I'm a bit of an obsessive on things. Here is a good example.

Midway through my 'employment holiday' I decided that there wasn't a sufficient app out there to enable people to go to a festival or somesuch, for example a film festival as I like to frequent, and have a good idea of what they want to watch when they are there, what clashes with what, and where everything is and when. Sure, you can stick stuff in a calendar which is alright, but it's quite general purpose with few bells and whistles on top.

I had a scribble on the back of an envelope about what something like that would do, and got a bit carried away.

Looking specifically at film festivals (though this could apply to most gatherings), the various fests around the country vary in quality in how they present the films on show. Leeds is usually best because they have a pull-out festival planner with graphs of what is on and when. Edinburgh does similar things online, which helps but you really need it with you. At the other end of the helpful spectrum is Cambridge, which presents only an unordered list of films by day. Even with the graphs, you can't make much of a schedule up on it without extensive scribbling. I found keeping track of what I wanted to watch most, and ensuring I tried to watch one screening of each of them, fitting in the lower-priority stuff along the way. The guide was in tatters once I'd finished.

Well, I now have something approaching a presentable solution to the problem of scheduling hell. The snappily-titled Event Scheduler!

It's a Java app (1.6+) that displays the events [films] for a festival, when they are on and where, and other details. Fest goers such as myself can then create schedules against the events list, and decide both what I want to see, when, and what priority each event has for me. The scheduler will warn me if I haven't included a film I really want to watch, or have included one I don't want to watch, or if two items clash and a load of other checks. It even warns if the distance between locations is two far to make a run between them to catch the next film. Finally, once I'm happy with my schedule, I can print out a report to take with me to the festival, outlining my schedule for the day. Reports available will include output for a single schedule by day, a comparison of open schedules, missed events, a location guide, or billing details.

It's at an advanced stage, but not complete yet. Events, schedules and priorities are in, but not reporting as yet. Eventually it will allow the user to define discounts (e.g. if the festival has a buy 5 tickets get 1 free offer) maximum budgets (e.g. don't book more than £50 worth of events) and whatever else I can think of.

If this would be useful to anyone out there, and you'd like in an early access copy, send me a comment below saying you're interested and I'll send you the latest build. It won't set your PC on fire, but there might be some small bugs that need ironing out, which I'd be grateful if you could report them to me.

Edit: Comments don't give me an email address to send copies to, and I don't have anywhere to host it as yet, and I guess people don't want to leave their email in a comment, so... Anyone got any suggestions?

1 comment:

Mike O'Brien said...

This sounds like a good idea.