Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, words and deeds

Windows Phone 7’s calendar application needs to become a hub

with 9 comments

On 26th October 2010 I published a blog post entitled Windows Phone 7 needs a location hub where I opined that the current Bing Maps application on Windows Phone 7 is rather limited because apps cannot publish their own data into it. I said then:

In this scenario apps would be able to publish information that is relevant to the user’s current location into this Location hub in much the same way that (e.g.) the SmugMug app currently publishes photos into the pictures hub.

Today I’m making a similar assertion – the calendar application also needs to be opened up as a hub so that other applications can publish their wares into it.

To illustrate how useful this would be imagine if the Facebook app could publish the events that you have agreed to attend into the calendar – your friends’ birthday events from Facebook could appear in the calendar app alongside your own personal appointments. Moreover, the Facebook app could show you the events that you are invited to and check your personal calendar to see whether you’re free to attend them or not.

Here’s another “for instance”. I use an app called “My Trips” which shows me my itineraries from TripIt.com. Giving “My Trips” the ability to publish into my calendar would be much more useful because I can see those itineraries alongside everything else that I have in my calendar.

Its a simple idea but one which I really hope comes to fruition because it would make the phone a lot more useful. Locking data inside apps a la the iPhone is something that Microsoft have stated they want to get away from by providing hubs – why should our calendars not receive a similar leg up?

@Jamiet 

P.S. This idea would also jive rather sweetly with my belief that apps would be a great way of bringing iCalendar to the masses. Read more at More thoughts on iCalendar – how apps may help increase adoption

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Written by Jamiet

February 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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9 Responses

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jamie Thomson and Scott Lovegrove, Luca Di Fino. Luca Di Fino said: RT @jamiet: [blog post] #WP7's calendar app needs to be a hub http://bit.ly/hC1asq (cc: @edbott @judell) (Yes, I'm banging on about cal … [...]

  2. I think a dedicated hub may be overkill.
    There needs to be programmatic access to the calender – and as this is a highly requested feature is probably likely to come in the future.

    Hubs are somewhat of a silo. They can be considered as a collection of apps AND related data. If there was a calendar hub then loads of apps could, in theory, be grouped here also.

    I’m waiting to see what happens with a calendar API…

    Matt Lacey

    February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    • Hi Matt,
      Interesting point of view. I tend to think of apps as data silos and hubs are the things that “free” those silos. (Actually I consider the whole phone to be a data silo and I have some thoughts about how that could be solved too – expect a blog post on that in the near future)

      We’re agreed on one thing anyway – there definitely needs to be a Calendar API. In fact, this post was initially going to be titled “Windows Phone 7 needs a calendar API”.

      Thanks for the comment.
      JT

      Jamiet

      February 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm

  3. Jamie,

    Thanks for the post and Matt’s comments. We agree that there is a gap in a single view of event data across all platforms – way too many silos of event data. And every day it seems like someone is pushing out a new view of event data; Facebook, Google Calendars, iCal feeds, birthday calendars, sports schedules, school schedules, etc.

    This was the idea behind Bievo (myBievo.com or the blog site Bievo.wordpress.com) – a family calendar aggregator that would allow people and organizations to push or pull events into a single view of their life.

    Michael

    Michael Ensley

    February 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm

  4. A hub would be nice but the whole Windows Live Calendar has always needed fundamental work as was evident with Windows Live Mail. It needs to support mulitple calendars on the phone, or even better when trying to import another calendar not force it to be a seperate calendar which is then not seamless to access.

    The “To-Do” section to be expanded finally would be great also but I am guessing that won’t happen as it would conflict with the numerous to-do apps in the App marketplace .

    jkavanagh58

    February 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    • Hi John,
      Just to clarify. You say

      “[Windows Live Calendar] needs to support mulitple calendars on the phone”

      but the fact that you can’t see all your calendars from WL Calendar on the phone is not a limitation of WL Calendar – its a limitation of the phone.

      Jamie Thomson

      February 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

  5. I think there are a couple of similarities with ElmCity and with Bievo, but probably more separates them. Instead of creating hubs of like minded calendars in a single view where the content is the center point, Bievo creates a single view with the user as the center point.

    Perhaps most importantly Bievo is a tool that will help people easily keep all of their calendars in sync. If I enter an event into Outlook, a Blackberry, a Google Calendar, an iTouch, or the MyBievo webpage (etc) Bievo will help keep all of my devices in sync with each other. It is also built with the not-so-technically savvy in mind. If I am a member of an organization, they can push events into my calendar for me. Let’s say my kids play on a number of teams across a number of sports, each organization can push events directly to my calendar. I don’t need to go find the iCal feed for each team, nor need to delete it once the season is over.

    Bievo is also a centralized database for all events as well as an event creator. Not only can you link content via an iCal feed, you can also import the data from a CSV. It could do exactly what the hub does with the Community Calendar functionality.

    Michael

    Michael Ensley

    February 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

  6. [...] in Mango however, disappointingly, it is read-only which means that the scenarios I envisaged in Windows Phone 7’s calendar application needs to become a hub are not yet possible. Having said that with the deep integration of Facebook you *can* view your [...]


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