Sidebar Geek

My experience with Windows Vista. Windows Sidebar and Microsoft Gadgets.

Feature Preview: Windows Calendar

I am a strong advocate of Windows Calendar being a well needed feature for Windows Vista. Windows has always been in need of a real good calendar and task program. Apple's OS X iCal is a good example of a well developed calendar program. Microsoft is using the same format (.ics) for their calendar program as Apple giving users the ability to share calendars whether you're on an Apple or Windows PC. I've also been told by a few readers that there are a bunch of open source calendar programs that can be used on Linux that reads the format too. My point is simple: Microsoft is bundling a new Windows application into Windows Vista that allows the ability to share calendars virtually with any platform. You can read up on the .ics standard (RFC 2445) IETF.org. Outlook also uses the format so calendars created by programs in this format including Windows Calendar can easily be imported into Outlook.

Screenshot: Windows Calendar Main Window with Apppointments
Screenshot: Subscribing to Published Calendar
Screenshot: Publishing a Calendar to the Web

In Build 5270, you can see that Microsoft has chosen to use the same UI seen in Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Media Player. This makes sense, of course, as Microsoft wants to have consistency with their windows applications. The features within this build don't seem to have changed much from the previous build. You can add appointments, make them reoccuring, add new calendars, add new tasks - pretty much all the tasks you need for a calendar program. You can publish your calendars to the web and subscribe to new calendars that have been published by other users.

I have been unable to publish my calendar to the web. Windows Calendar requires a WebDAV server to publish your calendars. Unfortunately even with a WebDAV-enabled server, I still cannot publish my calendars (this may or may not be the fault of the server). My suggestion here for Microsoft is to open it up to non-WebDAV servers and maybe allow publishing to also use FTP access. I don't want to be restricted to publishing to only WebDAV servers.

In earlier builds, Windows Calendar showed the ability to publish calendars as RSS Feeds. I'm not sure what happened to this feature but the idea was exciting and I'm disappointed it hasn't made it this far into the development process.

Overall, I am very excited for Windows Calendar. Not everyone is using Outlook (which has awesome Calendar and Tasking features). Windows Calendar would be an excellent program for families to adopt to keep track of what each family member is doing. And seeing as home networks are becoming very common, it will be very easy for brother and sister to subscribe to their family's calendar and add to it keeping their parents informed of their schedules.

See my previous Feature Previews.

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