January 21st, 2008
Calagator gnaws on the Portland tech calendar problem
Last Saturday, the Portland Tech Calendar group dove headlong into a code sprint around the problem of aggregating all of the tech calendars for Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas. The result? Calagator.
The group made a great deal of progress during the code sprint. A full recap is available via Google Groups. Highlights are available on the Calagator blog. (That’s right, they have the beginnings of code and a blog. These guys have accomplished more in a weekend than I’ve accomplished in the last six months.)
Some highlights (Go microformats!):
- The existing group websites we examined can be imported much more easily with the addition of hCalendar markup for the event details. Selena and Daniel created documentation that we can share with event organizers. We discussed the possibility of using a hCalendar generator to provide ready-made HTML to paste into websites and blogs.
- A next step for encouraging hCalendar usage will be to contact individual groups who aren’t using a standardized calendar format, and tell them about our project.
- Paige created a sample email template that can be used to structure event information, for organizers to cc to our system when they send out event announcements. Email seems to be the one tool everyone uses, and this would help with our goal of accessibility.
- Igal and I set up a new Rails application, and added it to a group repository at http://code.google.com/p/calagator/. The application now has a bare bones structure for adding and viewing events. We also decided that event venues were important attributes, and that combining information on venues across events would be highly useful, so users can now add and update venue information as well. We’re using a temporary view scaffolding system to allow us to add and edit information in the database. We’ll develop a more polished interface as we continue.
- In order to begin pulling sample data from websites, Igal and Reid are creating an hCalendar event importer. This can also be used as a model for adding other calendar formats to the system.
- Igal is going to set up our calendar program on a server where people will be able to try it out. Getting feedback early and often will be important to ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our users.
The next code sprint is planned for February 2. That’s Groundhog Day for those of you keeping score at home.