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31 July 2007

Tabbie, BP Debating Tab Software, Version 1.2 released

Hello debaters,

First of all, sorry for cross posting. I think the subject of the mail actually does cross the different lists and can be justified as such.

In this email I'd like to:

  • Introduce Tabbie BP Debating Tab Software
  • Introduce its history
  • Call to participate and share
  • Claim the best current draw algorithm in the world
  • Announce Tabbie 1.2

Tabbie is web based BP Debating Tabulation Software. It can be found and freely downloaded at: . Promo snipplet of properties:

  • Official. It uses the official WUDC rules to calculate its draw.
  • Safe and stable - It's been tried in practice at a tournament as large as NTU Worlds 2004 with great success.
  • Fair. Tabbie currently has the best known implementation worldwide of the draw algorithm, giving the most balanced distribution of positions in the debate to the teams. (More info)
  • Scalable for large tournaments: It is web based, you can use multiple computers for inputting data.
  • Easy. Things like customized adjudication sheets for the tab can be created in one click.
  • Open and Free. Its source code is freely inspectable. You can inspect any file (like the Draw Algorithm), and modify or add anything you like. Download is free.
  • Alive. As of July 2007 changes are being made to make it work even better.

History, State of the art, Uniting Tab Software

I found Tabbie on Flynn's site when looking for a piece of software to run the IDC tournament we had last week and which ran very smoothly, partially thanks to Tabby (this message is strangely unrelated to IDC's bid for Euros today). I was looking for something stable, adaptable ( i.e. open) and cool (nice forms etc.). Tabbie turned out to have these properties, though installing it required more than average computer skill (i.e. fixing the whole thing up).

Looking around I noticed the following: The amount of different pieces of Tab Software that are produced once by some wizard and then left by the roadside after the wizard leaves is unfortunately quite high. As far as I know (based on googeling and the current state of the art is such:

  • Cragie Tab - Excel - used a lot. (I personally don't want to mess around with excel)
  • Tournaman - Delphi - used a lot in Germany. (I didn't want a closed source system)
  • Zorro - online system - I have no idea how to get in...

other systems seem even less maintained. However, I may miss some important systems here and would love to have them pointed out to me (and the community). In general, there are a lot of important tournament of which I have no idea which software they are using.

Tabbie seemed to fit into the "left by the roadside" pattern - it dates back to the NTU / Singapore Worlds 2004. I have no idea if anyone used it since. (I would like to thank Colm Flynn for preserving this excellent piece of software, when the original source had already long gone.) Anyway, I've dusted it off, provided some easier installation module and changed some things to my liking / understanding. The result can be inspected (live) at

More importantly, I'd like to try to finally break this pattern of "use once" tab packages. This has been a bit of a spare-time activity and I am definitely not planning on monopolizing development. I have, therefore, created a repository at (an open source platform). Anyone who wants to join - send me a mail and I'll put you on the developers list.

Participation - Specifically

Specifically, there is a lot that can still be done:

  • I'm very interested to hear who is actually using Tabbie. Feedback of all kinds is very welcome.
  • Tell us how easy/hard Tabbie was to install on your system. (Since Tabbie is Web Based, installation is more complicated than downloading an excel sheet or exe file. An installation guide is provided, but I would very much like to hear if people have trouble installing to get into contact with me so we can have a truly easy to install system.)
  • Report any bugs
  • Fix any bugs
  • Request a feature
  • Add nice pictures and colours
  • Add stuff that you use in mail-merge like ways (powerpoints, pdf's etc)
  • Add a feature yourself, and upload it
  • Become a developer

As you can see, many of these things do not require either a long time commitment, or much programmers knowledge, so join in....

The Draw Algorithm:

To open up the debate I would like to claim the following: Tabbie currently possesses the best algorithm world wide that complies to WUDC rules. More about this claim can be found at (high technical level). I would like to invite anyone with a better algorithm to present it to the debating community. Also, I know that there are algorithms out there that are specifically not WUDC but could be interesting for some users. I'd love to see their source code.

Version 1.2.:
Specific changes for the newest version.


Klaas van Schelven

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