iCal calendar feeds

Missing functionality: iCal feeds for groups. It would be good to have an iCal feed for all subscribed groups at the minimum.

Having the possibility to add groups to the feed even when not subscribed to them could be useful but may be too complex (for when you’re interested by a group but have not decided yet to join it - so basically at that stage all you want is notifications of events and you may decide to subscribe to the group or stop notifications after having been to one event). If you decide to implement the latter, then it would be useful to have super-selections i.e. for all the London groups (same as Meetup).

If the aim is to eventually switch off Meetup, this feature would need to be in place beforehand; it is an essential feature (currently of Meetup) for me and likely for many others too.

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Thanks @Panda - very good idea.

I’ll add an item to the Roadmap for iCal feeds.

In discussion with @Ten, we’ve determined this is super important to help share events with event organisers, volunteers and people who do not use Restarters.net. It would also help here at Restart HQ, as we have to copy over every single event, by hand, to our shared Google Calendar.

Any chance we can bump up its priority?

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Yes we can put it in to the next round of developments.

So I suppose there’s two different approaches to this. I think @Panda you’re suggesting that if you’re a registered member of restarters.net, you get one feed tailored to you (based on which groups you are a member of) - is this how Meetup works? I think @Janet you’re suggesting a publicly accessible feed for each group, and also a megafeed of all groups for use in HQ. Correct me if I’m wrong both.

I think the second approach could work for your use case @Panda - though the onus would be on each individual to navigate to each group they are interested in and add each group iCal feed to a personal calendar. One thing that the second approach would not help with is a feed of which you have RSVPed to or not, but I’m guessing that’s not too important.

Close!

My suggestion:

One feed for the groups you are member of. This is private by definition as linked to a user.

A feed for a location (i.e., one for all of London - that’s what the meetup feed is). This could be public and would benefit from being public.

I also think Janet’s option of one public feed per event could be useful.

Bonus extra option I had mentioned:

Having a feed builder, i.e., you select which events or location you want in your feed. However this is likely much more complex to build and the potential use is likely small.

That’s reasonably straightforward in terms of building the feed, although I wonder what the mechanism would be for authenticating to a private feed from a calendar app? Wouldn’t want to have user/pass on a URL. Could make it a unique, unguessable id, but that is security through obscurity which is not great. (That said, it’s not particularly sensitive info.)

Hmm, need to think how best to implement this - I guess it works for the Restarters London Meetup group because that’s one group in Meetup, to which we add all London events. Whereas we have multiple distinct groups in restarters.

Some existing mechanisms we could potentially use for grouping together groups by location: the geocoding of a group’s location; the ‘Area’ field, though we’re currently in discussion about whether to keep this; group tags, but these are only addable/editable by admins at the mo.

Do you mean one public feed per group, or perhaps am I misunderstanding?

It’s not sensitive info. A unique id would do the trick. Hopefully this would work without the need to log in so no restarters password would have to be used in the feed aggregator.

An area field sounds useful, though tags may be more flexible. Someone would need to be in charge of maintaining/updating the that grouping, whichever way it’s implemented. New groups don’t appear everyday everywhere so it should take little responsibility for an ‘area coordinator’ to maintain that list.

That’s how I understood it.

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@panda Would be interested on your thoughts how to treat events you’ve RSVPed to. What does meetup do here? (e.g. does it show you all events for your groups, and flag in some way those that you’ve RSVPed? Or can you get a feed of just those you’ve RSVPed?)

What would we do with past events in the feed? I would guess keep them in the feed just for reference?

@james @Janet what are your thoughts on producing a calendar feed for a particular area?

In the context of a feed, the RSVP status is not critical. Meetup doesn’t do anything about it. Ideally you could add in either the title (if not already too long) or the description a tag/flag/keyword such as ‘confirmed’ or ‘attending’ so one can remember when checking their calendar.

The current feed from Meetup just remove past events from the feed. The previous feed (IIRC it was from Google) did keep past events. Getting rid of past events would reduce the size of the feeds so may be better for the load of the server, or maybe it’s such small volume even with many people subscribing to feeds that it doesn’t make much difference?

So this thread is about feeds, but wouldn’t be a big (and easier) win to be able to generate a calendar entry per an event? (also commitment free! :joy:)
(on a personal workflow level I have to add it to the office calendar…and Ellie (and Jon?) also maintained a spreadsheet…)

meetupical meetupicalmenu

google calendar is just a big url…there must be libraries/ plugins for this?

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/r/eventedit?location=3Space+International+House+-+Canterbury+Cres+-+London,+gb&sprop=name:Women+repairing+electronics:+Rosie+the+Restarter&sprop=website:https://www.meetup.com/Women-repairing-electronics-Rosie-the-Restarter/events/258278733&details=For+full+details,+including+the+address,+and+to+RSVP+see:+https://www.meetup.com/Women-repairing-electronics-Rosie-the-Restarter/events/258278733 Having+identified+gender+balance+as+a+challenge+in+our+pool+of+volunteers,+we+organise+skillshares+r…&text=Skill+share+on+Basic+Electronics&dates=20190207T183000Z/20190207T210000Z&sf=true

the only argument against this that I can think of is a UI/UX flow one…we want people to click attend (assuming they are logged in…) before they calendar it?

