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27 September 2012

Resource Booking In Version 8 Of Calendar Browser For Outlook

Calendar Browser for Outlook bannerkalmstrom.com Business Solutions is currently developing a new version of Calendar Browser, the application for booking resources within an organization directly from the Outlook Calendar. Most important in this version is not new features but a rebuild that will make Calendar Browser a really modern product with great development possibilites. But let me start with some history:

Created twelve years ago
Peter Kalmström created the first versions of Calendar Browser  for Outlook when clients needed an efficient way to book rooms. One of them was a Swedish town and the other one was a bank, and for both Peter developed Outlook add-ons that used resource calendars. When each resource has its own calendar, you can book the resource by simply making an appointment in that calendar at the time you wish to use the resource.

Standard product for all kinds of resources
Peter was asked to develop more resource booking applications for Outlook, so he decided to make a standard product that still would be easy to customize. That became the first version of Calendar Browser, then called Outlook Calendars. This software could not only be used for rooms but for all kinds of resources that need to be booked within an organization, like cars or even people.

Used worldwide
Peter's Outlook add-on became popular, and today it is used all over the world by many kinds of companies and organizations. A lot has been changed since that first version, but the principle has stayed the same. Many features have been added, often on users request and with the help of sponsorships. Now it is time to make a profound
modernization of the coding and components.

Support for 64-bit version of Outlook 2010 and 2013
So far Calendar Browser has only worked with the 32-bit version of Outlook 2010, like most other add-ons. But the kalmstrom.com products aim higher than the average, so now we will add support for the 64-bit version also. Most people do not need the 64-bit version, but those who do should not be kept from using Calendar Browser. We will also make Calendar Browser compatible with both versions of Office 2013.

Excel reports
The current version of Calendar Browser has an integrated statistics tool, OLAP Reporting Tool for Excel, but we have discovered that this tool is seldom used. It gives good reports about how resources have been used, but many have found it a bit too complicated.

We will therefore replace the statistics tool with a number of Excel reports, similar to those that are already used for Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. Excel iconThese reports will be much easier to understand, and as all  Excel functionality may be used they will not only give useful information but will also be possible to customize. For future bookings we will keep the Overview from earlier versions.

Dropdown limitation overcome
Calendar Browser adds a dropdown for selection of project in the appointment of the resource calendar. This is a convenient way of adding a project if they are not too many, but if there are more than 100 projects the dropdown will be converted into a button. Clicking the button gives a dialog containing a list box with all the alternatives and a text box of the auto-complete type, so that selection of the desired value is easy and fast even when there are many projects.

We hope to release Calendar Browser V8 by the end of October, and I will of course come back and tell you when we do.