Technology at Geneseo Community School District 228
I discovered some useful opensource utilities that are already included in most Linux distributions but are useful on Windows machines as well. One example is WGet which is a command line utility that can retrieve a file online, this is useful as you can use it to create batch scripts to download updated files at certain intervals. In my example I found a situation where I wanted to custom parse an ICS file using iCalendar PHP, to do this more efficiently and reliably instead of using a webcal:// based address I instead use WGET to download the file nightly and then use iCalendar’s PHP to parse it locally after it has been slightly modified.
One issue with WGet is that when running on Windows it requires a series of DLL files you may not have. Trick here is to install openssl first – and then use a precombiled complete binary.
iCalendar PHP does not appear to still be in active development but it is a open source project that does a excellent job of interpretting, displaying, subscribing, etc all forms of ICS files. The latest build of iCalendar PHP is 2.4 RC 7 which you can find here. I use this php engine to create calendar widgets and custom ics subscriptions from other calendars.
(Simple ICS Widget on HS page)
WGet pulls the ICS data from the website via batch script. Batch Script set to scheduled task nightly – although could be set for as frequent as needed. This concept could be used to easily update url or spam blacklists, etc and them automatically update. For example you could set a batch script to pull and updated hosts file with blocked URL to download – then set the batch to run on login/logoff or daily – in effect creating custom filter on a machine with needing expensive filtering software. Really lots of ideas I am surprised that future builds on windows just don’t include a similar command in the OS.
(Simple Batch Script using WGET)