What's New Swimmers Guide

What's New as of February 26, 2019

Date Posted: 2/27/2019 2:05:45 AM

February Site News:

Early Closing:

We're off on a quick trip to visit family beginning on February 27, so we're moving the month-end closing up a couple of days, to February 26.

Country Notes:

One of the enhancements we had hoped to bring to the site in our last update was a list of Notes for travelers that would show up under the "Facility Notes" section of the listing to give swimmers some 'helpful hints' about customs in the listing country that might surprise visitors from elsewhere. When we ran out of money for the programming, we had to ditch the idea. Then it occurred to us that we could use our Swimmers Guide Facebook page to do that. We made our first posting, about swimming in France, in February. To check it out, click HERE.

February Database News:

We're continuing on the second, complete review of every listing in the database that we began in 2014. We've completed the reviews of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, and Portugal. We're now working on reviewing the listings in the US state of Virginia, then will return to do Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy...

In February, we added 49 new listings (net) to the site. We finished the last 70 (of 330) listings in Portugal then, as promised, we got into Virginia, the last of the 50 U.S. states to be reviewed in this go-round. We're more than half-way through the 216 listings in Virginia.

Because listings in the United States are the most numerous and because the vast majority of our site users are in the US, we'll go back to New England and re-start checking the US listings again, between the European countries. Germany has almost 1,500 listings, so we may do one or two federal states there, then jump to a US state, then do another German federal state or two... so the US listings don't get so stale.

Database Statistics:

As of February 26, 2019, the database lists 24,206 swimming facilities in 200 countries and 13,284 cities. In total, those facilities have 26,306 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,598 listings in the United States, 2,311 in the United Kingdom, 1,589 in France, 1,469 in Germany, 1,426 in Spain, 1,119 in Italy, 1,006 in Canada, 881 in Japan, 867 in Australia, and 403 in the Netherlands.


What's New as of January 31, 2019

Date Posted: 2/1/2019 2:08:00 AM

January Site News:

Site outages:

Regular users of the site may have noticed occasional "500 Internal server error" messages. We think we've tracked down the problem and we're hopeful that we've fixed it but, if it happens to you, please contact us as we are not always online and/or may not have experienced the problem. Use the "Messages" tool on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SwimmersGuide/ to reach us.

Advertising:

Regular users will also have noticed that we made some changes to the advertisements on the site in January. We dropped the Amazon Ads, because Amazon pays only when users actually purchase products using the links - and you all didn't purchase much (mild understatement) over the several months we hosted the Amazon Ads. We replaced them with Google Ads, which pay us "per click"; and we added another (3rd) Google Ad at the top of the listing pages, but not the home page. We're sorry we felt it necessary to do that, but a model where a website brings in a dollar or so a day yet requires the full-time commitment of its webmaster plus tens of thousands of dollars in programming and infrastructure costs is not sustainable. As much as we hate having to subject you to so many ads, we are not a charitable operation - someone has to pay the bills to keep the site going and growing...

January Database News:

We added 57  new listings (net) to the site in January, continuing to concentrate on reviewing all of the listings in Portugal, where we have 70 listings (out of 320) to go. Then, as promised, we'll get into Virginia (the last of the 50 U.S. states to be reviewed in this go-round), then on to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, ...

Database Statistics:

As of January 31, 2019, the database lists 24,157 swimming facilities in 200 countries and 13,259 cities. In total, those facilities have 26,250 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,590 listings in the United States, 2,310 in the United Kingdom, 1,590 in France, 1,457 in Germany, 1,424 in Spain, 1,119 in Italy, 1,006 in Canada, 881 in Japan, 867 in Australia, and 402 in the Netherlands.


What's New as of December 31, 2018

Date Posted: 1/1/2019 6:21:18 PM

December Site News:

In December, we added ten new countries to the site: Bhutan, Burundi, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and South Sudan. We now have coverage in 200 countries around the world!

We added 76  new listings (net) to the site in December, but somewhere among them was our 24,000th and we found another 100 after that, bringing the total number of listings to 24,100!

During the month we concentrated on updating the listings in Portugal, where we now have 315 listings.

After Portugal, we'll get into Virginia (the last of the 50 U.S. states to be reviewed in this go-round), then on to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, ...

