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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community? 120

Posted by timothy
from the suggestions-welcome dept.
First time accepted submitter hughbar writes "I live in a London suburb that has many activities and classes, yoga, IT [of course], running, art, assorted volunteering and many others. With the help of the local council, we'd now like to make a centralised, searchable database of these, with a number of helpful features: Easy to make submissions, otherwise the whole thing will always be out of date; Web accessible [obviously] but mobile phone friendly as well; Maybe, publish and subscribe, so people can 'subscribe' to yoga listings for example; Handles repeating events, like a classical web calendar; Maybe, can be consolidated with nearby events calendars. I'm aware of MRBS and WebCalendar, but I'm wondering whether there are other suggestions, especially as this is a useful social application. And, yes, I'd like it done with open source, then we can tailor it."
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

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  • Google (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Docs for Non-Profit that is.

    You just can't beat their calendar for mobile access and colaboration.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      Good, free, but not open source.

      • Re:Google (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:21AM (#46064637)
        Pick two
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Sometimes you get all three (Linux, Android, etc), but not this time.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I'd bite you tongue on that with Android LOL

          • Yeah, I realized that when I said it, but in terms of raw quantity, that is the exception and not the norm (and you might want to redact Android ... it's kind of quasi free and open)

            Other notable examples include Mozilla's efforts, Audacity, VLC and... uh, I can't think of any others at the moment. For every truly excellent open source project out there, there are a thousand of 'em where the developers have their heads up their asses and clearly are incapable of thinking from the perspective of their users

            • by blade8086 (183911)

              apache, vnc, ssh, mysql, gimp (yes I know its not photoshop - but please show me a competing 'free' editor?), inkscape, dia, .... etc etc etc
              are all good programs

    • by Aaden42 (198257)

      Only free if you’re a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit with the IRS. Otherwise, you pay full price for enterprise level Google domains stuff.

      You can still use the free stuff under “just a gmail account,” but if you want your own domain, there’s no more free option from Google.

  • civiCRM (Score:4, Informative)

    by oregonjohn (1902706) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:58PM (#46064525)
    https://civicrm.org/ [civicrm.org] is extraordinarily powerful for community work. It can deal with any number of different organizing needs from paying for classes to calendaring, from constituent matters to membership sites. Check it out. I'm currently working to make civiCRM work as a law practice management solution. It needs some significant tweaking to make it work for that purpose, but for you needs it will probably work "out of the box" so to speak. Like any major software package it requires setting up, but there a lots of people around the world who have experience setting it up, you can even just pay to get the settings you want.
    • Re:civiCRM (Score:5, Informative)

      by SpzToid (869795) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:00AM (#46065131)

      CiviCRM is extremely good at what it does, and works with Drupal, as well as Joomla.

      I like Drupal a lot. Drupal is like LEGO bricks you can build anything out of, and if you install CiviCRM on top of Drupal, that's like building the Millennium Falcon Star Wars Edition LEGO along with a spaceport for it. If that interests you, then also add OpenAtrium to your short list of things to check out too. In fact you can combine them if you want and they'll give you complimentary functions, however you might also find OpenAtrium is good enough for your CRM needs. Or you might swap out CiviCRM from your OpenAtrium platform as described, and use RedHen CRM instead.

      Whatever direction you choose for CRM, I hope you'll give OpenAtrium consideration towards your requirements, (that is what the White House uses for its workgroup collaboration too). It's a good Space Dock Platform to hold your calendaring, notifications, public/private docs, etc.

      http://openatrium.com/ [openatrium.com]
      http://redhencrm.com/ [redhencrm.com]
      http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog... [whitehouse.gov]

      Pro-Tip: In a lot of places where I have introduced OpenAtrium, when I get around to installing the sheetnode module, and everyone gets collaborative spreadsheets, I often hit a home run. The spreadsheet usefulness and ajax is extremely good.

      https://drupal.org/project/she... [drupal.org]

      • by hughbar (579555)
        Thanks for all of these. I'm aware of Drupal and CiviCRM too. I've used Joomla for more recent projects because end-users find Drupal management 'harder', actually both are non-trivial. CiviCRM is really great but used to be pretty hard to install.

