25 avril 2016


I'm very excited to announce the launch of a long term project of mines: cfp.io

TLDR; Are you event organizer ? Need a free call-for-papers? Contact us, we will host it for you.


As a conference organizer, I've been handling call-for-papers for a while, and have actually worked on developing 3 of them (sic). 

  • We started in 2012 with a simple google form to collect speakers proposals. This was a poor experience, but did the job. Anyway as developers we decided we need a dedicated tool to offer a better service.
  • In 2013 we created our own CFP, and worked on it during the pre-event period so it match our needs. Main issue took place in 2014 when we tried to restart it from the initial collect phase, as the later changes had unexpected impacts (soc)
  • In 2015, DevoxxFrance offered to share his custom CFP application codebase. We forked it, and adapted to our needs. The codebase is written in Scala, and just for this reason I hardly was able to found volunteers to help us on this topic. Also, this application do cover lot's of Devoxx specific things, hidden in codebase. We ended with few speakers not being registered, as Devoxx do only offer a pass to the first two speakers, and we have labs with up to four of them :'(
  • In 2016, we forked DevFest Nantes Call for Papers application. This one was written in Java/Spring/Angular, had a nice look and feel, so was a great candidate. We noticed many glitches in backend, so decided to fix them ... and after few months had it mostly fully rewritten. Anyway, this was a smooth migration, and 4 volunteers where able to make it a great app.

Our CFP worked like a charm, and was then forked by NCfrats.io for their own need.

So, is this the definitive CFP we need ?

No: main issue here is to maintain forks of each others. As a sample, we discovered a security issue with our CFP, fixed it, but as this happened two weeks before the event, we didn't took time to let DevFest guys know about it (sorry guys). Also, people at NCrafts could introduce interesting features, and even git make it easy to backport such code, this could quickly become a hard task to keep everything in sync.

We believe a better approach is to colocate our Call-for-papers. a CFP is a low traffic application, limited data volume, and limited complexity. It's very easy to make our codebase multi-tenant, and we plan to offer free hosting for call for papers on our server. Each tenant will get access as https://{{my_awesome_event}}.cfp.io and will be able to manage his own stuff, without need to bother with infrastructure.

As code is open-source (AGPL) we will welcome contribution to offer additional features. If you have designed an integration with third party web service, then please contribute this new feature. Other platform users will then get notified about this new feature and can chose to use it as well. We expect this to be the best way for cfp.io to become the place to be for event organizers, covering all aspects of event management.

Emerging features

A side effect of co-hosting call for papers is to build sort of a speaker social network :

As a speaker, I have to copy/paste my bio and favorite talk abstract on various events' call-for-papers. With cfp.io, I can just reuse my bio, and select a talk I already proposed at eventA so I can apply to eventB. I also can discover events I didn't heard about, just because their CFP is hosted by the platform.
As an event organizer, I can check a speaker already talked at other events, and maybe this specific talk was recorded and available online. This will be a great assistance for program committee to select speakers.

Business model

Do we plan to create a company here ? No. we are a non-profit organization, and this is all just for fun ! We are just geeks, trying to make something cool and useful. Our "business plan" is for each hosted conference to get a free pass. Some of them will be use for our own pleasure to join great events, some of them might be sold to pay for the server, or to help us pay for travel.

If you are event organizer, feel free to contact us to get your CFP setup on our infra - we plan to make this automated as well on a self-service basis, but this isn't implemented yet.

3 commentaires:

Thomas a dit…

Hi Nicolas, good idea and well done.

Looks like there is a TLS certificate issue on the platform.


Nicolas De Loof a dit…

Hi Thomas,

we only openned http://www.cfp/io landing page for now, the https service will be opened next week or so

Thomas a dit…

Ok, so it might be a good idea to remove the HTTPS link within the blog post.