Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Live Calendar v1 review

with 2 comments

In November 2007 I published two blog entries (Early impressions of Windows Live Calendar & More Windows Live Calendar ideas) that listed some nice-to-haves in the Windows Live Calendar service which was, back then, a very early beta. Below I examine how many of these nice-to-haves were added to the service prior to its post-beta launch yesterday.

  • Right-click doesn’t do anything. For example, I’d like to share a calendar simply by right-clicking and selecting ‘Share…’. Or right-click on a day and select ‘Create Event…’  No, can’t do that yet.
  • More Live Event disappointments. You can add a Live Event to your calendar but any changes to that Live Event (such as a time change, or URL change) won’t get reflected in your Live Calendar This has not changed as far as I’m aware.
  • The URL for one of my shared calendars contains my name. What’s the point in that? Rather than http://jamie.calendar.live.com:80/calendar/Leeds+United+fixtures/index.html why not just http://calendar.live.com:80/calendar/Leeds+United+fixtures/index.html.Or, even better, simply make it http://Leeds+United+fixtures.calendar.live.com:80/. No this hasn’t changed which I find disappointing. I don’t see why my public calendars have to have my name in the URL.
  • You can’t choose an exact timeslot when dragging and dropping an event from one day to another. You can now drag an event to the nearest desired half-hour slot. This is more than sufficient.
  • Double-clicking on a time slot creates an event in that time slot but this doesn’t seem too intuitive to me. I would expect double-clicking to have a drill-down effect where if I double-click on a day when in ‘Month’ view I am taken to a detailed view of that day. Once I am in ‘Day’ or ‘Week’ view double clicking would create an event like it does now. This is a debatable point of view though so I won’t push it too much. The behaviour here hasn’t changed but I don’t really mind.
  • Why isn’t my agenda exposed on http://home.live.com This still isn’t there
  • Windows Live Calendar is supposed to be a RESTful service. I suppose that’s kinda true because http://jamie.calendar.live.com:80/calendar/Jamie’s+test+calendar/index.html will take you to one of my calendars. However, I kinda expected more than that. I was hoping that I could enter something like http://jamie.calendar.live.com:80/calendar/Jamie’s+test+calendar/2007/11/08 and it would show me everything for that particular day. But not so. It would be really cool to have this. Being able to go straight to a particular day without having to navigate to it would be really valuable. However, even MORE valuable would be the ability to post new events to my calendar using any HTTP client. For example, I could send an HTTP POST to http://jamie.calendar.live.com:80/calendar/Jamie’s+test+calendar/2007/11/08/13/30 with the details of the event in the HTTP payload and it would create that new event at 01:30PM on November 8th, 2007. As far as I know this isn’t yet possible. I would expect that the ability to do this will be exposed by the Live Framework API which is currently very much in beta.
  • I’d like to be able to search for events on public calendars that match some search criteria. For example, show me all music gigs or all events in my local town. Or (even better) all music gigs in my local town. Even better still would be an RSS feed of all these events so that I know when new ones get added. Not really a Calendar feature to be fair, more a Live events feature. Regardless, its still not possible.
  • Live Calendar enables us to subscribe to other Live calendars (such as this one or this one). However, you can’t subscribe to webcal calendars such as this one on iCalShare. Sure you can import, but that’s not the same as subscribing. Subscribing means that you know when the original calendar gets changed, that doesn’t happen if you import it. Yes, they did this. Thankfully so, this is a key key feature.
  • There is no searchable directory of shared Live Calendars. I would like there to be one. This would be similar to http://collections.live.com which is a directory of collections created on Live MapsNo, this hasn’t been done.
  • There is no client app that allows you to synchronise with your Live Calendar(s) and thus look at them and add to them when offline. There should be one and it should be integrated into Windows Live Mail. Yep, they did this. And how!
  • I’d like to see a Live.com/Live Spaces gadget that displays my Agenda from Live Calendar. I take this one back. It was a stupid idea – I don’t want to publish my calendar for all and sundry to see.
  • I’d like to see my Live Calendar(s) synchronised to my mobile phone. One day I’d like to see it synchronised to other places like my Zune. This has not been done yet. As I’ve said before, this is high on my list of desires for wave 4.
  • If our friends have birthdays coming up then we can see them on our Live Spaces ‘What’s new’ page. I would like to have the option to display them on a Live Calendar as well. Done. Thank you, this is a cool feature.
  • I would like to see the Live Spaces ‘What’s new’ feed displayed as a Live Calendar that I could overlay on all my other calendars. No, this hasn’t been done. I’m not sure if I still want this to be honest, it would turn Live Calendar into a diary service rather than a calendar service.
  • If I have photos on my Live Space that have date and time metadata attributed to them then I would like to see those overlaid as a Live Calendar so that I can see them against all my other calendars. Almost like creating a timeline of my life using my photos. As above, you’d expect something like this from a diary or a journal, not from a calendar.
  • I’d like to see all my blog entries on my Live Space exposed as a Live Calendar so that I can see them over time and also see them against all my other calendars. Ditto, you’d expect something like this from a diary or a journal, not from a calendar.
  • I would like to see statistics on how many people are using a calendar that I have created. This hasn’t been done – I still want it.
  • If someone adds one of my publicly shared calendars to their own collections of Calendars then I’d like to be told about it via my Live Spaces ‘What’s new’ page.This hasn’t been done – I still want it.
  • If one of my friends creates a calendar, show it on the What’s New feed on my Live Spaces home. This hasn’t been done – I still want it.
  • I would like my agenda to be displayed on http://home.live.com This hasn’t been done – I still want it.

 

All in all that’s pretty good. Of the requests there that were relevant to Calendar many have been delivered and, most importantly, they’ve delivered the two most important requests; offline sync and webcal subscription. Good work.

I remember having a conversation with someone (and yes, I remember who it was) after the beta was released who described Live Calendar as “awful”. I asked him why he used that adjective and the he, fool that he was, was incapable of explaining himself; I’d like to think he’d have a different opinion of Live Calendar right now.

-Jamie

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Written by Jamiet

January 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. "You can’t choose an exact timeslot when dragging and dropping an event from one day to another. You can now drag an event to the nearest desired half-hour slot. This is more than sufficient"Ah, but I edited the time! An appointment for next week is at 2:15, (or 14:15 if you prefer the 24hr clock as I do) had to be inserted. I didn’t use any drag ‘n’ drop feature but ‘every 30 mins’ isn’t enough for me so I clicked inside the timer and replaced 30 with 15. So the editor can be jiggled to suit. I must check through all this stuff you’ve written, Jamie, when I’ve got some dates to play with later in the year. Yet another SuperBlog from you:-)Back to reading the rest of it, I just had to reply to that bit!

    Jen

    January 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm

  2. Great list, Jamie. I hadn’t even considered many of these applications of the WL Calendar. I completely agree that tight WinMo calendar integration has to come sooner than later to really make the WL Calendar a solid solution. Even though you seem to be a bit divided on using the calendar to display a time-based view of WL activities (such as blog posts and SkyDrive activity) I really like the idea. And I think double-click behavior (i.e., drill down vs. create appointment) should be configurable as a calendar option.

    Greg

    January 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm


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