A Quick Guide To The DI Check-In Program

The Destination Imagination Check-In Program is an aid to managing the paperwork flow in a DI score room. It allows one to easily track paperwork by recording the times at which each team's paperwork changes states. It provides color-coded overviews of each challenge level, for both team challenge and instant challenge paperwork, and it provides a tournament wide summary.

This program was written by Larry Gensch, one of the authors of the official DI Scoring Program. Larry received many suggestions from Al Simons, Judi Roberts, Ken Sexton, Jim Heedles and others in the past and has incorporated many of these suggestions into the program. The program is written in the hopes that it will be useful in running a score room at regional, affiliate, and Global Finals tournaments. It is now maintained by Manny Alvarez.

The program uses a comma-separated-values file (CSV file) for its data. This is the same file format used by the DI Scoring Program's "export" function, so once you've set up your tournament, you can export the data and then use the exported data for the check-in program.

A note about this documentation

This documentation was prepared on a Macintosh. The program works identically on Windows and Macintosh platforms, although there are differences in how native applications look and feel on different platforms. In addition, the Macintosh uses the "command" key (the key with the cloverleaf symbol on it) for keyboard shortcuts, whereas the Windows platform uses the "control" key (the key labeled "Ctrl") for keyboard shortcuts. In the information below, "Command-K" (or "Ctrl-K") should be assumed to be the key that launches most keyboard shortcuts on your platform.

Starting The Program

To start the program use the "DI Checkin" icon.

The first screen that appears allows you to open a CSV file containing the team information. Once you select a CSV file, the program "remembers" it, and any subsequent times that you run the check-in program, it will automatically open the last file used, if it can be found. If you do not get a dialog asking you to select a CSV file and you do not want the tournament that is being displayed, simply use the File->Open menu (Command-O or Ctrl-O) to open a new file.

At the file selector, select an appropriate file and click on Open. This file can be a simple list of teams, but it's most useful if it contains the following information for each team:

As mentioned previously, the CSV file exported from a properly set-up tournament from the Scoring Program will provide exactly the information required.

After you select the file you wish to use, you may get to a column mapping screen. This will almost always be true, since the check-in program supports some column information that is not normally exported from the scoring program. The fields that aren't found will be tinted in order to make them stand out. If you used the export file from the scoring program, it is usually safe to simply hit OK on this screen.

Fields that may not be mapped are shown below:

The Screen

The program reads the selected CSV file, and then shows the Team Challenge check-in screen, a sample of which is shown below:

Picture of TC Check-In Screen

Let's look at this screen.

Paperwork States

The program can track 5 different states of paperwork for both team challenge and instant challenge. Not all states will necessarily be used by all score rooms, as their processes may not require it. Not all teams' paperwork will necessarily pass through all 5 states.

Each paperwork state is represented by a color, which changes the color of each team in the Current State column, as well as the static team information to the left of that column. Changing a team's state will therefore change the color of most of the columns of that team's row.

The states are listed below:

The Unknown state is indicated by the team information being white. The paperwork for this team has not yet entered the score room. This is the initial state for all teams.
The In-Room state is the first state paperwork entering the score room attains. It is indicated by the team information and the Current Stat columns being yellow. The paperwork for this team has been received, but has not yet been processed.
The Error state is indicated by the team's information being shown in red. At some point in the processing, an error was detected with this team's scores, and it is in the process of being resolved.
The Good state is indicated by the team's information being shown in green. The team's scores have been entered and any issues or errors detected have been resolved.
The Final state is indicated by the team's information being shown in blue. This team's scores are completely processed and have been filed away. Some tournaments may choose to adopt either Good or Final as their ultimate state and not use the other, in the event that there is no processing that happens between the completion of entering the scores and the filing of the score packets. Other tournaments, particularly those which use Detail with Appraisers (DwA) mode and which choose to return the entire score packet to the head appraiser after computing the scores, will want to distinguish between the two phases.

Transitioning Between The States

To change a team's state, you can use menu selections or control keys (command keys on a Macintosh).

First select the team to change by clicking anywhere on the line containing the team.

To change the team's state using menu items, select Edit->Status and click on the desired state. This menu is also available by right-clicking on the team and selecting the Status item from the context menu which pops up.

To change the team's state using the keyboard keys, use the (hopefully intuitive) color mapping:

Ctrl+ or Command+ Key Color Status
W White Unknown (see below)
Y Yellow In-Room
R Red Error
G Green Good
B Blue Final

Note that there are two UNKNOWN states. The default status (when there is no status history) is internally called "INITIAL" and displays as normal (white) without any date/time information in the status fields.

