The Santa Cruz Community Calendar

Santa Cruz County, California

UPDATE: Fall 2023

Major overhaul to better serve our diverse community

I'm making the Calendar more useful for the public and the groups posting activities. There will be a greater variety of listings, and the calendar will provide more ways to promote activities.

Read on to learn more, and please consider making a donation so I can afford to do this work. (Donate)

Coming Soon to the Community Calendar:

Here are some ways the new Calendar will be better:

More Activities
The new Calendar will include more groups and more types of listings. Santa Cruz is bubbling with activity, and I want to make sure the Calendar can let you know about what's happening in all parts of our community.
Show me - Richer Event Pages
Events in the Calendar will be able to show photos, art, and maps.
Learn More
Regular gatherings like classes, trainings, and reading groups can post their schedules, with links to background materials. You can see the whole schedule and zoom in on what's happening on a specific date.
Announcing: Announcements
A special scrolling section of the Calendar will highlight "Save the Date" reminders and important news not tied to specific dates or events.
What are you looking for?
Select which events to view by sponsor or theme.
All the Deets
Event displays will have more details relevant to the type of event.
Links for action:
View a new Member Groups Directory to learn how you can get involved.
Join the Calendar
The Calendar will be easier and quicker for groups to join (and it's still free for community groups). More instructions will be included, and we will hold occasional orientations for new members.
Easier for Groups to Promote Activities
Get the Word Out
Expanded promotion power: A simple button click will send an event out to the group's social networks
Group Branding
More ways for groups to customize their Calendar listings with icons, logos, and text formatting.
Technical Improvements
  • Better display of long web links
  • More default actions for quicker input
  • Clarified steps for adding events with multiple dates
  • Groups may designate more than one person to post events
  • "Save as Draft" to keep posts private until ready
  • Event holds to tentatively mark dates to avoid conflicts with other groups
  • Programmer interface to allow other sites to access event info

While I work, the space right below here will track progress. I'm part way through the fixes and basic improvements. Soon I want to focus on the items listed under Additions, and I'll be adding to that list as I hear suggestions from users.

Further below I've kept the original About description of the Calendar.

(signed) Bruce

P.S. Yes, I'm asking for donations to pay bills while I get this work done. I'm grateful for everyone's support, and I think you'll like the results! Donate

Calendar Overhaul Progress Tracker Last Update: May 27, 2023 Next Steps ** Task - Task Detail √ Done + Partially Done x Drop Task for Now A. FIXES Code ==== ** √ Convert Calendar data storage to a faster and more reliable database, replacing a database system I wrote from scratch 15 years ago. ** √ Update main code libraries to use the new data store. Approx 14,000 lines of code reviewed and revised. ** √ Check for remaining database issues in side libraries; ** √ Fix display of messaging for progress, errors and logging; ** Required Input + fix messages about which fields are required (per category) √ fix variation of required input per category √ use each category's required field as the basis for its New Listing form ** √ Fix incorrect Organizations listing √ and repair damage done by hack in 2021 ** √ Added webserver proxy/reverse proxy for security and also site stability while I work on it ** √ Fixed JavaScript library for more general use ** More work on URLs in posts + make long URL links display better √ Temporary fix: URLs are shown as "LINK" - provide separate input fields to simplify URL cleanup/conversion - provide separate input field for visible link text - provide specialized link input fields with preset visible text or icon: "Attend", "Join Zoom", "Join Video-conference", "RSVP", "Other:___" - use LINK object templates ** x Update or remove database calls in code for output For Posting =========== ** √ Separated user and organization input views and methods ** √ Fixed Series issues with date picker and saving changes ** Settle series update issues - which fields may/may not be updated - which listings may/may not be updated (e.g., no change to past listings?) ** √ Fix application for membership process and response ** Settle use of drafts ** Clarify new listing process steps (Pauline comment) When editing, provide way to save without publishing Save, Save & Publish, Cancel, Delete ? provide "Save" button in each edit tab? ? make edit tabs indicate unsaved changes For Public View =============== ** √ Update PayPal donate form B. IMPROVEMENTS CODE ==== ** Simplify state table, remove vestiges of old system no longer used ** √ Change public home page to not auto-update √ just let calendar listing updates trigger updates of static included files - make an "Update" button show to trigger refresh ? ** + Use new web <dialog> element for login and other input √ tested √ install ** + Make internal and public calendar auto re-build; ** Improve email notifications √ improve email (relay) account for Calendar messages - update email message layouts √ UTF-8 issues (accented characters) √ install standard message templates for new and renewed members, etc - more work on "Add to my Calendar" links in emails ** Provide Calendar setting for Countdown Date bgcolor For Posting =========== ** Move "My Listings" to User view ** + Revive and Improve use of tags and icons ** √ Dynamic initial input fields based on category choice For Public View =============== ** + Improve small-screen layouts, esp. public ones ** √ Renew public listing of organizations ** Improve "Add to My Calendar" links on web views C. INSTRUCTIONS & DOCUMENTATION For Posting =========== - clarify guide for series and multi-date updates - clarify reasons/uses for series - provide progress/timeline for adding or editing listings ? - instructions for including URLs (along with better forms) D. ADDITIONS - The BIG Changes ** √ Speedier steps for adding events √ settings options: √ login destinations: home page, new listing, main Calendar, ? √ default Category for new listings √ default Sponsor for new listings ** Add "Curator" users in addition to groups allowed to post ** Add Images and group logos to event listings ** Add maps to event listings ** √ Announcements section - link announcements to pages able to display longer descriptions ** Improve category legend - improve coloring for accessibility - clickable to select Calendar views in specific category ** Icons for groups and themes - clickable to select which events show on the Calendar ** Downloadable PDFs of event listings for sharing or printing as flyers ** Generation of Social media outputs - auto-posts when Calendar listings are added/updated ** Click to create online meeting/event via Calendar ** Programming interface for external access (JSON) ** Add categories for: √ classes and similar scheduled listings - radio/video shows - online performances ("video house concerts") - means for artist to accept payments/donations ? - hikes, rides, outings - what else? ** Add "Promotion" section for publicizing activities once posted - organizations specify their own recipients, such as: - email lists - social media posts - web notifications - may be set to auto-send, click to send - Easily post "Save the Date" announcements ** BIG QUESTION: What about commercial listings?? - Entertainment venues - Book signings -

