In Progress VERY Beta: New UU Calendar!!! Off to a pretty good start, too!

A suggestion that's being actively worked on!

TimWilson

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Howdy all,

On the surface, a calendar is a calendar. Here, there's MUCH more going on, at least potentially -- but it's going to be up to all of us to make it pop. Allow me to tell the tale.

Yep, it's a Calendar of Events! With almost nothing on it yet. LOL Gotta start somewhere. Follow the link here, or in the upper left, to get to the real thing, but here's what it looks like so far....

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What I've done to start is to add at least one of each kind of thing that I've set us up to track (and there can be more -- read on!), which for now is Festivals, Concerts, Workshops, Uke Groups, and official UU streams.

I've also only focused on May for now, just to get things rolling.....but even just for May, there's too much for any one person to add. Bunches of concerts, the festivals, and especially uke groups coming in these next few weeks, so let's talk about how to add them!

That is, over time, I'd like to see on every ukulele festival, workshop, concert, and regular meetup/club/jam that you're part of, but I can't track them down and add them all.

As a result, I went with one of the few calendar add-ons that allows EVERYONE to add an event. (Well, ya gotta be registered, but that's standard for doing anything around here.) I'll show you the steps below, but for now, I just want to give you some background.

The bottom line is that not only CAN you all add events, I NEED you to add events!!!! And uke groups too!!! Gotta have 'em!

I can help, and especially at the beginning, while I'm still writing the documentation, I assume that I'll need to help with most every listing. No worries. Just do your best and I'll edit as needed.

Alternatively, send me a PM, and I'll be glad to add your event or user group to the Calendar myself. Really, I'd love it, so please don't hesitate.

But I really do want EVERYONE to feel comfortable adding their events to the Calendar. As you'll see below, it's easy, and has some CRAZY COOL features.


What are the coolest features? My favorite is that everyone can add events. :) After that, my other favorites include :

1) Google Map integration. Put in the address, and Google will add the map! Easy as that!

Here's a sample event to show you what I mean: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/events/mighty-uke-day-14.12/ It happens to be the very next event, but you'll see what's going on.

In the upper right, not the RSVP options in the image below. You can probably skip declining if you're NOT going to attend ("Decline" seems kinda harsh LOL), but it's built-in, and I haven't had time to figure out how to comment that out....but the Going and Watch options are cool. If you've opted into forum notifications, you can get reminders for the events you're following!

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Then I just copied some stuff from the Mighty Uke Day website:

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And below that, the map, which, again, is as simple as just pasting the address and letting Google do the rest.
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Here's what all this means over time: say you're new to the ukulele, and you've just moved to Tehachapi, CA or Tallahassee, FL. You could just go to the Calendar, and search for events near you (the default is 250 miles), and see what's happening.

Do I understand exactly how this part works yet? Uhm, no. LOL But I'm at least having folks add locations for their events, uke clubs, etc, so you'll at least be able to search that way....but the map part is definitely working....generally. :)

Over time, this has the potential to be the most robust, flexible, and complete repository of ukulele events anywhere on the web, if I can get your help to build it!

Please also note:
as with the luthier list, I'm not necessarily looking for EVERY event, club, stream, etc. I'm looking for the ones YOU care about! That you're attending, organizing, a member of, etc. The focus is always on THIS community.

Of course, there are 160,000 of us, in something like 100 countries around the world, so we ought to be able to cover a good number of them. :)

And hey, if you're interested in doing a bit of research to add a bunch of events to the list because that's the kind of thing you like to do, ping me! I can show you how to get pretty far into the weeds.


2) "RSVP". I mentioned this briefly above, but I really do love it. Anybody attending, or who'd like to attend, can check the box on the listing, and the system will send you a reminder when the event is growing near! You'll also be able to see who else is going. (And yes, you can do this anonymously if you prefer!)

I don't imagine that we'll necessarily see a lot of people signing up to go to EVERY event, but for big ones, I can easily imagine a BUNCH of people, which will make it easy for you to create meet-ups at the event.

You can even use the Calendar to create your own meet-up at a larger event! Just add it to the calendar, and start drawing your own crowd!


