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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:
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.
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.