        I'm not aware of openatrium and redhencrm, so thanks for those!
        • by hazah (807503)
          It's almost always a mistake to hand over the same admin interface you get in drupal to your clients. We solve this by building one for them. A couple of views here and there (with bulk ops), and panels with rules for fine tuning and you can almost always create a simple enough admin interface for them. Alternatively, you can write up a small module just for that purpuse to have full control of it. Use Beans in stead of raw blocks, use Entityforms instead of Webforms so that you can easily setup prebuilt UI
  • Owncloud (Score:2, Interesting)

    Though it provides a handful of other features, such as file storage and address books, it has a pretty robust CalDAV management interface, complete with user & group sharing and mobile device support - which is what I've primarily set it up to do for our SME without the need of signing up for Google Apps at $5 a pop.

    Hope this helps.
    • Re:Owncloud (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:19AM (#46064849)
      As much as I love owncloud I've found the calendar to be buggy when it comes to repeating events. Sometimes my weekly events will suddenly be a day later on 1 week. I haven't checked if it's only in the interface or if it affects the iCal interface, but it's something to watch out for (and test). Note: I have not had any issues with one-off events.
  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:05AM (#46064565)
    I use multiple google calendars-- one for each kid, my spouse, and for some clubs I'm in. I use Calenmob on my iphone to see them all... but I would love it if there was more software that let you have a club (or class or whatever) add events to your calendar... Seems like a great idea that should have been solved.. but hoping someone here can recommend something.
  • calagator (Score:3, Interesting)

    by everydayotherday (1291642) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:41AM (#46064717)
    What you're talking about is similar to Calagator in Portland, OR. The site is http://calagator.org/ [calagator.org] and has a link to the source code.
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:44AM (#46064729) Homepage

    I've been working on such a thing for a smaller scale for just three rural counties. Most of the calendars I've come across are modules in CMSs like Drupal or Joomla, way overkill for a platform and the calendar detail presentation sucks as well as the user entry. Most programmers don't try to understand events.

    There are also some web event services out there that are more wide ranging like eventsetter... but they supplement with a lot of ads and you only find a few trees in the global forest of data.

    The challenges are (beyond responsive/mobile design and data structure)

    - Making a user friendly form where the submission could be directly used by the calendar... I've concluded most of them are useless for the general public (especially here - we may soon crawl out of dialup in some remote parts of our counties!). So the main input is just a text area (preloaded with what needs to be included), which I transcribe into the real form on the admin side. This could be a lot of work for folks doing this for a large suburb, but the results are better as you can standardize the content as you transcode.

    - Getting people to submit data. This might be a case of having to get traction before it gets going but even then, people are lazy, even if the 'add info' buttons are in plain sight on just about every page. Currently I do 95% of entries.

    So, here's mine - http://www.doplaces.com/ [doplaces.com] been on-line about six months now (to get a better idea of events go to the calendar, back to december and view, was alot going on then). It also includes a community directory of groups, businesses services and other locations with mucho cross-referencing between those and the events calendar.

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:31AM (#46064889)

    Explain to me how it's 2014, and this is the same question that I've been asked since I started my web business in 1992? I'm just plain bored with it. We've had twenty years of web calendars, and forty years of software calendars. I've had enough of the question. What a waste of an entire industry. What good is an industry that can't solve a single basic problem in two decades? I'll be 60 in 25 years. I'll have retired twice, and I'll be consulting for random other companies. I swear my very last project, on my death-bed, will be the very same "we need an event calendar, what should we do?".

    Show of hands. How many readers here have built, installed, chosen, spec'd, designed, setup, trained, populated, migrated, or exported an event calendar more than six times? I'm approaching about 150 at this point.

    • by icebike (68054) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:55AM (#46064955)

      So you are 35, and you have already done this 150 times and you haven't got ONE suggested solution for a community calendar?

      • by hughbar (579555)
        Thanks! I'm the submitter, I'm 63 and have spent most of my life in IT. There's several 'near' fits to this problem, usually using CMS software, but it's still interesting to look for 'closer' fits and, in general, learn from others. 'Learn from others' is always fun, almost more than shouting at the kids on my lawn.
        • Hey Hugh. If you want to contact me directly and get off this rude and troll-laden thread, Twitter @ActivateLinds Check out my site and see if strikes a chord with you: Portland.ActivateHub.org Key features: * Sync calendars (iCal, Google cal, Meetup, FB & some RSS) for recurring import so new events and edits to old ones are reflected on the site. * Hover over events for details in side bar * Community organization pages: search a list of organizations in your community filterable by topics they wo
      • If you'd done what I've done, you'd know why.