3) Forum integration. I've basically made the Calendar the new front end for the Events forum. If you go to the Events forum, you'll see the Create Event button in the upper right:

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This takes you to the Calendar to finish creating it. (I'll show you that in a minute.) But once you've done that, it's now ALSO a regular thread in the forum, so anyone finding the event through the Forum door will find it, just like they always have. It'll be in the New Posts feed too, and all that good stuff.

But also, from the calendar itself, you can find a couple of ways to get in. One is the Discussion tab in the upper left:

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And also, from the right sidebar:

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That takes you to the appropriate forum thread if that's the route you prefer -- and again, the forum still works for reading and replying to threads the same way as it always has. We're all about choosing your own adventure here! The change is just for creating events.

So yeah, if a handful of you are going to be at the Ukulele Harmonic Convergence, you can talk about it in the Discussion thread, and if you want to add a meetup to the calendar here, just do it! That way, if you've decided to meet up at a nearby restaurant or bar or park rather than someplace in the bowels of a convention center or whatever, you can do that too. It's just an event. You're in charge!

(And if you good people decide that we need to add Festival Meet-ups to the calendar as a separate category, then of course I'll be delighted to!)

4) Import events to YOUR favorite calendar! I've kind of obscured it with my red circle above, but there's a green "Add to Calendar" button right above the brown Join Discussion button -- that downloads an iCal file for you to add to your Apple, Google, Outlook, or whatever other kind of calendar you use.

5) Alternate views. FOR NOW, I'm leaving it in the default Calendar view, because it looks like, uhm, a calendar. :ROFLMAO: But there's another view that offers some big advantages. This is what List view looks like. It looks like a list!!!

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In list view, you can see the specifics of what's going on. It's not exactly accurate at the moment, partly because I'm still trying to figure out how everything works, so I didn't get each event right the first time. It appears to be the case that if you move an event from one calendar to the other, that it doesn't update the COUNT...but the Calendar itself DOES update.

So in fact, if the only thing you care about is Festivals, or if the only thing you care about is Uke Clubs, you can click on those links in that left nav listing, and get taken to a calendar view that ONLY shows those.


KNOWN ISSUES AND OPEN QUESTIONS
-- I've mentioned one, that the count doesn't update correctly, even though the calendars DO update. Minor, but I'm logging these all for the dev I'm working with.

-- BIG ONE: The Calendar view looks like garbage on mobile. You just can't read it....but List view works GREAT on mobile. I don't see a way in the code to make it default to list view on smaller screen sizes and default to calendar view on bigger ones....

...which makes me wonder: since most people are here on mobile, should I just default to list view everywhere? I kinda like this option, but I'd love to hear what you think.

-- I haven't actually tested RSVPs and notifications and such, so we'll find out together if they work. LOL

-- Me, I hate the styling on the calendar times. They're written as "1:00 PM" (seven spaces, not counting the quotes), whereas most calendar apps style it as "1pm" (three spaces). It appears that the dev is using a stylesheet hosted on an external server, so I don't know if I can get him to give me either access to it or some more options in the control panel settings, but I really don't like this. Nothing to be done for now, and doesn't really affect function.

-- THE OTHER BIG ONE: Daily view is busted. If you do it for today, you're fine, but it can be dicey getting to a specific day -- say, Saturday May 18th, when there are three events that you might want to consider. And using the arrow keys to switch between days: TOTALLY broken. I've reported this, but this bug's been around for a while.

I haven't figured out how to comment this busted daily view out of the code yet, but for now, stick with monthly, weekly, and list views.

-- Slightly big one: Google Map integration doesn't work while you're BUILDING the event as shown below, but works GREAT once you've posted the event. I'll show you what I mean.

-- Are there other kinds of events that I should add to the calendar?



Creating your first events!

If you want to create some of these down the road, please feel free to get started now by creating a test event! Just call it test, and you can delete it, just like any another post you create. As always, I'll be happy to help, either with creating a test event, or deleting one when you're done with your test.


1) In the upper right of the page, click to get started. The brown button is for uploading an iCal file if you have one. (I don't use calendars this way, and so haven't tested this workflow.) The green button starts you manually, which is what I'm going to assume most folks will do.

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2) The first thing you'll be asked to do is identify the type of event. Don't choose the first one (UU Forum Calendar), as that's just the name for the GROUP of calendars below.

