Rather infrequently I come across end users who complain they have lost some entries from their Calendars in GroupWise.
This in mildly irritating, as often the user may not know when, or if it was deleted by someone else. Searching the users GroupWise usually proves fruitless. A restore is usually in order.
I got thinking "Why can't you back up your Calendar?".
Well in GroupWise 7 you can. I have advised users, usually Personal Assistants that they can export their bosses Calendars and put them somewhere safe, and they at least serve as a useful interim until we can get a fully working Calendar back, or they have some form of reference to keep them going.
But it was when I was playing around with Calendars that I hit on an idea.
In my work environment, people use Calendars in different ways. My department usually has shared Calendars, this is useful for booking jobs for Technicians to go on site and fix things. We also share them so we know who is where and when. We also book our holidays in there, this means a job isn't allocated to someone if they are on vacation. It is our job to fill this in. Frequent appointments can be placed to fill in general things – e.g. team meetings.
A common problem is when people book their holidays. In the UK we have statutory days off – or public holidays. It is not unknown for staff to book a week off work (on their paper form), but not realise that it is a public holiday. This is soon fixed, however I thought, why not have a flag or entry in GroupWise that can tell you automatically when you book your holiday in there of an impending public holiday? I thought this could also apply to end of month pay dates, as not every organisation gets paid on the same date every month.
The solution therefore is to create a Calendar template. Entering all the dates, then exporting this out and placing somewhere accessible to staff – e.g. an internal Intranet or help page.
For the lucky soul placed in charge of doing this task may already have a Calendar full of personal information, an easy solution would be to either have a generic account with this information, and this is shared by the Post Office. This means no one can change anything (perhaps the easiest solution – this has only really occurred to me). Or my method is this:
You can create a blank Calendar from an existing Calendar.
In GroupWise click on your Calendar, then right-click on Calendar on the pane.
Save the filename as any name applicable, I'm using MyCalendar.ics as an example here, but ensure it is with the .ics extension, and it is saved as All Files (*.*).
This may take some time due to the size.
Now in Windows Explorer, browse to the location of MyCalendar.ics. Click on this, and "Select the program from a list. Select Notepad, and untick "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
In Notepad the file will contain lots of data, but what we need to do is to remove this data and to leave the headers and footer information.
The beginning of the data starts after BEGIN:VEVENT, and finishes before END:VEVENT
If you delete the text in the middle you should get something like this:
PRODID:-//Novell Inc//Groupwise 7.0.2 HP
Save this file as a name with the .ics extension.
To re-import the Calendar, in GroupWise click on your Calendar, then right-click on Calendar on the pane.
Then select "Import Calendar".
From here you can change the name of the calendar, and the colour. You can turn off the calendar by using the tick box, or you can view both together.
Now you have a blank Calendar to work with, you can enter your own dates, for example all Public Holidays, School Holidays, pay dates etc. By then exporting this, other people can import and tick the box to transpose the details over their own Calendar.
This Calendar can be unticked or deleted when not required, renamed or exported again.
You can have multiple calendars as well.
To create your own personal entries that are not viewable to others (for example you may want to put in personal appointments), provided you started with a blank – then this will make the process faster and easier.
For the appointment created, right-click and select "Mark as Private". By activating all Calendar entries you can see all appointments and see what conflicts if any arise.
You may ask – why not add in the private appointments into your main calendar and mark as private?
If you create your own Calendar it is separate from the others, and easier to de-select, it is easier to export or remove totally if you wish.
A useful application I found for exporting Calendars was a staff member was working on a major building project. The loss of his GroupWise account (when he left) would have had an impact on his new role as the data in the Calendar was of use, re-entering would have been time consuming. However his new employers also use GroupWise. The system is not picky on the owner of exported GroupWise Calendars, so he was able to import this into his mailbox and retain his information.
There may be other uses for exporting and importing Calendars, but for a periodic export, it is helpful for Directors to have a backup of some description they can rely on in the event of Mailbox problems. The only issue I have found is the imported calendar cannot be merged into an actual calendar – if it was possible to do this – then that really would be useful.
Hope this helps.