Last week I started inviting calendar curators to join the elmcity+azure project. The age-old question immediately arose: How to communicate and collaborate? An email distribution list? A web forum? A blog? A wiki?
Been there, done that. Times are changing, and it felt like there ought to be a new answer to that old question.
Here’s the answer I came up with: a FriendFeed room. From my perspective, it’s an ideal solution. And fittingly, that’s true because it embodies the same principles woven into my elmcity project: syndication, publish/subscribe messaging, loose coupling.
I needed a lightweight system that would enable everyone involved in the project to be aware of, and optionally discuss:
- Service updates
- New locations
- New feeds
So I created a FriendFeed room, and subscribed it to the following feeds:
- All the curatorial feeds on Delicious: elmcity, a2cal, whyhuntington, localist
- The subset of my blog’s feed that is specific to the project
- The Pipes feed that gathers news about a related effort to improve iCalendar validation. (That Pipes feed is, in turn, gathering a handful of other feeds, combining the icalvalid tagspaces on Technorati, Delicious, WordPress, and Twitter.)
- The updates from a project status page that I’ve started writing on my blog.
It took about five minutes to set that up yesterday. I checked the room just now, and here’s what I saw:
In other words, Bill Rawlinson, who is curator for Huntington, WV, found — or, rather, created, using the increasingly awesome FuseCal — three new iCalendar feeds today. Those are three events of interest to the project. It should require near-zero effort for such event to come to the attention of project members. And when the workflow is syndication-enabled — as is automatically true for us, because we are using Delicious as the curation tool — it really does cost nothing to usefully propagate those events. The web hooks are already there, you just have to use them.
I have invited the curators into the room, and some have joined, but a crucial benefit of this arrangement is that nobody has to join unless there’s a need to actively discuss issues. To monitor the project’s event stream you can just go to the project’s FriendFeed room. Or don’t go. Because that stream is also, of course, available as a feed you can subscribe to.
It’s wildly cool, and incredibly useful. Thanks FriendFeed!