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Peeking through the Cone of Silence

Mitchell Hodus, the CIO of ACBL was kind enough to call me today and we talked about ACBLScore.  He is careful about discussing future plans, because conditions may change.  But his current strategy is as follows:

  1. Their first priority has been to build up the internal ACBL IT infrastructure.  It needed a lot of work.  Very old machines and technology. They have made significant progress.  They are freeing up, so they can look around and consider working on other things as well. (Although it is never done).
  2. ACBLScore will probably be around for many more years, but it will not be actively upgraded anymore, other than to survive.  According to Mitchell, 3 separate compilers are used every time they build a new executable.  There is no debugger.  It is difficult to test.  I had no idea they couldn't use a debugger.  Without software tools to automate the documentation process, I would think the code would be unmanageable.  They are NOT going to rewrite a new version that does the same thing as the old version.  New software applications and electronic devices to record Bridge scores and hands are popping up all the time.  The ACBL will seek to take advantage of them at every reasonable opportunity.
  3. They are developing a software module that I suspect will be tightly held by the ACBL that will input game information and spit out master point awards.  This will allow them to add other capabilities in an iterative manner -- hopefully.
  4. They have settled on an XML variant which is favored by the Europeans for reporting duplicate bridge results.  It is called USEBIO.
I think his plans are reasonable.     I tried to explain to him that many members feel in a total vacuum about the choices that are being made, and they're curious.  He is afraid that he will announce something, then backtrack, and then be chided "You told us X and now you're doing Y."  He feels unfairly attacked by some of the Bridge Winners crowd, and is reticent to participate.  I can see both sides.      
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