[VexDB] Updating is currently on hold

I’m rather upset that RECF just decided that UX changes were a good enough reason to break their existing apis. Additionally, they’re currently unprepared for the season: rankings for games of starstruck don’t even show autonomous points, which are an important part of this year’s game.

The only redeeming thing about all of these changes are how results are much easier to parse now: there’s now just one file for all of the results of a tournament and the division of each match is listed.

Also, the URLs are weird. I like how the URLs are formatted (https://www.robotevents.com/exportTmMatchResults/30181) but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to know what SKU is represented by ‘30181’ in the URL.

Key note ‘changes’ not improvements. While I appreciate everything that RECF has done, I think that the new RE site functions worse than the previous.

Good job, but you need to fix this ASAP.

I think it has potential. Most redesigns are annoying because they make it harder to do things that you’re used to doing but I do think that the current version of the site is worse.

I would change the following:

  • Leave the “from date” blank on the search page and if you don’t, make the default date the current date
  • Add previous years to skills page while also handling empty tables better
  • Make the dropdown for “Robot Competitions” in the toolbar appear when I mouseover and not when I click it
  • Get rid of the giant turntable on the homepage and move the table of competitions up to the top so it’s the first thing you see
  • Make header less tall
  • Get rid of lists wherever there is an item
  • Fix API issues as mentioned above

The bolded issues are particularity important as they actively inhibit comfortable use of the site. I find it troublesome to do something as simple as looking at a list of VRC High School events happening today. I actually like the new, bootstrap-like design philosophy but it seems like it was executed sloppily.

Also, the API issues represent a misunderstanding of how websites should handle data. Like vexdb.io, the website should simply be a visualization of the data, and a change in design shouldn’t change how data is accessed. If APIs must be changed, ample notice must be given and the new API must be a new version.

Serious question: was the “Download CSV” option ever actually advertised as an API? Or was it simply intended to be used interactively to download the data that you’re viewing when looking at a page?

I’m under the impression it’s the latter, but I may be wrong. If I’m correct and it wasn’t advertised as an API, then nothing was “broken” as the link on the page still works for an interactive user. If people were taking advantage of knowledge of the structure of the page and CSV links to scrape data, then it’s not really fair to complain when that structure changes.

You know what event it belongs to because you clicked on it from the event page. If you’re trying to script things out and you’re not using the site interactively, then you’re scraping data through something that’s not really an API and thus it’s on you to figure out how to associate that link to the event SKU. 'Tis the unfortunate reality of being a data scraper.

You’re right - it never was advertised as an API, but I can’t imagine why it would be there if not to be used otherwise. I guess teams can use it for scouting, nevermind.

Yes - a great deal of gathering data from the website is scrapping but I do miss the old ajax.robotevents.com urls.

I must add that robotevents is so nice to have. I’m so glad that there’s a place hosts tournament data and makes it relatively easy to find. I just do also believe that it’s nice to have more ways to interact with RE because there are a lot of teams who want to build nice scouting databases and interact with the data without (excessive) scrapping and the old website allowed for that.

Also, huge thanks to you and your team at DWAB for maintaining Tournament Manager. It’s made tournaments run so smoothly and I love the redesign.

Actually, it wasn’t just a structure change, and the links on that page do not work. The “FinalistRanking” CSV download links currently provide an empty (aside from the headers) CSV file. Also, the rankings displayed on the page still fail to include Autonomous Points, which are far more important than SP this season.

Something else important is the fact that the Robot Skills link on the homepage is broken, and if you can figure out how to navigate to the page it should link to, it is not at all functional.

I am happy for the RobotEvents update, but it would be nice if they had waited until the new site was working properly before replacing the old one. I think most others would agree that we would have rather had the old site for a few more months (we’ve dealt with it for this long, I think we can put up with it for a little while longer) while the new site was finished, and only have the update once it was fully working.

The point is that the purpose of the “Download CSV” link is to allow a user looking at the page to download the CSV file of what they’re looking at. It still works for that purpose (errors with the CSV data notwithstanding). The fact that the link that “Download CSV” goes to isn’t predictable (such that someone can generate the URL to it it just by knowing the event SKU) doesn’t affect the functionality of the link for its intended purpose. Some users took advantage of the previous URL pattern to do bulk data downloads, but there was no guarantee that the URL pattern would be consistent going forward, redesign or not.

OK - so the workaround is to fetch the html from https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition/SKU-GOES-HERE.html, then find the link that starts with “https://www.robotevents.com/exportProgrammingSkills/” and the five digit number that comes afterwards is the event number.

I understand your point about the way in which the “data” (or lack thereof) is accessed, but Nathan (VexDB) will (I’m sure) be able to work around that. He cannot, however, work around the fact that the finalist ranking “Download CSV” links straight up do not work. That is the issue I see as important, and whether or not the structure of the URLs is nice or not, seeing as they do not actually work, I think we would have been better off with the old site. I think @jonathandamico was simply trying to say that the format of the URLs being changed is just another annoyance added onto a lot of broken things.

I, too, appreciate RobotEvents a lot. I just wanted to add/reiterate that while the redesign looks good overall (and is much faster than the old version), it seems like some basic things (such as skills scores, which show that they will appear on March 3, 2017, the same day they become official - see the attached image for a screenshot) and autonomous points are not working right or not included in the new design (though APs weren’t shown on the old site either).

While the lack of VexDB’s API does break a core functionality of my team’s online scouting system, I can work around that, so it’s not a big deal (although having that functionality for tournaments like state and Worlds would be really helpful). I’d just like to see the basic (in the sense of present in the old design, not in terms of technical complexity) features of RobotEvents functional again, ideally with those wonderful CSVs.

Fully agree. Nice reasons for the update, nice look, but it’s not working so it should not have been rolled out yet. I imagine they did it because they wanted it out before the season, otherwise, they may have had to wait until this season completed instead of doing a mid-season switch. We used “vexdb” constantly for scouting and monitoring,now we can’t.

Let’s hope that the 3/3/17 statement is just an error in terms of not showing the skills scores until then, that would be ridiculous as teams make decisions continuously throughout the season based upon those scores for State entry and World entry.

@nallen01 It seems as though RobotEvents has fixed quite a bit.

Ranking, skills, and match CSVs for individual events seem to be working now. Worldwide skills data is available (finally!) through HTML (though the old skills pages are now just broken links), though there doesn’t seem to be a CSV for that – at least not yet.

VexDB should, finally, be able to get the data it needs from RobotEvents.

Yeah, I had been checking often and noticed about 3 or so days ago that things seemed much better. Now the only issue is the time I need to rewrite my code that fetches data… Hopefully it won’t take too long.

My teams are preparing for much rejoicing! It’s almost like some of them have been going through withdrawal.

Thank you, Nathan, for providing such a tremendous tool that has become an integral part of how my teams function.

Any updates? Or are there still issues with robotevents?

I’ve been working on getting things back up and running but haven’t had much free time to finish it yet unfortunately. It’s almost ready though!

It looks like the VexDB is working now.

Currently, from my tests the, following are working:
- Some of “Teams”
- All of “Skills”
- Some Events (all are listed, but not all have associated information)
- The API (which experiences the same problems as the site)

How did 60X get 72 points in driving skills alone?

I do believe you are looking at the combined skills. Remember the combined skills uses the name “Robot Skills”.