Thursday, May 27, 2010

Standard Baseball Score Card - W3C XHTML 1.0 Strict! - I'm a code writer!

I've been working on a baseball scoring form since early in May. I started with a hack of an ESPN table that I liked the look of (it had 10 columns across). ;)

Through trial and error I learned how to build a table with html. To make it look good though, I needed a way to stabilize the table so that when I added data through the course of a baseball game, it wouldn't distort sideways and up and down.

For that, I taught myself how to write some Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code.

If you've been following my posts on this project you know I've been tweaking the html/css tables by live scoring baseball games in my new, extra-wide blog, the "Internet Baseball Score Card Blog". It is an exercise to learn how best to accommodate all the info one would like to put in a score card, and moreover, using a computer keyboard rather than pencil and paper.

I had to be sure the scoring form was flexible enough that one could accommodate all the changes that can possibly occur; like the game goes into extra innings, a pinch runner replaces a base runner, or a double switch happens, and so on. I scored ten games including three in a National League park. Each score card created a subsequent change in the form until now - it works in every situation I can imagine.

A friend of mine who has been helping with poignant suggestions - he must find obvious - has helped me navigate the geography of writing and publishing code; making sure it's up to standard and as simple as it can be. After I'd gotten the code as simple as I could (he says it can be smaller), he directed me to the W3C site - where you can test your coding for errors.

W3C is the internet standards body, it holds regular summits of code writers from around the world to come up with and updates world wide web coding standards. An example are the protocols that make html the standard language of the internet. Right now they are debating the new html5 protocols, the foundation of Google Wave.

They have a page in W3C Vadidator where you can upload your code and a program checks it. I had two errors - directions missing from the top because I wrote the code in blogger - which doesn't allow those directions.

I added the missing protocols and Bingo! - I'm a code writer! :)

You can save a copy of this template (opens in a new tab):

The Plan

So... that's stage one.

Next is to turn this template into an application where baseball scorers can login and score games, save them to their own private suite, or share with a community of baseball scores though an in-house wiki and a micro-blog. Users will invent new ways of scoring and create new icons to score with. I envision a way to upload your own icons so a user can score a game any way they see fit.

After 140 years of scoring there are still problems getting it all on paper. When crazy stuff happens in a baseball game a scorer is tested to get all that happened onto their scoring form - so the more games that are scored using the different and inventive ways to score the game the better baseball scoring will become. I envision a template that will allow as much flexibility for the users as possible. This will enable the continuing evolution of the craft of baseball scoring.

A wiki and micro blog will be an important part of an Internet Baseball Score Card website, the group will edit out mistakes in the scoring and an echelon of dedicated scores will emerge. Then, once the wiki is humming, the data, stored in specific places in the cards code can be easily transferred into a program that will amass the Official Statistical Record of the game.

I think this interactive iconographic structure will use Project Scoresheet scoring innovations, but will replace the front end, the point where humans input data.

I'd especially like to thank Kathryn Barrett, O'Reilly Media Webcast Producer for 'Prizing' me the "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML" book. Thank you very much.
(I answered a Webcast questionnaire - and won the book that was really important reference source to get me started.)

These are some of the great resources I used at the W3C website:

Free Webmaster Tutorials -

Scoring a Baseball Game the Project Scoresheet Way by David Cortesi (pdf)

O'Reilly's Safari Books "Baseball Hacks" By Joseph Adler Chapter 1. Basics of Baseball: Keep Score, Project Scoresheet–Style

Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler at Google Books.


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