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      What good is an industry that can't solve a single basic problem in two decades?

      I dunno. Given that there are plenty of excellent multi-user calendar solutions, I don't know what industry you're actually describing.

      • I'm completely d'accord with the poster (hughbar).
        There is always something that does not work.
        Either you can only invite people that _have an account_ or are at least in the adress book or you have wiered JavaScript mouse interactions, you change the starting time of the event because by default with the mouse you can only create events at full hours and half hours, then automatically the end time changes (which is in 90% of the cases NOT what I want, especially if it goes via multiple days), the export or

        • There's always something that does not work? Every thought of just building your own any way you please?

          • We live in the year 2014, not in 1914 or 1954.
            How software works, should work, how it might be developed, how it should be developed is a no brainer meanwhile.
            When I buy a car it usually just works.
            Why should it be different with software?
            Ah, yeah: all the programmers are artists. Software is an art. Sorry, they not even have managed their trait, craftmenship or even their apprenticeship.
            Regarding your question: yes, I'm working on my own stuff. The point is not: "anyway you please"! The point is common sen

            • by riondluz (726831)

              "Buy a car...."

              Though I in near accord w/both you and GPPoster,
              I would like to note that, sticking to a car analogy, Its like buying a car that works for >5 if not >10 years to avoid the viscious lease/trade-in cycle and planned obsolence.

              So, the mechanic who craftily repairs and replaces parts (functionality) is something of an artist and someone prized and trusted if good at their trade.

              I've been round the same block too many times as you refer to. I love and will only use opensource and have a bias

          • There's always something that does not work? Every thought of just building your own any way you please?

            Well, that came full circle quickly.

      • I'm describing the industry that results in the poster asking this question in 2014. That industry. Where thousands of comments from hundreds of responders will discuss an idea that's been in use for decades.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          The industry has nothing to do with it; it has done its job, at least when it comes to calendaring.

          • Then why is this guy, and so many others, still asking for the community for help?

            • by stenvar (2789879)

              For the usual reasons: he's lazy, poorly informed, and not very smart. None of those are problems industry can fix for him.

              They are common problems in all areas of society.

    • by mal0rd (323126)

      Nice comment. Of course, it's not just calendars but basically everything; finding something as simple as a reliable and scalable email client is a challenge.

      If you (or other posters) have some thoughts about how we might be able to fix this I'd love to hear it. Next month I'm going to start working full-time on trying to solve this problem because I hope the lack of success is just due too few attempts. Judging by your other replies, the issue is barely even recognized.

      • Build your own. If you can't build something from 20 years ago with modern tools, then you ought to get a new profession.

    • I was confronted by this problem about 15 years ago when I was asked by a listings magazine to provide them with a system that would allow the input not only of community events, but theatre performances, film showings, exhibitions etc. and then use this data to automatically lay out their print as fell as feed their emerging website.

      I did an extensive search of software available at the time and nothing really cut it and had to develop something from scratch. Although it's easy for one-off events, when
    • by sunking2 (521698)
      The goal of IT is to keep itself employed, not actually solve a problem. Having started in Engineering and moving to IT at a Fortune 30 aerospace company it took about 2 years before I couldn't wait to get back into Engineering and out of the IT circle jerk cycle of paying more money to replace an existing system and having nobody that really understood what they were actually buying.
      • But the goal of hiring IT is specifically to solve the problem. If your IT guy isn't solving a problem for five years at a time, find a new one.

    • You sound like a cook in a restaurant bitching about having to cook dinner for all your customers every single freakin' night, how are those ungrateful bastards hungry again?. Seriously, get over yourself.

      • No. You've missed the point entirely. I sound like a cook in a restaurant who, among many other things, has been making peanut butter and jam sandwiches for twenty years, and someone starting a new restaurant is asking for a recipe for peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

        Get under yourself.

    • I would think its been more like most of recodrded history. at least :-D

      A one size fits all calendar would be a nightmare to cover the myrad of applicartions for keeping and tracking time/events.
      Also as with most software the world outpaces the original design regularly, and software needs to adapt to new ideas and trends (responsive/minimalist design, phone friendly interface, etc.)

