This user guide describes how to seamlessly integrate the Roster Athletics platform with the FinishLynx timing system.
This guide is divided into a few sections below:
- What do you need to do to set up the integration?
- Integration type
- Starting integration
- Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks
What do you need to do to set up the integration?
- You have already created the meeting on the Roster Athletics platform.
- You have downloaded and installed the Roster/Lynx data transfer program named Roster Athletics Agent (you can download the program here: Download and install the RosterAgent).
- You have an active demo of, or a full license to use, the FinishLynx software (note that FinishLynx only works with Windows). You can download it here: http://www.finishlynx.com/product/software/finishlynx-results-software/
The RosterAgent program is a small program that allows communications between the Roster platform and FinishLynx so that they can stay in sync with each other during the competition for start lists upload from Roster to Lynx and results download and sync from Lynx to the Roster platform (and immediately in the app).
Now you should have everything ready to start the integration. Make sure you have the following three programs open:
- Roster Athletics in a browser
- FinishLynx running
- RosterAgent running
The RosterAgent shares information data between Lynx and Roster by using shared LIF files. It works if you are using the same computer or you are using a shared file folder between computers (e.g. one computer running Roster/Roster Agent and another computer running FinishLynx).
To start integration you have to select the FinishLynx input directory (EVT files) and FinishLynx output directory (LIF files). These directories NEED TO BE THE SAME as the input and output directories that FinishLynx uses in order for the data to be transferred between Roster and Lynx (see below on the Lynx setup).
TIP: the input and an output directory should be folders or sub-folders on a drive (e.g., C:) and you should avoid adding the folder directly to your desktop.
Now let’s go to the FinishLynx setup before returning to load the configuration in Roster. Go to the FinishLynx program.
Open the Options menu under File in FinishLynx.
Make sure the Input Directory and the Output Directory point to the exact same directories as you set up in the RosterAgent. Additionally, you need to make sure that Code set and LIF Code set are set to Unicode.
Please note: if the directories are not the same between Roster and Lynx, the data will not be transferred and you will not get the expected results. Please double-check these directories.
You will only need to change these settings the first time you set up the integration, after which they will come up by default.
1. Choose participants that you want to export from Roster Athletics to FinishLynx. You can find this setting on the meeting Details in the FinishLynx integration section.
You can export all participants or exclude participants with DNS status (e.g., when you already know before the competition that the athlete will not show up, but do not want to remove him/her).
2. In the same section below, choose the display format that will be visible and used within FinishLynx when viewing events.
There are 3 Event description format types to choose from. Events will be displayed in FinishLynx as follows:
- Detailed format: event time, event name, gender (if more than one gender), age group (if more than one age group), event title (if a title is assigned), group/heat number (if they have been assigned).
- Simple format: event name, gender (if more than one gender), age group (if more than one age group). group/heat number (if they have been assigned).
- Custom format: allows you to choose your event format to be displayed within FinishLynx.
The Custom format field allows you to pick the event descriptors and order to be displayed. Click on the descriptors of your choice to add them to the field. Erase by simply deleting them. Please note that the field format requires colons around each descriptor, and the descriptors must be separated by a single space. Thus :EventName: :Gender: would display only the event names and gender for each event in FinishLynx. The options are as follows:
- Age group: always display the event age group
- Age group opt.: display the event age group if only there is more than one age group in the meeting (Note: recommend to choose either Age group or Age group opt., but not both)
- Combined prefix opt.: display the combined parent event if a combined event is used
- Event label opt.: display the event title if one exists for the event
- Event name: always display the event name
- Gender: always display the event gender
- Gender opt.: display the event gender only if only there is more than one gender in the meeting (Note: recommend to choose either Gender or Gender opt., but not both).
- Group opt.: display the group/heat number only if they are used for the event
- Stage: always display the event stage
- Time: always display the event time
If you need to reset the Custom setting, press the Default symbol to return to the initial set of recommended default parameters.
3. Now you are ready to load and integrate your meeting data.
Go back to Roster Athletics in your browser.
Open the relevant meeting and go to Details. On the left-hand-side, click the Agent config button.
This will download an authentication .roster file for your specific meeting that lets the RosterAgent know to use this meeting to connect with Lynx. Save the file in a place where you can easily find it again.
