Hacked up our own gCalendar

iCal is good, but iCal sucks. I built a WebRunner solution using Google Calendar to solve it…

iCal is good, but iCal sucks. It allows one computer/person to be the central point for a calendar’s control. So while Person A can create and edit a calendar, they can do so only from the original Mac they created it on, and no one else can make edits, they can only view it. This can be good if you want total control over something, but not so good if you want to collaborate on editing.

Google Calendar is good, but Google Calendar sucks. It’s dead easy for multiple people to manage one calendar. But, sometimes I just don’t like to rely on someone else to manage my data. Seeing messages like “Oops, we couldn’t load details for your calendar, please try again in a few minutes” does not instill confidence that all is well. (In the Google Calendar Help group you’ll see some posts about things going wrong that do not instill confidence.)

Maybe my expectations are high because I’ve been running my own server for years with my personal calendar data, that gets backed up regularly. I dunno..

Anyway, we needed a solution at the office for a handful of people to all edit the same calendar. iCal can’t do this (yet) and while it was easy to create Yet Another Google Account, I didn’t want people to have to constantly login/logout or even have to sign up for an account. So I created an account, and then built a custom WebRunner app (or a Site Specific Browser, as they are called.)

WebRunner / gCalendar

So now we have a bunch of people who can subscribe to the calendar in iCal (nothing new there) and a select few who can use our gCalendar app (or, just log into Google) and edit the thing. iCal has a great interface, but dammit, you can only edit a calendar on the machine it was created on, unless you look to third party apps to fix that.

WebRunner / gCalendar

It’s clunky, but it works. Of course a few days later I found which is a WebKit equivalent. So, hey, at least there are choices.

Along the way I also tried Calendar Server which did not work (Python-foo failures) but looks promising for the future.

Despite the progress, I just feel like calendaring still has a long way to go.