William & Mary Events 2.0

Creative Services is proud to announce William & Mary Events version 2.0. Although this release is primarily a code rewrite it offers several enhancements worthy of a longer-than-usual blog post. I recommend you pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea before you read any further… and maybe scrape together a snack. How about that stash of Hershey Nuggets you’ve been saving in your top drawer behind the stapler and dusty post-its? (Don’t deny it, we know).

CODE UPDATES
I’ll get the boring, behind the scenes changes out of the way first. We consolidated the application code under the latest version of the CodeIgniter framework and removed the last remnants of the Zend framework used in the original open source UNL calendar. The original UNL calendar is wonderful and we highly recommend it. However, several of the large applications that we maintain including Tribe Voices, Tribe Responses and Ampersandbox already use CodeIgniter and having a common structure across all our apps improves our general efficiency and enables code reuse. We do plan to release our calendar as open source as well, but need just a little more time to spiff up the code and remove the W&M branding.

Now on to fun stuff!

UPCOMING… SHOW MORE
Each calendar’s home page now goes beyond just listing a few upcoming events. Introducing, the “Show More” button. When clicked, “Show More” expands the page to display the next 10 upcoming events. Still need more? Click it again and the page will expand with the next 10. Still need more?  You can pick up with your browsing in the month-at-a-time calendar and list views.

THE MINI-CALENDAR
A screenshot of the W&M Events mini-calendarThe little calendar you see in the right column of most pages used to redirect you to a larger calendar view when you selected the previous and next arrows. This was cumbersome so we made some changes. The behavior is now consistent with other calendars like Outlook and Google where the previous and next buttons update the mini-calendar without leaving the current page. We added a dropdown list between the buttons in case you want to jump the mini-calendar ahead or behind a few months at a time, or go to a year view of 12 mini-calendars. Below the mini-calendar is a row of buttons that take you to the Calendar View or List View of the month’s events, or directly to a list of today’s events. From the month views, visitors are able to toggle back and forth between Calendar View and List View to easily select their preferred viewing format.

BREADCRUMBS
We’ve added breadcrumbs to all pages in the same location as on our websites. The first breadcrumb is “All Calendars”—a filter-able list of all the W&M calendars. (This link used to be in the footer but was understandably difficult to find.) The last breadcrumb always links to the calendar home page.

THE ALL CALENDARS PAGE
For convenience we added the “Top Calendars” category (see the list in the calendar footer) to the aforementioned All Calendars page.

EVENT DETAIL VIEW
When viewing an event you’ll find the “iCal for this event” and “Add to Google Calendar” links moved from the bottom of the event detail to a more prominent position at the top right. We encourage using these links to import an event into your personal or work calendars. We also added Google +1 to the list of share options.

SEARCH
In addition to searching for events in the current calendar, the quick search (to the right of the calendar title in the banner) now looks at all W&M calendars providing results when available in 3 separate tabs: “This calendar”, “All calendars” and “Calendar name matches.” Multiple search terms are also supported as well as search phrases.

screenshot of tabbed search results

Example of tabbed search results. Note the updated date style used in all event listing pages.

 

FROM ADMIN TO CALENDAR VIEW… AND BACK!
The events management screens and the live calendars received updates making it easier for users to navigate between the two. In the calendar management pages a “View Live Calendar” button has been added to the top of the button bar. Use it freely to view your calendar—we added links on the live calendar to get you back to the various admin screens too. Calendar admin links are visible only to logged in users and include a new “Dashboard” link next to Sign Out in the upper right that takes you back to your management main page. In addition, prominent admin links are presented “inline”- including “Manage Calendar” on the calendar home page, “Edit Features” also on the home page featured event box and “Edit Event” right next to every event that you can edit in both the listing view and detail view.

Screenshot of a calendar home page with inline admin links

A calendar home page with inline admin links.

FEATURED EVENTS QUEUE
Every calendar can feature a single event to display in a box on the home page. Now you can choose multiple events to queue up as featured events. When one event passes, the next most imminent one automatically becomes the new feature. The featured event box adds a nice visual element to calendar home pages and the new queue will help admins keep it up and running.

EVENT EDIT PERMISSIONS
Events that are recommended to multiple calendars can no longer be edited by the admins of all the calendars. The new permission model is as follows – A creator can always edit their own event. Creators who are also calendar admins have the option to grant one of their calendars edit rights too.

TRY IT
Whew! This is a lot of info I am sure I left out some details. We think this release is a major step forward in event communication at W&M, but don’t just take our word for it. Visit http://events.wm.edu and take it for a spin. For those of you from Missouri we also have a couple of “show me” demonstration sessions scheduled:

May 31st, 3:00 – 4:30, Blow Memorial Hall room 311
June 5th, 11:00 – 12:30, Blow Memorial Hall room 311

~ Mark Windley

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