There has been a storm of Web 2.0 releases the last few days because of the Web 2.0 Conference. I took a look at some of them (from TechCrunch) and decided I wanted to review Zvents, the new San Francisco Bay event search (soon to be other U.S. metros as well). First impressions: Beautiful, accurate, ajaxy, taggy, social, and I am loving it. There are a lot of features with Zvents, but lets take the walk through some of them.
The main page is very clean and gets straight to the point with a selective search of events, venues, tags, groups, and people. The events search using a nice what, where, and when search format that makes it extremely easy to narrow down on an event. You could type in terms such as, “Concerts,” “Next Tuesday”, “Art,” “Web 2.0,” etc.. Also, if you see the screenshot above, you can see that I am in the Tags search. This is pretty slick because it uses ajax to give you auto-completion and even the results for the tag. You will also notice that the groups and people search does this as well.
Next, I went back to the main event search and tried the term, “Web 2.0.” 35 (at the time) appeared in a nicely ordered list. But, I didn’t want to simply choose a result. I wanted to see a map or a calendar of some sort and I was happy to find that Zvents does include this. If you look above your results, you will see links saying to view as a map, calendar, and other options like linking to iCal and search saving. So, I wanted to see the map integration and I must say, it is very nice. You can see how the map looks above (nice pins, by the way). When in the map page, you get your Google Map on the top and then the listing of the events below. The listing of events will have colored circles on the sides of them and the colors are to match the pins on the map. If there is a blue pin, look for the blue circle for its even details (or you can click on the pin, like you see above).
My next test was to search for concerts. So, I went to the tag search and typed in the tag, “concert.” It then brought up the results allowing me to select to view tag details, search for events or venues, select related tags (on the right column), or similar tags (below). I decided to view the tag details page, which you can see above. At default it will show the results in a three column calendar format. But I wanted a bigger range, so I went to the top and selected the 30 day view. Now I have an overview of events in a monthly calendar format. When hovering over n day with event(s), you will get a listing of the events in a tooltip type box just to give an overview. I really like that.
When you click on a day with events, it will then switch back to that day but on the 1-day view of the calendar so you get a listing of each event for that day along with venues. The events that are listed also give you an overview when hovering over it which is helpful if you looking for something specific. Now, lets go to the main event details page that will cover all the details for the event. This is what you see below:
On the left you will be given details for the when the event is and where it is. You will also see a website address (if any), description, and the price for the event. On the right you get a Google Map that plots the location of the event so you can easily find it. If you scroll down to the bottom you will see even more features. You have the ability to trackback an event on your blog with the Trackback URL they provide, add comments, and you can even add photos to the event! Very nice.
Few more last notes that I want to mention. Zvents also has a great developers area that you may want to check out. There’s documentation for REST and SOAP development. But before you can use this, you have to generate your API key by going to the bottom of your profile page. Also, you can include an Inline-Frame on your site, like you see on the Zvents Blog, by going to the “My Zvents” section of the site. In the “My Zvents” Page, you will see your calendar. Beneath the calendar is a link for creating the iframe code.
Overall, Zvents worked great and I can’t wait for the service to accept other U.S. metros. Everything was very easy to find and it really made me realize.. man, I want to move to San Francisco! But, the only issue that I personally had was about the use of AJAX. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the AJAX. But at some points, for example, when finding a day with events and viewing the calendar. When you click on a day and the events get listed, I feel as if it is another page and when wanting to go back, I click the back button. Which actually would bring me back to the search page itself without the results. Really, that is the only thing. Otherwise, great job Zvents team.