      20 years ago we didnt have iphone with GPS and mobile web, facebook, etc.

      As Sonny and Cher put it - The beat goes on.

      • and you think that calendar software, web calendars, and events in general have changed at all? You think the iphone changed the way we schedule events on a calendar? The iphone entered a world that existed already. It didn't bring new ways of doing things. It simply brought convenient access to the same things. No one wants gps as a part of their calendar. I have no interest in being told about all of the events near to me. Quite the opposite, actually.

        And, in case you've forgotten, before there wer

        • > I have no interest in being told about all of the events near to me. Quite the opposite, actually.

          Well, then that's just you, move along. :-)

          People visinting a place would reqally like to know what's going on while they are there, not afterwards. Around here getting the word out usually entails the printing and distribution of printed materials (papers, flyers, etc. Not very efficient. Web calendars help if you have web access... again, not no one thing works for everyone.

          • Think harder please. Much harder. Here's some help. Think about everything you think is important, remove everything else that already exists, and see if it works in your own head. I promise, what you've just described doesn't work. And once you add what's needed to make it work, you no longer benefit from those things that you thought were important in the first place.

            • Man, I must be taking up some real estate in your mind.

              Thanks for the suggestion. I guess then, in your belief, I'm tilting at just my own personal windmills. I can live with that. :-D

    • I would love your thoughts on ActivateHub! Check out Portland.ActivateHub.org. The calendar is mostly self-populating with events. Syncing a calendar feed results in recurring imports of new and updated events, automatically tagged. Filter by a combo of topics and / or types. Hovering over an event gives details on the side bar (I know, it should be a separate pop-up, not in side bar), and each event has its own page for promotion, and soon comments and uploads. In addition to a calendar, it has a wiki-
      • Plus, other organizations or blogs, etc, can embed this calendar - or a filtered view of it - into their own website.
      • If you're asking me for my professional review of a product, contact me professionally, give me a budget, and I'll give you an invoice. If you're asking for my personal review, I just don't find that fun.

        • I was really looking for a "Yay" or "Nay - problem still not solved." I'm a recent college grad with nothing but debt and a seasonal / temporary waitressing job, so I don't think professional review is in my budget at the moment, unfortunately! But since you were passionately bemoaning the lack of an adequate tool for all these years, I thought you might be interested in a chat, or at least give a quick look.
          • Umm, I don't think you've understood me. I'm not bemoaning any lack of an adequate tool. I'm responding to the original poster who is asking for one. It's that question that I'm bemoaning. I believe that there are many adequate tools, and I believe that it's really easy to build your own -- as I've done so many times throughout my career.

            If you're a waitress, then I don't want to talk over lunch. Let's talk over a jazz performance instead.

  • I redirect you to Jon Udell's blog http://blog.jonudell.net/ [jonudell.net]
  • Jon Udell's elmcity [cloudapp.net] project (FAQ [jonudell.net], quickstart guide [jonudell.net], source [github.com]) may be of interest.

  • calendar.

  • by jbov (2202938)

    Drupal would fit this project well. Here is what you can accomplish with Drupal for your project:

    - Visitors may register for accounts. The usual suspects like CAPTCHA for the registration & login form, password reset feature, e-mail verification, etc.. are either core or available with modules.
    - Members can subscribe to event listings via the notifications module.
    - Members can PM other members.
    - Visitor's or registered users may post events with moderator approval
    - Using the views, taxonomy, better

    • by hazah (807503)
      There is a caveat though. It's not possible to have multiple different repeats of an event. So something like every thursday at 7 and every friday at 8 is not possible without at least going though entity collection (which complicates things). Also, the event entry interface is quite lacking... haven't found a way get a full stack without at least doing the entry form through a custom module.
      • You bring up a valid point about having the same event repeating on several different intervals. Note to the OP: you can repeat an event every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00 PM. However, as hazah stated, you can't repeat the same event on Monday at 7:00, Wednesday at 8:00, and Friday at 6:00 without having to kludge something together.

