Playing with Data

For the past few years ABCNJ has been using a popular online ticket service to handle registrations. It’s worked well, even though the interface was a bit outdated, but now this service has almost doubled its price and it forced us to look elsewhere. My search for alternatives lead me to Ticket Leap, which is comparable to our old service, but has a much better interface 1.

The one thing Ticket Leap does not do as well as our old service is data handling. Reports are more sparse, and I can’t limit the data sets I retrieve from the service. This meant I’d have to deleted any unwanted columns before passing the report on anytime the office needed an update. To say I have better ways of spending my time is a under statement.

To deal with this deficiency I decided I’d create a simple database which would import only the columns I wanted. From there I could create the reports I knew we would need. It took me a good bit of Tuesday to think through the design 2, and a bit of Wednesday to refine some rough edges 3, but now I have what I want. The result is a single table database which can create name tags 4, generate a list of registered attendees, and export a simple CSV file to a user’s desktop in case further customization is desired. To make things easier, I also created a clean landing page with buttons to activate these different reports. I then put the database on our server so the users who need to access the data will be able to access it without going though a middle-man 5.

I’m kinda psyched by the end result. I’m going to work on setting up an auto import for data but it’s usable right now. And generating name tags has never been easier. It’s been a lot of fun to create.

Yes. That makes me a nerd, but I think I can live with that.


  1. Also, the company is based out of Philly, which is a huge plus for me. 
  2. With the help of my good friend, Vernl Mattson, without whom I would have had no one to help me with the scripting. 
  3. Accounting for new ticket types was a bit of a conundrum. 
  4. Which include the name of training sessions for which people have signed up, based on ticket type. 
  5. In our old system only a few people had access to the data, so people had to ask the administrative assistant to run a report for them. It worked but was inefficient. 

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