Creating One Unified Calendar of all Data Science Events in the Netherlands

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I enjoy learning new things about machine learning, and I enjoy meeting like minded people too. That is why I go to meetups and conferences. But not everyone I meet becomes a member of every group. So I keep sending my coworkers new events that I hear about here in the Netherlands. And it is easy to overlook a new event that comes in over email. Me individually cannot scale. So in this post I will walk you through an over engineered solution to make myself unnecessary.

I found out that creates an ical and rss feed for every meetup. I love it when companies adhere to open standards!

So could we combine the calendar feeds of all the groups into one big calendar for the Netherlands?

Inspired by Simon Willison I knew I could use github actions to run a periodic scrape through all calendars.

So here is my idea:

  • make a simple script that takes in all the calendar feeds (ical) of local groups
  • combine those events into 1 ical feed
  • commit that file to the public repository
  • Add that url that points to github to our to our internal company website so that all the events are visible
  • Run the system everyday automatically
  • make it easy to add or remove organizers (meetups) with a simple config file

So here is the end result DS calendar.

calendar view

I could have easily done this project in python, but for this example I chose R, because I love that language.

Deeper dive

So here is the entire github actions configuration:

name: Scrape latest events of Dutch Data Science events

 - 'calendars.csv'
 - cron: '12 12 * * *'

 runs-on: ubuntu-latest
 - name: Check out this repo
 uses: actions/checkout@v2
 - uses: r-lib/actions/setup-r@v2
 use-public-rspm: true
 - uses: r-lib/actions/setup-renv@v2
 - name: run scrape
 run: Rscript aggregate.R
 - name: Commit and push if it changed
 run: |-
 git config "Automated"
 git config "[email protected]"
 git add -A
 timestamp=$(date -u)
 git commit -m "Latest data: ${timestamp}" || exit 0
 git push

First the top of the file

on: # what makes it trigger ?
 # - on push events
 paths: # but only where specifically this file changed
 - 'calendars.csv'
 # - on a schedule
 - cron: '12 12 * * *'

Then the steps

  • Check out this repo
  • set up R to use on this ubuntu machine (with the fast precompiled packages )
  • setup renv (to set specific packages)
  • run the Rscript aggregate.R
  • Commit and push if it changed

A pocketwatch


So with this example you could create your own selection of calendars and combine them together into one feed for your group.

with this example in hand you could create your python version too. here is a python package to parse ical files


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