February 17, 2009
Last month, I asked Calagator contributors to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. We started out trying to create a public, collaborative calendar, using agile development techniques—in particular “do the simplest thing that could possibly work.” Did we succeed? Here’s what they said.
Our code sprinters have enjoyed working on the project. “Lack of time” seems to be the most common reason for not being involved more. We recently created guidelines for submitting a patch, so people will be able to contribute even if they can’t get to code sprints. Our hope is that this will encourage contribution from outside Portland as well.
The most popular requests for where we go next involve expanding Calagator to other areas, and allowing users to mark what events they’ll be attending. The work on those features is just about ready for primetime. You can follow the progress on our mailing list, or check back for further announcements in a couple weeks.
One of the things I’ve been impressed by is how many more tech events Portland has now that there’s a central calendar to find them. In the last year we’ve gained a number of new groups and events that were enabled by people being able to see what else was going on, and what needs aren’t being met. These events are able to grow beyond the organizer’s personal network because there’s someplace the entire community is watching. That’s inspiring.
The usefulness of such a tool has not escaped notice outside the Portland area. Our code has always been available to fork and use elsewhere, but now that we’ve started to add support for re-theming, we’re seeing more people setting up their own copy for another community they’re involved in. We hope that Calagator will eventually be able to support many different areas from the same site, but there’s much work needed to get us there. In another year, maybe we’ll be able to show you a giant starfish of a Calagator, connecting people from around the world.
So yes, it seems we succeeded. Which is not to say that there’s nothing left to do. We have a pesky recurring events requirement that’s turned out to be very complicated to implement, as well as a number of other improvements in the tracker. And that’s before we get into the whole world domination thing. I hope you, the Portland tech community, and those in places beyond, will continue to follow along and join us in creating “the best calendar aggregator possible”.