Cheapo room scheduler app for a 3-day con?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    So, I'm looking for a small and simple room scheduler application for a convention I consider myself a part of. Last year we literally had it made up in Google Sheets, with columns representing each room and rows representing 15-minute time slots.

    Obviously this isn't the most efficient method to use (I made a dynamic board, also in Sheets, that would some-what intelligently update a sort of "what's going on now and what's up next" page), but most of the schedulers I've found seem to be oriented at things like Doctors offices or whatever, and involve an unnecessarily complicated system of management.

    What I'm looking for is basically the evolution of the Sheets version I described, basically:

    • Entries hold some basic information, such as:
    • Name of event
    • Date and time it starts, with duration
    • Internal notes
    • Public notes
    • Entries can be displayed side-by-side according to room, and if in edit mode, can be dragged along the scheduler for easy modification directly on the view.
    • Public Data is easily accessible to web methods/apis. Ideally, there would be a live display on the con's homepage that would utilize this information.
    • User authentication would be nice, but most everything should be available publicly without it (this pretty much excludes almost all scheduling systems for some reason).

    Any ideas? I'm half convinced this doesn't exist in the form I'm looking for, and I should just write it myself...


  • :belt_onion:

    Create a GMail account for each room, connect and and forward them all to your main account


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    ah, but how would I move events between rooms?
    It sounds like this would solve the 'details about events' requirement, but not so much for the 'easy to manage and edit' requirement.... ;p



  • There's a view in JIRA that's similar to that, but designed for an utterly different purpose.

    Sorry that's the best I can think of.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @blakeyrat said:

    Sorry that's the best I can think of.

    It's OK, it's a really niche need. I'm going to propose new development. The con is mid-april, so there's not much time, but we'll make do, somehow.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Tsaukpaetra said:

    'easy to manage and edit

    it is sending calendar invites, and since all accounts are connected and forwarded it means you send invites and the accept them. Other people can also send invites. It also satisfies "cheap" requirement.



  • Have a look at the Open Conference Systems which is an interesting opensource project.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @cheong said:

    interesting

    It's... interesting I guess. But it's way too complicated for our needs. I spent the last ten minutes on their demo instance and it... lost me. I created a conference and (after several weird pages talking about submissions and other stuff) got to the point where I created a building and a few rooms, but from there the scheduler just died and I couldn't figure out how to proceed.

    It might work for some kind of requests-for-comments-driven thing, but I need something inherently simple, almost to the point of "a child could figure this out"... Like, literally.

    @dse said:

    it is sending calendar invites, and since all accounts are connected and forwarded it means you send invites and the accept them. Other people can also send invites
    I don't see how this would work. So the individual accounts are equatable to rooms, and I'd have to switch between all the accounts to muck around with invites?

    It doesn't sound Open Conference Systems-level of complicated, but it's definitely not drag-and-drop-done either...
    And unfortunately the people who I intend to teach how to use this would likely do it wrong as well... :/


  • :belt_onion:

    @Tsaukpaetra said:

    I'd have to switch between all the accounts to muck around with invites?

    No.

    1. For each room, forward them to your personal/central GMail (this way you will receive them on one account) I would also make it delete/archive from original account for simplicity.
    2. Connect them to your personal GMail in "Send mail as" section of central account (this way you can send emails from them but without logging in them)
    3. (optional) in the "Send mail as" section also select "Reply from the same address the message was sent to" so that you wont have to always select the right account to send from.

    Many people are not aware that number 2 is also possible. When composing invites, select the room and send from it.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @dse said:

    When composing invites, select the room and send from it.

    Okay, so that would work for initial event creation, but what about moving between rooms? Would you add the new room as an attendee and then delete the original event from the first room's calendar?

    I appreciate the effort you're putting into explaining this to me, but I'm trying to view this from the non-technical user's POV and I believe I would be confused as all get out if this were demonstrated to me.

    This actually sounds kinda like what we have for location scheduling at work, the process is about the same but it's incredibly difficult to get working right...


  • :belt_onion:

    @Tsaukpaetra said:

    Would you add the new room as an attendee and then delete the original event from the first room's calendar?

    Either delete from calendar or change its attendance response to No. (To clarify: GMail shows a menu with Yes/No for calendar invites, and one can change the response)

    I have not attempted this but a lot of this process should be feasible by some sort of API too, because I have seen it works fine with other calendar applications (like OSX) too. so there should be a way to add or remove these events from calendars using some programming. Maybe you can make an OSS app that will do all that :--)

    Also same as you:

    @Tsaukpaetra said:

    I'm half convinced this doesn't exist in the form I'mYou're looking for

    so this is a hack at best.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    Agreed. By the time I bodge it to the way I need it....



  • @dse said:

    Create a GMail account for each room, connect and and forward them all to your main account

    @Tsaukpaetra said:

    ah, but how would I move events between rooms?

    If you give your main account permission to make changes to the events when you're sharing each calendar with it, then the Google Calendar web interface should allow you to move an event to any of those calendars where you have the correct permissions.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @anotherusername said:

    should

    Alright, I'll give it a try when bored. Nothing ventured, right?


  • mod

    Some local cons I go to use EventBoard: http://www.eventboardmobile.com/

    No idea if it meets your needs since I've never seen the admin side, but as an attendee, it's pretty nice


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Yamikuronue said:

    EventBoard

    That... Almost seems exactly what I'm looking for (on the quick-look). It seems "free", so it might be something to check out...
    Another (hidden) suggestion was to reduce the need for extra con books by providing a digital version (for those that don't need paper). This sounds the most exciting so far!



  • Side note, if you do try using Google's calendar, you really don't need to create separate Gmail accounts for every conference room. You can just create multiple calendars within your main account.


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