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Projects related to the Sackler school.

Site currently running Python apps via Flask and Passenger.


A script to parse the Sackler school calendar RSS feed and output an iCal calendar file. Accessible at (runs script and generates new file) and (target address for calendar subscriptions and file created by previous script run)


Location The building and room number of the event, if provided, is added to the beginning of the iCal LOCATION field in parentheses, which includes the information, but tells Google Maps to ignore that detail when trying to map the address.

Recent updates

2018 Jun 1 The Sackler website has been redesigned, and this script is no longer necessary. Please subscribe to the new calendar by finding the "Subscribe" button and selecting the most suitable option for your needs from the pop-up window here: The option for "iCal Subscription" is most analogous to the option generated by this script, and as of today, directs you to add the following link to your calendar application of choice: webcal://

2016 Jun 8 Updated the crontab with a proper command. Previously, the crontab command to run the update script daily was

50 3 * * * python /path/to/

However, this wasn't running properly. It turns out that the difference is how python is called, so an absolute path to the python executable should be used, so the crontab line should look like this:

50 3 * * * /.socket/python/shims/python /path/to/

2016 Jun 6 Added RSS information for CMDB, Genetics, Immunology, Neuroscience, and PPET Programs. The script now calls ReadAllRSS(), which parses all calendar feeds in CALENDAR_LIST. Permissions for the script were also changed to u+x to allow for the cron-scheduled task to run.

2016 Apr 13 Added the ability to parse specific calendars from the Sackler website. Currently only enabled for Microbiology, which was specifically requested. Enabling this function for additional calendars just requires adding a new dictionary entry to calendar_list dictionary in sackler/ReadRSS(). Necessary items are the RSS feed URL as rss_url, a proper name/title for the calendar as cal_name, and a suffix for naming the ICS file as cal_suffix.

Modified the URL routing in to handle subcalendars.The subcalendar stub should match the short name used as the dictionary key for that calendar in

Modified to also run an update to the micro calendar.

Also solved an issue with an unnecessary and erroneous .decode call when trying to pull more detail from the event page and populate the iCal fields. The code would probably be tightened up a bit and also need to properly sort out the try/except/finally syntax. Current usage is not quite right.

Future plans

  • Improve performance. The script takes a minute or so to run because it pulls the HTML from the Sackler website to get all of the details for each event. One possible way to improve this is to enter all retrieved URLs along with processed data into a database table, then check for new URLs that are not in the database at the beginning of the next run. The HTML for each new URL would be fetched, while existing information would just be drawn from the database. This should reduce the runtime significantly.
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