WebMail: Calendar

The CommuniGate Pro WebUser Interface allows you to manage your Calendar information (meetings, appointments, events, etc.)

The standard iCalendar format is used to present the Calendaring information, providing compatibility with all standard-based groupware clients, and with Microsoft Windows groupware applications, including the Microsoft Outlook (via the MAPI Connector component).

The Calendar information can be accessed via XIMSS and CalDAV protocols.
Older groupware applications can subscribe to Calendaring data using the HTTP Publish/Subscribe (ICS) method.

The Calendar information can be exported as a text file in the VCALENDAR format.

The WebUser Interface Calendaring functions are available only if the WebCal Service is enabled in the Account settings and in the Account Domain settings.

Calendar Mailboxes

Calendar mailboxes ("folders") can be created in your Account using the WebUser Interface or a MAPI client application (such as Microsoft Outlook). These mailboxes appear on the Mailboxes page. Click on a Calendar-type mailbox name to open the Calendar.

Main Calendar Mailbox

You can have several Calendar-type mailboxes in your Account, but only one of those mailboxes is assigned the role of the Main Calendar mailbox. When you accept an invitation or create a new appointment or a new meeting request, the calendaring data is stored in the Main Calendar mailbox.

When the Main Calendar mailbox is updated, the CommuniGate Pro WebUser Interface removes the current Free/Busy information - it deletes the freebusy.vfb file in the File Storage. When someone is trying to access that file, it is rebuilt using the modified information stored in your Main Calendar mailbox.

Creating Calendar Mailboxes

To create a Calendar-type mailbox, open the Mailboxes page and select the Calendar value in the Create pop-up menu. Type the name of the Calendar mailbox you want to create, and click the Create button:


Calendar Browsing

You can browse a calendar by clicking its name (link) on the Mailboxes page.

The Calendar browser page displays the calendar folder data as a scheduling table:

Display

The table uses different colors for working and non-working hours and days, and it shows all scheduled events and appointments. Click an event to open it.

Click the arrows in the table corner to move the "visible window" to earlier or later hours, and to previous or next days. Click the (+) and (-) links to display more or fewer elements.

The <==> and >==< elements allow to control the time scale used. By specifying larger time slices you can see more time intervals in a smaller window, but then adjusting events can be displayed as conflicting ones.

Click the View as Folder link to see the data as a regular mailbox.

The month Calendar table displays the current month and allows you to switch to a certain day quickly, by clicking the day number:

Use the arrow links to switch to the previous month or to the next month.

Alternative display

If you have 2 conflicting Events in your Calendaring folder, their table cells are highlighted (as the cell containing the Conf Call Event above). The [X] link can be used to open the conflicting event.
Note: two events can be displayed as conflicting when their time slices do not intersect, but the Calendar view is "too raw" to show them as separate events. For example, if the Event A takes place from 8:00 till 9:00 and the Event B takes place from 9:00 till 10:00, and the Calendar "time slice" is 2 hours, both events end up in the same calendar table cell, so that cell (8:00-10:00) is shown highlighted, with only Event A displayed and the [X] link opening the Event B.


Creating Calendar Events

Click the New Event link to create a new Calendaring Event. The page used to compose an Event is a modification of the E-mail composing page.

The Event Composing page contains the controls used to specify the time of the Event:

You can specify the time when the event starts, and the duration of the event. To compose an All-Day event, select the All-Day Event checkbox.

The Options panel allows you to specify the Event options:

The Event Priority can be High, Normal, or Low.

You can specify how the Event should be marked in your Free-Busy data. The Event time can be marked as Free, Busy, Tentative, or Out of Office/Unavailable.

If you select the Private Item option, this Event will be invisible for other users who have access to your Calendar mailbox.

You can specify the Location and the Subject (Summary) of the Event. The Subject text is used to display the Event on the Calendar view page.

To organize a meeting, add the attendees to the To, Optional, and Inform fields:

When you save or update a meeting, a meeting request is sent to all attendees. If you want to compose or update a meeting without sending meeting requests, disable the Send Requests option.

The Event composing page displays a list of all specified attendees, along with their confirmation status data. When you receive replies to your meeting request (see below), the attendee confirmation status data is updated. You can also set the status manually if an attendee replied with a non-calendaring E-mail that cannot be processed automatically, or if an attendee replied by other means, such as a phone call.

Click the Show Availability button to display the attendee's free/busy information:

Click the Save button to store the Event and to send meeting requests to the Event attendees. If you have opened the Event composing page using a link on a Calendar view page, the newly created Event is stored in that Calendar folder (mailbox). Otherwise the newly created Event is stored in your Main Calendar folder.

You can open an existing Event in your Calendar folder, and click the Edit Event link to update the Event data. When you save the updated Event, invitations are sent to all attendees again (unless you disable the Send Requests option).

Creating Recurrent Events

You can create a recurrent Event - an Event that repeats at specified dates. Select the frequency mode and click the Add Recurrence button (see above). The following recurrent patterns are available:

  • Every day or every Nth day. Use the Daily frequency:

  • Every week or every Nth week, on specified weekdays. Use the Weekly frequency:

  • Every month or every Nth month, on the specified day of month. Use the Monthly by Day frequency:

  • Every month or every Nth month, on the specified week and weekdays of month. Use the Monthly by WeekDay frequency:

  • Every year or every Nth year, on the specified day of year. Use the Yearly by Day frequency:

  • Every year, on the specified weekdays of specified week. Use the Yearly by WeekDay frequency:

Use the End By control to specify when the Event Recurrence should stop. If you select the Never value, the recurrence will continue infinitely.