It is now possible to change an colored state (e.g., Yellow/In-Room) back to UNKNOWN. The difference is that since this was a status change (even though we were just changing it back), the team's paperwork still has history (even if it is just a history of a mistake having been made in using the program!).

Correcting Mistakes

There is a one level "Undo" capability which can undo the effect of the most recent change. It is in the Edit menu and is also bound to Ctrl-Z or Command-Z.

Sometimes you will find an error occurred after it has happened. If other teams have been modified since the error was made, the "Undo" facility will not be useful in this case. Instead, if you need to change a status back, simply use the control or command key that will change the status back to the correct value. This will affect the status history, but still allows you to have the team's paperwork in the correct "current" state.

Constructing The CSV File

The program checks the header record (first line) of the CSV file to see the data contained within the file. If the program recognizes the field names that it wants, it will automatically map the fields for you. If any fields are missing, you will be giving a dialog asking you to map the field names that it found to the field names that it is expecting. Currently, only the "Challenge" and "Level" columns are required, although the "TCTime," "ICTime," and "School" columns make the program much more usable. Columns which are not present simply result in the column not appearing in the display. Column order is not important within the file.

Note that the values in the columns are important only in that they must be consistent. In other words, for the "Challenge" column, you can specify "Cartoon," "cartoon," or "Cartoon DImensions," or even just "C" for a particular challenge. The only requirement is that whatever you use to designate a particular challenge is consistent from team to team within the same database file.

Values in optional fields are simply free-form, and aren't used for processing unless the program is asked to sort the teams by a specific column, in which case for the teams are sorted, ignoring upper-case and lower-case distinctions.

Most importantly, the program does not know about the current year's challenge names or levels. It simply looks at the values that it finds in the data file it reads and selects the unique values within that column to determine the challenge names that it maps in the challenge tabs.

The challenge columns that the program is looking for are described below:

Other columns may appear in the input file, but they are currently ignored, and will be removed when the data file is saved.

The program will add two additional fields to the output file when the data is saved. These correspond to the status history for the Instant Challenge and Team Challenge views of the data. When running again, if these fields are found in the input file, the program will retain the history from the time that the file was created.

Using This Program Effectively

It is assumed that the person that is updating the program is the person whose job it is to "check in" the paperwork as it enters the score room. This person can act as a gate-keeper to ensure that all paperwork received has its status recorded, and to ensure that all outgoing paperwork is marked appropriately as well.

It is important that the various status colors are understood by not only the person running the program, but by other people in the score room that may be trying to track down team packets or scores.

Decide before the tournament day which status codes will be used, and exactly what they mean. It may be useful to write down a "cheat sheet" near the check-in computer so that others will understand without explanations needing to be repeated throughout the day.

For a strong keyboard user, the interface is designed to allow the user to only use the keyboard for data entry. Use the quick search box in the upper right to enter the last 5 digits of the team number, then hit the shortcut key for the desired status, such as Ctrl-Y for yellow, then hit escape to clear the quick search and start again.

Save your data throughout the day; the program will remind you that you have unsaved data if you try to exit the program, but it's generally a good idea to save your data any time that you have a few seconds available.

Note that the check-in program's purpose is mainly to help enforce an affiliate's way of maintaining paperwork. It is not intended to force its own methodologies on the affiliates! Differing affiliates have different rules and needs, and the check-in program should simply been seen as a tool that may be able to help in some situations.

Other Uses

Depending on the staffing and computer availability at tournaments, this program can also be useful for tracking other information for a tournament.

One example could in the challenge rooms. You can use the program to indicate the teams that will be performing, which ones have performed, and which ones have received their scores. In such a case, some of the information displayed may be redundant; Challenge and Level may be the same for all teams in a particular challenge room, for instance. In addition, there is probably no need for "Instant Challenge" versus "Team Challenge differentiation.

Affiliates that have separate score rooms for Instant Challenge and Team Challenges may not need the IC versus TC aspect of the check-in program, but the program can be used in each room to track the paperwork status in each.

If you find a novel use for the Check-In program, please alert the program's maintainer (Manny Alvarez), or the DI Scoring mailing list (mailto:discoring@dionline.org).

Future Improvements

Our goal is to make this program as useful as the actual scoring program during regional, affiliate, and global final tournaments. For this reason, feedback is important... even if it is only to say that the program was (or was not) useful to you.

Program maintained by: Manny Alvarez for Destination Imagination use

Last modified: $Date: 2015-10-31 $