Presentation: KDE, when's my flight?
Exploring free alternatives for digital travel assistance
Getting your itinerary presented in a unified, well structured and always up to date fashion rather than advertisement overloaded HTML email monstrosities or countless vendor-specific apps has been established by services like TripIt, and with the integration of this into the Google platform it has become part of the de-facto standard feature set for digital assistants. While very useful and convenient, it comes at a heavy privacy cost, a price not everyone is willing to pay. So, the obvious question is: can we have a free and privacy-respecting alternative for this?
In this talk we'll explore the various building blocks already available or still missing that would be needed to build a free digital travel assistant. It turns out that the primary challenge is related to data rather than code. In particular, obtaining personal booking information, static information about for example the location or timezone of an airport, and dynamic data about e.g. delays or gate changes.
Extracting reservation information from emails is thankfully simplified by the proprietary services facing the same problem, who therefore have been pushing for the inclusion of standardized structured information in booking emails. For static information Wikidata provides a free and comprehensive set of data. Dynamic data however is usually only available from the corresponding transport providers, and even if they provide cost-free REST APIs those often require API keys or have aggressive invocation throttling.
Obviously all these information will need to be presented to the user on desktop and mobile devices in the end, this talk will cover existing components for this too.
Should the author fail to show up to this presentation this might be due to having tried to get on to the flight to Vienna with experimental code rendering his boarding pass.