Please note: It is critical that you use the LAST downloaded authentication file to load into the RosterAgent. Otherwise, the permissions will not match and you will not be able to connect to your meeting (“Can’t connect - permission denied”).
Once the authentication file is downloaded, go to the RosterAgent. Click on Load configuration and select the latest .roster file (e.g., meeting-xxx-auth.roster) for this meeting that you downloaded (as soon as you load the configuration, a ".roster" file will be saved. This file stores the directory information so you don't need to enter directory settings every time.).
Click Start. FinishLynx and Roster Athletics are connected if the LIF monitor status is Active and the Connection status is Connected.
Note that Stop will stop the connection, and Quit will exit the program completely. To change a configuration file or to change input/output directories, the connection must be stopped (i.e. no active connection).
If you have Show notifications enabled by default, you will see status messages such as:
You can disable notifications by pressing the Show notifications button, which will then appear as a lighter shade button.
When the Roster Agent is running, pay attention to the LIF monitor and Connection statuses:
- Active - normal operational mode
- Connected - normal operational mode
- Reconnecting - agent will automatically attempt to reconnect
- Invalid - using outdated configuration file: try to re-download and then reload the config file
Once you have prepared your start lists in Roster Athletics, then go to FinishLynx. Click on the Select event icon and when you see the dialogue, then click on Load Schedule. When you have done so, click on the drop-down menu and select the event you want to time and click OK.
Now the synchronization setup is complete and the start lists for a particular event are loaded into FinishLynx. FinishLynx is now ready to go and the event can commence in standard FinishLynx procedure. Once the event has finished and FinishLynx has the marked results, click on File → Save. You can go ahead and use the default event filename when saving. Note that using Save will save the LIF file and event files including camera images. After saving, wait approximately 10 seconds or less while the data is synced to Roster Athletics.
- File → Save LIF
- File → Save as... (event files saved into the folder or networked folder to be shared)
Now you can go back to Roster Athletics and see the times and rankings for the athletes that have been updated from FinishLynx. The results are also immediately available in the Roster Athletics App.
Important note: every time you make an update to the start list in Roster Athletics, it is automatically pushed to the Roster Athletics Agent, but you still need to Load Schedule in FinishLynx to load these changes. Also, field events are not supported by the standard version of FinishLynx.
BIB-numbers: If you have added BIB-numbers in Roster Athletics, you will find them under the field Id. If you have not added BIB-numbers, the Id field in FinishLynx will have an automatically generated athlete-ID.
OPTIONAL: If you want BIB-numbers in a different field, you need to enable an additional field in FinishLynx as follows: (i) Select User 1 under File → Options... → Results, (ii) select User 1 under Fields and (iii) click Enable. You will now be able to transfer BIB-numbers as shown below.
Reaction times: If enabled in FinishLynx, reaction times will be transferred back to Roster Athletics.
Competitor status: in FinishLynx, the status for each athlete can be set under Place → `right click` → Status. These status options translate to Roster in the following manner:
- Valid → OK
- Did Not Start → DNS
- False Start → DQ (+ selection of DQ rule)
- Did Not Finish → DNF
- Scratched → DNS
- Disqualified → DQ (+ selection of DQ rule)
- Advanced is not used since qualifying Q/q rules are set in the Roster Schedule and qualification is handled entirely in Roster (either auto Q/q or manual q's)
DQ rules can be added in Roster but not directly from FinishLynx.
Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you are running the latest version of the RosterAgent (please see the Download and install RosterAgent for the latest version number).
- If a message of "Can't connect - permission denied" message pops up while trying to connect the RosterAgent, make you have loaded the latest version of the meeting agent configuration file. This file is downloaded from meeting Details → Agent config.
- If you are using shared folders and your connection status is good but either a.) your start lists in Roster are not updating to Lynx or b.) your saved results in Lynx are not being updated to Roster, make sure you carefully check your paths on both the RosterAgent and FinishLynx (File → Options → Database) to see that both the set of input and output directories are pointing to the exact same location and that the settings described above for set-up (File → Options → Database) are all followed precisely.
- The Roster Agent has the ability to queue up saved FinishLynx results if you lose connectivity (e.g. bad or very slow internet). If you lose the connection, the saved LIF files will be queued up and uploaded automatically once the reconnection has been detected and re-established by the Agent. The upload queue is visible in the RosterAgent and will normally be empty when there are no connection issues or cleared once any queued results are automatically uploaded.