Calagator in the News

December 10, 2008

As seen on...

Anyone who’s been around the Portland tech scene for long will know that Rick Turoczy is an amazing advocate, promoting local web technologies far and wide. Last night he was on KGW’s Hot Box news program, and mentioned Calagator along with several other projects. Click the link to see our five seconds of tv fame.

Rick also talked about Calagator in his Portland Web Innovators presentation on the State of Portland Tech in 2008. Watch the video to hear about how far we’ve come in the past year. 2008 has seen a huge surge in events, new projects, and other interesting tech activity, and the Calagator team is happy to be a part of this, both as an ongoing software project, and something that facilitates our community meeting up and geeking out.

Seeking Gardeners

October 26, 2008

Regular Calagator users may have noticed a upswing in spam lately. We seem to be a new favorite target for people looking to promote sales of certain medications and photos of female celebrities. The Calagator development team has been working to filter against spam entries, but as anyone with an email address knows, even the best spam filter sometimes lets things slip through.

We often talk about Calagator as a wiki-like collaborative calendar, so we borrowed an idea from the wiki world, and added event and venue versioning. This way, if someone (human or bot) decides the SAO Poker Night really needs a bunch of links to [insert generic spam topic here], anyone can roll back the entry to the previous version, cleaning it up.

Here’s how it works:

Go to the entry you want to fix and click the edit link.

DorkbotPDX Meeting » Calagator_ Portland_s Tech Calendar
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Select a different version number, and the edit fields will revert to the content for that version.

Portland's Tech Calendar
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Then click the save button, and you’re done. A new version with the reverted content is created, and the spammers are foiled (for now).

How do you find out when there’s an entry that needs some cleanup? Calagator now has a Recent Changes page, with a matching Atom feed you can subscribe to in your favorite newsreader. Help us by keeping an eye on things, and fixing spam as it occurs. If you see a wave of new spam the filters aren’t catching, let us know on our Get Satisfaction page. Filtering works well against predictable bots, but less so with human tampering, so even as our filter gets better, we still need your eyes to make sure Calagator remains a great, useable calendar for the Portland tech community.

As we’ve been working on Calagator, I’ve told people “we want you to be able to have a calendar with only the Ruby and beer events if that’s what you like” as our goal for tagging, search, and feeds. This weekend we accomplished that goal. Now, if you enter a search term into the box in the upper right corner of the page, you’ll be offered Atom and iCalendar feeds to subscribe to. It’s a proud moment.

OSCON attendees might like to try this OSCON search.

With this update, we’re most of the way to our 1.0 milestone. The remaining items are recurring events, and creating a Calagator user guide to share with our user communities, both of which we’ll be tackling at future code sprints. And of course there are always bugs. You can help us as always by using Calagator, entering your events, and letting us know of any problems via Get Satisfaction and our issue tracker.

I’m behind on relaying code sprint updates, but as of yesterday we have something especially cool to announce: you can now search all events on Calagator. You’ll see a little search box in the upper left corner. Type in whatever you’re looking for, hit enter, and ta da! Search results. We’re using acts_as_solr and the Lucene Query gem. If you get more results than you’re expecting, it’s probably because we’re using a Levenshtein-distance based “fuzzy” search by default. We’ll be tinkering with that fuzziness level and adding date filtering and other options to the interface in coming weeks.

We’ve also created a branch to migrate to Rails 2.1, which offers useful new features like better timezone handling. There are a few kinks to work out before we can merge that into the main application, though.

Another thing we’re working on right now is a guide to Calagator: a handbook for organizations and individual users who might want to work with our system. If you’ve been looking for a non-programming way to get involved with the application, come help us write this. You can find the document so far on our wiki. It’s a key part of our plan for the 1.0 release in July.

I’ve very excited about the progress we’ve made so far, but we still have plenty to do in the next 7 weeks. Please consider joining us for our next code sprint on June 21. We’re always looking for more people to help with development, design, testing, and documentation.

Vote For Calagator

May 13, 2008

I entered Calagator into the 2008 SourceForge Community Choice Awards nomination pool. This is an annual set of awards for open source projects, selected by popular vote, and presented during OSCON. If you’d like to help Calagator get more attention in the open source world at large, please take a minute to vote for us—particularly in the Best New Project category.

