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Outlook 2003 Internet Free/busy Schedule Publishing


sgmc
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Hi!

 

Seems like outlook 2003 lets you publish your calendar's free/busy information on an ftp server (or even an http URL) where others can then access the information and schedule accordingly. We're a small firm without an exchange server (or any other server for that matter) but still need to coordinate our schedules.

 

Here's Microsoft's help site about this: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistan...1959481033.aspx

Please take a look at MS's site to see what I'm talking about.

 

Of course it doesn't tell me what the ftp link is supposed to look like if I use our TCH (shared) server, so I have a ton of questions:

Anybody know what the link would look like?

Where the username/password is entered?

Which folder is used?

Do I use the public_ftp folder? How public is that folder really?

How do I set access to the folder?

 

A thorough treatise of the subject from TCH would be awesome. Something like a "How to set up Outlook 2003 Internet Free/Busy Schedule Publishing on your TCH Server". I couldn't find it by searching the forums.

 

Thanx!

Michael

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Michael, sorry but this is not going to work the way you are thinking it will work. Those features are for a "LAN" or a "Local Area Network" that are setup in Businesses. This also uses an Exchange Server which is Windows or NT based. Since TCH mainly uses UNIX boxes this will not be possible.

 

To reach the TCH servers you are using a "WAN" (Wide Area Network) and this is not advisable for security reasons to place your company's schedules or private information for the world to see or modify for you.

 

Now there are places that offer similar types of services but I don't have them handy at the moment. I think Yahoo or Google may have something you could use but wait till someone else jumps in with this information.

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Thanks for the quick reply madman. I thought as well that you'd need an exchange server, but outlook 2003 will allow internet publishing:

 

----Quote from MS help site (see link in first post)---

For organizations that do not use Exchange Server

If your organization is not using Exchange Server, you need to set up your computer so that Outlook 2003 can access users' schedules. Before you can access your team members' schedules or allow them to access yours, all team members need to publish their free/busy information and set their free/busy search locations.

[...]

Free/busy status information can be stored on a local server on the LAN or on a remote server by using a file path, FTP, or HTTP.

[...]

If team members are located outside your network, everyone can publish their free/busy information to an FTP or HTTP server. Or you can use a combination of the two publishing methods if needed.

----end Quote---

 

So, I think it is possible without Exchange server. Leaves the question of security, where setting ftp access hopefully comes in. Here's an example link they use, and I hope to find something like this for TCH that works... ftp://myName:myPassword@ftp.tailspintoys....ules/%name%.vfb

 

I tried to set up ftp accounts in panel, but the accounts appeared under the public_html folder. I can't find info on this ftp stuff at TCH. I'm not a complete newb to ftp either, I've been using an ftp client for years to upload websites (although I let FrontPage 2003 do it now).

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I didn't see that part about the remote server so it maybe possible.

 

I can't find info on this ftp stuff at TCH.

 

Go into cpanel and select the FTP Manager Icon and then select FTP accounts and setup your accounts from there. You may want to create a subdomain for the calander and then only allow these accounts access to that subdomain.

Edited by Madmanmcp
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Hi Michael,

 

Yes, it will work what you want to do (I have done this before), but not in one step.

When you go to Outlook 2003, Calendar, File, Save as Web Page, in the 'Calendar Title' box, put what you want to show up on the page headers, such as "Joes Big Company".

Then, in the file name box, save it somewhere on your computer, such as 'My Docs/joes_big_company _calendar'.

It will then create a bunch of HTML files, and navigation buttons and a css sheet. Of course in the dialoge box, enter the date range(s) you want to include in the calendar.

Next, you need to FTP this folder with all the calendar data, to your TCH server. Just drag the whole 'joes_big_company _calendar' folder to your 'public_html' folder.

Then, to access it via the internet, go to www.mydomain.comm/joes_big_company_calendar.

So you will have to go through this same process, when ever you update the Outlook 2003 calendar on your computer. It's not a perfect solution, but it's free and pretty simple. I wish they had the same feature for Outlook contacts.

 

HTH, Tom

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Well I'm sorry Michael,

 

I just looked further into what you are doing, and now understand you are doing just free/busy time, not your whole calendar. But this gives me something new to look into, I didn't know existed :group:

 

Good Day, Tom

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Thanx for all the help!

 

I'm telling you guys, it sure sounds like you can actually use a remote server and it will automatically check availability of team members.

 

If you have outlook 2003, pull up a contact and look at the bottom of the details tab. You'll see an "Internet Free/Busy" heading with a box to enter the address of where that person will post his/her schedule.

So when you try to schedule that contact into a meeting, it will look up his/her availability.

 

I'm gonna figure this out, even if it takes me ALL day. If we can figure this out we can post a clean thread and be the hero's for the day :group:

 

The most help I need is with the ftp-ing. I've got ftp accounts set up (I even have one for a sub domain). I can kind of access them through my browser like this: ftp://[ftpacctname]@[myurl.com], but it will pop up a login box saying the username/password don't really work, so I type in username and password and I have access through my browser.

 

Is there a link that would transmit username AND password so when I type that into my browser I will get instant access to my ftp folder without a login box popping up? Microsoft's page shows it like this: ...ftp://myName:myPassword@ftp.tailspintoys.com/schedules... but that doesn't seem to work with TCH.

Edited by sgmc
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BREAKTHROUGH!!! :group:

 

Found a post by TCH-Rick: http://www.totalchoicehosting.com/forums/i...ost&p=45858

 

The ftp link format I was looking for looks like this:

...ftp://username%40domain.com:password@ftp.domain.com...

 

You can use this link in a browser and access an ftp folder DIRECTLY without login box!!!

 

Now let's see how that'll work with outlook...

