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Campus Calendars, Revisited Part II

April 7th, 2009 by Erick Beck

When we looked at calendar systems a year ago we were discouraged by the lack of complete and robust systems.  There were few projects to be found, and most of them were lacking in features and/or had seemingly been abandoned. Now, however, all three of the major players are in active beta development with the promise of adding most of the previously missing elements.

VTCalendar

This project had appeared abandoned and — given the regularity of PHP security issues discovered since its publication — not a viable candidate.  However, in the last year someone has picked up the project and is beginning to modernize the code.  Several beta releases have been made since September of last year, and they anticipate the current one being the final beta before the final Release Candidate. It was super-easy to install and seems to have most required elements within easy reach. It ships with a vanilla style, so you pretty much build your own look and feel.  I did find several security and usability issues with it though, so until those are fixed we can’t really accept it as a viable alternative.

UNL Events Calendar

The Web Developer Network at the University of Nebraska has taken the UC Berkeley Calendar specifications and wrapped them into the most recent version of their calendar. The operation of the calendar is quite elegant, but there were a few installation quirks — it requires the most recent versions of PHP and PEAR, which could be problematic depending on your system. There are also a few styling issues to address, but that’s purely cosmetic.  As of right now this product stands as our favorite.

Bedework

Bedework is by far the most complete and robust of the open source calendar packages, but is also far and away the most complicated. The new beta project timeline shows that it will be addressing all of the major features that it had been missing. It had been our leading candidate after the first round of comparisons last year, but I think the time and effort it will take to administer the calendar takes away from its appeal enough to let UNL and VTCalendar take over as the top candidates.

Since all of these products are currently in mid-beta stages we have time to dig further into each of them and work out things like page styles, departmental usage, etc. Depending on interruptions from other demands, we hope to have one of these ready for release before the fall semester.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 Calendar
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3 Comments to Campus Calendars, Revisited Part II

  1. Do you have details on how you evaluated these and why Bedework came out as a winner

  2. ammadio on May 7th, 2009
  3. Actually Bedework didn’t come out as the winner, we decided to go with UNL Event Publisher.

    The evaluation process mainly consisted of installing each product and having our team use it in an isolated environment. Each was then graded according to features, ease of installation, being intuitive to use, and ability to maintain/extend the code.

  4. Erick on May 7th, 2009
  5. Have you looked into the work of the Open Source Applications Foundation http://www.OSAFoundation.org/?

    They recently released 1.0 of their Calendar server, webclient, and desktop client. (Although their homepage describes the product as “designed for personal and small-group task management and calendaring,” they do have a grant to grow the solution to meet the needs of higher education specifically by 2.0.)

    They’ve done some pioneering work in the area of standardization of event import/export/modification protocols & schema.

    I contributed some design in early stages years ago, and found the community friendly and workable then. They do code in Python rather than the more popular PHP, C# or Java languages.

  6. Monty Dickerson on June 5th, 2009

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