Click the Remove Recurrence button to switch back to a one-time Event.


Replying to Meeting Requests

When you open a meeting request letter, the Event Reply buttons are displayed:

If you click the Accept or Tentative button, a positive reply is sent back to the Event organizer, and the Event is copied into your Main Calendar folder (mailbox).

If you click the Decline button, a negative reply is sent back to the Event organizer, and the Event is not stored in your Main Calendar folder.

You may want to enter a comment into the panel text field.

If you click any of the Accept/Tentative/Decline buttons, the original request letter is deleted.


Reconfirming and Declining accepted Requests

When an event is stored in your Calendaring folder, you may want to re-send a confirmation to the event organizer. Open the Calendaring folder and open the Event. The same Event Reply buttons are displayed. Click the Accept or Tentative button to send a positive response to the event organizer.

You may want not to attend an event that you have already acknowledged. Open the Event in your Calendaring folder, and click the Decline button. A negative response is sent to the Event organizer and the Event is removed from your Calendaring folder.


Canceling an Event and Attendee Removing

If you are the Event organizer, you can cancel the Event by opening the Event in your Calendar, and clicking the Remove Event From Calendar button:

The Cancelation message is sent to all Event attendees and the Event is removed from your Calendaring folder.

You can open an existing Event in your Calendaring folder and remove some of the Event attendees. When you store the Event, the Cancelation message is sent to all removed attendees.


Processing Event Replies

When you receive a Reply to your Meeting Request message, the Update Attendee Status button appears:

Click this button to change the Attendee status in the Event stored in your Main Calendar folder and to delete this Reply message.

When you receive a Cancelation message for an event you have accepted, the Remove Event From Calendar button appears:

Click this button to remove the Event from your Main Calendar folder.


Calendaring Settings

The Settings pages allow you to specify the Calendaring Options.

You can specify the name of your Main Calendar mailbox:

You can specify your Work Week parameters: working hours, the first weekday, working weekdays (to specify custom working days, set the pop-up menu to Custom and click the Update button):

The Calendar View panel allows you to customize the Calendar browser:

Your Main Calendar data is used to generate your Free/Busy information. Use the Free/Busy Publishing panel to specify the time period covered by that Free/Busy information:


Importing and Exporting Calendar Data

To import Calendaring data into a Calendar-type mailbox, open its Folder Management page. The page contains the Import Calendar Data control:

Use the Browse button to select a text file with vCalendar or iCalendar data, and click the Import Calendar Data button.

If there is an error in text file format, the error message is displayed indicating the text line that caused the problem, and no data is imported (even if some calendar data elements were parsed without errors).

All iCalendar import file items that have the CANCEL method are used to remove existing items from the Calendar-type mailbox. All other items are "published" in that mailbox, i.e. they are stored in the mailbox and all other ietms with the same UID are removed from the mailbox.

To export calendaring data in the iCalendar format, click the Export Calendar Data link.


Automatic Request Processing

You can set your Account to be scheduler for some resource, such as a conference room, company car, etc.

When an Account LargeConfRoom@mycompany.com is created, log into that account and make sure it has the Main Calendar mailbox created (you may want to create a test Event, and when it is being processed, the Main Calendar is created and the Event is stored there).

Then open the Rules page and create the following Process Requests Rule:

The Accept Request Rule action parses the incoming message and tries to find a Calendar Event Request or Calendar Event Cancel object in the message. If the message does not contain this Calendar Event parts, this Rule action does nothing and the next action rejects the message sending an error report to the message sender.

If the Event Request is found, the Accept Request Rule action opens the Calendar mailbox specified as the Rule parameter or the Main Calendar mailbox if the Rule parameter is an empty string.
The Rule then checks that the requested event does not conflict with any other Event in the Calendar. If a conflicting Event is found, a negative Event Reply is sent to the Event organizer. The negative Event Reply contains the conflicting Event organizer's name. The incoming message is discarded, and Rule processing stops.

If no conflicting Event is found in the Calendar, the message is copied into the Main Calendar and a positive Event Reply is sent to the Event organizer. The Account Free/Busy information is updated. The incoming message is discarded, and Rule processing stops.

You can specify the [ignore-conflicts] prefix in the Rule action parameter field. In this case the Accept Request Rule action will not check for conflicting events.

You may want to grant certain persons a right to acquire a resource time slice even if it has been booked by someone else. You need to create a different Rule (for example, with the "Process VIP Requests" name) and assign a higher priority to that Rule:

If a message is processed with the Accept Request Rule action with the [force] parameter, and a conflicting Event is found in the Calendar:

  • if the conflicting Event is not recurrent, or the new Event is recurrent, the conflicting Event is removed and a negative Event Reply is sent to the conflicting Event organizer.
  • if the conflicting Event is recurrent, and new Event is not recurrent, the exception date is added to the conflicting Event.