Balloon e-mail in PC2


In many programming contests, including the ACM International Finals, when a team solves a problem, a runner brings a balloon to their workstation.

The scoreboard module of PC2 can be configured to automatically generate e-mail messages when a problem is judged "Yes", "No" and/or the run is deleted. The pc2v7.ini file is used to specify the e-mail account(s) to which the "balloon messages" are sent. Contest staff ("runners") then monitor the e-mail account and when a message arrives they can deliver the balloon to the approriate team.

The "balloon messages" feature is based on SMTP (mail protocol) It has been tested using sendmail version 8; it should work with any modern SMTP server.


Using the balloon e-mail feature of PC2 requires 2 things:
  1. The name of a SMTP Server to which PC2 can send e-mail messages to be sent to e-mail accounts. The SMTP server must be listening on port 25.
  2. One or more e-mail accounts (names) to receive the "balloon messages".


pc2v7.ini file entries

In the section named [board] (See example below) the following entries are required:

balloonmode - must be set to 'yes' to send e-mails.
smtpserver - name of SMTP server
balloonemail - default e-mail address

In addition the following entries are optional:

includenos - set to 'no' to only send e-mail messages for YES judgements, ('yes' will also send e-mail messages for NO judgements)
siteNemail - site N e-mail address (overrides balloonemail)
probNcolor - balloon color or comment for Problem N

Sample pc2v7.ini - board section only


Sample e-mail

This is an example of e-mail that was sent using PC2 configured with the above board section in the pc2v7.ini file. Notice that both the subject and contents show the team number, judgement and balloon color.
Subject: YES team209 color red

YES for RunID 47
Team: team209 (University of Rocklin)
Problem: Wooden Screws
Color: red

Revised: $Date: 2000/11/11 14:41:16 $ $Revision: 1.4 $