Electronic Agenda for the Department of Computer Science

Eric G. Dondelinger

Diploma Thesis Winter 1999/2000
Supervisors: F. Rauch, Prof. T. Stricker
Institute for Computer Systems, ETH Zürich


The Department of Computer Science has used several different mediums for announcing special events (such as guest lectures, talks, and seminars). Information regarding these events has been disseminated via email, Usenet, and posting signs in public places.

These techniques are fairly unreliable because, as email volume increases, it becomes more difficult to review messages quickly to learn of events in a timely manner. Also no overviews are available.


In this thesis, an electronic agenda was implemented to connect the mediums of email, Usenet, and the world wide web. The developed backend system allows the user to submit an announcement in any of the above mentioned mediums and have that same announcement published simultaneously in any of the other above mentioned mediums. Furthermore, daily, weekly, and monthly overview of announcements is available through the world wide web.

The backend uses procmail and a number of Perl scripts and modules, which parse incoming e-mails, store the information in normal files using XML format and publish the data using standard protocols such as HTTP/HTML, NNTP, SMTP. Some cron jobs (implemented using Perl) do regular work such as updating links to current indexes.

Additionally, the possibility of implementing a touchscreen-based Infostation with free software is explored, a prototype has been implemented. This Infostation should allow access to the agenda system from a public place.

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ETH Zürich: Department of Computer Science
Comments to Felix Rauch <rauch@inf.ethz.ch>