Events+ : Integration of Google Calendar into Wordpress

I know this has been discussed ad-nauseum in many forums (even on Google forums), but I wanted to generate some discussion to see if there are any new ideas that I've not found yet. I literally wasted a week of development work on a BuddyPress site a couple of months back trying to integrate a BuddyPress installation with Google Calendar. It appears that you can pull a Google Calendar into your WP site, but using iCal to update a Google Calendar from your WP site is worthless as it doesn't seem to work and I read discussions over the past several years of postings that all say the same thing.

So, I'm here looking for input and discussion. I've got a very simple WP website that I built for a local Homeschool Athletic League (when I say simple, I mean free, so I put in the minimal time to make it functional). They are using Google Calendar to keep their team schedule, but didn't let me know that, so I was using the Events Manager plugin on their website (not Events+ from WPMU Dev, but the one in the WP Repository). Now that I know they are using the Google Calendar, I'm going to drop the events plugin and integrate their Google Calendar into their website.

However, of all the WP/Google Calendar plugins out there, I've tried a lot of them and found issues with each on them in the past. Before I delve into this trek again, I wanted to see if anyone on the forum had suggestions for a good WP/Google Calendar integration plugin (simple is best if at all possible).

If you want to see the very simple site as is, visit HALO.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help.

JDD

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Hey James,

    This is new to me, I never had a reason to use a Google calendar in any project, but if a client asked me about it, I would have committed to it right away. Who would have thought there wouldn't be one?

    I did a google search and found quite a lot of them, but I guess you have tried them all, so there is no point in doing that again I hope.

    Just to make sure, have you tried this one? http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-event-calendar/

    Its recently updated and the screenshots look promising.

    I think if there is absolutely nothing out there, integrating this into our Events + plugin would be a great asset.

    My $0.02

  • James Dunn

    Thanks Arun for replying.

    Yes, I've tried that one - I tried it with the BuddyPress site and the problems may have been because I was using it in a BuddyPress environment. I may give it another shot just to try.

    I think what I was trying to do in the BuddyPress situation was have it where you could put the appointment in the WP site and it reflect in the Google Calendar OR you could put it in Google Calendar and it reflect in the WP site. I think the problem was that the iCal function never updated the Google Calendar so it didn't work in that direction.

    Thanks again for replying - maybe I'm the only one on the planet that tries to use Google Calendar for clients. Anyway, have a great weekend Arun.

    JDD

  • Dean Kaus

    Hello @JamesDunn I have a similar situation I had started in the following thread. (not sure if I am pasting the thread information correctly here)

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/sports-or-team-calendar-web-theme-or-plugin-that-could-link-to-mobile-phones-in-the-event-of-last-minute-schedule-changes

    I'm actually beginning to get more requests for clients to be able to update their information from their mobile devices and have them reflected on the websites. Not sure if a straight link to their google calendar will work or not. In my case the parents want to be notified of any last minute schedule changes. In the past this had been done via text message blast to everyone, however the new person in charge doesn't follow up very well.

  • James Dunn

    Hey Dean.

    This I do know. If you can get your info to a Google Calendar, then they (the Parents, Coaches, etc.) can all subscribe (I'm not sure that's the correct term) to the Google Calendar and if things change in the Google Calendar for the sports team, it will reflect (or propagate) to all the subscribers. Also, you can set up multiple calendars and they can all feed into a master Google calendar. I was trying to do that with the BuddyPress website for the Homeowners Association I was working with, but it seems that the breakdown in the whole system is that Google Calendar can't be updated using the tools that Google says to use to update their calendar from remote applications - or at least I couldn't get it to update.

    The website I'm referencing here happens to be a sports team as well - that's pretty interesting that TWO of us are working independently on a similar situation. I'll bet if there are two of us in this, there are many more that are either not asking about it OR that are beating their own heads against the proverbial walls.