Since we're coming into peak festival season, I assume that we'll be getting a lot of these, I'm going to use this Saturday's Ukulele Harmonic Convergence for this example, because it's another imminent event that I just added. So I chose Festivals.

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3) I followed a post from @Larry U here to get the official name of the event, the link, and some artwork. Then just started filling stuff in. This part of it works like like any other post. Copy paste, copy paste, etc.! Add text, videos, pictures, links, whatever you want.

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4) Let's skip ahead and look at the finished entry here: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/events/ukulele-harmonic-convergence-vii-lancaster-pa.20/ See how there's that big graphic at the top?

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The screenshot gives the tip: you are required to add at least one image, and the way to do it is as an ATTACHMENT at the bottom of the post, rather than inserting into the post itself.

Any ADDITIONAL photos you want to add, by all means do! You can see in the Mighty Uke Day example that I gave above that I definitely added additional images...but you have to add that "poster" graphic FIRST, as an ATTACHMENT, then add the rest (and videos, etc) in the normal manner.

5) Other things to fill in:

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Pretty much what you'd guess: start time, end time, all day, etc.

"Where" is where you enter the address for Google Maps to pick up. Unfortunately, something is flaking out at THIS ONE STAGE, so it throws an error message:

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But as you've seen, the maps themselves load just fine. I have no idea why it's not working in preview mode, but I'm on the hunt and will update when I can.

Note that you'll want to set the local time zone. I've tried to do that, but may have missed a couple -- let me know if I've messed any up!

You'll also see Request RSVP. PLEASE DO THAT!!!! I have in the settings that this is required, but it's not propagating....but please, seriously, do this. It's what will allow people to tell each other that they're going, get reminders, etc.

And at the very bottom, Attach files, again, just like for a regular post.


I keep emphasizing "just like a regular post" because, while it definitely has a few extra fields, this really is an awful lot like making a regular post.


Anyway, this is more than most people will need to get started, but I wanted to lay it out as clearly as I can, warts and all, because I think it's really going to be cool if I can get a few people to add JUST the events that they're participating in, and maybe we can fill in a few extras as we go.

Questions, comments, etc -- let's have 'em! I've been working on this for a few months now, but there's a gazillion settings, and there's no way that I've found every issue, or configured everything as well as I might have. It's a good start, if I say so myself, but I know that we can make it a LOT better than this. :)

Thanks again,
Tim
 
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Lot to digest, but looks like a great start... and a crazy amount of time and effort.

I guess this is related to the new event posts from you that have been coming recently.

Looking forward to see what is forthcoming. Thanks, Tim!
 
Tim, you big show off. Great job. Can't wait to see it when you do all those things you talk about that I don't understand.
 
Thanks for the kind words, fellas!

I fear that in trying to be helpful and get people excited that I might have scared everyone off, so I want to underscore two VERY important points.

1) A calendar entry is MUCH LESS complicated than a Marketplace listing, yet people are making Marketplace listings nearly every day. Most days. we have more than one new one....but apart from a few hard-core collectors (blessings on you all!), most people will create only single digits of Marketplace listings in their entire lives.

This is exactly my vision for the Calendar. Nobody doing much themselves, and maybe only a couple in your entire life -- but if I could get a handful of people adding ONLY the events that they're personally attending, interested in attending, organizing, volunteering to staff, etc., we'd have the biggest, most energetic, most up to date ukulele event calendar in the world.

2) Not only is a calendar entry EASIER to create than a Marketplace listing, it's only a couple of clicks more than starting a regular thread.

  • Pick a category for the event (Festival, Concert, etc. -- should be pretty obvious, right?)
  • Paste the name of the event
  • Paste the description of the event
  • Paste the address
  • Attach a photo (which, in my examples, all came from the event website)

That's it! You can do more if you want to, but those are the basics. If any of that is beyond you, please let me know!

I most definitely suspect that my introduction is so far the biggest problem, and I'll try to do better going forward. A little less enthusiasm never hurt anyone. :ROFLMAO:

In the meantime, the basics are here and they're solid, and I swear, it's easier than something that many of you are doing regularly, and, assuming that you can copy and paste, barely more complicated than a regular post.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one interested in ukulele events! Please tell me what I can do to help you get your favorite events posted!

