– Fantasy Stat Tracker …Tracker

A blog about the development of – The Fantasy Baseball Stat Tracker

Posts Tagged ‘password’

Internet Explorer Sign-up or Log-in Bug

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Over the last couple weeks, I have received numerous emails from people having trouble signing-in to their accounts. With a little digging I was able to find a consistent theme: they were all using Internet Explorer 8 or 9.

Specifically what was happening was that a person would type their existing username into the sign-in form and would then be prompted to create an account. As everyone is probably aware, uses the same form for logging in and signing up. If you enter an existing username, it asks you to log-in. If you enter a username that doesn’t exist, it asks you to sign-up.

To manage this functionality, generates an AJAX request after you enter your username then move focus to the password field. This is creates a “change” event on the username field. When that event happens, asks the database whether the username you entered exists. The database returns a response in the form of XML. The XML has one message: the username is valid (it exists in the database) or it is invalid (it doesn’t exist in the database).

Once the XML response is returned, some JavaScript parses it to read whether it says “valid” or “invalid”. If the value is “invalid” the form asks you to create an account. The JavaScript to read this follows standard practices to navigate the document object model (DOM) and find the value in question. This works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Konqueror, Mobile Safari, Opera, Android Browser, Blackberry Browser, etc., etc. Apparently, how Internet Explorer handles the XML is different. It doesn’t create all the parameters that the standard approach would.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

What I ultimately found is that Internet Explorer will parse the value out and save it in a “text” parameter for the XML object. Rather than navigating the DOM in a standard fashion, I’m now taking a shortcut and checking if that “text” parameter exists on the XML object. If it does, I read it in as the returned value. If it doesn’t (obviously, all the other browsers to generate this rogue parameter), I continue to navigate the tree and get the value in the proper manner. This only works because the only value of the XML is the “valid” or “invalid” message.

The end result: the log-in/sign-up form logic should now be working again in IE. And still working in every other browser. If you find that not to be the case, please let me know (comment, email, Facebook, Tweet).

How it Works

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 makes it simple to track major league baseball stats for your fantasy baseball team–or any other group of players you want to follow!

Step 1. Sign Up

The sign-up process is simple. From the homepage, start entering your desired username in the “user” field. If doesn’t recognize the username you enter, it will expose some additional fields for you to enter and confirm your password and your email address.

Form used to sign up for

Form used to sign up for

If recognizes the username you enter, you’ll need to try a new one–someone else is already the one you tried.

Step 2. Create a Team

After signing up you can create your first team. This couldn’t be easier! Click the “Create Team” link in the utility box at the top-right of your dashboard. This will take you to a page where you enter the name of your new team. That’s it!

We do recommend keeping team names between 3 and 24 characters, but you can enter as many as you need. We also would suggest that you don’t create multiple teams with the same name–it’ll make life harder for you when you are trying to track your stats.

Step 3. Add Players

Once your team is created, you’ll be taken to your team detail page. From there you click the “Add Player” link. This takes you to a page where you can search for players, view their season stats, and add them to your team!

Add Player page with result for a search on "Young"

Add Player page with result for a search on "Young"

You can add as many–or as few–players as you want.

Step 4. Track Stats!

Now you can track stats!

Team page

Team page

A snapshot of your team’s overall statistics will be pulled into your dashboard so you can review all your teams at once. Clicking through to a team page will show you the day’s stats for each player, as well as the team totals.

Resume Scheduled Tasks

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

I have re-enabled all of the scheduled tasks. This includes the following items:

  1. Usage statistics (tracking how many people use and how they use it)
  2. Player stat collection (pulling in the latest stats for all active players)
  3. Daily box score emails (sending emails with daily stats)

If you’re tracking any Spring stats, #2 will be of interest to you. #1 shouldn’t have an impact on anyone but myself. #3 is the most likely to create an un-expected surprise. Anyone that had their team set to email them daily box scores will again receive those emails on a daily basis.

To turn off daily box score emails, log-in to then access your Account Info. From there you can enable or disable Boxscores for each of your teams and your industry teams.

If you forgot your password, you can have a temporary password sent to you. If you forgot your username, too, shoot me an email from the email address whose credentials you need and I’ll try to help you out.

