An application planning conferences: how is that possible?
Do you already know EARLI and EAPRIL? EARLI (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction) is a scientific community aiming to support a research culture in the field of education. EAPRIL stands for European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning and supports research in lifelong learning.
What does the application do? EARLI, as well as EAPRIL, are organizing different conferences. EARLI 2017 and EAPRIL 2017 are 2 large conferences which will take place this year. We built a backend application that automatically plans the conferences and shows them on the website. Useful, right?
First step: collecting data
How does the application work? The first part of the application collects data. Researchers who would like to tell their story during the conferences, first have to become a member of EARLI or EAPRIL. They can submit their paper online by logging into the application.
Next, reviewers read those papers. The reviewers can apply through the application as well. When the reviewers accept the paper, the researcher becomes a speaker at the conference.
Every session of the conference requires a moderator (called "chair" in the application). These moderators can apply through the application as well. Later, the administrator uses the application to assign the chairs to a session.
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Second step: make a timetable
The scheduler is the second part of the application. As soon as, amongst others, all the papers are submitted and enough reviewers and chairs are available, the scheduler creates a timetable for the conference.
That might appear banal, but the scheduler takes into account the available seats, the format of the session, the speakers … and search through all possible combinations until it finds the most efficient one.
The scheduler bundles the timetable and publishes this in a Drupal readable format. Next, the editors can simply create a web page that clearly shows the whole conference.
The creation of this project took about a whole year and is the result of an intense collaboration between the Symfony team who built the application and the Drupal team who created 2 websites and made sure that the program was displayed properly.
Awesome? Yes, indeed!