Database Statistics:

As of December 31, 2018, the database lists 24,100 swimming facilities in 200 countries and 13,240 cities. In total, those facilities have 26,186 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,585 listings in the United States, 2,305 in the United Kingdom, 1,591 in France, 1,454 in Germany, 1,423 in Spain, 1,118 in Italy, 1,006 in Canada, 881 in Japan, 863 in Australia, and, 402 in the Netherlands.

2018 Overview:

In 2018, we reviewed 3,675 of the now 24,100 listings on the site. We added about 1,300 facilities, but had to delete 200 that had closed or no longer met the site's listing criteria. We added listings in 21 new countries and 539 new cities.

In September, after approximately five months of work, we debuted a completely new version of the site, which combined the best features of the previous version's menu and map-based interfaces. There were a number of additional enhancements we would like to have incorporated, but we ran out of money.


What's New as of November 30, 2018

Date Posted: 12/1/2018 1:16:47 AM

The Site Update

The site is now stable and operating as it should.

There are some enhancements we'd like to add, but we've already spent far more than we've received in GoFundMe contributions (see link above), so we're pausing our upgrade program until we (or you) have caught up.

One example of what we'd like to do is to add to the listings are "Geographic Notes" - something along the lines of the "Facility Notes", but geared to letting foreign travelers know about swimming customs that may differ from what they're used to at home. For example, most pools in France won't let a gentleman swim in boxer-style swim trunks. Japanese swimming pools won't let you swim if you have a tattoo that isn't covered by a bandage. Greek swimming pools usually require multiple medical certifications (general health, dermatologist, and sometimes even gynecological certifications) before allowing you to swim.

It would be nice to be able to tell summer visitors where they may be able to find out about seasonal pools in cities they may be visiting.

It is not practical or efficient to enter that sort of information into every listing individually, but an upgrade to the database and the addition of some code to the listing template could be easily (but not inexpensively) arranged.

Please $end money through the GoFundMe campaign, so we can give you the best site possible.

November Site News:

In November we added six new countries to the site: Angola, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Liberia, and Sudan. We now have coverage in 190 countries around the world!

We added only 52 new listings (net) to the site in November, but somewhere among them was our 24,000th!

During the month we completed a review of all the listings in the US states of Tennessee and North Carolina and we're now working on updating the listings in Portugal.

After Portugal, which has only 304 listings, we'll get into Virginia (the last of the 50 U.S. states to be reviewed in this go-round), then on to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, ...

Database Statistics:

As of November 30, 2018, the database lists 24,024 swimming facilities in 190 countries and 13,201 cities. In total, those facilities have 26,105 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,573 listings in the United States, 2,304 in the United Kingdom, 1,591 in France, 1,454 in Germany, 1,422 in Spain, 1,118 in Italy, 1,006 in Canada, 881 in Japan, 854 in Australia, and, 402 in the Netherlands.


What's New as of October 31, 2018

Date Posted: 11/30/2018 5:08:57 PM

The Site Update

Well, it looks like we've gotten all the bugs out of the new website, but If you come across a glitch or something that doesn't work quite right, please let us know.

October Site News:

In October we added two new countries to the site: Albania and Kosovo. We had gone a couple of years without adding a new country to the site, then had three in September and two in October. Nice!

We added 112 new listings (net) in twenty-one other countries in October. In addition to the new listings in Albania and Kosovo, there were also adds in: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China (Republic of), Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country with the largest number of additions this month was Romania, with 34 new listings, bringing their total to 58.

In the database, we changed the name of the country formally known as the Czech Republic, to Czechia. The government of the Czech Republic recommended use of the shorter version of the name in April, 2016, but we didn't pick up on it until recently.

During the month we finished up our review of all the listings in Spain and completed a review of the listings in the US state of South Carolina.

We're just started reviewing the listings in Tennessee and North Carolina, and then will move on to Portugal, Virginia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, ...

Database Statistics:

As of October 31, 2018, the database lists 23,972 swimming facilities in 184 countries and 13,174 cities. In total, those facilities have 26,044 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,557 listings in the United States, 2,304 in the United Kingdom, 1,591 in France, 1,454 in Germany, 1,421 in Spain, 1,117 in Italy, 1,006 in Canada, 880 in Japan, 854 in Australia, and, 402 in the Netherlands.


