Wait Wait Stats Page Version 4 Released!

This year has been full of new projects surrounding the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page, including the development and release of a data access layer library, libwwdtm, developed in Python, the Wait Wait Stats API, and the Wait Wait Reports site. All three of those projects were done as a building blocks for the next big thing: version 4 of the Wait Wait Stats Page!

Back in 2018, I made the decision to step away from the codebase for version 3.x of the Stats Page; which, was written in PHP and made some use of the Silex micro-framework. While it would have been feasible to continue building on top of that codebase, it would have required a significant re-write in order to meet the requirements that I had for the new version:

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The 1000th* Show Taping and New Wait Wait Stats Reports

Back in March 2019, I was working with Colin Miller at Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! on a request to pull data regarding the various Wait Wait shows that have aired; especially, getting data on shows that excluded Best Of or Repeat shows. The purpose of the request would later be revealed to be trying to determine when the 1000th* original show would land on the schedule. In July, the date and the location for the taping of the 1000th* show would start to solidify. The show would be taped in Salt Lake City, Utah and on Thursday, October 24th. Why Salt Lake City? The very first time that Wait Wait was taped in front of a live audience was at Jewett Center at Westminster …

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats API is Live

For the past few years, people have requested access to the data that I have been collecting for the Wait Wait Stats Page to play around with the data or build a brilliant, interactive infographic. Each of those requests would require that a data export of the requested tables or a MySQL/MariaDB database dump to be created and sent over to the requester. Of course, those exports and database dumps are just snapshots of the data and another request was needed to get update data each time.

That got me thinking about what it would take to create an API service that people can use to get data directly from the Stats Page database. At that time, I wasn’t sold on the idea of extending the PHP codebase that is used for the current Stats Page; as, I was looking at doing a completely re-work of the Stats Page at some point and wanted the code that I would write for an API to also be re-usable for the next version of the Stats Page. I was waffling between writing the new codebase in Python, something that I was already quite familiar with, and TypeScript. While the latter is something that would be interesting to learn, I didn’t have the spare time to pick up a new language and the surrounding frameworks and toolsets; so, Python it was.

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Stats Page Version 3.4.0: Correcting Some Design Mistakes

Ever since I started working on version 3.0 of the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page, one of the design decisions that I made when it came to the individual host, scorekeeper, panelist and guest pages was to use the specially encoded names in the URL. The encoding process would convert certain characters, such as a space, into their URL-encoded version, or “%20” in the case of a space. Well, looking back, that was not really the smartest way of doing it; and, ever since version 3.0 was published back in 2014, I was afraid of breaking any links that may have been created with that URL format and did not have a lot of spare time to re-design the whole thing. As months …

Working on Wait Wait Stats Page Versions 3.3.0 and 3.4.0

For the past month, I have been working on making a number of changes and updates to the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page to make working on the site’s code a bit easier to manage. The changes won’t change the user experience of the Stats Page in any meaningful way; though, it does optimize how the panelist charts pull the required data and when it is rendered. Although the update will not include any new features (more on that in a bit), the version bump a few, significant behind-the-scenes updates. The biggest updates come from updating the code framework, Silex, to the latest and greatest version, optimizing the code that generates the HTML code, and finally, breaking some of the larger code blocks into separate …

New Graphs Are Now Here on the Wait Wait Stats Page

In the previous Stats Page update blog post, I mentioned that the next version of the Stats Page will include changes to the panelist graphs to improve how they look and to make them more interactive. Below is a current example of the two graphs that are currently generated for each of the panelists, one showing the breakdown of the panelist’s scores and the other showing the panelist’s scores over time. The charting library used to generate the graphs have some serious limitations, including poor font rendering and the graphs are static (a scheduled job generates the graph image files on a regular basis). The other problem with the graph showing a panelist’s score over time is it becomes harder to read as more data …