First up: we have a new design! You can see it in its full green glory at the usual place, calagator.org.

Our two meetups last week accomplished a lot. Some little things, some bigger (like the design). We’re continuing to struggle with our iCalendar & hCalendar tools, mofo and vPim. Mofo had a bug that was preventing postal codes from being read accurately. We now have a one-line patch that fixes this. A note to other open source developers: make it easy for people to find out about known bugs and send you patches when we encounter one! It’s very frustrating to lose half a day of work to something like this. We want to keep the ‘many eyes’ principle working.

All event pages now have a “Add to Google Calendar” link in the right sidebar, in addition to the previous iCal download link. This way you can send individual events to your personal calendar. There’s still also several ways to consume the entire events feed from the main events page.

We did more work on our duplicate event and venue management pages. You can get a sneak peek: events page & venues page. Help us out by spending a few minutes gardening duplicate entries.

You can see the full list of squashed bugs and other work on our wiki: http://code.google.com/p/calagator/wiki/StatusReports
Keep reporting any bugs you find to the issue tracker: http://code.google.com/p/calagator/issues/list

Update: One thing I left off—we started re-importing sources that have been flagged to request that. You can tell us to do this for your group’s calendar by checking the “re-import” box when you submit the url at http://calagator.org/sources/new.

We’re going to meet twice this week. Wednesday we’ll do another mini-sprint at Backspace (downtown on NW 5th), starting at noon. Come have lunch and work on bugs. Then on Saturday, we’ll meet at CubeSpace for our regularly scheduled code sprint at 10AM. We need to get the duplicate-entry management tools polished and ready for public use, and start importing and updating events on a recurring basis so users spend less time manually importing everything.

As a reminder, our meetings are open to everyone. Programmers (at any level of Ruby experience) and web designers are especially needed, but anyone can test the site, write documentation, and work on figuring out what’s left to do so we’re importing all calendar events for groups in the Portland tech community.

Despite lovely spring weather on Saturday, a small group gathered for our regular code sprint. We did get a little outside time by having lunch on the patio at Produce Row.

Changes you might notice:

  • The events pages now have a link to get an hCalendar version of the event. You can copy and paste this into your own blog or webpage, to display the full event details as well as sharing the microformat love.
  • We’re continuing to work on management of duplicate venues and events behind the scenes. You might see more of these merge as we test the new functionality.
  • We did some pre-emptive sanitization of displayed data. No one has tried to do anything crazy or malicious with the event or venue fields yet (except us, for testing purposes), but this is a good problem to take care of now, before it’s a serious issue.
  • You might have seen a bug where not putting an end time on an event raised an error. We don’t want to make end times mandatory, so that’s fixed now too.

If you spot a bug while you’re using the site, please report it. We test things as well as we can, but there’s always something that slips through.

Next Code Sprint: 4/12

April 10, 2008

We have our next code sprint this Saturday, 4/12. We’ll start at CubeSpace at 10AM, in our regular spot. Possible projects for this week include: fixing bugs, UI improvements, making the duplicate-squashing tool we’ve been quietly testing ready for public use, and importing more events.

We’ve also been meeting Wednesday lunchtime/afternoon at Backspace, and this seems likely to continue. Even if only a few bugs get finished before we have to get back to our regular work, it’s a fun chance to hang out and chat and hear the latest Calagator news.

Since we canceled our regular Saturday code sprint last week to attend Startupalooza, Calagator volunteers gathered for two mini-sprints Wednesday and Thursday to address bugs and some small enhancements.

A few highlights:

  • We created a bookmarklet to make it as easy as possible to import single events from pages containing hCalendar markup. To try it, go to our import page, drag the Add to Calagator link into your browser toolbar, then go to an event page on Upcoming, and click the bookmarklet link. It’ll take you back to the import page with the event url added to the form.
  • The import form also has a ‘re-import’ checkbox now. This is for you to let us know whether the page you’re importing should be checked again later for additional events and updates. The feature isn’t fully implemented yet, but we’d like to start collecting that information on event sources now.
  • We also fixed various bugs in the import process, event time selection, and other areas. If you want to know what we’re working on, or report an issue, visit our bug tracker on Google Code.