What is the Santa Cruz Community Calendar?

The Santa Cruz Community Calendar publicizes local events and participatory opportunities, and enables groups to coordinate scheduling to avoid conflicts when events might appeal to similar audiences.

Encouraging Participation

The Calendar was started in September 2016, initially as a way to inform people around Santa Cruz County about the outpouring of activity leading up to the November elections. As participation grew after the election, the Calendar expanded its scope to include all kinds of activities in our region.

The Calendar is currently in use by about forty groups in the Santa Cruz County region. Participating groups are provided login access for posting their activities. This access may be obtained either by direct contact with the calendar administrator or by attending occasional demo/trainings in which the Calendar is explained and group representatives are enrolled for access.

A Unique Approach to Sharing Information

The Calendar works by having member organizations posting their own listings. Membership is open to community groups, non-profits, political groups, unions, educational & cultural organizations, and similar non-commercial organizations.

The Calendar is designed to be mostly self-running, with event postings done directly by member groups themselves. This design differs from many online calendars in that it does not depend on curation, through which someone seeks out and collects events to list, and it also doesn't require moderation of posts to ensure legitimacy and delete spam or attack postings.

Activities for an Engaged Community

Each Calendar listing provides the date, time, location, and description of the activity, along with details such as RSVP contact information, venue accessibility, any ticket or other admission charges and uses of funds raised, links to the sponsor group's own website, volunteer opportunities, and downloadable materials.

Besides including a rich set of details about each listing, the Calendar provides a growing set of informational categories tailored to specific types of listings; currently categories include general Events along with Government Agency meetings and Organizational meetings. Coming soon: categories for classes and cultural events, and more as we engage additional groups.

Recurring listings may be easily added in one step, so regular meetings, classes, and repeating activities are easy to post.

Coordination and Access

In addition to posting events to the public Calendar, member groups may also place holds on dates/times they are considering for events. Holds are visible only to member groups, and do not appear on the public view. This allows groups to coordinate with each other to avoid potential schedule conflicts before setting final dates and posting to the general public. Each group's contact person is listed with email and phone in a roster that the other groups may access to enable coordination.

The Calendar is accessible via any web browser, both for public viewing and for member group access. No other software or installation is required. Most representatives of participating groups have needed only brief demonstrations and instruction in how to post; the core team has provided additional assistance to those who need it to get up to speed.

While online resources are not restricted geographically, the intention of the Calendar is to feature activities of interest to people in the general region of Santa Cruz County; however, that does not restrict postings only to activities located in the County, and of course anyone with online access may see the public view of the Calendar.