What's New as of September 30, 2018

Date Posted: 10/1/2018 12:41:45 AM

The Site Update

On August 31, we finally got the new Swimmers Guide website online. Nine months worth of work and $33,000 of cash ($630 of which was generously contributed by users of the site) had given us an updated to current-standards site that we hope will serve for another five or six years.

The update didn't go entirely without a hitch. After a few days online, we realized that the list of pools that was supposed to be sorted by distance from your location was sorted as text, not as numbers. What does that mean? Well, if you have a series of numbers like this: 0, 1, 2, 3, 10, 20, 25, 30, 100, 200, 300, 1,000; that's a numerical sort in ascending order. But, if you sort those same numbers as text, it comes out like this: 0, 1, 10, 100, 1000, 2, 25, 200, 3, 30, 300. And that's how the lists were sorted. Not good! It was a week before we noticed the problem, but we finally did and got it straightened out.

We also received a couple of Add-A-Pool user recommendations for pools that were already on the site and clearly showing up on the maps. We couldn't understand how they missed the listings, but a follow-up with one of the users let us know that we had an unexpected compatibility issue with the Internet Explorer browser that needed to be fixed - and was.

Most surprising, however, was what has happened to the little bit of click-revenue that we make from the site: it fell off a cliff! Admittedly, people are more likely to be looking for pools in August than in September, but the decrease was precipitous - roughly 50%.

So we added some Amazon ads. We should have gotten a four-panel, single-row advertisement, but we got an eight-panel, double row ad, which takes up way too much space; and the ads were placed poorly on the page - right after the "Facility Overview" section and before the "Adult Admission Price & Policy" section. The placement problem has been resolved, but the double-row problem persists. We're still working on that.

All of the foregoing notwithstanding, overall, the site is much more useful and more stable than it had been in the past. If we can generate some more revenue, we'll consider digging into the next level of site enhancements.

September Site News:

In September we added three new countries to the 179 countries we've had on the site for years and years; the new countries are all in Africa: Chad, Eritrea, and Niger.

And we added more 170 new listings in twenty other countries, as well: Argentina, Australia, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic (Czechia), Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Just under half of the new swimming pools we found this month were in the United States, where we zoomed past the 7,500 listings mark. We had a few in the UK, too, bringing us to more than 2,300 listings there. And Canada also had some new listings, bringing the number there to over 1,000, for the first time.

We also completed our review of the listings in the US state of Georgia.

We'll be headed back to Spain, now, to review the listings in the provinces whose names begin with "T". There are only 150 pools left to review in Spain - out of 1,411, so the end of the reviews in that country is within sight. From there it's on to Portugal, then on to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy...

Database Statistics:

As of September 30, 2018, the database listed 23,860 swimming facilities in 182 countries and 13,121 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,920 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,538 listings in the United States, 2,303 in the United Kingdom, 1,590 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,412 in Spain, 1,116 in Italy, 1,003 in Canada, 878 in Japan, 852 in Australia, and, 402 in the Netherlands.


New Site Announcement!

Date Posted: 8/31/2018 5:37:14 PM

At Last!

After almost nine months of work and two sets of programmers, one successful and one not, we're pleased to present the most recent revision of the Swimmers Guide website. How does this version differ from earlier versions and how does it work? 

First of all, the new site is much more smart phone friendly than the old one. Pages, text, and maps resize and reposition themselves more legibly and sensibly than they did on the old site. The text stays within its borders and the borders extend to the edges of the pages. We also moved the Google Ads (you know, those annoying little things that have made keeping this site online for 22 years possible) from the side panels to the top and bottom of the page and changed them from a vertical to a horizontal orientation, making them somewhat less annoying. 

Here's a screenshot of the new home page, centered on my location, when I captured it:

Swimmers Guide Home Page Mobile Screen shot

 

The old, text-driven, drop-down, geographic selection menu is gone. For users who have enabled location services in their browsers, instead of going through a multi-step, drill-down exercise to find the listings, the home page will automatically display a map centered on your location, surrounded by pins marking the locations of the fifty listings closest to you (some zooming/resizing may be required). Those pins will be the same as the ones on the map-based interface on the old site (access color-coded, pool size indicated, and clickable for a "snapshot view" of the listing).

