10 Eventgrinder Annoyances

Eventgrinder is the software that runs DC Tech Events and some other calendars.

  1. an extraneous ‘users’ system. The administrator has to set themselves up as an editor before doing most (but not all) editorial tasks
  2. when you log in, the system assumes you are there to submit an event
  3. there isn’t a good system for event-specific feedback, like corrections
  4. hard coded support for Mailchimp– and it breaks if someone tries to sign up for email before you’ve configured it
  5. doesn’t support RSS or other types of feeds, besides iCal
  6. uuuugly
  7. link submission/ approval doesn’t behave like the rest of the site
  8. difficult for a developer who isn’t me to approach
  9. The first-run experience for administrators is baffling
  10. it’s not obvious how to customize the look and feel, or if that’s even possible

some of those will be addressed soon.


In February 2010 I filed the paperwork to form a Virginia LLC for EVENTGRINDER– the calendar management tool I had been tinkering with on and off for a number of years. There was never a formal business plan or model, but I was pretty sure I could make it generate income through some combination of advertising and premium features.

The goal was to create a self-sustaining business. “Success” would mean generating some extra cash. “Wildly successful” would mean generating enough cash for me to work on it full-time.

Over the last few months, turning EG into a business has felt more and more like a self-imposed (thus, fake) obligation. I’m also about to start an exciting new job, finishing up the GIS certificate at NOVA (and thinking about completing my degree), and in general I could use less distractions.

So, I will soon file the paperwork to end the LLC, and I’ve opened up the EVENTGRINDER code.

I don’t intend to stop working on EVENTGRINDER (in fact, making the source code public has opened up a whole new kind of motivation: shame! There’s some stuff in there I’m really not proud of). The focus will now be on improving the tool, instead of finding ways to make money off of it. And (once I’ve done quite a bit of cleanup, and documented some things) I look forward to seeing if anyone else wants to pick it up and contribute.

event submission form 2011

Unless you work on Plancast, Localist, Google Calendar, Upcoming, Trumba, or Calagator, I’ve probably spent more time think about event submission forms than you have. Just sayin.

I was mostly pleased with the submission for in the current version of Eventgrinder, which looks like this:


Screen shot 2011 07 14 at 10 15 59 PM

One idea I had early on, but didn’t implement there, was that multi-day events should be able to have a different time for each day. In most calendar software, you would say an 3 day conference (for example) starts at 8am Tuesday, and ends at 5pm Thursday. This gets interpreted as 8am-5pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That just always strikes me as inflexible.

I’ve also thought about how important ending times are. In the version below, I’ve opted not to include them.

Here’s where I’m at, right now:

Screen shot 2011 07 14 at 10 12 53 PM

It includes both of those ideas, and also hides the fields for location and ticket (or RSVP) information, unless those are desired.