More Feature Fun!

Written Nov 11, 2009 at 19:17 (0)

One of the best parts about running a site that's so involved in a community (PHP) is that ideas come from all different points of view about what the site should do. Well, if you're one of those people that want to contribute back to the site, remember that we've gone open source and welcome suggestions and code that way.

Now, on to some of the improvements that have been made - most of these are for the people organizing the events, but there's a few user ones thrown in:

  • Pre-Event Voting - this is the biggie! Previously, conferences were limited to only accepting comments once the event had started. There were some people out there (like a certain unconference chair I know) that wanted the ability to post talk suggestions and allow people to vote on them ahead of time. So, I've introduced a system to do just that - once you've marked yourself as attending (yes, you'll need to register) you can cast your vote on a session, for or against.

    The event organizers can turn on the feature by editing the event and clicking on the "pre-event voting" checkbox. This will turn it on for the entire event all at the same time. The attendees will see two buttons a "+1 vote" and a "-1 vote" to cast their vote on the session (one vote per session per user). These votes will show up just above the comments.

  • Next up is the XML import for event information. This new feature allows event administrators to import their session information (talks, social events, etc) in as a structured XML file. The custom format is simple to use and makes things *so* much easier than adding in your talks one-by-one. The XML structure is validated before it's fully imported, so you're sure you've got the right format.
  • Time zone corrections - One of the things the site has fought with since it started was trying to figure out the whole timezone fiasco. So what's the problem? Well, when events are scheduled for November 15th, that's not necessarily going to be based on the site's system time. So, I had to figure out a good way to calculate the differences. I decided on a (less flawed than before) method using the UTC offset to calculate the time difference. As a result, when you set up an event, you need to select the timezone offset for the area it'll be held in.
  • And finally, another handy one for event admins - event-based claim management. Previously, when a user submitted a claim on a talk, they had to wait for me to get in there and approve the claim. Now the admins of the event can do it themselves, making the response time faster and making it easier to manage the talk claims across the whole site. Event administrators will receive an email with a link to the page every time a claim is submitted.

That's it for now - there's tons of other great stuff coming up (check it out) so keep checking back for more great features to come!

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