7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2017 9:52 AM by user17152

    Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?

    user17152

      Hello everyone,

       

      One of the ultimate goals of the project management solution I've been building is a calendar view.  I had been working with SeedCode Subscribe, but they have discontinued it (can't say I'm surprised...it was always flakey) and I now find myself back at square one.  I've been looking at 360Works' Zulu again, but I'm not sold.  I've also looked at DayBack and while it looks fantastic, it is expensive (especially the online version) and overkill for us.

       

      All of our scheduling is done in Filemaker.  All of our task management is done in Filemaker.  We would simply like to view our event/task data as READ-ONLY calendars in our scheduling applications (Outlook, Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, iOS) alongside our other calendars.  Users would subscribe to the calendars they need, ie: their active projects.

       

      What are my options?  I don't want a subscription service, nor do I want to host my event data off-site.  I've looked at a few plugins that can manipulate Apple Calendar files (I'm developing on a Mac and my solution is deployed on both Mac and PC), but I haven't found one that can easily create and manipulate shared calendars on an OS X Server.  Does such a plugin exist?

       

      Is anyone out there generating shared, read-only calendars from Filemaker data and, if so, what's your solution?  Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
          Johan Hedman

          We used Zulu at one of my bigger clients to handle calendar records. Worked great

          • 2. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
            User26869

            Hi there

             

            I have used Applescript in the past to create an event in an existing calendar in Apple Calendar, and it worked well. See here for reference: Calendar Scripting Guide: About Calendar Scripting

            Maybe if you could update those on the OS X server and then sync them to other apps (Google, etc...) this could work?

             

            Hope this helps a bit

             

            Chloe

            • 3. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
              miler24

              I agree with Johan, 360Works Zulu 2 is the way to go.  We use it with our project management solution "Kosmas" so that all our clients can view read only (or read/write, your choice) in their Google, iCal, or Exchange calendars.

               

              We use SoSimple for our WebDirect version and use DayBack for our FileMaker Pro/Go versions.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
                user17152

                Thanks everyone for the feedback.  I'm looking to do what you describe, Eric.  Read-only calendars.  If you don't mind, a few quick Zulu-specific questions:

                 

                Is it easy to automate the creation and publishing of a new calendar in Zulu?  Each time a new project is created in our system, a set of project-related calendars needs to be created.  With Subscribe, this was very easy.

                 

                How robust is filtering?  In Subscribe I could create a calendar with the following filter criteria:

                 

                Type = Task

                AND

                User = John Smith

                AND

                Status = Incomplete

                 

                Can I do the same thing in Zulu?  We need a lot of calendars filtered this way.  We have 10 action types (ie: punch, task, change order) in our system currently.  Each user needs two calendars for each action type, one for incomplete and the other for complete actions.  The calendars only show actions for projects to which the specific user is assigned.  So right now each user needs 20 calendar.  In addition, projects themselves require several project calendars.  I need to be able to easily create new calendars, when a project is created, when a new user is added to the system, etc.

                 

                Finally, is it possible to run Zulu on a different server from the Filemaker server, or do they have to reside on the same machine?  This might be a 360Works tech question.  I was able to do this with Subscribe.  Without getting into too many details, we would like to keep our Filemaker server behind our firewall, accessible only via VPN.  With Subscribe I could put the Subscribe Engine on a machine with a public/static IP and have it communicate with the Filemaker server over the local 192.168 network.  This kept Filemaker behind the firewall while allowing the Subscribe Engine to remain publicly accessible for calendar syncing.

                 

                Thanks!

                • 5. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
                  Johan Hedman

                  Zulu have very good documentation. I had no problem integrate it to either iCal.

                  • 6. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
                    nopoku

                    I work with Eric at DocuWrx Corporation. I am one of the developers in charge of performing and maintaining Zulu integrations in our vertical market solution.

                     

                    Is it easy to automate the creation and publishing of a new calendar in Zulu?  Each time a new project is created in our system, a set of project-related calendars needs to be created.  With Subscribe, this was very easy?

                     

                    The theoretical answer is yes. I use the word “theoretical” because I have not tried it yet. Once you have Zulu installed, it is possible automate the creation and publishing of the Calendar within that solution because the process is controlled by a script. In order to this, you’ll have to make modifications the “Publish Calendar” script to use variables or fields instead and/of custom dialogs. This way you can pre-set fields and run the script or pass the script parameters to the script when ever you need to create and publish a calendar.  I believe the url for the readonly calendars are generated based on the fields in the ZuluCalendarList layout so you can create a calculation field to generate this url.