Users who have not enabled location services in their browsers will be taken to a map of the United States, centered in the middle, with no locations displayed. They'll have to either change their settings or type their addresses in the type-text field next to the words "Find a pool near me"

I have location services enabled on my PC and here's what <i>my</i> Swimmers Guide home page map with one of the listings selected looks like:

North Raleigh Map

If I click on "Read More", it will open the A.E. Finely YMCA's Swimmers Guide listing in a new tab on my browser. If you have used the map-based interface on the old site, you'll recognize this. Using the + and - signs in the lower right corner of the map, you can zoom in or zoom out. Placing your cursor on the map and holding down the button on your cursor, you can move the map to see what's around the current viewing area. Note, however, that zooming and moving the map will not cause the map to show any more than the fifty listings closest to the center point.

 A new feature of the site can be seen in the area beneath the map. There, you'll see a table very similar to the one you used to see after you had drilled-down to a city or town with more than one pool.

North Raleigh Pool List

Initially, the table will display information for only the first ten listings. but you can use the "Show __ entries" drop-down located directly above the table to make it display 10, 25, or all 50 listings on that same map. Or you can use the "Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next" to see the next 10 listings (#11 - #20), the ten listings after that [#21 - #30], etc.

 This table differs from the "Listings in [City or Town] in several ways. First of all, it shows the distance to the pool from the Center Point of the map in the left column, then it shows the name of the each facility (including its Neighborhood or District, if we have that data in the listing), followed by the City and State where each facility is located. After that, the columns in the new table are the same as the old: Primary Pool (length); Public Access (yes, no, ?); Hotel Access; and Team (types). The list is initially set to sort by the distance from where you are to the pools in ascending order (closest, first)

 Click on the name of a facility you'd like to know more about and the Swimmers Guide facility listing detail page will open in a new browser tab.

 Note that, instead of showing the postal or ZIP Code, we're now showing the city and state where the facility is located, because the list isn't based on the listings in one city, it's based on the listings within whatever radius takes in the fifty listings closest to the center point. Although the ten listings closest to me are all in Raleigh, NC, within the next forty, there are listings in Rolesville, Cary, Morissville, Garner, Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Smithfield... you get the point.

 As with the old site, the displayed list can be sorted and resorted by clicking on the heading of the columns in the table. There's also a search tool on the right side of the page between the map and the table.

 Check the page footer and you can see the number of facilities, the number of pools (some facilities have more than one pool), the number of cities with listings, and the number of countries with listings in the entire Swimmers Guide in real time!

 The Facility listing pages that you reach by clicking on the "Read More" text in a map point or the facility name has had some minor, cosmetic changes and caption changes, but the only significant change has been the addition of a small, expandable map at the top of the listing, which you can see here:

 View of the top of the new listing detail page

 The biggest changes have been made behind the scenes, the coding and database have been updated and upgraded significantly to last at least a few more years - until some whiz-bang engineers come up with something newer, better, more complex, and - of course - incompatible with everything that has gone before. Progress - Can't live with it, can't live without it...

 

Other News of Note

We've rewritten the About Us section and are working on the FAQ.

 

What's Next?

 There's a lot more we want to accomplish with the site - the Stats section needs a good cleaning-up and we'd like to make the site multilingual so we can collect more information from out non-English language speaking audience, but we haven't exactly been overwhelmed with contributions to pay for additional work, so we may sit back for a while and see how things sort out.


End of Month Report for August, 2018

Date Posted: 8/30/2018 4:56:18 PM

Site News as of August, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

We're doing this monthly site report a day early, so we can concentrate on the introduction of the new website tomorrow, August 31!

August Site Activity:

During August, we added 33 new listings and lost 7, for a net gain of 26. We also spent two weeks sailing from St. Petersburg to Moscow on a Viking Cruise, which explains why we got so little done.

When we weren't traveling or adding new listings, we were doing tests of the new website's administrative tools to be sure that the information you send us will continue to reach us properly and so we can get that information into the listing with the least delay.

