Next month: October 2003
The new auto-grab code was pretty buggy predictably - I fixed various issues with it, including the fact that the official site actually released the numbers pre-8.40pm tonight (so I'll start my cron job from 8.35pm tomorrow night). Other problems included the official site putting "UNCONFIRMED" up as the machine on their drawn order page, then "MERLIN", then "UNCONFIRMED" again (all the space of 2 minutes !). Whilst doing this, they also had no full results up (I'd assumed that the full results came at the same time as the machine name being revealed...nope, they come up several minutes later).
On my side of things, I created a Daily Play generation lock in my auto-grab script (to stop me manually trying to clash with the cron'ed grabbing script), but forgot to release that lock when I called the Daily Play generation script (so it would have waited 5 minutes for the lock to clear before continuing). Also, the 60-second auto-refresh code for Sat/Wed draw nights mysteriously kicked in (had to hack that out of the source temporarily until I track down why it kicked in), plus I'm still manually typing the Daily Play newsflashes, which is utterly ludicrous.
Another two things I missed were updating the data file straight to the full results (without any intermediate winning numbers only stage - if there isn't such a stage, the next draw number/day offset is wrong) plus retaining any existing comments or blank lines in my data file [oops !]. I also would re-generate the pages during the winning numbers only period, even if the results data file hadn't been updated (locking out any full results update for 3 minutes at a time). Looks like I had my coding head screwed on backwards last night :-(
Update: I've hopefully fixed all the above problems now (fingers crossed - will keep an eye on it on Wednesday night of course).
Basically, it scans the "drawn order in the last 6 months" Daily Play results page on the official site for the latest winning numbers (I use the draw number on the page to determine if they are today's or not). If and only if it finds them and the machine name is known (it's marked as "UNCONFIRMED" initially until the full results come in), it also requests the individual results page as well to get the full results.
Any pages obtained are parsed and the data is "massaged" into my main data file and then all Daily Play pages are re-generated (if there isn't a lock file to tell me that a page gen is still in progress). A cron job is set to do all of the above at 1-minute intervals between 8.40pm and 9.00pm, at 5 minute intervals between 9.00pm and 10.00pm and at 15-minute intervals until 10.45pm.
Of course, it could all be horribly broken...we'll find out tomorrow night. If it works correctly, the Daily Play numbers/results will appear on this site about 3 minutes after they appear on the official site, without me being anywhere near a computer. Any bets the official site will change its format and mess up my code ? :-)
Folks paying attention (i.e. not many of you :-) ) will have seen that the "Prize", "Winners" and "Total" headings on Thunderball and Daily Play individual draw pages are now hyperlinked in the same manner as the main draw's headings have been. I could have easily done the Thunderball headings ages ago...I just didn't realise I could !
I launched a new Daily Play section, with the Numerical Analysis sub-pages being the first presence in that section. However, I've also decided to drop links to the board column and row stats across all the games (it doesn't help that the main game's playslip changes its layout periodically and wrecks the whole concept of row and column tracking).
Previous month: August 2003