iCal and Outlook support, and more

It's been a busy few weeks at Lanyrd mobile HQ — we've flown the width of Africa and travelled all the way down the Nile from Cairo and back up again to Luxor. We've also been working hard on Lanyrd — mostly behind the scenes improving our core functionality, but we have a few new features to share as well.

Export or subscribe using iCal and Outlook

Conferences, topics, places and topics-in-places all now sport shiny new iCalendar feeds. These should work with iCal on the Mac, Outlook on Windows, Mozilla Sunbird and other calendaring applications. Click the "Subscribe in iCal / Outlook" link to subscribe to the feed — any changes on Lanyrd should be instantly reflected in your calendar. If you just want to grab a copy of the current set of events you can use the "Save to iCal / Outlook" link instead.

Lanyrd iCal subscribe links

We're also providing a feed of conferences you are attending or tracking yourself — look for the link at the bottom of the right hand column on the calendar page when you first sign in.

Try the links out for yourself — take a look at the San Francisco or Brazil pages, or the TEDx page, or the page for Science conferences in the UK.

Lanyrd events in iCal

Faster loading times

We've done some work optimising Lanyrd's loading times. While this involved plenty of changes under the hood (for the interested, we're now serving our static assets from Amazon's CloudFront CDN, minified and gzip compressed with a far-future expires header) it shouldn't make any visible difference to the site at all — although our pages should feel a bit snappier now. See Yahoo!'s best practices for speeding up your web site for more.

Speaker, attendee and tracker pages

Twitter avatars are pretty, but they're not the most efficient way of scanning through a list of conference attendees to work out who's who.

Our new speaker, attendee and tracker pages provide a more detailed list, with real names (at least according to Twitter) and Twitter bios displayed alongside the avatars.

Web Directions South Attendees on Lanyrd

If you're organising a conference, these pages are handy for getting to know your attendees better. Remember, you can use the @Lanyrd Twitter bot to populate your conference page without anyone needing to sign in to the site — just ask your attendees to tweet "@lanyrd attending #yourhashtag" to add themselves to the page, and automatically create a Lanyrd account if they don't yet have one.

Advertising

We now have a system for adding custom advertisements to topic pages, the conferences page and the homepage. You may have spotted one or two of these a few weeks ago promoting the Future of Web Apps conference in London. If you are interested in advertising on the site, drop us a line at info@lanyrd.com.

Better URLs for places, shorter URLs for conferences

We love URLs. Joining our short URLs for sessions we now have short URLs for conference pages as well — perfect for sharing on Twitter. For example, Web Directions South can be accessed through lanyrd.com/cxg.

Our places database is powered by Yahoo! GeoPlanet, which assigns a numeric identifier (known as a WOEID) to every town, city, state and country on earth. We originally used those identifiers for our place page URLs, which meant we could reliably tell the difference between London, England and London, Ontario.

These weren't particularly memorable, so we've now assigned human friendly URLs to the top 500 places on Lanyrd. Among other things, this makes our topic-in-place page URLs much nicer to look at:

Naturally, the old URLs redirect to the new ones, so any existing links will work just fine.

Julien Genestoux commented…

What about making Atom feeds too for the calendar links? Also make them PubSubHubbub so I can sync them between my various apps!

Commented at 9:16pm on 15th October 2010

Simon Willison commented…

Is there a widely supported standard for publishing event information over Atom? We're definitely going to provide Atom feeds for topics and places in the future.

Commented at 9:17pm on 15th October 2010

Dan W commented…

That's fantastic, thanks. I'm getting a 500 on my feed (webcal://lanyrd.com/people/iamdanw/iamdanw.ics) but ical subscriptions for places is fine.

Commented at 10:35pm on 15th October 2010

Simon Willison commented…

Thanks for the bug report Dan W, that's fixed now (unicode character in a conference title which I wasn't correctly encoding).

Commented at 11:54pm on 15th October 2010

Neil Crosby commented…

Thanks for the movement on this - getting feeds of some description or other from lanyrd has been a want of mine from day one, so it's great to see this happening.

One things that's vexing me though is that there doesn't seem to be any parseable data in http://lanyrd.com/people/neilcro... to identify which events are marked as "attending" and which are marked as "tracked". Of course, this should be no surprise since there's nothing in the spec to cover this either.

Would it be possible to provide "attending/attended" and "tracking/tracked" feeds? It would make hacking the data much easier, and I'd rather do that than slurp the page.

It's probably also worth noting that whilst my user page does not show past event which I am only tracking, my ical feed does.

Again though, thanks for making the site - it's got a lot of potential to be super awesome amazing :)

Commented at 9:39pm on 16th October 2010

Heiko Behrens commented…

Don't forget to update the FAQ "Can I export my events as iCal or into my Google calendar?" :)

Commented at 2:24pm on 17th October 2010

Simon Willison commented…

Neil: we might do those as iCal feeds, but they'll definitely be an option in the forthcoming API.

Commented at 8:31pm on 18th October 2010

Neil Crosby commented…

Fantastic. Thanks Simon.

Commented at 8:35pm on 18th October 2010

lambdaman commented…

hey guys - I'm really getting addicted to Lanyrd! thanks - but one suggestion though: I'd found it very useful if the feed would contain info also for the conference submission *deadlines* - cause that's the key date to keep in mind in my opinion!!!

Commented at 11:46am on 16th September 2011

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When

Time 10:01pm

Date 15th October 2010

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