>CORGA Conference Management Software

>Back in August I asked the readers to provide me with some recommendations for Conference Management Software. I received many good leads and some interesting suggestions. However, I ended up going with the CORGA open source software I had found on Sourceforge. It met most my criteria, had an easy to use interface, and could be reskinned fairly easily to fit the look we wanted.

The only issue with CORGA is that it had numerous small bugs that needed to be fixed, and now that I’ve got a working copy, it does not appear to be actively maintained by the original authors. I’ve thought about contacting them to see if there would be a way to get the fixes back in and have a new version released; however, I’m strapped for time right now. With this said, once the bugs were fixed, it provided what I needed. In fact, STAR is using it now for their Technical Session submissions and will probably use it for the general session in October as well.

Things I like about it:

  • Adminstrative screens for managing the submissions
  • Ability to assign individual reviewers
  • Ability to review all papers that are submitted.
  • Integrated Registration and Invoicing.
  • Name Badge Printing and generation.
  • Program Generator and Schedule Generator
  • XSLFO is used to generate PDF (yeah, I’m an XML junkie, I like it.)

Things I dislike and will eventually change:

  • Each paper has it’s own password. I prefer tying this to a user name and password, and then all papers for that user.
  • Skins are hard coded in JSP. I’d prefer something else for the templating. Maybe I’ll look at implementing and XML Database and XQuery with XForms next year.
  • System parameters are coded in the web.xml, meaning I have to start and stop the server. I also have to maintain a different web.xml between dev and production.

With this said, it has saved me an enormous amount of time getting conference management system up and running, compared to writing it from scratch myself. It’s also a very low cost solution that provides quite a bit of power if you are on a limited budget. Most of the commercial software and hosting providers I looked at are not setup for the smaller conferences (i.e. less than 50 to 100 people attending).

For all those that submitted ideas, I appreciate it, it helped me see what else was out there.

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