So, after the server upgrade was complete, I started work on trying to get a calendar solution working. This seemed like a simple proposition, I have a fully operational web server, email server, LDAP server for user authentication, and the list goes on. The problem is that once one gets into the world of calendar services, it gets more complicated. Part of the reason for that is Google does such a good job with Google Calendar, every Apple user has a free iCloud account which also does a good job with such things. So there are actually a fair number of packages available that do some kind of calendar / contacts management. The problem comes in that they rise to a level of professional knowledge and or financing that I do not have, nor would I spend money on.
Bring me Solutions not Problems
I love that line from modern management… So here is the solution. I had standard an email account a while back, email@example.com, though I don’t recall why right now. I think I have used it once. Since Google does Calendars really well and most everyone has a Google account already, we are going to leverage that and use that accounts calendar ourselves. Now, I don’t want to manage the calendar all by myself, but I don’t want everyone logging into the account either (I don’t know why, I don’t use it really). Still, anyone who wishes to have access to add/modify events should send me a request with their gmail account information and I will add that account as someone able to make changes. Staff members will also get the ability to manage sharing permissions.
I’ve found that Google’s calendar sharing is top notch, so I think this will work well for everyone involved.
Links to See the Calendar
The calendar has been made public and here are the links to add that calendar to subscribed calendar software (or Google’s web site if you use that).
Most systems, I believe, can accept the iCal format to subscribe to a calendar. The HTML format is probably going to get made into a link at the top of our forum here, as soon as I can figure out how, it is just your basic HTML web calendar.
So what did I require? (for those of you that care)
I don’t think I required much out of the system. Certainly, I didn’t realize how complicated it might get. Integrating into LDAP has always been a potential issue for most services. I have thought about using OwnCloud, but I need to do more research and at this point, I don’t have the time and probably won’t for a while. All of my configuration files are still there, but disabled, so I can pick up where I left off if I feel like it.
- Able to impost/export calendar data
- Able to use my existing user database from either Discourse or LDAP (that powers my email and web space services)
- Able to have a central shared calendar and personal calendars
- Able to run as a service, not attached to a single user account (this proved harder than it would seem)
- Would not require replacing my entire email and authentication system (also proved harder than it would seem)
- Users would be able to use a web interface as well as standards such as CalDAV to use any application (mobile or otherwise) they wanted to use
In other news, I’m still considering adding some kind of backup chat capacity to the server, though I haven’t decided what yet. Any input on that would be appreciated, something similar to Discord would be nice, but not necessary - or is that something we even want?