can, and hit the “Submit” button. Pretty simple! Making an account even stops you from having to fill in a CAPTCHA for each edit
(Slight side note: you can also submit URLs to YouTube videos that show that robot (or team, potentially). It’s a bit boring now, but we’re planning on doing a lot more with this in the future, so feel free to add away.)
Obviously we’re going to be missing some helpful or interesting fields, so give a shout out if you’d like to see something that isn’t there already - we love suggestions of any variety! Just one caveat: we’re trying to keep it objective, so “how well did robot XXX perform on a scale of 1 to 10” probably won’t work.
Anyway, if you want to accept out challenge, head on over to http://frcdb.net/ and post away! Thanks a ton for any help you can give! You’re of course free to enter data on as many teams as you want! But we’re trying to make this a feasible requests for most people out there, so there’s no pressure to do more than you’re comfortable with.
Now, I feel this should go without saying, especially in the FIRST community, but right now we’re hoping not to have issues with people purposefully putting in incorrect data, spamming, or anything to that extent. Obviously that won’t stop the spambots, and we have protection in place for these problems, but I’d really love not to have to make it any more difficult for people to input correct data. But, as I said, I really don’t think we’ll have a problem with this, and it’s not expected to be an issue.
Some other odds and ends:
News and other info so far:
- Stats on the number of pages filled out can be found here: http://pastebin.com/agvjMJRq
- Anonymous edits are allowed! You’ll have to fill out a CAPTCHA if you don’t have an account, though.
- There’s been lots of errors. If you come across one, please follow the directions on the new error page and post in the bug tracker, or even post what you were doing here (or PM me, whatever). Thanks!
- Related to above, I’ve fixed tons of error-causing bugs, so things should be running much more smoothly!
For anyone really, really ambitious who’d like to help out a ton more: We’re always looking for some help with development! Some things we’d love help with:
- Web design - we’re tossing around the idea of a redesign, and we’d love to have someone from the FIRST community help design the new frcdb!
- Ideas - We really, really like cool ideas for what we can do with all this crazy data. Seriously.
- Code - Mostly Java based, and HTML/JS. Sort of scary and beast-like, however.
Thanks guys! Here’s to hoping we can make something awesome together!
(Gosh, this post sure did get long :p)