Thursday, 24 January 2013

Calendars and time

So there I was doing my normal round up of Tech news when I come across an interesting article about Calendars.

Now it seems that there have been a number of issues surrounding iPads and iPhones regarding it's usage of calendar details. I put this down to the target audience for this device being the consumer market. Your average Joe Public does not really go in for Meetings and Invites. Adding a dental appointment or meal with a friend yes. But not your average business usage involving multiple attendees across time zones. Thats more the realm of the business user.

I'm not saying BlackBerry is without it's faults. We have had our fair share of calendar issues, especially when it comes to custom re-occurring meetings synchronised via the BES. But the main source of this confusion comes down to one thing: compatibility. The main spec for handling calendar stems from Exchange. MS have one way of handling Calendars and the BES specification was made to that spec. Of course Domino does things differently and the linking of the two methods has caused no end of confusion over the years.

Now we are starting to leave the BES system behind and handle our connectivity and information exchange via Traveller. Whilst Active Sync is an adopted standard, Lotus are still pulling the odd trick to make things work in the Domino world. And there are still a few things which don't work as expected (eg. Flagging an email for followup with an alarm) so I guess there is still work to do on both sides.

One source of confusion when dealing with Domino is how the data source can change. If you create a repeating meeting, then that single document is the source of all information. The moment you create an exception to any appointment then Domino creates up to three child documents with  the info - Meetings before the exception, the exception itself, and meetings after, which now carry the details. The parent is now just a place holder and source for the original details. And woe betide people who delete any of those child documents. Now add it the fact that a lot of users constantly re-edit these child documents and you have a viable recipe for confusion all round. This is not easy. Is it any wonder that the calendar handling portion of the BES takes up more space than the mail handling?

The world wide differences in how calendars, time zones, daylight savings etc. means that everybody will discover more and more bugs. Just deal with it and report your bugs to the necessary teams. All us Devs are working towards a common good. Even if the commonality is disparate systems.

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