From 2005 – 2021 , I ran the website http://www.feisbase.nl, which was primarily a self-developed, online, Irish dance competition registration platform.

Even though it is difficult to imagine nowadays, the process of hosting and running a feis(=Irish dancing competition) was mostly a manual, paper-based process. Registering a dancer is not a binary ‘yes/no’ option, but rather a selection of multiple dances, each with their own associated fees. This makes calculating registration fees per dancer a bit more involved.

In addition, the bigger competitions have multiple adjudicators judging a competitor, whereby the overall score of a dancer is determined through a somewhat elaborate algorithm by combining each adjudicator’s relative scores, colloquially referred to as ‘grid scores’.

When my dancing school, The Redmond School of Irish Dancing, started organising competitions, I quickly whipped something up which would run in a browser and had a backend of Perl and Mysql. While functionality was only basic, it quickly grew out to an online registration (and scoring) platform which was used by most schools in the Mainland Europe region.

Feisbase ran on a server at home for a good few years before hosting it in the cloud.

After about 8 years, a major rewrite was done to improve the User Experience of the platform, and also to give it an updated look. A version of the site especially for mobile devices was also part of the update. While the backend technologies remained the same, the frontend was built using the javascriptMVC framework (which no longer exists). This made the website much more responsive.

A screenshot of Feisbase with its easy to use 3-column layout. While the graphics look somewhat outdated, it’s the user experience that counts 😉

Feisbase aim was to make registration of dancers as easy and quickly as possible. The entire site was responsive by using Ajax calls to the backend so that each change was saved immediately.

The main registration page was divided into three columns, beginning with column 1 showing all the teachers schools to which he/she has access. Once a school was selected, all its dancers appeared in column 2, which also sported a sophisticated search box where one could search on name or age group. Selecting a dancer would showcase all eligible competitions based on agegroup in column 3 and all was left to do is check the appropriate competitions to register. Option to export all calculated fees per school or dancer, generating dance cards and more were in section 4. Organisers of the feis had a separate screen where they could monitor all progress of the registrations and export all the stagelists to Excel.

Feisbase was decommissioned on February 28th 2021. I have made many friends throughout the Feisbase years and I want to thank everybody for their support in that period!