Our 1/19 Codesprint!

January 19, 2008

From Audrey:

Today several of us met during the Code Sprint gathering at CubeSpace to talk and work on the calendar.

Participants: Audrey Eschright, Selena Deckelmann, Igal Koshevoy, Reid Biels, Paige Saez, Daniel Etra, Anselm Hook, and Bill Burcham.

We spent the first part of our gathering discussing our goals for the project. We focused on our reasons for creating a new calendar system, and the user communities we intend for this to serve. We determined that many existing calendar services have barriers to entry such as required registration that limit usage in our community. Current calendars can also lack the quality of details we would like to provide. We felt that creating a model for aggregating events around a specific interest area is important, and something that existing calendars only partially succeed at.

We also talked about the different types of groups and cultures within our community, loosely labeling them as business, new media, open source, and a fourth group that we called the X-factor or newbies: people who don’t know they’re part of our community until they see what kinds of events and groups are out there. Not requiring users to register an account with yet another centralized system seems important to serving many of these groups, since the existing tools they use reflect a range of preferences for connecting online. We then split into pairs/small groups to work on specific tasks.


* 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 (http://groups.google.com/group/pdx-tech-calendar/web/example-hcal-markup). 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.

* Selena set up a new blog at https://calagator.wordpress.com/ to help us connect with the local tech community as we continue working on this. Thanks everyone who came and participated today, and thank you also to everyone who has contributed to the discussion online. The diagrams and resources on the pdx-tech-calendar website were very helpful as we began work.

We’ll be meeting again in two weeks, on February 2nd, for another round. Please feel welcome to attend whether or not you program or write HTML. We worked on many things that everyone can help with, including brainstorming, researching, and planning. Or if you have other skills you’d like to contribute, but don’t know how to get started, email the list and we’ll help.

One Response to “Our 1/19 Codesprint!”

  1. […] 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 […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: