Monday, January 11, 2010

Phase 1 completed

A while back, I divided up the work on into three distinct phases:

  1. Build a better club list for
  2. Provide tools for helping new clubs to form.
  3. Provide a service to schedule games in public.
Phase 1 is now complete. There are a few issues that still need to be addressed, but they can be addressed on a case by case basis. The site is now internationalized, and today contains club listings in 21 different countries. An ongoing import from keeps us reasonably up to date with US clubs (there are a couple of bugs that need to be worked out), and there is a BGA importer as well, which needs to be updated to pull in data automatically. Ultimately I'd also like to have an hCard importer as well, so that any club list posted in hCard format could be easily imported. All of this is an ongoing effort. For those of you still wondering about how this is going to be used on, join the club (no pun intended!). As far as I can tell, they still want it to happen, but don't have the bandwidth to work on it. In fact, Allan Abramson's membership memo #3 came out yesterday, and they're asking for help with the web site. Send an email to president at usgo dot org if you can help out!

It's now time to start work on Phase 2, building new clubs. There are a few different angles I want to tackle on this: 1. Encouraging people to put club entries into the system for clubs they want to form, 2. Creating a new kind of "club interest" listing to help connect people looking for clubs, and 3. Messaging people via email and through the site when there is information about new clubs.

Getting new club entries into the system

To get new club entries into the system, we'll have a flag indicating that a club entry is in its formative phase. This will enable us to highlight new clubs that are likely to need support from the community, and new clubs that might be in need of more interest before they can meet regularly. The club owner can remove the flag from his/her entry when the club has matured and has a regular meeting time.

Club interest listings

I think this should really be about individuals, not about clubs. When people don't find a club nearby, they should be able to enter private addresses that indicate work or home addresses, places where they spend time and might be able to attend a club nearby. Then, the system will search for clusters of people who are interested in forming clubs, and help them get in contact with each other through the site.

Messaging about clubs

This would be a Facebook-style status page. If you've indicated that you're interested in new clubs, or in forming new clubs, then the system would add a message to your status page to that effect, and send an email to the user to let them know that they have a new message. These messages could also be used to communicate between members who don't yet know each other, as a safe alternative to email.


This is just a rough sketch of what I'm planning on building in phase 2. If you have feedback, I'd love to hear it. Just leave a comment here, or contact me at the following email address: contact at promotego dot org.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Go club search widget now customizable and available in multiple languages

The Go club search is now customizable. You can change all the colors and fonts, as well as the size of the widget, so it will now blend in well with your blog or web site. It also detects the language of the user, or alternatively you can set the language on the customization page so that it shows the same language for all users. It's available in English, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese, and German. Please contact me through the web site if you're able to provide translations for another language. I'd especially like to have French and Spanish translations! Here's what the widget looks like by default: You can see the widget and customize it for your web site here: Custom go Club search widget

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 now has Go club listings in 17 countries!

As of this morning, has Go club listings in 17 countries! Many thanks to all of you who have entered information about Go clubs you know. While you can manage your club's information directly on the site, I've also built importers for the American Go Association club listing, which has not yet moved to, and the British Go Association club listing. Next I'll be working on an hCard importer that will allow us to import listings from anywhere as long as the Go club listing is marked up with the hCard microformat. is gaining momentum, but I still need your help! I need dedicated developers, designers, and testers, and I also need advocates to reach out to the Go community and encourage them to embrace the site, link to the site, and use tools like the search widget to help people find clubs in their area.

Sunday, May 17, 2009 search widget released!

Today I'm proud to announce the search widget! You can see it on this site's left column today. It's just a line of javascript that you can include in your blog or web page and you'll get a simple form in the page where you placed the javascript. Your visitors can then enter their zip code or address directly into the form and get a list of known go clubs near their address. You can find full instructions on the Promote Go search widget page. Right now the widget is very simple, but if you find any problems and you'd like to use it, please drop me a line!

Sunday, April 26, 2009 open for new club listings

I've finished up the basic functionality to take in new club listings. This took a while because I also needed to add the ability to pull in new AGA listings with duplicate detection. As a club listing site, aims to be fill out the capability of the AGA chapter listing site with helpful features like:
  • Geographic radius search
  • Google maps directions
  • Email obfuscation to protect addresses from spam
  • Display search results on map
  • Ability for you to manage your own club info
I also plan to add features for seeding new clubs: When there are no clubs within your search radius, one of your options will be to sign up to hear about new clubs in your area. Then, when a new club opens near you, you'll automatically be notified. Also, users will be notified if they want when people near them express an interest in forming a new club. The last major feature, and my original idea for the site, will be to help people arrange games to play in person. If we can move a fraction of Go games from clubs and online venues into public places like coffee houses, pubs, and parks, we'll raise awareness of the game dramatically. If you're a club owner and your club is listed on the AGA site, please try to find your Go club, or send me a note (my contact info is on the site) and try updating your club information. Most clubs don't have addresses on the AGA site, so we could really use that data to improve the quality of the search! If you're a web developer and you're interested in helping me out (the site is 100% open source), drop me a line! Promote Go in Your Community

Sunday, March 22, 2009 moving forward

I've completed state listings and search result mappings on I'm still looking for help to move the site along a little bit faster. The site is all about helping people to promote Go in their communities. You can see the current implementation at Currently I'm planning three phases: Phase 1, already underway, is a better club listing with a map interface to help people add and edit their own clubs, and to help people find the closest club to them. Many people have already used it to discover clubs near them that they didn't know about. I've been working with Steve Colburn of the AGA to get this to a point where they can use it as the main listing tool. Phase 2 will be adding notifications for users to let them know when a new club opens near them, or when people near them register an interest to start a club. This is all about helping people who want to form new Go clubs. Phase 3 will be providing a way for players to arrange games to play in person. I want to promote Go by encouraging and enabling people to play in their local coffee houses, pubs, parks, etc. I really need help to make this work. The site is built using Ruby on Rails, which I use professionally in my day job as a software developer for, but there are lots of ways you can help even if you don't write code. Please contact me through this site or join the Google Code project at if you're interested in helping!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maps and Directions on club list

I worked late into the night and early this morning, and I've finally been able to get maps and directions working the way I want them on the Go club display page! Do your own search and try it out!