What is Football Cal?

Football Cal is another sports calendar web app to provide game times directly to device calendars (iOS, macOS, Android, Windows), returning to the original football focus like World Cup Kick Off.

Why another football calendar?

  1. I’ve not touched any code for a while whilst focused on podcasting and communities, so I was keen to build something that would be useful to me and others might benefit from.
  2. There’s still no reliable source for football calendars – even UEFA (who we advised on the power of ICS) make it difficult to find and subscribe to their fixtures. Hence why I focused on the EURO’s for the initial release.
  3. It’s time to practice some of the delivery principles I champion on a daily basis for the past few years, utilising my knowledge and experience from agile software delivery.

How was it done?

  • Restore The Sports Times template from Rugby World Cup 2 years ago
  • Familiar codebase (with JavaScript and Node) plus a chance to reuse an existing tech stack rather than build something from scratch
  • Created a dedicated GitHub repo (rather than Rugby World Cup feature branch)
  • Plan out and dreak down work as Trello cards, categorised and prioritised to deliver the MLP (Minimum Loveable Product)
  • Redesign original template with retro football style, refined timeline view and subtle improvements on the event view
  • Spent over a week working on the Football Cal (FC) branding with a number of ideas thrown around, using the calendar grid as simply as possible
  • Regular feedback from our On The Side community with design and technical wisdom plus a few football fans as target audience to direct requirements
  • Continue to refine the MLP scope based on required features and desirable improvements
  • Alpha release(s) to user test with small public sample group through a Twitter invite
  • Beta test final product through public tweets, validating the purpose and ease of use
  • Launched one week before EURO 2020 competition commenced – enough time for people to be aware it’s coming but maybe not planned around it
  • NPM troubles with Google Analytics plug-in due to outdated Gatsby versions – quick fix with paid Netlify analytics then React Helmet injection using Plausible (privacy friendly tracking, GDPR consent friendly)

Whats next for Football Cal?

  • Trello board is public to share and influence the roadmap with upvoting available to judge demand
  • Chip away at improvements based on user demand, monitoring analytics and feedback
  • Add more competitions for extra content and audience reach, possibly some grass-roots fixtures
  • Code is available in GitHub for collaboration; events are just Markdown files so easy to modify and add more
  • Build the audience through socials, blogs and other content channels (don’t just rely on the “build it and they’ll come” analogy)
  • Syndicate content through RSS and other triggers (Microformats, Structured Data, even Zapier?)