A couple months ago I resolved to build my own website.
I had built a few apps for WAR On Ice and authored some articles they were kind enough to host on their blog. When it was announced Andrew Thomas and Alexandra Mandrycky, the site’s remaining co-creators, had been hired by the Minnesota Wild and would renounce their engagement with WOI, I was among those who volunteered to help take on responsibility. I had ideas and was keen to learn what I could about what was under the proverbial hood from Andrew and Alexandra before their new duties put an end to their involvement. It was evident to me I simply didn’t have the chops for taking charge of maintaining the site and any role I assumed would be auxiliary in nature.
I had ideas. I’ve always had ideas. Some, I believed, didn’t belong on WAR On Ice. Some were experimental. Some were plain crazy. I set to work on building things before the idea struck me that they’d need a home. Having a site of my own I could use to consolidate these things I’d built and share them with anybody with an interest wasn’t a terrible concept. To this point, I had relied on data sourced from WOI – something I knew would have to change if I was to manufacture tools and content for public consumption. Ethics aside, I sought self-sufficiency with respect to raw data and building my first ever scraper would be a fun challenge.
In January, an announcement by Andrew Thomas addressed to the community indicated the future of WAR On Ice was in doubt. Thomas offered this summary:
In case it wasn’t clear earlier, you can and should imitate us, because we won’t be here forever.
The ripples this news created within the hockey stats world is a testament to how vital of a resource WOI had become in such a short time. Like me, many had become reliant on the easy access to data the site provided and mourned its apparently imminent demise. Meanwhile, I was faced with a decision. Should I scale up my operation in a pitch to fill the void to be left behind by WAR On Ice’s unfortunate end? The answer was a resounding why not? I mean, maybe. I’ll try my best, I guess.
A couple months ago I resolved to build my own website. What originated as a pet project had rapidly evolved into a large-scale operation that would occupy a greater percentage of my thoughts than I care to admit. And now it’s here.
A Digression on Openness
I gleaned a lot from WAR On Ice, but what’s stuck with me above all else is their modus operandi. The team’s commitment to being open-source and willingness to share and to teach is a philosophy I’ve taken to heart.
I knew I wanted to work for the public and I knew I wanted everything I did to be open-source1You can find the site’s code on Github. You’ll find the link on the site’s About page.. I don’t know how or when this idea began to escalate, but before I knew it I was spending as much time philosophizing about the meaning of openness as I was writing code for the site. I wasn’t building this for me, after all. This is and always was for the public, and to a certain extent, it should be shaped by the public. In addition, openness extends past underlying code. It encompasses accessibility, something I certainly don’t wish to overlook.
As best I can, I want to open up the creative process fuelling Corsica’s content to the public. Encouraging and implementing input from others is a promise I intend to keep. In a sense, this means the site’s purpose is fluid. The only fixture is an abstract definition of openness to be adhered to, and even that will evolve with time.
To be blunt, I don’t know what the future holds in store for Corsica any more than you do. All I can guarantee is my unwavering commitment to this paradigm.
Between Extra Skater, WAR On Ice and Puckalytics, the bar has been set extremely high for hockey stats websites. I have tried to be forthright in my admission that I am not a web designer, nor do I have a terribly great deal of programming experience. As such, the aforementioned bar is not one I have a remotely good chance of clearing. Throughout this process, I will ask a great deal of you. I will ask for your patience, I will ask for your suggestions and I will ask you to make concessions.
Many of your suggestions will invariably be met with “Yes, I’d like that too but…” The reason will almost always relate to server costs2If you’re wondering where the Patreon donations go, here’s your answer. Funding will ultimately dictate what can and can’t be offered on the site.. Complex database queries and big data storage are expensive and I’m not in a position to shoulder the financial load alone, unfortunately. This means new features will often come at the expense of some other element. Similarly, increasing the depth or complexity of the data often entails a sacrifice in speed. Striking that balance between profundity and ease of use will be a constant struggle. This makes your feedback all the more important.
How you can help
In addition to providing suggestions and criticism, you can help by pledging monthly donations on Patreon. I also encourage users to disable their ad blocker software on this domain. Additionally, crediting Corsica as your data source and sharing links goes a long way.
I hope you’ll enjoy Corsica as much as I’ve enjoyed working on it. It’s a work in progress, and I can guarantee that still applies whenever you happen to be reading this.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||You can find the site’s code on Github. You’ll find the link on the site’s About page.|
|2.||↑||If you’re wondering where the Patreon donations go, here’s your answer. Funding will ultimately dictate what can and can’t be offered on the site.|