        I don't think the interface entry is a show stopper though. If CSS alone doesn't provide a good looking, intuitive interface, then it can be cleaned up nicely with the

        • by hazah (807503)
          Actually, for this one case, without a custom form altogether you'll be in a world of pain. The current solution we're working through invloves field_collection set to unlimited cardinality which hosts the date field with repeat. Damn thing will not submit, though (and you have to adjust the form elements parent's array or else the js messes up too). Oh well... perhaps in an update or two... but we opted for creating our own form handling for all of this to avoid it all.
  • There's quite a lot you can do with Facebook pages, and a lot of people will already have username/pwd there.

    • by hughbar (579555)
      For me, that's not a solution, I want something that doesn't depend/share-data-with a large for-profit. Actually I don't even have a facebook account.
      • by bazorg (911295)

        Well, I did not get that from the original submission. I hope you don't end up wasting public funds to re-invent Facebook and then realise that people are not aware or not willing to sign up for yet another region-specific social network.

  • Your basic problem is "nearby".

    You need to find the intersection of where you are normally located, and where the events are normally located, combined with the radius you are willing to travel, and the radius that the even planners are willing to consider "these people are local". In a lot of cases, "these people are local" are not defined by distance, but by geographic boundaries, such as boroughs, which are administrative divisions within a county. They may also apply to self selecting groups, such as

  • by mrvanes (658171)
    Have you looked at Elgg? http://elgg.org/ [elgg.org]
    • by hughbar (579555)
      Yes, and used it for a while. Thanks for reminding me, may go back there. Last thing I used it for was a borough with tens of environmental projects that needed to intercommunicate, they migrated that to Ning, their loss, IMO.
      • by mrvanes (658171)
        The external Event Manager (http://community.elgg.org/plugins/736695/2.7.1/event-manager) is exceptionally cool, complete with RSVP functionality.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org] Evolution of ths famous Davis city wiki
  • A well known website over here is http://aktieagenda.nl/ [aktieagenda.nl]. They have exactly this service, which is - as some comments already found out, ancient, and a DIY solution. What more do you want, when it's just 1 database table to be filled.
  • I've found podio.com to be very useful (and free as in beer) for these types of things. Easy to build web forms and integration with Google Calendar and other calendaring tools.

  • If you like Wordpress I strongly recommend The Events Calendar Pro http://tri.be/shop/wordpress-e... [tri.be]. It's both powerful and easy to use. It's not free but makes up for it in the time you'll save. There are plenty of plug-ins available to make it do exactly what you want it to do. I'm a designer, not a programmer, so I'm always looking for the simplest and most cost-effective web solutions.
  • Our city uses Localist which is a paid product, but it's customizable and works well. http://www.localist.com/ [localist.com]. You can see the implementation here: http://whatweekly.com/calendar... [whatweekly.com]
  • Portland's tech scene uses this really fantastic project: http://calagator.org/ [calagator.org]

    The source is available on github: https://github.com/calagator/c... [github.com]

    There is also ActivateHub (which is a fork of Calagator) - Demo http://portland.activatehub.or... [activatehub.org], Source: https://github.com/activate/Ac... [github.com]
    • Thanks, TechieShark! Here's a summary of what http://activatehub.org/ [activatehub.org] has added since the Calagator fork: * More than just a one-time calendar import, sync calendars for recurring import so new events and edits to old ones are reflected on the site. * Community organization pages. Main List of orgs is filterable by topics they work on, and each org has its own page. * Hover over event details. * Calendar View / List View toggle * Topics and Types filter options * Enhanced duplication detection and adm
  • Have you seen http://cibul.net/ [cibul.net] yet? It allows you to create structured and rich content for your events (either personal or collaborative). It also has a nice (and free) API for the events data.
  • Yet another calendarware: SOGo [www.sogo.nu]. It may be too oriented toward user personal agenda.
  • by snsh (968808)

    Consider Trumba. It's not a free service, and it will cost you around $100/month, but they give you a lot for your money. We've been using them for our local public-facing calendar (~500 events a month) for several years.

  • Hi,

    The best tool depends on what are your primary needs about managing events (calendaring vs organizational).

    If your needs are most about calendaring, Bedework ( http://www.jasig.org/bedework [jasig.org] ) imho is the best open source calendaring solution (powerful and flexible public/private calendars, group calendaring, categories, CalDav, public event submision, repeatitive events, web and mobile clients, rss, based on standards, etc)

    If your needs are more oriented to organize the events themselves (p

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