I finally got approval to attend TechEd 2008 Developers a couple of weeks ago and began looking fo a better way to get ready to take notes. While looking, I came across a command line utility called PONGen by Rob Rohr that was apparently originally designed to process an RSS feed of the 2005 Tech Ed conference schedule and generate OneNote pages for each session. It was subsequently updated for the 2006 conference. That was just what I was looking for, but it looks like there is no RSS feed for the schedule for 2008. Undeterred, and having already used the Outlook Sync function of the Tech-Ed 2008 Session Builder, I decided I could get where I wanted by extracting the data from Outlook. I'd done that before and had that part working in about 5 minutes, though the code wasn't very pretty. Unfortunately, getting it into OneNote was a whole different matter, though a couple of hours later, I did get it working. It does impose my style, which some may not care for, but if you are looking for a quick and dirty way to build note pages in OneNote for the conference next week (and have used the Schedule Builder), I don't think you can't do it any faster than this (and I don't like the format you get when you do it directly from the Outlook ribbon via the OneNote Meeting Notes button).

The result is one page per session, sorted first by date and time, and then by session title, that looks similar to the following:

TechEdOneNoterResults.jpg

Each page has the Title, Date, Start Time, Session Description, and Location filled in directly from Outlook appointment created from Session Builder. The track and session format are "guessed" based on the prefix. Once these pages are created (under Unfiled Notes), you can drag them to whatever Notebook and Section you want to.


The application is a simple single-form Windows application that only has one option: The "Disable Session Reminders in Outlook" checkbox, when checked, disables the default reminders on all of the sessions.

TechEdOneNoter.jpg

The code is certainly not "pretty" but it does get the job done with only a couple of days to spare. There is definitely room for improvement, especially in the area of allowing the user to select a different page layout, or at least customize the one I built. However, I don't plan on making those changes for the Developers conference. I also know that the track "guessing" will fail on many tracks at TechEd IT Pros because I have not coded the tracks into the application. I may do that before that confence, but since I am not getting to go to it, I am not certain I will get that done (unless someone wants to get me in for free!).

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Last edited May 9, 2010 at 4:30 AM by RBurger, version 2

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