Online Calendars

Over the past 2 or so weeks there appears to be quite a buzz about the Google Calender, for which screenshots have been posted around the net.

So what I decided to do few things, firstly draw up a list of “I Need” items that i would hope to find in a calendar ( online and offline ) and secondly try some of these products out.

So here is my list I no real order :

  • Private/Public flags
  • Import/Export functionality
  • Views (weekly/monthly/listed)
  • Starting weekday / Date format / Ability to colour weekends or days off differently
  • Entry Date Alteration
  • Categories and ability to colour each one
  • Add notes and location to the entry

I don’t think my requests are too over the top and the features are factors I may take into account when thinking of a calendar.

I decide on two existing online calendars, 30 Boxes and CalendarHub, Both are still in beta at the moment seem to be the most promising. Both of these fall in the sphere of new web developments labelled Web 2.0 and depend on Ajax frameworks to deliver realtime responses to user interaction.

OK, i know both of these products are still in a beta testing stage but I thought I would compare them to my list of “Needs”.

Private/Public flags
30 Boxes – A simple checkbox on the entry box gives a toggle ability for such a flag the item is then also displayed with a Padlock in the calendar view.
CalendarHub – CH has a dropdown box that has 3 options Public, Private and group allows you to share with everyone, no-one or a group of select people, there was no visual display to indicate which type of entry is was on the calendar.

Import/Export functionality
30 Boxes
– This is quite a stumbling block for 30Boxes as there doesn’t yet appear to be a way to import existing calendars into your online one. They offer a vast number of ways to export and access the data once it is there.
CalendarHub – CH has an import section allowing you to transfer an existing calendar into the system, I easily exported and uploaded my Mozilla Sunbird calendar all the entries deafulted to private which was good, but i would have liked the option to choose (could have been the export from sunbird tho).

Views (weekly/monthly/listed)
30 Boxes
– a nice 4 weeks view is the default and can be increased up to 8 weeks, but not decreased to 3 which i would have quite liked, there is no list option to see events by date which i think i’ll miss as your ability to check for a free weekend can be tricky, to compensate there is a quick drop down menu that show the current month and the next 5 to allow you to jump to a date.
CalendarHub – the views offered are much easier, being Day, Week, Month, Year & List, although there is no easy way to scroll thru the weeks ( showing half one month half another ).

Starting weekday / Date format / colour weekends or days off differently
30 Boxes
– i was able to alter the starting day of the week, the date format isn’t displayed really for me to see, but noticed in the event edit screen it’s in mm/dd/yy format, no way to colour weekends.
CalendarHub – After finding the settings i was able to format the date to my liking and choose the week starting day, not functionality to colour the weekends.

Entry Date Alteration
30 Boxes
– to alter a date of an entry I had to edit the entry and change the date
CalendarHub – I could alter the date in the edit dialog or drag and drop the element on the calender view ( handy if it moved by a day or week, but not to next month)

Categories and ability to colour each one
30 Boxes – in the edit entry dialog i could add a tag to an event allowing me to highlight them later from the calendar view if needed, no method to colour tagged entries. A nice feature was a quick list of previous tags used to choose from.
CalendarHub – again tags could be added to an entry and used later to filter your calendar view (worked best on List view of course)

Add notes and location to the entry30 Boxes – Notes feature was present and displayed on the date edit screen.
CalendarHub – The edit entry allowed for notes and location including address.

Well that was my list examined, there are of course other features like calendar sharing and email alerts, inviting other people, CH also has features for multiple calendars per account.

So a brief look at the existing products and some of their features examined, with google calendar looming on the horizon it will be interesting to see how these develop.