Web Informant #123, 9 September 1998:
Sharing calendars via the web


I finally found a service that allows me to publish a calendar on the Internet and allow anyone to view it via a web browser. The service is free, and you can see my very own calendar here.

My requirements are pretty basic. I go to many trade shows, and typically the time period in the weeks before a show the phones are ringing off the hook with people wanting to make appointments or set up meetings or whatever. It is difficult to manage these calls, especially when things change and people are trying to juggle things around. And there are plenty of people who come through the metro NYC area on various press tours and want to book some time as well.

So, for years I have been thinking that someone should have a service that I can post my schedule to the web, with a minimum of screens and fuss. If I have to make changes, it should be a lot easier than scribbling notes down on a piece of paper. Plus, having a public schedule that anyone can view means (hopefully) less time on the phone juggling appointments.

There are plenty of workgroup calendaring packages that have web interfaces. Some of them have lots of bells and features, allowing you to specify different levels of access and different views of the calendar and so forth. (You can read reviews that I wrote about a year ago for Windows Sources.)

The trouble is that they require me to maintain the calendar server somewhere. That isn't something I wanted to do. I have enough trouble maintaining what little software I use already. And there are the various "communities" who offer some kind of calendar interface via the web (Excite is the latest, they have a beta up now): these really aren't geared towards publishing a public calendar, and are just for single individual use. I just can't see the logic with these personal web calendars. I have a day timer and it works really well for that purpose, doesn't require electricity, an Internet connection, or remembering any URLs.

The folks at Calendarz don't have all the bugs worked out of their service yet, but it is pretty close for my purposes. I'd like some in-between mode from full access to read-only (such as having a password for people to see secret stuff that isn't available to the general public).

So, given that I live with technology, here is your chance to help me out and prove whether this service is going to fly for my own use. Go to the URL above and click over to the schedule for October. If you want to book some time when I am out in Atlanta at Interop, send me an email with two alternatives after taking a look at what I have already booked. I'll confirm the appointment and add it to my schedule. If you don't want your company mentioned on the public schedule, tell me.

If you always wanted to test some software (believe me, the job isn't as glamorous as you might think), here is your chance to participate as part of this experiment. And if it works out, I intend to use the calendar for real. And if you know of something better, drop me a line.

Site-keeping and self-promotions dep't

This is the first issue of Web Informant since I returned from vacation. I hope all of you managed to take some time off this summer!

Windows Sources is now redesigned and called Windows Pro. My latest column, entitled "Should you wait for Active Directory" with snazzy new picture, is called NT Web Advisor.

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