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By: John Kaster
Abstract: EventCentral is a free web-based calendar of worldwide events
At the BorCon
2004 closing session, one of the new BDN applications launched
was a community calendar, code named EventCentral. Any BDN member can use EventCentral to post events of interest to Borland customers anywhere around the world (or off it). Events must be approved by an EventCentral sysop to be publicly visible, but any BDN member can submit an event to EventCentral.
EventCentral is a Java
Server Faces application built with JBuilder,
running on Borland
Enterprise Server. The calendar data is saved in a JDataStore
There have been many changes since initially launching this
application on September 15th, 2004. You can see most of these changes documented
When you go to the EventCentral web site via the supported home
page URLs (https://ec.borland.com, https://eventcentral.borland.com,
you will see the events for the current month displayed.
I've overlaid various yellow boxes over the top of the month view
to highlight certain areas of the web page we're going to discuss. The areas
highlighted with boxes and several other links on the page are available in
most of the various views of the calendar.
There are five (5) different views for the calendar. All views respect
the filter bar settings, so you will only see events matching what you have
chosen in the filter bar as you switch views.
view is described above.
view shows all events matching the active selection criteria for a
given date. Its navigator displays the month containing the day displayed. The day view shows enough hours to cover any event that is displayed and/or "office hours". This is currently 6am - 11pm Pacific Time, but will be user configurable after the user options supports setting personalized time zone information.
view shows all events for a given week, and its navigator displays
the month containing the week displayed.
view shows all dates for a given year. Only the links to month
view are working on its display of all days in the year. You can use its
navigator to select another year to display. I find myself using this view a
lot to plan things out for the year.
list view shows all events for a given timeframe. You can select all, upcoming,
or past events to display in this list. They will
be displayed in chronological order. Upcoming (future) events are displayed
by default when you select the event list view.
Note: In the interest of keeping urls on BDN as short
as possible, we may remove the text "View" from the above JSF urls in the
The rendering of timeframe events in an easily understandable
layout is a significant challenge. We make heavy use of "tool tips" or mouse
over hints to provide glanceable information about specific events from a
view instead of requiring you to click on that event to get digest information. The following image illustrates:
Tool tip summary
This way, you
can quickly read summary information about the events to find one you're interested in, then
click on it to get to its detail page.
Let's look at the event for Karl
Ewald's live chat on web development in JBuilder 2005.
Event Detail View
You can see the kind of event it is (live chat), the category,
product, start and stop date (events can span multiple days and EventCentral
will handle them gracefully), the location, description, a URL for
additional information, and so on.
If you are the author of an event posting or an EventCentral sysop
(as I am), you can edit or update the event by clicking the Edit
button that will appear when you view the event. (See Karl's live chat
event above.) When you are in edit mode, you can enter a variety of
information about the event, including the type, category, relevant product,
and so on. Many selections are available through drop-down lists.
While developing EventCentral, TeamB member Gillmer Derge created a very useful set of
JSF components. One of these is the pop-up calendar control that allows you
to pick a date. You can see the pop-up button in this screenshot for both
the start date and stop date.
This snapshot is part of the "editing" view for Karl's live chat.
Because many of the events entered in the community calendar will
be similar to other events, such as user group meetings, there is also a Copy
button available that will "clone" the current event to allow you to
make the minor changes necessary to post another.
When you are adding events, there is another
button that appears entitled Save and add another
which will post the event you are currently editing, then provide the entry form for
a fresh event. If you want to copy the event you are currently
editing, click the Done button, then hit the Copy
We've also been tracking usage of the EventCentral beta, even though it hasn't been announced yet. Because we're trying to gauge how
popular EventCentral will be, you currently must be logged in to BDN with
your free BDN account to use the calendar. Here are the usage statistics from January 18th, 2005:
Last 30 Days
Last 7 Days
# Visitors is the number of distinct users who have visited
EventCentral for the timeframes indicated above the tables. Multiple visits
by the same user count as only one visitor.
# Event Creators is the number of distinct users who have created
an event. Multiple events created by the same user count as only one
EventCentral is part of the BDN project on QualityCentral. You can go directly to the EventCentral area at https://qc.borland.com/wc/qcmain.aspx?da=24100 to submit bug reports or feature requests for this new BDN service.
EventCentral is being actively developed right now, so if you've got features you really want to see, be sure to submit them to QualityCentral as soon as you can so we can get them designed into the system. We hope you find EventCentral a useful and valuable addition to BDN. Check back frequently, because there will be many new features coming to it in the first half of 2005.
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