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Tutorial -- Hints and Comments for 20.04.2007 (Phase 3) Server Update

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Last update to this page: 7.05.2007

After extensive testing a new version of the ICCF webserver has replaced the old version. Things will look a little different, but many new features have been added and an attempt was made to streamline the pages to make everything fit better. If you experience any problems it is suggested that you reload the page in your browser or clear your browser cache. There are instructions on the server home page for doing this.

One change to reorganize pages was to remove the complete menu from some pages. For example, the Game Page was changed to remove the menu at the left.


Old version of Game Page

New version of Game Page

As you can see, the new page requires less space. To see the complete menu click on the "Main Menu" link just below the ICCF logo in the upper left.

This will return to the home page and show the complete menu. For convenience one additional link is provided next to the "Main Menu" link. Click on "My Games List" to return to your game list page.

The game page was reorganized in other ways. The message boxes were moved to the right of the game board and are no longer labeled. The top box is for your opponent's message to you (you will not be able to type anything in this box). The bottom box is for your message to your opponent. You can type in text before clicking on Submit. After clicking Submit and before clicking Commit you may type text or modify the text already entered.

The game score may not completely show but the "slider" at the right can be used to show different moves.

Unfortunately, the space is rather cramped and for small diagram sizes it doesn't show very many moves, particularly if you click on "Show timestamps". Perhaps this will be modified in the future.

There are a few problems at the beginning which will probably be fixed very soon. The server wouldn't keep you logged in for more than 30 minutes, but this has been fixed. You couldn't send a message after the game had finished, but this has also been fixed. Other issues will also be addressed and fixed.

 

How to view the Game Score

When you are on-move there is a limited space for the game moves, roughly 1/3 the height of the board. Hopefully in the future this situation will be improved. For now, here are a few hints on how to see your moves.

Note: people have suggested, since all the moves may not be displayed, that the last moves should be shown instead of the first moves. However, a limitation in the browsers apparently do not provide a method of doing this. The programmer would have done this if possible.

A trick ... due to a bug if you choose the smallest piece size the display will show all your moves. This will probably be fixed in the near future, but for now it works if you can live with the tiny pieces and the messy page.

 

A better solution is to choose a larger board size (larger piece size) ... here are two examples, the first with piece size 24 and the second with piece size 48. Note the suggestions at the further down, as well, about choosing a different screen resolution. Several people have found the ideal setting for piece size is 40.

Piece size = 24

 

Piece size = 48

 

As you can see, with piece size = 24 only a single line of four moves are shown. With piece size = 48 five lines of moves can be shown, and the lines are much wider and show more moves, to correspond to the larger board size. Of course, this requires a wider browser window. If you make the browser window too narrow you may have a problem. Here is how it may look using Internet Explorer (IE) ... it will look similar in Firefox or Netscape:

 

If this happens, just make the browser window wider (if possible) or select a smaller piece size and the overlap will disappear.

 

Using a smaller diagram (piece size = 24) with Internet Explorer (IE)

If you prefer using a smaller piece size, you can still view all your moves by scrolling using your mouse (cursor). Here is an example with piece size = 24.

The above is the move area in Internet Explorer (see further down for Firefox or Netscape). Note the slider/scroll bar at the right of the moves is an abbreviated version (only the up/down arrows are shown). You can scroll down to the later moves using the mouse by clicking on the down-arrow key. Here are two examples of scrolling ... part way down and all the way to the last move.

(after scrolling a little ways down you can see the intermediary moves)

(holding the mouse button down till the scrolling stops will show the last moves ... in this example a move has been submitted and is displayed in red).

 

Using a smaller diagram (piece size = 24) with Firefox or Netscape

With Firefox or Netscape you may not see any trace of the slider/scroll bar at the right of the moves, not even the arrows as in the examples below. The browser just can't find enough space to show any of the slider/scroll bar.

With no scroll bar it may not be obvious that you can scroll down to see the following moves. Indeed, it is not obvious that there ARE any more moves, but if you have made more moves then they are there and can be viewed. Just use your mouse, point the cursor to a move in the move line, hold the mouse button down and move the cursor down. This is the technique used to select text for a copy & paste operation, if you are familiar with that. You may also be able to use a simpler approach: point the cursor within the move area and click, then use your mouse wheel to scroll up or down.

It's easier to figure out by experimenting than reading instructions, as long as you are aware that it is possible. Give it a try. This should work with all browsers, not just Firefox and Netscape. In this example, a move has been submitted and is shown in red. If you click your mouse key on/off in the move area it will turn off the shading used to indicate the text to copy. I prefer the easier method of clicking in the move area and using the mouse wheel.

 

show timestamps

If you click "show timestamps" the situation gets worse. Look at this IE example (piece size = 24).

 

Wow, not one move is displayed! When displaying moves with timestamps you should see one move-pair per line. This example is using the IE browser, which for some reason insists on inserting a horizontal scroll bar which is not needed. Thus the one line available for moves is wiped out by a useless scroll bar. Here's the same thing using Firefox.

 

Well, without the useless horizontal scroll bar it is better, but it is still far from ideal. I think the only practical choice is to choose a piece size greater than 24 so the diagram (and therefore the move area) will be larger. Note that the same trick with using the mouse to scroll works here. Just place the cursor in the move area, hold the mouse button down and move the cursor down to scroll the moves ... or click in the area and use the mouse wheel.

 

Experiment with Piece Size

You may find it worthwhile to experiment with different piece sizes till you find the best compromise for you. Just move your mouse cursor over the Board menu label, move the cursor down to Piece size, then over to the list of sizes. Click on the size you select (36 would be selected in the example below) and the page will redisplay using the size you selected (if you click and move the cursor away too quickly the selection may not take ... just repeat the process again). Piece size = 40 is the choice of a number of people.

 

Experiment with Screen Resolution

All the screenshots here were made using a 19" flatscreen monitor with resolution 1280x1024. The ICCF Server Manager Gino Figlio says, "I think a little mention of screen resolution is a good idea, because it does make a difference. The best display in my opinion, with an-easy-to-read screen is obtained with a screen resolution of 1024x768 and piece size of 40; in the 3 browsers."

If you wish to experiment with screen resolution (note: this might cause your icons to have been moved when you return to your original resolution) you can right-click on a blank area of your screen (Windows XP), choose "Properties" from the menu and click on the "Settings" tab. You should then see a screen resolution setting (I see a slider for changing resolution). Make the change and click "OK". Another method is to go to the "Control Panel" and double click on "Display".

 

© 2007 J. Franklin Campbell. All rights reserved.

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