 

...hmmm... Outlook is still not writing the free/busy information to the ftp folder

Edited by sgmc
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SUCCESS!!!

 

I have posted my free/busy information to my website :group:

 

 

But I had to use the main ftp account...

...ftp://[tchmainacct]:[tchpassord]@[myurl.com]/schedule/%name%.vfb...

 

... had to set up the schedule folder beforehand. But since it's not within the public_html folder it should even be a little more secure.

 

... %name% is a placeholder where outlook fills in the first part of your email address.

 

I've got a nice little vcalendar/vfb file sitting in that folder now, which u can send to notepad and then looks like this:

 

BEGIN:VCALENDAR

PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 11.0 MIMEDIR//EN

VERSION:2.0

METHOD:PUBLISH

BEGIN:VFREEBUSY

ORGANIZER: [clipped my email here]

DTSTAMP:20060629T153018Z

DTSTART:20060601T040000Z

DTEND:20060801T040000Z

FREEBUSY:20060601T133000Z/20060601T143000Z

FREEBUSY:20060601T163000Z/20060601T183000Z

FREEBUSY:20060602T140000Z/20060602T170000Z

FREEBUSY:20060603T120000Z/20060603T123000Z

[clipped a bunch of entries here]

FREEBUSY:20060603T150000Z/20060603T200000Z

FREEBUSY:20060604T130000Z/20060604T133000Z

FREEBUSY:20060605T170000Z/20060605T190000Z

FREEBUSY:20060605T230000Z/20060606T000000Z

END:VFREEBUSY

END:VCALENDAR

 

... so it's not much personal information sitting out there except for your email address.

 

 

... now if you excuse me so I can pat myself on my shoulder. :dance:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I found this in the Outlook 2003 help manual:

 

Publish your free and busy times for others to see

Show All

Hide All

For people who don't have access to your Outlook calendar, you can publish the times that you are already booked and the times that you are still available to a shared Internet or intranet location. (If you're a Microsoft Exchange user, others in your organization can see your free/busy times (free/busy time: In Calendar, time status and user defined labels are indicated by colors and patterns.) by default when they schedule a meeting with you.)

 

Regardless of how you publish your free/busy times, you can change how often Microsoft Outlook publishes this information and for what period of time.

 

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click Calendar Options.

Click Free/Busy Options.

To specify how often Microsoft Outlook automatically updates your free/busy information on your Exchange server or one of the servers used in the situations described below, enter a number in the Update free/busy information on the server every x minutes box.

To specify how many months of free/busy data is available on the server, enter a number in the Publish x month(s) of Calendar free/busy information on the server box. You can publish up to 36 months of free/busy schedule information.

 

To publish your free/busy times to the Internet or Intranet, do the following:

 

In the Publish at my location box, type the name of the server where your free/busy information is stored.

 

Notes

 

The name you specify, such as file://computername/public/name.vfb, can include FTP, HTTP, or file URLs.

Anyone who you give the location to or who acquires it through other means can access your free/busy times.

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  • 9 months later...

Similiar to this thread, I am trying to get my family's Outlook 2003 SP2 individual's free/busy times shared with others. We don't have an Exchange server and really don't want to get one. The 3rd party Outlook connector for Google calendar's is a user-initiated synch - not automatic - so that is not very desirable. So back to see if I could leverage my local network shares.

 

We each have our own PC (and own copy of Outlook running) and have a central file server at home. I have tried to, under Outlook's Free/Busy Options panel, to publish my F/B (free/busy) data. It seems to get out there just fine. The path I have specified is:

file://Server1/data/FreeBusy/drew.vfb

 

I also setup a search location (in the same panel) to point to the same place. The dirctory for search is:

file://Server1/data/FreeBusy - I have also tried with a trailing / on the directory.

 

Trouble is that even though I also have other F/B data files out there, Outlook does not find it. I get the little popup saying Outlook has successfully saved my F/B data when I manually initiate a synch. But when I schedule a meeting, I get "No Information, No free/busy informaiton can be retrieved." for the remote users.

 

Does anyone have and pointers on what I am doing wrong? I also tried with my network FTP site using the ftp://username:password@hostname syntax but that got too complex and didn't work anyway.

 

Many thanks in advance.

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  • 2 months later...

Ahwii,

I am having the exact same problem. Did you ever find a solution here??

 

Everything appears to be configured correctly and the .vbf file is publishing to my FTP site just fine, but I see the same "No Information" message that you see when I try to schedule a meeting with the contact. I have put the FTP address into the Contacts Details > Internet Free/Busy field, so it should be looking there for info.

 

Thanks for any help,

bgr

 

Similiar to this thread, I am trying to get my family's Outlook 2003 SP2 individual's free/busy times shared with others. We don't have an Exchange server and really don't want to get one. The 3rd party Outlook connector for Google calendar's is a user-initiated synch - not automatic - so that is not very desirable. So back to see if I could leverage my local network shares.

 

We each have our own PC (and own copy of Outlook running) and have a central file server at home. I have tried to, under Outlook's Free/Busy Options panel, to publish my F/B (free/busy) data. It seems to get out there just fine. The path I have specified is:

file://Server1/data/FreeBusy/drew.vfb

 

I also setup a search location (in the same panel) to point to the same place. The dirctory for search is:

file://Server1/data/FreeBusy - I have also tried with a trailing / on the directory.

 

Trouble is that even though I also have other F/B data files out there, Outlook does not find it. I get the little popup saying Outlook has successfully saved my F/B data when I manually initiate a synch. But when I schedule a meeting, I get "No Information, No free/busy informaiton can be retrieved." for the remote users.

 

Does anyone have and pointers on what I am doing wrong? I also tried with my network FTP site using the ftp://username:password@hostname syntax but that got too complex and didn't work anyway.

 

Many thanks in advance.

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