Simplifying permanent numbers

Date

June 11, 2013 by Brian Ghidinelli

"Hey, where's my #50 that I've had painted on my Spec Trabant for the last 15 years?"
Key to autocross, club racing and some driving school programs, our Permanent Number system has been in place for over a year keeping track of who owns what. Perhaps the most compelling feature is what we call "Use-n-Reserve"; the ability to let participants claim a number by using it first. This eliminates manual tracking of the numbers for most organizations, particularly for autocross programs.

For organizations who want to more carefully manage the numbers (say, club race programs who annually renew their numbers), the problem with our previous set up was when Lance Leadfoot went to register, the system looked backwards in time at all of Lance's previous registrations to see if he has previously claimed a number. If so, use it. If not, then we looked up all of the possible numbers defined (say, 0-99) and removed any numbers which were already used by others. The remaining numbers were presented to the participant for selection and going forward that number would be gone from the available pool.

numberassignmentsSo this works great, but here's the rub: say Henrietta Horsepower wants #50 and it doesn't show up in the list so she contacts the registrar: "Hey, where's the #50 that I've had painted on my Spec Trabant for the last 15 years?" Well, Randy Registrar goes to the number list and sees only a few numbers that were manually assigned (or maybe none at all if they were all claimed). Now what? Well, let's just say figuring out where #50 was first claimed was what authors like to call "an exercise left to the reader".

Disappointed that we were complicating the life of number keepers across the country, we said to ourselves, "what if we simply created a number assignment instead of looking backwards at the time of registration?" OK, know-it-all, just suggest a simple solution that will eliminate several hundred lines of complex database queries in favor of a very simple solution that works for everyone.

Turns out smarty pants was right. So that's what we did. And released last week. Plus, we copied all of the existing reserved numbers from the previous scheme providing a single point of reference for numbers. Check it out under "Club Profile", then "Permanent Numbers".







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