I have yet to find a decent solution for handling events on the web or internet so that participants can easily add the events to their PIM, a seemingly simple task.
Here are the user stories:
* An event is scheduled for a group of people with a common interest. The date and time is likely set through an email discussion group. The chair of the event creates an event online. All the potential attendees receive an invite, RSVP, and save it to their calendar. Any attendee can go and look at the activity calendar for the upcoming month with their web browser, and save any event to their calendar, if they have missed the invites.
* The coordinators of an event simply broadcast the date and time of the event through a web site, possibly email, and via a web feed. Users who wish to attend simply click to add the event to their calendar.
Google groups – no calendering at all.
Yahoo groups – useless calendaring. You can create an event for a group, but no ICalendar is sent to the users. There is some program you can download and install, but that too is useless: its too much effort for some people and a lot of us live in locked down workstation environments where we can’t install software for our computers.
Ning: Much like yahoo, but without email for your group.
Eventful: Can publish events, but not integrated with any useful discussion list. Web feeds don’t appear to have calendar attachments, or if they do, my aggregator doesn’t do anything with them. Not sure if events can be public or private. Clumsy interface to add events – can’t forward an event from lotus notes or outlook.
As web sites, groupware, and content management systems mature, I envision:
- An event “owner” creates an event, public or private depending on the nature of the group and publishes via vcalendar on the web or via email.
- A service like eventful would simply be an aggregator, scraping events out of atom feeds and republishing them. I think that is what upcoming is.
The providers of calendaring/groupware services and the schedulers of events need to accept most peoples “dashboard” to run their day is their PIM system: typical an email/calendar/task manager combination (web feeds still seem like “bolt-ons”). Why create on online service like yahoo groups that includes email discussion, but no useful way for participants to add events to their PIM?
Why create web sites that publish event dates and times for any event without a single click way to add to that event to a users PIM?
And why is it so hard for a user to create an event in their PIM (i.e. lotus notes or outlook) and invite other users outside a corporate firewall to the event? It is so hard I can’t ever recall someone sending me a Icalendar invite over the internet.
I think there is a big opportunity for someone to get a large piece of this right and make a pile of dough.