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Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Announcing DeCal: A Calendar

Frustrated with the lack of a central calendar of web design and web development conferences and workshops, I just went ahead and built one. It’s not too complicated, but it sure gets the job done.

Last year, my friend Shane started tweeting and blogging about what a great time he had at the inaugural Big Omaha conference. Located smack dab in the middle of my hometown fly-over forget-me state, I cursed the entire pantheon of conference gods for not knowing about and consequently missing a world-class event that was only a few hours away.

Determined again not to be a sucka, I fired up the GOOG to find a web design / web development calendar that I could keep tabs on for precisely this type of hot midwest action. To my surprise, I really didn’t find much. Good speakers publish their schedule of engagements on their site, and I found a few sporadic lists from the past few years, but nothing really comprehensive that centralized what is becoming something of a cottage industry. (And if somebody knows of something, I’m still all ears.)

So I started building DeCal, a glorified calendar that attempts to pull in this diverse schedule of conferences and workshops across the world.

DeCal features a large calendar view (the default), just a list, as well as means to submit something not currently listed. Each event is clickable, and opens a mini-screen with all sorts of juicy details. I also built a tagging system and a search feature, so as the database becomes more populated, you can quickly see all the events from An Event Apart, or all events where Dan Cederholm is speaking, or all events that have a focus on jQuery or CSS3 or microformats or whatever.

In other words, I built what I was trying to find last year.

DeCal is completely tailored for the web design and web development crowd, so you’re not going to see many events that deviate from this core interest. There may be an occasional social media marketing event or something equally fringe, but right now the product is true to its packaging: HTML, CSS, front-end development, design, inspiration, the future of mobile, etc. etc. All the stuff that we care about.

This is not a complete site yet. I engineered this first incarnation in just over a week, using Textpattern and the astoundingly powerful smd_calendar plugin. It’s pretty darn functional as it stands. However, it lacks the ability to elegantly print event information, and it has yet to be optimized for mobile. I’ll get there. Hopefully.

Development-wise, it makes use of some simple jQuery UI stuff, some clever TXP plugins, a hand-rolled RSS 2.0 feed for getting TXP to show future-dated content, copious microformats, @font-face for rendering Chunk, and some other dev funnery. It has been tested in IE7+, Opera, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Some of the CSS3 goodness is lost to IE, but whatever. I did not even try IE6; if you’re still using that piece of shit, well, you’re probably not very interested in the content of DeCal to begin with.

Anyway. Let me know what you think. Visit the site, grab the RSS feed or follow @decalnow, and hopefully discover a new gem in the surprisingly broad world of web design and development conferences.

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