Open Event Server – Export Event as a Pentabarf XML File

FOSSASIA‘s Open Event Server is the REST API backend for the event management platform, Open Event. Here, the event organizers can create their events, add tickets for it and manage all aspects from the schedule to the speakers. Also, once he makes his event public, others can view it and buy tickets if interested.

To make event promotion easier, we also provide the event organizer to export his event as a Pentabarf XML file. Pentabarf XML is used to store events/conferences in a format which most of the scheduling applications can read and add that particular event/conference to the user’s schedule.

Server side – generating the Pentabarf XML file

Here we will be using the pentabarf package for Python for parsing and creating the file.

from pentabarf.Conference import Conference
from pentabarf.Day import Day
from pentabarf.Event import Event
from pentabarf.Person import Person
from pentabarf.Room import Room
  • We define a class PentabarfExporter which has a static method export(event_id).
  • Query the event using the event_id passed and start forming the event in the required format:
event = EventModel.query.get(event_id)
diff = (event.ends_at - event.starts_at)

conference = Conference(, start=event.starts_at, end=event.ends_at,
                       days=diff.days if diff.days > 0 else 1,
                       day_change="00:00", timeslot_duration="00:15",
dates = (db.session.query(cast(Session.starts_at, DATE))
  • We have queried for the dates of the event and saved it in dates.
  • We will now iterate over each date and query the microlocations who have a session on that particular date.
for date in dates:
   date = date[0]
   day = Day(date=date)
   microlocation_ids = list(db.session.query(Session.microlocation_id)
                            .filter( == date)
  • For each microlocation thus obtained, we will query for accepted sessions to be held at those microlocations.
  • We will also initialize a Room for each microlocation.
for microlocation_id in microlocation_ids:
   microlocation_id = microlocation_id[0]
   microlocation = Microlocation.query.get(microlocation_id)
   sessions = Session.query.filter_by(microlocation_id=microlocation_id) \
       .filter( == date) \
       .filter_by(state='accepted') \
       .filter(Session.deleted_at.is_(None)) \

   room = Room(
  • We will now iterate over the aabove-obtained sessions and instantiate an Event for each session.
  • Then we will iterate over all the speakers of that session and instantiate a Person for each speaker.
  • Finally, we will add that Event to the Room we created earlier.
for session in sessions:

   session_event = Event(,
                         duration=str(session.ends_at - session.starts_at) + "00:00",
                                               identifier=event.identifier, _external=True),
                         released="True" if event.schedule_published_on else "False")

   for speaker in session.speakers:
       person = Person(,

  • Then we will add the room to the day and then add each day to the conference.
  • Finally, we will call the generate method of the conference to generate the XML file. This can be directly written to the file.
return conference.generate("Generated by " + get_settings()['app_name'])

Obtaining the Pentabarf XML file:

Firstly, we have an API endpoint which starts the task on the server.

GET - /v1/events/{event_identifier}/export/pentabarf

Here, event_identifier is the unique ID of the event. This endpoint starts a celery task on the server to export the event as a Pentabarf XML file. It returns the task of the URL to get the status of the export task. A sample response is as follows:

  "task_url": "/v1/tasks/b7ca7088-876e-4c29-a0ee-b8029a64849a"

The user can go to the above-returned URL and check the status of his Celery task. If the task completed successfully he will get the download URL. The endpoint to check the status of the task is:

and the corresponding response from the server –

  "result": {
    "download_url": "/v1/events/1/exports/http://localhost/static/media/exports/1/zip/OGpMM0w2RH/"
  "state": "SUCCESS"

The file can be downloaded from the above-mentioned URL.

Hence, now the event can be added to any scheduling app which recognizes the Pentabarf XML format.


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Advantage of Open Event Format over xCal, pentabarf/frab XML and iCal

Event apps like Giggity and Giraffe use event formats like xCal, pentabarf/frab XML, iCal etc. In this blog, I present some of the advantages of using FOSSASIA’s Open Event data format over other formats. I added support for Open Event format in these two apps so I describe the advantages and improvements that were made with respect to them.

  • The main problem that is faced in Giggity app is that all the data like social links, microlocations, the link for the logo file etc., can not be fetched from a single file, so a separate raw file is being added to provide this data. Our Open Event format provides all this information from the single URL that could be received from the server so no need to use any separate file.
  • Here is the pentabarf format data for FOSSASIA 2016 conference excluding sessions. Although it provides all the necessary information it leaves the information for logo URL, details for longitude and latitude for microlocations (rooms) and links to social media and website. While the open event format provides all the missing details including some extra information like language, comments etc. See FOSSASIA 2016 Open Event format sample.
<title>FOSSASIA 2016</title>
<venue>Science Centre Road</venue>
  • The parsing of received file format gets very complicated in case of iCal, xCal etc. as tags needs to be matched to get the data. Howsoever there are various libraries available for parsing JSON data. So we can create simply an array list of the received data to send it to the adapter. See this example for more information of working code. You can also see the parser for iCal to compare the complexity of the code.
  • The other more common problem is the structure of the formats received is sometimes it becomes complicated to define the sub parts of a single element. For example for the location we define latitude and longitude separately while in iCal format it is just separated by a comma. For example for




           "id": 1,
           "name": "Stage 1",
           "floor": 0,
           "latitude": 37.425420,
           "longitude": -122.080291,
           "room": null

And the information provided is more detailed.

  • Open Event format is well documented and it makes it easier for other developers to work on it. Find the documentation here.



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