University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Greetings all.

I'm interested if any of you are using commercial products for events calendar (Trumba, Active Data, Zvents) and, if so, what you're spending on them. Trumba seems great, but if I'm interpreting the per-seat license correctly, it might get very expensive quickly.

Also, are there any examples of these calendars in action in higher ed?

Thanks for your ideas.

(I've seen the previous threads that mention the various free and commercial solutions, but I'm interested in getting information about cost. If I've managed to miss such a discussion in my search, I'd appreciate a link.)

Tim

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Tim,

I asked and received the following info from our events calendar program coordinator:

"Duke University uses the open-source Bedework calendar software
developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for their online calendar,
Events@Duke (http://calendar.duke.edu). For more information about
Bedework, please visit www.bedework.org. Events@Duke offers a
comprehensive listing of Duke events, including lectures, conferences,
performing arts, exhibitions, cultural activities and more. Users can
search by date, event category, or organization/group, and can download
event details to most personal calendar clients.

Duke groups or departments can designate one or more calendar
administrators, who can submit events to the calendar. Any member of the
Duke community with a valid Duke NetID can also submit an event to the
calendar. These submissions are reviewed and published as appropriate."

I was on the committee that eventually selected the Bedework solution and and Trumba, Active Data were definitely ones we reviewed. I know of an Active Data solution in place at NC State: http://calendar.activedatax.com/ncstate/

--Ben
Hi Tim,

We are in the first year of implementation of Active Data Calendar (http://www.activedatax.com/). So far so good. You customize the interface with headers, footers, etc. and the application is customized by setting up locations, categories, and departments. This can take as much time as needed for however granular you want the viewer options to be. In our case we have a public calendar with all public categories (students, alumni, community, academic calendar, etc.) and a private calendar that adds all faculty & staff only events.

The important thing about choosing categories and departments is that when done correctly you can pull them from the calendar with javascript generated in the application and place that script on your site. For example, I have pulled the Academic Calendar dates to display by alone in a different format for easy user access on our site. You can see how we pull the upcoming events for the home page here, in the right side column http://www.hcc.commnet.edu/ . Other links below.

Public calendar: http://calendar.activedatax.com/
Just Academic Calendar dates: http://www.hcc.commnet.edu/calendar/specCalendars/academic.asp

Getting people to use it is our next hurdle!

Susan
You dismiss free calendars out of hand, but I would recommend you consider the open source product Bedework. This month (December 2008) Bedework will release version 3.5, which will include a very user-friendly setup right out of the box. The good folks at RPI are very responsive and are eager to create the best calendar for higher education.

http://www.bedework.org
It wasn't my intent to dis free solutions. In fact, I tend towards open source solutions whenever possible. I just was looking for some background on paid products to fill in my knowledge gaps.

I've heard very good things about Bedework. The strongest push-back I get is the need with a free/open solution to support it in-house vs. paying someone to do it with a commercial solution.

Thanks for the input.

Tim
East Central University uses a calendar that was built by me.

http://www.ecok.edu/calendar/calendar.asp

It does what I need it to do and I can always expand it later.
The biggest thing you need to figure out, before even considering which calendar application to use, is what purpose you want the calendar to serve. Do you plan to use it to announce your events? Do you plan to use it to reserve rooms and resources at your school? Do you plan to use it to actually schedule items (in other words, will you want people to register for events and receive Outlook calendar appointments after doing so)?

For us, we were simply looking for a way to display what was going on at the school, so we just needed something simple.

We chose to go with an old Perl script called CalendarScript. I tried quite a few different free, open-source projects, but I just couldn't find any that offered the features I was looking for and were easily customizable. A lot of the free, open-source calendar projects I tried were still very early in their development, and, while they showed a lot of promise, they just didn't have very many features, yet.

CalendarScript isn't wonderful, but it's extremely inexpensive (I think a license was $25) and it's written in such a way that it's very simple to edit the script and customize it.

I would say, at this point, that probably about 25-50% of the code we're using for the calendar on our Web site is stuff that I've rewritten. I've still got a long way to go, but it's a decent start.

For us, any of the commercial calendar applications were just way out of our price range. Most of them cost more than the budget we initially had for our whole content management system.

I will check out the bedework calendar application. It sounds like a few people here are having a lot of luck with it.
We use a product called BosDates (http://www.bosdev.com/bosdates/) from BosDev.com.

Here is what it looks like running on our site, http://calendar.ics.uci.edu/

It is a great bargain, $75 and there is a non-profit discount, it is PHP/MySQL based and has a lot of good features, such as RSS creation, ability to download for .iCal, .vCal, PDF, XML, etc., search, email notification, and more.

The support is very responsive too and the support forums provide good insight into most issues.

The one big downside is it does not support LDAP authentication out of the box, though if you work with the vendor or have a good PHP programmer you could probably get the system to integrate with your LDAP.
Hi Tim,

I have a few examples that I can provide to you including, but certainly not limited to:

1. studentforce
2. Google Apps for Education (which includes a calendaring, email, word processing, spreadsheets and more) at no charge
3. The combination of the two
4. Trumba working with studentforce,
5. etc.

If you are interested in learning more please contact me at emschlesinger@studentforce.com. Happy holidays!

Sincerely,

Ed
Hey Tim,

I use Google Calendar with a java script that displays it in an unordered list.

I can easily publish it in different ways, and share it with other Google Accts.

My ghetto solution works really well so far, though it's not really the most accessible solution. I'm working on a PHP version that would spit out better code.
Hi,
Take a look at http://www.ucd.ie/events

It uses the Events Calendar module as part of our TERMINALFOUR Site Manager WCM.

Regards,

Piero
We are also using Bedework, an open source solution developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It's been great to collaborate with RPI and the other schools who are now using it. We've been able to do some additional customization to fit our own needs, and learn from the customization efforts of other schools. We came from a home-grown system where every calendar was in it's own data silo, and having the ability to share events & categories between calendars is a big win for us. We've also developed some calendar widgets which pull calendar data and easily pop this into department/division's web sites.

A great article came out from Duke about the collaboration that has been going on with Bedework: http://www.news.duke.edu/2009/03/bedework.html

We're still recruiting groups to join the calendar, and we're still refining our interfaces, but so far, it's been working great!
http://event.uchicago.edu/maincampus/

Lynn Barnett, University of Chicago

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