Database Statistics:

As of August 30, 2018, the database listed 23,704 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 13,068 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,710 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,462 listings in the United States, 2,294 in the United Kingdom, 1,590 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,399 in Spain, 1,109 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 877 in Japan, 849 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.


End of Month Report for July, 2018

Date Posted: 8/1/2018 9:04:16 PM

Site News as of July, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

We continue working with our programmer to redesign and rebuild the site. We're working feverishly on the Add A Pool section of the site and the Add and Edit features within the listings - probably the most complex features of the site - and, when they're done, we'll bring the new site online.

We're hoping to get that done before August 7, when we're leaving on a two week vacation that will leave us pretty much out of reach.

July Site Activity:

During July, we added 55 new listings and lost 10, for a net gain of 45.

We continued working entirely in Spain in July, finishing up Murcia Province and getting through Navarre, Ourense, Palencia, Pontevedra, Salamanca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Saragossa, Segovia, Seville, and Soria Provinces - about 250 listings, in all.

We didn't get to South Carolina, Tennessee, or North Carolina, but will try to get through at least one or two of them before and after our vacation.

A lot of what we can get done depends on how much time we have to spend working with the programmers.

Database Statistics:

As of July 31, 2018, the database listed 23,678 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 13,040 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,710 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,465 listings in the United States, 2,295 in the United Kingdom, 1,590 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,399 in Spain, 1,109 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 877 in Japan, 849 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.


End of Month Report for June, 2018

Date Posted: 6/30/2018 9:07:13 PM

Site News as of June 30, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

We continue working with our programmer to redesign and rebuild the site. Last month we gave you a preview of the Home Page, with a screen shot of the map and table of the pools in the area surrounding Arlington, Texas. This month we'll show you a sample of what one of the new listings will look like. For this exercise, we've chosen one of our favorite listings, the HBF Stadium (formerly known as the Challenge Stadium) in Mount Claremont, Perth Metropolitan Area, in Western Australia Screen shot of HBF Stadium listing:

We're working on the Add A Pool section of the site and the Add and Edit features within the listings - probably the most complex features of the site - and, when they're done, we'll bring the new site online.

June Site Activity:

During June, we added 78 new listings and lost 29, for a net gain of 49.

We completed our review of the 429 listings in Florida, after which we returned to Spain, where we completed reviewing the listings in Murcia and are half-way through the listings in Navarre. We'll finish up Navarre and Ourense provinces, then return to the US to review South Carolina and North Carolina. After that, it's back to Spain for Palencia and Pontevedra Provinces.

Database Statistics:

As of June 30, 2018, the database listed 23,634 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 13,022 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,663 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,458 listings in the United States, 2,295 in the United Kingdom, 1,590 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,371 in Spain, 1,108 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 875 in Japan, 848 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.


End of Month Report for May, 2018

Date Posted: 6/1/2018 1:16:44 AM

Site News as of May 31, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

We had several conferences with the site's new programmer and we're well on the way to updating the code and improving the functionality of the site.

The "Home Page" has been completely redesigned and the menu and free-text search modes will be eliminated; the site will now open with a map centered on the user's current location with the green, yellow, and red pool markers for the closest 50 listed facilities will be automatically displayed.

If you're looking to find a pool in another city or country, you'll be able to enter the other location data into a search box and the map will refresh centered on the selected location, with a new list of the closest 50 listed facilities.

In addition to the map display, a table very similar to the table that now appears as "Pools in [City Name]" in the soon-to-be-discontinued "Map-Based Search" tool will appear on the same page, beneath the map. It will differ from the current table in that each listing's line will begin with its distance from the center point of the map and a column has been added to show the name of the city and state or province of the listing. It will have the "Primary Pool Length" column, "Yes" and "No" column for public access, the column to show whether the pool is in or has a preferred access arrangement with a hotel, and the column showing the types of swim teams and clubs included in the listing.

The pool's "Neighborhood" will appear underneath its name, instead of having its own column, and the "Postal Code" column, which had been included as a primary-sort tool has been eliminated and pools will initially be sorted by their distance from the map's center point.

As with the current version of the site, all columns in the table will be sortable, so you'll be able to sort the pools alphabetically by name, by pool length, by whether they're accessible to the public, etc.