                     

                    How robust is filtering?  In Subscribe I could create a calendar with the following filter criteria:

                     

                    Type = Task

                    AND

                    User = John Smith

                    AND

                    Status = Incomplete

                     

                    Can I do the same thing in Zulu?  We need a lot of calendars filtered this way.  We have 10 action types (ie: punch, task, change order) in our system currently.  Each user needs two calendars for each action type, one for incomplete and the other for complete actions.  The calendars only show actions for projects to which the specific user is assigned.  So right now each user needs 20 calendar.  In addition, projects themselves require several project calendars.  I need to be able to easily create new calendars, when a project is created, when a new user is added to the system, etc.

                     

                     

                    To my knowledge, Zulu Calendar filtering is controlled by two fields on the ZuluCalendarList layout. One representing name of the field that should be used to filter the calendar and the other representing the value the calendar should be filtered by. That being said, I’m not sure that you can have the same filtering capabilities that you had in Subscribe since Zulu only allows one filter key and one filter value. You can potentially get around this by creating a new field in your table to store the hash of the filter fields and filtering by that new field. Just an idea.

                     

                    More information on filtering here:

                    http://docs.360works.com/index.php/Zulu_2_Filtering

                     

                     

                    Finally, is it possible to run Zulu on a different server from the Filemaker server, or do they have to reside on the same machine?  This might be a 360Works tech question.  I was able to do this with Subscribe.  Without getting into too many details, we would like to keep our Filemaker server behind our firewall, accessible only via VPN.  With Subscribe I could put the Subscribe Engine on a machine with a public/static IP and have it communicate with the Filemaker server over the local 192.168 network.  This kept Filemaker behind the firewall while allowing the Subscribe Engine to remain publicly accessible for calendar syncing.

                     

                     

                    Like you said, this is probably a 360Works tech question. I know there is a context.xml file in the "META-INF" folder of each Zulu instance installation that can be modified to change certain settings ( including the server IP ) for that Zulu instance.  What I am not sure about is if this file allows Zulu to run on a non- FileMaker Server. I know they do not have be installed on the same machine because we have Zulu installed in a dual deployment environment. The guys at 360Works are very helpful with answering such questions. Email them  at support@360works.com.

                     

                    Hope this helps

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Best Read-Ony Calendar Solution?
                      user17152

                      Just following up on this post.  First, big, long overdue, thanks to nopoku for the very thorough response.  I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond.  After further investigating Zulu (and becoming quite frustrated), I stumbled upon an AWESOME calendar solution called soSIMPLE Calendar (http://www.sosimplesoftware.com/products/sosimple-filemaker-calendar/) from Paradise Partners.  Absolutely blows away the other calendar products I tried.  I can't say enough good things.  And the developer is fantastic.  He's been incredible responsive to my questions.

                       

                      While not a CalDAV server like Zulu, soSIMPLE allows users to subscribe to calendars in any app or service that supports web calendars.  When used in Filemaker, soSIMPLE displays the calendar in a web viewer and allows double-clicking on events to open records, trigger scripts, etc.  Drag and drop works too.

                       

                      The real power comes in URL filtering, though.  Unlike SeedCode Subscribe, which required a setup record for each calendar (with filter criteria specified in the setup record), with soSIMPLE I only need one calendar setup record.  This calendar can be filtered via the URL.  One of the things we wanted to allow our users to do is build custom calendar views quickly, without the need for admins to create new calendars and publish them, etc (as with Zulu).  soSIMPLE makes this not only possible, but incredibly easy.  I've build a filter interface for our calendar that allows the user to select the projects being viewed, manufacturers, event types, etc.  Once the user has set his or her filter criteria, the URL is updated (calculated field) and, voila!, the calendar view changes.  The user can then click a "subscribe" button and subscribe to the custom calendar he or she just created.  Effortless and awesome.

                       

                      And, if URL filtering doesn't get you where you need to go, soSIMPLE has a great "Advanced Find" feature that lets you run a custom query and displays only those events in the calendar view.  It's really quite sublime.  Anyone looking for a great calendar solution for Filemaker should take a look!  Thanks again to everyone who replied to this thread!

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful