2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 1, 2013 6:13 AM by Padster

    ICS Calendar Events

    Padster

      Hi,

       

      I'm wondering if anyone can either help or direct me on something.

       

      I have within my database the ability to create appointments that are then issued out to Mail Clients. So the database creates an ICS file based on the the standards; so following this blog http://www.anvildataworks.com/?p=511/

       

      This is all well and good, and if I export and open the file, it opens with Outlook, iCal,etc and puts the appointment in the diary. This is great, and does what I currently want it to do.

       

      I would like to take this to the next level, and rather than having to export the ICS file, and open with Mail client, I would like to have FileMaker effectively 'issue' the ICS file the same way that Outlook or iCal would. So, the file is issued directly from the DB, with attendees set as the user, and the other poeple that the user has added, without going through the Mail Client.

       

      Once I have the DB issuing the file, I can then manage changes to the appointment through the DB, but the bit that I can't get to my head around, is the issuing of the ICS directly from the DB.

       

      I understand that I can have the system just send an email, with the ICS file attached, but I would like it to be 'slicker' than that and actually send a properly formatted appointment that Outlook/iCal recognise, rather than being an attached file to an email.

       

      Has anybody else tried, or looked at this before?

       

      I have seen the http://www.productivecomputing.com products, but I'm only looking for the appointment intergration, and not the whole experience.

       

      Regards,

       

      Patrick

        • 1. Re: ICS Calendar Events
          mikebeargie

          Hey Patrick,

           

          I have thought about this but not put it into practice. You'd still need to generate the ICS file to a temporary location, but rather than sending it via email, requiring manual open or entry, you would instead use a "Send Event" script step to open the ICS file via the outlook command line functions:

           

          http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/command-line-switches-HP001003110.aspx

           

          This could then be customized so that any user clicking on "add event to outlook" would have the event added to their local outlook profile.

           

          caveat though is that I'm not sure you'd be able to "update" an existing event, and it's only a one-way street, so if it was changed in outlook you could not change it in filemaker. For that kind of functionality, outlook manipulator is the way to go. I think there's cheaper plugins for other calendar apps (IE google calendar, ical) but if outlook is a requirement, then PC's plugins are certainly the most robust.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: ICS Calendar Events
            Padster

            Hi Mike,

             

            Thank you for the information.

             

            It is possible to update an event, if you dig into how the ICS files work, there are switches for Amend, Cancel etc of an event. It is all based on the EventID that you give the ICS file, but you are correct, this is only on-way communications, so changes in Outlook would not be reflected back.

             

            For a bit more information, the plan is to present my DB through Citrix, so the Send Event would not work as expected for me, which is why I'm trying to keep the appointment within the DB itself.

             

            In regards to getting round the one-way traffic problem I was thinking that if I could get the DB to send the appointment from itself, any updates, would automatically have the update returned to the email from which it was sent. I could have a mailbox that was monitored, for the returned appointments/ics files. These are then downloaded and a script intergates the file, checks the EventID, and updates accordingly. I have a rough idea of how to acheive this.

             

            But before I can look at this, I have to find a way to get the FileMaker to issue an ICS file. Email with it attached might be the only way, but looking to see if anyone else had come up with a way to send an actual Appointment message from FileMaker.

             

            Regards,

             

            Pad