Here's a screen shot of what the new Home Page looks like, with the search centered on Arlington, Texas:

We're almost finished with the Home Page, I've made what I hope are my last requests for changes there and the programmer is turning to the facility detail page. While I do not expect that page to look significantly different from what we have now, the fact that everything has to be rewritten in updated code and the fact that the "Add" and "Edit" tools are so involved, it will probably be a while before we're ready to go live with the new replacement site. Time will tell.

May Site Activity:

May was a relatively quiet month for the site. We added only 67 new listings and lost 20, for a net gain of 47.

We concentrated most of our efforts for the month to the existing listings in the Spanish provinces of Madrid, Malaga, and Melilla (which resulted in the addition of 28 listings in that country. We also reviewed all of our listings in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama, and started working in Florida.

In June, we'll continue with Florida, then try to cover a couple of more Spanish provinces. We'll also be rewriting the "About Us" and "FAQ" sections of the site.

Database Statistics:

As of May 31, 2018, the database listed 23,585 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 13,006 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,605 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,446 listings in the United States, 2,294 in the United Kingdom, 1,589 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,344 in Spain, 1,107 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 875 in Japan, 848 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.


End of Month Report for April, 2018

Date Posted: 5/1/2018 9:12:23 PM

Site News as of April 30, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

As noted in the April 22 "Special Report", a new programmer has been engaged and the site has been moved from the Network Solutions server to a GoDaddy server. There were one or two small glitches that affected the "Admin." section of the site that I work with, but none impacted the "User" section, i.e., the part that you can see.

We also pointed out that we've set up a GoFundMe site at: https://www.gofundme.com/swimmersguidecom-upgradeupdate in the hope that you, dear user, will think the site sufficiently worthwhile to make a financial, non-tax deductable contribution to improve.

Since we're asking for contributions to upgrade and update the site, it's only fair that we give you some idea of what we have in mind:

The first step, stabilizing the site and reducing the number of Error messages returned by the has been accomplished, already.

The second step will be to clean-up and modernize the now six-year old code we've been using to take advantage of newer, more efficient, and more secure code. We'll also update the SQL database to something later than a 2007 version. This part of the project is underway, now.

The most interesting part of the balance of the project is implementing the enhancements we envision for the site:

You may recall that we had a different Google Map search set-up on the Home Page - one that "auto-filled" the map search box with suggested locations, as you typed in the location you wanted to find pools in. We're planning to bring that capability back. In addition:

We're going to add a legend to the map to tell you what the different color pins mean. We thought that was intuitive, but we get questions, so we'll add an explanation that, if possible, will be collapsible so it doesn't get in the way on your smart phone.

Speaking of smart phones, we also hope to make the site a lot more smart phone-friendly. Specifically, we're aiming to not automatically call up a mini-keyboard that takes up half your screen, when you're on a smart phone.

We hope to have a map with all the pools near you load as soon as you go to the "Home" page. When you open SwimmersGuide.com, it'll just be there.

We hope to indicate the center point of the map with a marker, based on your location or the place that you've requested to be mapped, and then to include an indication in the individual pools' pop-up boxes showing how far that pool is from the center point. If you put in an exact address, the name of a hotel, or something that is very specific, you'll get a very precise indication of how far it is to each pool on the map.

We want to add a whole set of tables based on the location of the pools. "National Notes" would appear in the detail information of every listing in a particular country. "State/Province Notes" would appear only in the listings for a particular state or province, but would appear in every listing in that state or province. There would also be "County/Region Notes" and "City Notes" following similar rules. What's the purpose of that?

As an example, most French swimming pools frown severely (that is, positively prohibit) men's boxer-style swimsuits - it's briefs-only in France - a national preference that no American would expect. Or, since most Icelandic swimming pools are built for a natural water "flow-through", they are often not chemically treated. Therefore, pre-swim, nude showers are required - the shower rooms may be monitored to ensure compliance - and the monitor may be of the opposite sex! On a more local level, there may be a website that lists all the pools in a particular city or county, including seasonal pools that we won't list - we want to be able to point you to those websites without typing the URL into a separate note in every listing.

