Whatcha Doin’, Mr. Wilson?

September 6, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I have had some folks ask me in private what I’ve been up to lately. Actually, I have been working on a very large project. A web-based calendar application, to be precise. It’s easily the largest such project I have ever attempted.

The application is called Caloree, and it will eventually form the back end of the events calendar portion of Lincolnite. It’s a pretty ambitious undertaking, to be honest. Caloree will allow every member to have as many calendars as she wants, and each calendar can be integrated with the others—and with those published by other users—to various degrees depending on a number of user-definable criteria. The whole thing is quite flexible.

Why not use Google Calendar or one of the other options out there? Because I’m stubborn, of course. And because I’m having a blast trying to program this thing. I’m doing it myself as much for the experience as for the final outcome.

So far I have completed a few big chunks of Caloree. First I set up the backend database, including integration with Expression Engine, the content management system that runs Lincolnite. Then I set up the basics of the user management system, including permissions and user groups. Then I started on a really big part of the project, which I think I can safely say is now pretty much ready to go. In short, I created a shorthand system for entering event dates and repetition cycles, along with the parser that translates that shorthand into the dates on which an event actually occurs. Let me give you an example: let’s say you want an event to appear on your calendar on the Thursday of every other month. The shorthand would be “every other month on the 3rd Thursday”, or the shorter “every 2 months on the 3 r”. Easy, right? The user will also be able to use other methods for entering dates, but often shorthand like this is faster and more intuitive.

The next steps will require a lot of work, but they probably will be a fair bit easier, programming-wise. I need to program the actual drawing of the calendar (and other event calendar display methods), create a backend administration interface, and then give the calendar a few fun bells and whistles. And then lots and lots of testing (on top of the testing I do every step of the way).

When I’m all done, I hope to sell Caloree to other Expression Engine users, because Caloree will be the first calendar module for the system. (It is for now, anyway.) Then I have much bigger plans. But those are far enough away I’d best not say anything about them right now.

So there you have it. That’s what I’ve been working on in my (limited) spare time, and what will keep me busy for another couple months.

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