Thanks again,
Tim
 
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Please tell me that I'm not the only one interested in ukulele events!
Absolutely not! But it might take some very simple "click here" instructions to get people started. I'm sure it's really simple once we've tried it! Next time I get a VanUkes post or Ruby's Ukuleles post I will add to the calendar! Once I've tried it, I can help people add stuff too 😊
 
But it might take some very simple "click here" instructions to get people started.

I think you're right, but really, I'm begging everyone: just click on the Add Event button, pick a category, any category (Festival, Concert, Uke Group, etc), just to take a peek.

Once you do, you'll see that it's a post. It has a subject field, a text entry box, and a couple more fields that you will IMMEDIATELY understand. Date, location, attach a photo, and that's it. Done.

Again, so far, I've only pasted, so they're easier than most of the posts I make. I just can't do all the research -- whereas you already know when your Uke group meets, for example, and so you don't need to do any research!

And I have no way of knowing which festivals are the ones people should know about, but thousands of you absolutely DO.

Every one of can do one of these calendar entries in a fraction of the time it would take me, because you know more than I do about the events and groups!

And you already know how to make a post! Your comfort level with a forum post will exactly equal your ability to make a calendar post, I swear.

Who's gonna be the first to just make two clicks -- Add Event and pick a category just to peek -- and tell me I'm wrong? 😊 It's a post. Try it! You'll see!

And seriously, don't wait for an actual event. Just try it. Make an event, call it "Test" and tell me what I can do to make it easier.

Which I don't know if I can do, because it really is just a post! 🤣

I'll even take care of deleting your Test when you're done...but you can do that too if you want, because a calendar entry is just a post, and you can all already delete your own posts. 😁
 
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OK I created one. Not sure I grok the RSVP thing, because I'm not actually the organizer, therefore I have no control over numbers, and don't actually know how many people can go, although I know it's limited, so if I had a preference, I'd not include the RSVP for this kind of thing, and I personally don't want to receive RSVPs at all for this. But that's probably because I don't really understand your intention.
 
I personally don't want to receive RSVPs at all for this. But that's probably because I don't really understand your intention.

Ah, I see what you're saying...but the primary point of the RSVP is to allow people to announce that they're going to the event if they're so inclined (again, you can choose to be anonymous or not with these). This also allows people to be notified that the event is coming if they're so inclined... Again, optional, but I'm still testing all this.

For example, I haven't received notifications of events I've RSVP'd to, but so far, they're events that I posted myself, and I don't receive notifications of my own posts.

So yeah, if you don't want to receive notifications, I suppose you could leave this off and just let people talk about it in the discussion. I'll also see if there's a way NOT to be notified. 🙂 That should always be optional for sure.

Thanks to you and @KohanMike for adding the first two events to the calendar!!!!
 
As @ploverwing and I have now been able to do a little testing, I can confirm that RSVPs do NOT send notifications to the person who posted the event. I'd expected that they would, and that the notifications would follow whatever you've set as your notification preferences (I like the alerts in the browser AND emails), but instead, they stay politely on the event page.

It turns out that @Larry U was the first to RSVP "yes" to one of our calendar events, which is appropriate --I learned about the Ukulele Harmonic Convergence from a post of his in the Events forum. :) And if you go to that page, you can see his yes, and ploverwing's no....with a reminder that you have the option to post your yay, nay, or maybe anonymously if you desire.


Thanks again to the folks who are chiming in! Please keep the comments, questions, and critiques coming! I'm shifting my development focus to other projects for a bit, but will be able to do some more development on this soon.

In the meantime, I am always available to help with specific listings that people are trying to add. Don't hesitate to reach out!
 
Why would anyone post a “no”? I’m not getting that part.

I wouldn't either. Amie was just doing it as a test of the notification system, but yeah, I think that's weird. My hope is to find a way to comment that out of the code, but I'll otherwise add it as a feature request to say it's make it optional to display or not

Doesn't seem useful at all to me (my option will always be to say "no" to the "no" button 🤣), but there's a school of development thought that says that any intentional click is a good one, and to be encouraged, but I'm not in the click business. I'm trying to help build a community, and that "decline" button doesn't facilitate that.
 
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