calender for london events

Been thinking about this once again, and reality has started to shows its face again.

First up, I think the grabbing of louise ferguson's events page, would be too much work for small gain. So until she changes the format of the page so the content is seprated from the style there is little I can do. Its just too messy and theres too much inconsistency for me to write a xsl to transform the page into useable content.

I have however been thinking of other ways of doing what louise has done.
I first thought of creating a blog for events. Sounds perfect right? You know you have the calendar already there, the ability to search via category's, etc, etc. But there was a major problem which came up when I started thinking deeper. When you write a blog that is the date of the blog, just like this one is actually being written at 2am in the morning on Sunday 5th October. But if you wanted to blog a event, the event would have had to have happened. Which is no good because no one would then know about it till the day! Not much good you would say.
So i need to be able to change the actual date of the blog to certain specified date. Sounds easy enough, and maybe it is but not without some serious hacksawing of a blog server. The other way would be to touch the blog on the filesystem. But who would want to do that and who would allow people from outside to do such a thing. The last option I thought about was using the metablog mechanism. See usually theres a small amount of meta posted hence

#Thu Aug 21 13:44:45 BST 2003

Now if I could work out how to add – blog-event-date=20031027 which obvioulsy means 27th October 2003 and get the blog server to read that as the post date. We would be cooking!

So even thought the last idea would be fantastic, I'm forced to think about another solution because I want to start putting events up for my students soon. And of course for those interested in whats on in London.

So I've been looking at the ical format from two points of view.
I'm using Mozilia's Calendar and exporting the events as ical rdf and xml then putting them on my webdav server. The other view point i'm looking at it from is the ical spec. which is large and quite scarey in some parts, but its for the non xml version which is a problem but gives me a good idea of names and whats possible. Heres a example of a event i'm going to in 2 weeks time.
The completely xml version and The rdf xml version. So whats my next step, well I can easily write a pipeline in cocoon which will pick up all ical's in that directory and using xsl pull out the title and arrange them by there event date. so you would agree that is a good start for now. If i get time tomorrow I'll do it, but I know I got a few other tasks to do before this.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.