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.NET Calendar for Small Networks?

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  • User profile image
    jonathansam​pson

    I've got a friend who needs a calendar application to use in his small office. I was thinking of just putting a web-based calendar on his network, but figured he would be more at home if he had a desktop calendar that he, and his two co-workers could use.

    They currently use Outlook for email, and wanted to use it to share a calendar, but apparently you need to be on an Exchange Server for that to be an option (bummer).

    Anybody seen anything that would go nicely on a small network? Or is there a solution to the non-sharability of Outlook Calendars when not on an exchange server?

  • User profile image
    phreaks
  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    phreaks said:
    A few weeks ago I was taking driving lessons (don't ask) and I noticed they used Google Calendar to coordinate their appointments.

  • User profile image
    jonathansam​pson

    phreaks said:
    I had considered that, but unfortunately they want something that is available offline. This is downtown Pensacola, and Hurricanes/Storms love to take down internet power-lines from time to time Smiley

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    jonathansampson said:
    phreaks said:
    *snip*
    I had considered that, but unfortunately they want something that is available offline. This is downtown Pensacola, and Hurricanes/Storms love to take down internet power-lines from time to time Smiley
    Have you taken a look at the DevExpress scheduler suite?

    It's not free, but it gives you all the tools you need to easily create your own...

    http://www.devexpress.com/Products/NET/Controls/WinForms/Scheduler/

  • User profile image
    Bass
  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    phreaks said:
    jonathansampson said:
    *snip*
    Have you taken a look at the DevExpress scheduler suite?

    It's not free, but it gives you all the tools you need to easily create your own...

    http://www.devexpress.com/Products/NET/Controls/WinForms/Scheduler/
    That is an absolute pain to use if you need to change the appointment system to something different from the standard Outlook and incorporate additional functionality.

    I have tried others like componentone and infragistics (which are more authentic looking) and they too are unnecessarily complex. The mistake these guys make is in getting an Outlook mimic, but don't have a simple object model to modify the structure. I would advise against using any of the third party vendor suites (especially if it is a small office with limited funds) as it will take far too long to create something to suite their needs. Invariably you'll end up needing a database for the custom calendar, and then choosing which machine has it etc.

    The key decision is in realising that an exchange server is not available and impracticable at present. I would try to find a solution via the Office team, if not, resort to saving the calendar .ics file into a shared location on their peer to peer network and have a system where by each week/month a new .ics file is cretaed to this shared location. Not perfect, or ideal but it is workable.

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    vesuvius said:
    phreaks said:
    *snip*
    That is an absolute pain to use if you need to change the appointment system to something different from the standard Outlook and incorporate additional functionality.

    I have tried others like componentone and infragistics (which are more authentic looking) and they too are unnecessarily complex. The mistake these guys make is in getting an Outlook mimic, but don't have a simple object model to modify the structure. I would advise against using any of the third party vendor suites (especially if it is a small office with limited funds) as it will take far too long to create something to suite their needs. Invariably you'll end up needing a database for the custom calendar, and then choosing which machine has it etc.

    The key decision is in realising that an exchange server is not available and impracticable at present. I would try to find a solution via the Office team, if not, resort to saving the calendar .ics file into a shared location on their peer to peer network and have a system where by each week/month a new .ics file is cretaed to this shared location. Not perfect, or ideal but it is workable.
    I didn't find it too difficult or mundane.

    I used local compact Sql Server DB's and then would sync them when the network was available with the master DB.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    Looks feasible. Not tried it though.

  • User profile image
    Jason I

    Someone recommended to me using a live calendar and having the Outlook connector program (free from MS) sync it to my outlook. Would that work for you?

  • User profile image
    Ion Todirel

    TommyCarlier said:
    phreaks said:
    *snip*
    A few weeks ago I was taking driving lessons (don't ask) and I noticed they used Google Calendar to coordinate their appointments.
    > "A few weeks ago I was taking driving lessons (don't ask)"

    what a coincidence, my final conclusion was that cars sucks and I won't buy one unless it drives by itself Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    jonathansam​pson

    Bass said:
    This looks perfect; thanks!

