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Can you recommend a calendar that includes customizable forms?

23

Oct

2009

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Occa­sion­ally you’ll want to to have a shared pri­vate or pub­lic cal­en­dar, want to let other peo­ple put dates and details in, but want to con­trol what they put in (to a degree), and you’ll need to MANUALLY view or vet their entry pre-posting.

If you are run­ning a mac, there’s a piece of soft­ware called iCal­Maker (mmisoft­ware) that will rip vCal, tab and comma delim­ited text into and out of iCal for­mat. I use it to rip Win­dows Out­look into iCal and back again in cor­po­rate settings.

The work­flow is this:

  1. Give them any form you like on the web, but use a free or low cost form ser­vice ( Jot­Form or many oth­ers, as long as you can export the results). This way you will get a date-picker.
  2. You’ll get an email every time there is a sub­mis­sion, you log in and down­load an excel or text ver­sion of the submission.
  3. Open it up, then cut and paste the data into your ‘I made this ear­lier ’ “cal­en­dar maker” excel sheet — which does this:
  4. Your “cal­en­dar maker” has a work­sheet you paste into, with text cal­cu­la­tions that imme­di­ately con­vert the pasted sub­mis­sion fields to be text strings that make sense for iCal­Maker (like put the dates and times in for­mat, name the fields, put them in the right order, etc.)
  5. Your “cal­en­dar maker”  also has a linked work­sheet you export from, that presents the resul­tant mod­i­fied data only, pro­duc­ing a clean tab delim­ited file.
  6. Export from here as a tab delim­ited file.
  7. Pull into iCal­Maker, check, export on your mac as iCal into a par­tic­u­lar named calendar.
  8. Pub­lish your par­tic­u­lar named (desk­top) iCal cal­en­dar online so peo­ple can sub­scribe to it (lots of ways to do this, includ­ing push­ing to Google cal­en­dar and mak­ing it pub­lic from there).

Apart from a bit of excel for­mula there isn’t much dif­fi­culty here.

With­out the mac, iCal­Maker, iCal, or Excel your work­flow might look like this:

  1. Use Jot­Form as above
  2. Man­u­ally put the details into a free online cal­en­dar you can embed on your site and offer as a feed / sub­scrip­tion for iCal.

For this I’d rec­om­mend 30boxes, because you can use nat­ural lan­guage to put basic entries in, or even a quick email / cut and paste while you are read­ing the email from Jot­Form (Sub­ject line car­ries the date and title, Body for notes).

In either case, the use of an online form ser­vice means that when some­one rings up with an event you can quickly send them an email link to the pub­lic hosted form for them to fill out. This saves your tran­scrip­tion and pos­si­ble error, and you don’t need to get per­mis­sion to post the input form on your organisation’s web­site, even if the final des­ti­na­tion is a shared cal­en­dar inside your firewall.

www.mmisoftware.co.uk
www.jotform.com
www.30boxes.com

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