[conspire] July schedule posted

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jul 1 09:43:24 PDT 2009

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> begin Rick Moen quotation of Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 07:32:43PM -0700:
> > CABAL's calendar, on http://linuxmafia.com/cabal/ is a flat HTML file
> > that I periodically update using vi -- which suits me, because it's
> > simple, lightweight, and has very little software to break.  Tony is
> > asking how he can "subscribe to it", i.e., to the calendar portion of
> > http://linuxmafia.com/cabal/ via iCAL, impliedly using RSS, I would
> > guess.
> There's "hCalendar" --
> http://microformats.org/wiki/hcalendar
> http://www.peachpit.com/guides/content.aspx?g=webdesign&seqNum=356
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HCalendar
> HTML markup to indicate that something is an event.
> All regular HTML, no extra software on the server
> side required.

It's an interesting spec.  In order for it to work, I would have to
greatly elaborate the existing simple HTML to wrap all event data in CSS
markup.  An existing entry is like this:

<td><strong>Sat. Jul. 25</strong>
<td><strong>Menlo Pk</strong>
<td><strong><a href="#cabal">CABAL</a> meeting/installfest </strong> at
 <a href="#directions">Rick & Deirdre's House</a> <a

A transformed entry would perhaps be something like this (markup
untested and thus possibly not valid or useful):

<tr><div class="vevent">
<td><strong><span class="eventdate">Sat. Jul. 25</span></strong>
<td><strong><span class="eventtime">
     <abbr class="dtstart" title="2009-07-25T13:00-0700">1</abbr>-
     <abbr class="dtend" title="2009-07-25T21:00-0700">9pm</abbr></strong>
<td><strong><span class="location">Menlo Pk</span></strong>
<td><strong><span class="summary"><a href="#cabal">CABAL</a> 
     meeting/installfest </strong> at <a href="#directions">Rick 
     & Deirdre's House</a> 
     <a href="http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/map-1105Altschul.gif"><em>(map)</em></a>

That is of course in hCalendar, which is not what anybody actually asks
for (you'd end up saying "just use the Operator extension for Firefox",
etc.), so:

> There are tools to extract hCal to an original ICalendar/ics file.

I see one such mentioned on the hcalendar-authoring page:  "download and
install the X2V XSLT yourself and run it on your own server".  That's at
http://suda.co.uk/projects/X2V/ -- so, apparently, instead of plain
HTML, I'd end up having to recode the page in PHP that invokes the X2V
XSLT XML transform on the page.

All of that effort gains me the ability to spoon-feed event information
to people who apparently cannot be bothered to just look at a Web page.
It's not clear to me that the fairly considerable conversion time _and_
the fairly considerable additional ongoing maintenance overhead are in
any way justified (not to mention debugging time and hassle every time
somebody complains "your .ics is broken because I can't read it in my
[foo] software on my [bar] operating system".

Technophilia is all and well, but there's a limit to it when other
people volunteer signficant amounts of my ongoing time and effort, 
and I don't even see a compelling advantage.

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