None of these ideas is beyond the capabilities of a good programmer, but good programmers don't come cheap! We don't and never have charged anyone to use the site, but the money has to come from somewhere. So head on over to https://www.gofundme.com/swimmersguidecom-upgradeupdate and make a contribution! No amount is too large!

April Site Activity:

April was a reasonably productive month. We added 121 new listings and lost only nine, for a net gain of 112.

We concentrated most of our efforts for the month to reviewing the existing listings in Spain - and found 78 new ones there, in the process. We also reviewed all of our listings in the U.S. state of Louisiana and added 11 new ones there.

In May, we'll continue with Spain for a while, then try to cover a couple of more U.S. states in the southeast part of the country.

Database Statistics:

As of April 30, 2018, the database listed 23,538 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 12,978 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,546 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,434 listings in the United States, 2,293 in the United Kingdom, 1,589 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,316 in Spain, 1,107 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 875 in Japan, 848 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.


Special Report - April 22, 2018:

Date Posted: 4/22/2018 8:50:43 PM

Our meetings and telephone calls with the tentative new programmers we had been dealing with since February didn't come to their ultimate conclusions until Thursday, April 19, where I thanked them for their service but told them I wasn't going to move forward with the program they had proposed. I did not see that I gotten great value for the eighty programming hours I had to prepay for, and the first item on my list - stabilizing the current website - simply hadn't happened. The additional four hundred hours of programming time they proposed did not seem to be a worthwhile investment to me.

In the weeks before that meeting, I had contacted a couple of other programming outfits to discuss what needed to be done. One of them struck me as more sensible than either of the other firms I had spoken with. They recommended sticking with the asp.net format but upgrading the code and database. That approach would allow them to preserve much the "back end" or administrative side of the site, which is the most complex section - you've never seen it, but it's where I spend most of my time handling your "Edits", updating the existing listings, and adding new ones. It will still be necessary to do a lot of work updating the front end of the site, but some of that work can also be devoted to updating the look, feel, and functionality of the site.

The first step they proposed was moving the site from the Network Solutions shared server to a dedicated server on the GoDaddy platform. The move was executed on Friday, April 20, and it went off without a hitch. What's even more interesting, since the site has been on the GoDaddy server, its operation has gotten a lot smoother. There is still a "hiccup" or two, but the site is mostly operating as it should.

Meanwhile, programmers don't come cheap and I've already invested significant sums of money (not to mention time), so I've put up a GoFundMe site to solicit your contributions to the project. You can visit it at SwimmersGuide.com Upgrade/Update. Please consider contributing. Thank you.


End of Month Report for March, 2018

Date Posted: 4/1/2018 4:48:04 PM

Site News as of March 31, 2018:

Update on the Site Update

Last month, we talked a bit about an update to the site by a new group of programmers. We've had several online meetings with them, since then, but we haven't seen much that we'd count as real progress. We have a meeting with the sales rep on April 2, at which time we'll make a decision about moving forward or pulling the plug. Unless he brings something to the meeting to justify the 80 hours of programmer time we've paid for, it's likely to be the latter. We'll do an update after that meeting.

March Site Activity:

March was a reasonably productive month. We added 163 new listings and lost only ten, for a net gain of 153.

We concentrated most of our efforts for the month to the existing listings in Spain - which resulted in the addition of 118 listings in that country in March, alone. It seems that every little town in Spain has its own public, indoor swimming pool and we've been using every tool we can find to figure out where they are. As usual, Google Maps has turned out to be really helpful in this regard. We also went through the list of leads we had in Vietnam and added another ten listings there, mostly in Hanoi.

In April, we'll continue with Spain for a while, then try to cover a couple of more U.S. states in the southeast part of the country.

Database Statistics:

As of March 31, 2018, the database listed 23,426 swimming facilities in 179 countries and 12,929 cities. In total, those facilities have 25,423 full-size, year-round pools (as we define those terms in our FAQ).

There are now 7,418 listings in the United States, 2,292 in the United Kingdom, 1,587 in France, 1,453 in Germany, 1,238 in Spain, 1,106 in Italy, 993 in Canada, 875 in Japan, 847 in Australia, and, 401 in the Netherlands.