The... triggering comma

The OpenStreetMap calendar and the Weekly

Yesterday I announced that I would discontinue my calendar services.

The trigger to do that was a comma.

A comma in [Boulder, Colorado | Boulder] or even not in [Boulder%2C_Colorado | Boulder] is like controversy over the emperor’s beard.

If I look at some of the comments from yesterday, I realised that I did not quite observe the freedom of emotions imposed on me on the web. Even though the blog yesterday already contains the factual derivation of my decision, for the last time I would like to make it more detailed.

The Technique

When I saw Marc at the summer camp in Essen 1.5 years ago, he changed the wiki calendar into Markdown by hand, I knew that it could be done better. I tried to knit something with Regex with downstream parsing relatively quickly, which solves this problem. A quick hack.

Since then, the calendar has been published not only in the German blog but also in the international weeklyOSM.

I dare to say cautiously that this has brought a strong push in the use of the Wiki calendar.

I knew that regex with downstream parser is not a permanent solution. I also found the frontend to enter appointments useless. One or the other vision catches up with me, in this case it was the idea to create an editor that makes entering appointments more bearable and making it easy to subscribe to your regulars’ table. Whether the data storage should be in the wiki or synchronized with the wiki, the project would have already shown in the course of its implementation.

But for this the parser had to be improved first. Since this approach could only be successful on the Wiki Markdown, I taught myself PEGJS (Parsing expression grammar) and successfully wrote a parser (Version 2). This has been incorporated into OSMCAL, and I have already been able to realise the idea of subscribing to certain search terms. For over a year I had subscribed to the Wiki Calendar in my Calendar.

In July the wiki calendar was extended with hCalender Microformats. Now there are 3rd party tools that make it easy to parse the calendar. I made this change in my parser version 1 more than badly than in my parser version 1, the parser version 2 didn’t survive this change, because I haven’t found time to put the change into production and test it yet.

Theoretically, there is now version 3 of a parser, an hCalender Microformat Parser.

The Comma

And then came the comma. And my quick solution , === %2C. And the statement that this looks terrible and therefore was not accepted. The Emperor’s beard.

Since my parser version 1 in the wiki markup simply cuts the links before it interprets them, I don’t see any Quickfix for this problem. Version 2, which has not been developed yet, clearly shows that I don’t have the time to develop things further in this environment. With this, I am of course in the way of a further development of the calendar template.

However, I’d rather use the limited time available for the core of OSMBC to keep this tool from being compromised. With ten to twenty libraries, you have enough to do with keeping your sources “safe”.

The transformation and further development of the calendar services should therefore be taken over by someone else.

How To Go On

I think the calendar is extremely important, and I think it’s great that it is presented in a legible way every weekly.

Now there are two possibilities.

One questions the decision of the past to maintain the calendar in the wiki, and looks at whether there is an open source software that supports OAUTH and has a tagging that is useful for us. This will create a calendar server, which can be derived into the Wiki and the Weekly. The world and software have evolved.

Or you can try to use the new hCalender features via third-party tools.

Or you can try to use the new hCalender features via third-party tools. I tried out how this could look like in a Google spreadsheet quick and dirty.

The solution proposed here uses a Glenn Jones hCalender2JSON Converter and this blogpost. Anything that throws out markdown or HTML at the end can be processed by the weekly team, and can also be integrated into OSMBC at the end. If you are interested, my development trials from OSMBC or OSMCAL can also be used as a quarry. (That would be option 3). If the calendar is maintained in the wiki, there should be time for some format discussions, I had omitted that.

If I don’t want to sign you up to disqus for the discussion, I can add a forum link to this post.

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