[EuroPython] EPC Conference Brochure Builder

Andy Robinson andy@reportlab.com
Wed, 16 Apr 2003 13:03:57 +0100

I confirmed to Tom earlier that we would help
with this again, but here's some more detailed

For those who missed it, we did a 'dynamic programme'
on the web weher you could select tracks of interest
and "build" an A4 PDF conference booklet to read on the
way.  This saved the need to print programs. It's here:

ReportLab will be making this a major promotion of ours
and turning it into a standard "kit"; the idea is to
go through alpha at EPC and beta at OSCON, then use it
at IT industry events.  It will be stable, the 'alpha'
and 'beta' apply more to how data and content gets in.
We want to make something which will work for all events
and not just EuroPython.  This means trying to insulate
ourselves from all the frantic data and editorial issues,
and letting the right people manage the content.  (I don't
mind us helping with this aspect for EPC, but not forever).

We propose to define a small, standard database schema
on our own servers for talks and speakers, and a web form
to request materials (which could be framesettable or stylable
for the event, so it does not look like reportlab.com).
Someone (could be us, could be Joachim) can adapt last year's
export script to pump in all the speaker, talk and
timetable data, perhaps each night or on demand.

There will also be a standard mechanism to define the
content - either tables and web forms or some file which
can be edited - which lets you define a sequence of static
PDF pages and dynamic stuff.  So, the 'editor' will be able to
create static pages for the cover, welcome letter,
how-to-get-there etc and specify their order in a
data-driven way without programming.  Hopefully Viny
can then see his new covers in place in seconds :-)

We are also having a big push on a graphic "timetable
widget" which can "zoom in", so you could have the
whole event at a glance, or a detailed breakdown
of lighting talks.  This will be available as dynamic
GIF/PNG for the web, changing as the database updates,
as PDF timetables within the brochure, or even as A2
or A1 single sheets as requested.  So, I hope we
can save Tom from manually redoing big timetables the night

This is obviously helpful on site as late timetable changes,
lightning talks, BOFS etc can all be planned and
notices 'republished' as usual.

The work on this will start in early May and probably
take about 2 weeks before it is up for review.  The
main issues for me now are to establish who will
do what.
- who is the "editor" who makes content decisions,
supplies welcome letter text etc?
(should be easy this year as we basically reuse as
much as possible)
- is it still the same artist?  Will we reuse the
nice cover?
- once the dynamic programs are up, can the conference
site cross-refer to ours for images and timetables
while keeping the feeling of
(e.g. <img
- who will be able to export data from the Zope
server into our schema, when and how often?
- any nice suggestions for content, other than
talks and interviews?

Discussion and feeback welcome for the next 2 weeks!
After that we'll get on with it..

Best Regards,

Andy Robinson