Sunday, 1 December 2013

Introduction to Expert Mode

December 2013 is a great month for Bet Selector Ultimate Plus with the introduction of a new "Expert Mode" in System Selector.

Not only does this new "Expert Mode" offer faster system testing and improved reporting, it also allows the user to code their own rules into the program. To coincide with this new level of power, this Bet Selector Horse Racing Software blog will be used exclusively as an advanced users guide to the new features.

To get the ball rolling, this blog post will introduce the new "Expert Mode". We will also examine the new text based format used for systems and look at some of the benefits of this new format.

Rather than being a separate part of the program, the new "Expert Mode" is integrated into the existing System Selector module. To get to it you just select System Selector off Bet Selector's pull down RUN menu as you normally would. Then you will notice a "Expert Mode" check box at the top of the main System Selector screen. Just tick this box and System Selector will switch into "Expert Mode".

Note "Expert Mode" is not available in versions below Bet Selector Ultimate Plus.

When you click the check box to switch into "Expert Mode" you will notice little immediate change on the screen. The buttons are mostly the same as in the original System Selector mode as are the text boxes containing system names, rules, results summary and selection lists.

You may notice the Import and Export facilities are not available in "Expert Mode". The reason for this is that the old way of importing and exporting rules via dBase compatible files (with DBF extensions) is no longer applicable as the "Expert Mode" now uses text files with rules written in plain text. This is one of the main features of the new way of doing things and it allows you to move systems or even parts of systems around by simply copying and pasting text. This also makes it easy for you to share systems with other users and back them up in a format you can read.

Another main feature of "Expert Mode" is the way in which systems are saved. Each system is saved in its own file with the name of the file being the name of the system. What's more, systems are grouped in folders according to their LISTNAME. That's right, the Listnames in the top left drop down box like MY SYSTEMS, NEALES SYSTEMS etc that used to look like folder names now really do represent folders.

Important: System Selector's "Expert Mode" has a new editor for creating systems that will be discussed in the remainder of this post. It should be noted however that you can create and edit systems outside of Bet Selector by simply using Windows Explorer to explore your Price folders and Notepad to create and edit systems. Please note if you do this then you will have to close and re-open System Selector for it to reflect any changes you have made (more on this in my next blog post).

The "Expert Mode" editor is invoked by clicking the "Edit System Rules" button or by double mouse clicking a system name in the left hand list of system names. When you use "Expert Mode" for the first time however you will need to click the "Add Blank System" button to start a new system and this also opens the editor.

Those of you familiar with the MyCalc part of the program will notice the new system editor is almost identical to MyCalc. The reason the same interface is used is so we have access to all the form items via the drop downs. That's where the similarity ends however as MyCalc is complicated in that it requires you to combine form items into calculations. In the new System Selector all you need do is insert the desired form items into rules.

Each line in a system file is a rule and is basically made up of a form item (form one of the drop downs) and a number or text string against which the form item is compared. For example you might want "last start finishing position less than 4" or "track equals Flemington".

Each line like in the above examples is what is known as a logical expression that returns the value TRUE or FALSE. For a horse to be selected every single line must return the value TRUE (that is of course what the program works out for you).

In future posts we will examine the text based rules in more detail.