2010 Updates

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

I’m in the process of implementing a series of updates to for the 2010 season. The biggest noticeable difference will be an entire new look and feel. The new layout will allow for 1, 2, and 3-column pages that should let more efficiently use space.

Other changes in progress include:

  • Integrated log-in/sign-up function
  • User-defined backgrounds
  • More flexibility in the “invite friends” functionality
  • Updated log-in flow
  • Drag-and-drop bench
  • Integration with Zend framework

Among the other items I’m planning to get to before opening day:

  • Add OPS to statistics available for tracking
  • Implement Lucene search for “Find Friends”
  • SSL for log-in flow

If you have other suggestions, please add a comment or drop me a long at

I’ll go into more detail about the updated features over the coming weeks. In the mean time, I’m just trying to get things done before the season kicks-off!

Player Layer and Language

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

While clicking through my team stats today on, I noticed that the stats display layer seemed to be out of date. After a little investigation, I found that the XML feed for the stats had not been updated since June 16. A little more digging turned up what looks like a change in the way MLB is storing their data. The format of the data itself seems to be the same, but they moved its home on the server. After updating the path to the data, all seems to be well and cumulative stats are up-to-date again.

In other news, I resolved an issue that yesterday’s IE7 “fixes” introduced. In the mega-drop-down, the new JavaScript set a negative top-margin for IE browsers. Turns out IE8 is enough better than IE7 for this to be a problem. So that method has been updated to only apply the margin to Internet Explorer version 7.

And lastly, some new language throughout the site. The Account Info page now displays an alert message if the User’s profile is set to Public but they don’t have a first or last name defined. Obviously it is difficult to find people in a search if you can’t search on their name(s). The new language encourages the inclusion of a name to help other Users in their searches. The Account Info and Sign-up pages now also have note text added to the password sections indicating that passwords must be at least 6 characters long. Previously the only way to know this would be to enter a password that was too short and try to submit it. At that point an alert would pop-up identifying the shortcoming. Now the User is informed up front.

Password Reset

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Today’s excitement: Password Reset! If a User forgets their password, there is now an option to have a new password generated and emailed to them. It seems like a pretty easy concept (and one that probably should have been built long ago), but there are actually quite a few pieces involved:

  • Request Password Form
  • Confirm User Account Script
  • Fail Mechanism if the User Account can’t be Confirmed
  • Password Generation Script
  • HTML Email Template
  • Password Reset Email
  • Password-Sent Confirmation Page

It took a couple hours to get all the various pieces up and working together, but I’ve tested with a couple different accounts now and it seems to be working correctly. So if you set up an account last year but now can’t remember your password to set up your 2009 team, you are in luck!

The mechanism requires that you enter both the user name and email address for the account on which you wish to reset the password. We don’t have any high-tech security on the site (security questions, TSA guards, strip searches, etc.) so I figured we should at least require knowledge of multiple data points for the account. If someone forgets either their user name or email address as well, they’re basically out of luck. I’m sure if someone emailed me with that concern, though, I’d try to help them get re-established.

One outstanding side effect of the new reset password process is the design and build of an HTML email template for Until now, hadn’t sent any emails. It didn’t confirm account creation, team creation, system outages/upgrades, or anything else. Now that I’ve put together the template it will be much easier to add in logical email notices. I’ll try to be reasonable about it, though, and not spam everyone that signs up for an account.

How it Works

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Today’s work continued to focus on improving the sign-up process. I included more instructional information in the form of a 4-step flow diagram on the home page which links to a new How it Works page. This new page walks through Signing Up, Creating a Team, Adding Players, Tracking Stats, and Selecting Stats. Hopefully the new thumbnail screenshots will make the application feel more accessible to potential Users and encourage them to join and offer feedback on the tool.

The biggest outcome of today’s work, though, was my renewed realization of how bad I suck at Photoshop. I’ve never been good at computer illustration and it’s painfully obvious. If anyone out there has a graphic thumb and wants to help on, shoot me a line.

Email Address and Password Updates

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

The Fantasy Baseball Stat Tracker has some new user account management functionality. It is now possible to change your email address and password. Both options are available through the “Account Info” page in the top-right navigation.