Frequently asked questions

Question categories
The program
Generated web pages FTP and web tipping


What is a tipping competition?
A competition where people choose (tip) who they think will win a game in a league competition. This generally happens over many games each round and many rounds in a season, so you end up with tens or hundreds of tips for each person in the competition which can be a nightmare to manage manually - that's where Wests comes in. Generally prizes are allocated at the end of the season, and sometimes after each round, Wests handles this too.

Why don't you preload Wests with fixtures?
Why isn't there a thing so I can load fixtures into the program automatically?

Primarily because the fixtures are copyrighted in most cases, and in the second case, it's non-trivial to get software to do that (think of all the different ways you could write a fixture).

Why should I go to the effort of setting up a competition when I can use an online competition?
You get to choose all quirky rules and you have complete control over your competition and prize allocations, and you don't need everyone to be connected to the internet.

Why isn't Windows 95/98 supported?
There is some obscure difference in the inner workings of the operating systems - Windows 2000 and XP are designed differently to 95 and 98. Suffice to say that there are enough differences to make Wests not work properly on Windows 95 and 98.

Using the program

The results I entered have gone missing!
Remember that once you have entered results for a game, you still need to click "Save" to store the results within the fixtures window. Further, you need to click "OK" to close the fixtures window and save changes - clicking cancel will cause the program to forget all changes made since the fixtures window was opened.

Some games are still showing as not played but they have been!
Make sure that for 0-0 draws, you do actually enter the results and then click OK. The game isn't registered as completed until you click OK in the results box.

What happens to blind rounds at the end of the season?
You need to tell Wests to make the rounds non-blind. You can do this manually round-by-round, or you can use the option in the Global Settings window, accessible through the Options menu.

How do add extra rounds onto the end of my competition?
You can't. Sorry.

How do I remove a game?
You can't. Once a game exists, it is permanent. However, you can alter its details (ie the teams that are playing, when it is played etc).

How can I re-use some of this season's data for next season?
See the instructions given on this page.

Why do I keep getting a "Locked out" message when I try to load my data file?
(Assuming your password is correct...) The data file has a checksum to verify its integrity (because it's a plain text file, someone could modify tips, passwords, etc - the checksum detects any changes). So this means your data file has been modified somehow. Firstly, make sure that the line beginnning with #= is the very last line in the file (no blank lines must follow this). If that doesn't help, maybe you FTP-ed the file in ASCII mode - if you did this, try it again in binary mode. As a last resort, email me and send me your file and I'll fix it.

Generated web pages

Some files are missing when I click on a team name/round number in my browser.
You probably haven't saved them, this happens when you use the quick links buttons without generating all files first using Data entry and output / save and ftp files / select all rounds and save.

What do [tips or numbers in square brackets] mean?
A tip in square brackets means that person didn't tip that game. On the tipping ladder, a number in square brackets in the Last column means that person didn't tip at all for that round.

I'm giving a weekly prize to whoever gets the most tips and the closest margin in one game. Tipsters Alice and Bob both got 7 tips. Alice's margin was closer to the actual margin than Bob's, but Bob got the prize! Why?!
The margin is not necessarily given to the person with the closest numerical margin; it also takes the tipped winner into account too. Let's say the Cats beat the Dogs by 15 points, and Alice tipped the Cats by 30 points and Bob tipped the Dogs by 20 points. Even though Bob's number is closer to the actual margin than Alice's, because he tipped the wrong team, his margin error is actually 35 points (the winning margin plus his tipped margin), whereas Alice's margin error is 15 points. Hence, Alice has the closest margin and wins the prize.

How do I change the stylesheet?
You will have to edit it yourself, I haven't had a chance to write anything to do it for you automatically. Here are a few tips though:

FTP and web tipping

Why use psftp instead of FTP?
psftp uses sFTP (secure FTP protocol) - everything that is transferred is encrypted before being sent, and is then decrypted when it reaches the other end. You should use secure stuff for everything these days (eg sFTP rather than FTP, ssh instead of telnet). You should find that most modern servers support sftp - indeed, at my uni I can't use plain old FTP anymore, only sFTP is enabled. More info is available here.

Why the extra download of psftp?
I believe that Australian export laws prohibit the export of encryption products, better to be safe than sorry. It might also be illegal for you to download it from the specified site, depending on your location (Australia is fine though): read a summary of import/export laws for encryption products on this page - I take no responsibility for its accuracy though, I am just being paranoid to protect myself.

When I send tips over the net, I get some error about "HTTP wrapper does not support writeable connections". Why?
You have probably edited the $log variable in sendtips.php so that it is a web address rather than a local file system address. It must be a local filename such as "log" rather than "http://blah/log". You must do this even if you can access it over the web using the latter format.

Why do I need to enter my FTP password everytime I use FTP?
Security reasons - if someone manages to crack some password algorithm that I write then they can hack your account. Maybe I'm paranoid.

Why don't you use private key authentication for sFTP?
Maybe I should, though it might scare some people away due to the non-trivial setup process.

Why do the web pages you generate look so boring?
If you are viewing the pages locally (ie, not on a web server) then copy the file style.css (found in the Wests directory) to your base file output directory specified in your output options.

If you have uploaded the files to a web server, you probably haven't uploaded the stylesheet (which defines how the web pages look, and makes them uniform). Follow the setup checklist given in setting up a web server, except change the line put extras/mailme.php subdirname/mailme.php to put extras/style.css subdirname/style.css

Wests Tipping Software
Version 1.4.5 29/05/2011 (Version history)
Wests © 2003-11 Daniel Wedge