Definitely straightforward to generate the Google eventedit link for individual events. It looks as if it has location, name, details, website, start/end datetime (and an extra ‘text’ field?)

Is it enough to support GCal? Would it alienate users using a different calendar? What do the other calendar links do?

Where would you place it in the interface @Ten? (underneath the date/time like in meetup seems sensible)

Out of interest, what happens if the details of the event change in Meetup, and you click the link to add it to Google Calendar again?

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Bumping this thread to gauge interest - please vote if you would find iCal calendar feeds useful!

Per-event adding to calendar has been added in now :+1:


Work on full iCal feeds is scheduled to begin in May.

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It is currently broken for My events. I tried to enter the URL for the feed for My events, however Apple Calendar is complaining that the data is incorrect so I curled the file and there’s indeed a problem, here’s the content:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta charset="UTF-8" />
        <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=https://restarters.net" />

        <title>Redirecting to https://restarters.net</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        Redirecting to <a href="https://restarters.net">https://restarters.net</a>.
    </body>
</html>

So obviously something is not working in the generation of that feed. I just checked the feeds for the Group calendars and Events by area and those look valid (though I haven’t tried to subscribe to them).

Thanks @Panda - should be fixed now, could you try again?

Yes it is fixed… but it could be improved!

a) It includes very old events… or the date is wrong. E.g.,

BEGIN:VEVENT
TZID:Europe/London
UID:154
DTSTAMP:20190720T104654
SUMMARY: (Restart HQ)
DTSTART;TZID=Europe/London:20120612T140000
DTEND;TZID=Europe/London:20120612T170000
DESCRIPTION:https://restarters.net/party/view/154
LOCATION:Magdala Pub
URL:https://restarters.net/party/view/154
STATUS:CONFIRMED
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT

b) It’s lacking in details. One event I can see it added (in the future) is Restarters Here’s the relevant content of the feed:

BEGIN:VEVENT
TZID:Europe/London
UID:1161
DTSTAMP:20190720T104654
SUMMARY:Grazebrook School (Hackney Fixers)
DTSTART;TZID=Europe/London:20190914T110000
DTEND;TZID=Europe/London:20190914T140000
DESCRIPTION:https://restarters.net/party/view/1161
LOCATION:Grazebrook School, Lordship Road, N16 0QP
URL:https://restarters.net/party/view/1161
STATUS:CONFIRMED
END:VEVENT

Most annoyingly, the location in Apple Calendar only appears as ‘Grazebrook School’. I do note that the location field has the whole address. I suspect the issue is commas not being escaped as they are in the Meetup feed (see below) as the whole location appears in the Meetup created entry in Apple Calendar. Also the entry has a description, but the Description field just replicates the URL field missing all the potentially useful info James has added to this entry.

For comparison, here’s the Meetup relevant feed extract for that entry:

BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTAMP:20190720T100000Z
DTSTART;TZID=Europe/London:20190914T110000
DTEND;TZID=Europe/London:20190914T140000
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Hackney Restart Party
DESCRIPTION:Restarters London\nSaturday\, September 14 at 11:00 AM\n\n***
 * This event is organised by Hackney Fixers **** We'll be back in Septem
 ber as part of the Zero Waste Hub at Grazebrook School in Hackney on the
  14...\n\nhttps://www.meetup.com/Restarters-London/events/262259631/
CLASS:PUBLIC
CREATED:20190612T162802Z
GEO:51.45;-0.11
LOCATION:Grazebrook Primary School (Lordship Rd\, London\, United Kingdom
  N16 0QP)
URL:https://www.meetup.com/Restarters-London/events/262259631/
LAST-MODIFIED:20190612T163015Z
UID:event_262259631@meetup.com
END:VEVENT

It does include old events, but I don’t see that as a problem. Do you? What’s the argument for not having them?

The processing time when importing the calendar seems negligible, and including past events allows you to see them in your calendar if for any reason you want to.

Ah thanks, yes, hadn’t seen that! The same event in Google Calendar includes the full address. Escaping the commas should solve the issue for Apple Calendar without affecting the other calendar apps, so I’ll add that in.

Yep, we found taking the html text added to events in Restarters, and converting that to a readable plain text format as supported by the DESCRIPTION field, quite convoluted, so opted to provide the link to the full event page to begin with. The event page contains the whole event description, as well as additional information not found in the description, so I think this is fine to begin. We’ll be looking at converting the html to plain text (perhaps Markdown), and experimenting with ALTREP and the X-ALT-DESC field for a future update.

It also looks like the meetup DESCRIPTION field is a truncation of the full description, with a link back to the original event.

Does Apple Calendar display the link included in the URL field explicitly? Google Calendar doesn’t.

(P.S. I’ve moved this discussion in to the original Feature requests topic, so as to keep the User Guide just about how to use feature.)