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    jonathansampson said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*
    This looks perfect; thanks!
    I must confess to being a littler confused as to why Sunbird 'looks perfect'. I've installed it and it has less features than Outlook that is installed already.

    Yes the application does allow for calendars to be shared by coping the calendar in .ics format to a shared location on a network for other users to access (original suggestion)



    If you have outlook you can use it to browse to an area on their network and load a shared calendar


  • User profile image
    jonathansam​pson

    vesuvius said:
    jonathansampson said:
    *snip*
    I must confess to being a littler confused as to why Sunbird 'looks perfect'. I've installed it and it has less features than Outlook that is installed already.

    Yes the application does allow for calendars to be shared by coping the calendar in .ics format to a shared location on a network for other users to access (original suggestion)



    If you have outlook you can use it to browse to an area on their network and load a shared calendar


    Perhaps it's the language that is confusing then - does "importing" the calendar create a local copy that you would then be working from? If not, then that's awesome, I'll forget Sunbird. If it does work from the remote copy, then I'll gladly suggest they not look for an alternative.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    jonathansampson said:
    vesuvius said:
    *snip*
    Perhaps it's the language that is confusing then - does "importing" the calendar create a local copy that you would then be working from? If not, then that's awesome, I'll forget Sunbird. If it does work from the remote copy, then I'll gladly suggest they not look for an alternative.
    The principle is the same as a word doc. You can have a shared folder c:\SampsonTraders\CompanyCalendar that all users in the company "use".

    In outlook create an appointment in the calendar and go to File->Save As. Here you can call it companycalendar.ics and save that to the folder that everyone shares. Users can then open this shared calendar and view the appointments.

    You can try this out on your machine. Log onto Vista/XP as your usual username and create an appointment and save it to C:\Users\Public (In Vista). Log of the machine and log back on with a different user account, you should find that you can access the file created and saved by a different user. The principle is no different from what you need, only thing is, that the folder may need to be backed up, and people need to be told not to be silly and delete things by mistake. As a precaution a nominated person can ensure they save a copy of the calendar on their local machine. This calendar can then be archived monthly or weekly or whatever.

  • User profile image
    jonathansam​pson

    vesuvius said:
    jonathansampson said:
    *snip*
    The principle is the same as a word doc. You can have a shared folder c:\SampsonTraders\CompanyCalendar that all users in the company "use".

    In outlook create an appointment in the calendar and go to File->Save As. Here you can call it companycalendar.ics and save that to the folder that everyone shares. Users can then open this shared calendar and view the appointments.

    You can try this out on your machine. Log onto Vista/XP as your usual username and create an appointment and save it to C:\Users\Public (In Vista). Log of the machine and log back on with a different user account, you should find that you can access the file created and saved by a different user. The principle is no different from what you need, only thing is, that the folder may need to be backed up, and people need to be told not to be silly and delete things by mistake. As a precaution a nominated person can ensure they save a copy of the calendar on their local machine. This calendar can then be archived monthly or weekly or whatever.
    Ah, does that work well with three people having the calendar up simulatenously too? If one makes a change, does it periodically reload the calendar file, or would the other users have to reload the file themselves?

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    jonathansampson said:
    vesuvius said:
    *snip*
    Ah, does that work well with three people having the calendar up simulatenously too? If one makes a change, does it periodically reload the calendar file, or would the other users have to reload the file themselves?
    I know in excel you can have a multi-user file, but that would require more research.

    Actually, if you look at the outlook image I've posted there is an option to open other users folder. This (as you'd guess) allows you to get another users calendar without the hassle of copying files. You just need to designate machine x-y-z to be the main PC - and everyone can access a shared calendar. With regard to the same calendar being open at the same time, you'll have to do some testing yourself.

    Should be quite easy to set up three user accounts on XP or Vista, opening someone's calendar and editing it, then logging on to a different account (without logging any account off) and seeing if there are any changes. It will either

    A) Work (Hooray)
    B) Tell you the file has changed and to reload it (this is acceptable)
    c) Not work (back to the drawing board)

    All in all about half an hours work to find out if you can use existing technology, without the hassle of an upgrade.

  • User profile image
    sanatgersap​pa

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