What is going on with Calendaring?

I've been quite public about the fact that I'm not very happy with the calendaring of geek events in the UK generally. Upcoming.org pretty much won over eventful in the UK although I thought Eventful was technically better. But the problem is upcoming doesn't really cut it enough, it feels like Yahoo are keeping it around but not really doing much development on it. Then you got the silo of meetup coming back in some quarters and even worst recently Facebook events. Its just a bloody mess and nothing seems to work with each other.

So where's the aggregator to rule them all? Well there isn't one as such, which is fair enough but it would be great to have some place for certain types. See the problem with upcoming right now is its full of stuff which doesn't interest me at all. Now there is a niffty feature of being able to see events your friends events there going to. Of course theres a ical feed which is great. There are also groups in upcoming but who really uses those?

So whats the solution? Well I'm betting my time on Calagator. Calagator comes after much research into aggregators of events. It works well for Portland and its community, and thats the big difference. Its not just a calendar with events, its built around a community so it accepts many sources of input (iCalendar, hCalendar, Upcoming, and MeetUp) and displays the events in a logical way for many users and thats a lot different that just a calendar on a webpage. We've not quite got it working yet, but its coming soon. In the meantime the Hodge has created wheres the geeks? Its a good start but he and others seem to be building the whole thing from scratch which is interesting. I certainly wouldn't do it that way myself but I can't code for strawberries. It would make more sense to build on top of something like calagator me thinks but hey what do I know. At least wheresthegeeks is actually up and running, so go check it out.

Finally some future stuff to check out. What on earth is Jon Udell doing with his Elmcity project? I kind of get how it works but I'm missing the whole picture or something. So in his own words Elmcity is…

Q: What is the elmcity project?

A: It’s a web-based service that:

  • Collects online calendar events for geographic communities

  • Merges information from many sources: Eventful, Upcoming, and iCalendar feeds published by popular calendar programs

  • Creates network effects using iCalendar (ICS) feeds, in the same way that blogging and microblogging systems create network effects using RSS, Atom, and Twitter feeds.

  • Does not store events in a centralized database, but rather operates as a hub that merges streams of events and republishes the merged result in a variety of formats.

  • Is managed by one or more curators in a community, on behalf of everyone in the community.

  • Runs on, and demonstrates the capabilities of, Microsoft’s Azure platform.

So ok its very clever but the full extent of whats possible is certainly of interest to me. Talking of taking in the full extent of new developments, its worth checking out the IT Conversation podcast about a need for a XML representation for iCalendar. If ical goes XML, geez I'd be a lot happier.

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Author: Ianforrester

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