    BTW, I've been developing an SMS system for this sports team (and once it's out of BETA, I'll be expanding it for other uses), where you have a list of "reporters" (for lack of a better term at this point) that are allowed to text in (based on a list) information. Then you have a list of "subscribers" that will receive the information that is texted in as a text message to their phone. It's similar to the old Listserv deal or an email distribution list except it's done with SMS. The "reporters" are the coaches and the director.

    For example, since baseball is an outdoor sport and weather affects it, if a storm comes up and will cause a delay/cancellation of the game, the coach or the director can text "in" to a number with his message about the game details. Once the system receives it, it will text that same information "out" to all the subscribers. It will keep the coach from having to have a list of everyone's cell phone numbers and have to put all those numbers in the text message when he sends out texts. He just texts to ONE number and the system takes care of it from there. Initial BETA testing has been positive and we're about ready to move it to ALPHA with live usage.

    Let me know if this sounds like something that would be useful to you.

  • Dean Kaus

    Hey @JamesDunn Does sound interesting. Not sure how much I'll be involved next year as it always seems that one of the parents think that they can do everything for free and once they see the amount of work involved then the ball is just dropped. I was trying to get a solution that would enable another person to be involved but have everything pretty well user friendly so (as you mentioned that the coach or another person assigned) it would make it easy for them to still feel involved without totally screwing everything up. Last fall I and the team actually showed up for an away game and the location as well as the opponent had changed. The person in charge was at the right place but she couldn't figure out how to let everyone else know. She just posted it to the website 10 minutes before the game started.

    So I believe that there is a need for this. Some of the college level sports probably have something like this already however I'm sure it's well outside of my or the teams budget.

    Let me know the website your currently using this on and if you need an alpha or beta tester, or additional input let me know. You can also email me at kausphoto@gmail.com if your project isn't for the public.

    Thanks for following up.

  • James Dunn

    Hey Dean.

    Once I'm ready to proceed further, I'll contact you. Right now, it's not a public project, but it will move to that eventually.

    Right now, I have to manually enter the "reporters" and the "subscribers" into the system, but I'm working on the SMS so that subscribers can simply text in to become subscribers. For the time being, I'm reserving "reporters" as being entered by me only. Eventually, I may end up having it on a website where people have to subscribe to the website and then can be approved as reporters if that's the direction the team wants to go. But, at this point, it's SUPER SIMPLE.

    By the fall, though I will probably be running a second system that will be website based and it will be much more automated. It might even be a pay to subscribe system. I've got a local newspaper editor that is urging me to fully develop that idea and start charging for it.

    Talk to you soon, Dean.

    JDD

  • James Dunn

    Hey Arun and Dean.

    I just revisited that plugin that Arun suggested that I had tried earlier this year and tossed aside. It was updated 3/1/2012 so that was AFTER I had tried it and discarded it. I checked the changelog, but it just says "various bug fixes". Maybe the developer got it to finally work with two way updating between it and Google Calendar. If so, then it's working like I would think it should.

    To me, a one way update (only FROM Google Calendar to my WP Website) is just about as worthless as it gets. However, everything I tried back in Jan/Feb time frame didn't update the Google Calendar and I read tons of comments dating back several years saying that's always been a problem and Google has never gotten it right. Maybe now, we have a workable solutino.

    Dean, let me know what you find if you try it. If it works, I'll reengineer the site I'm working on now and may even revisit the other one to integrate it.

    Thanks.

    JDD

  • jtmsite

    +1!

    No one does BuddyPress events as well as you do, but Google does full page calendars way better -- and other plugins style Google Calendars better once in WordPress. Because Google are Google and their calendars are way more popular and those two things won't be changing. Instead of trying to make a better full page calendar display, your plugin should focus on what you do well, tying into BuddyPress member profiles, BuddyPress groups, the events management workflow via custom content types within WordPress, and so on. Let Google do compatibility with calendar data formats, let other people do the best display of Google Calendars, etc. The full page calendar built into your plugin is basic and should be there as a basic option, with Google Calendar integration encouraged as an advanced display option.

  • controlyours

    Hey there @Arun Basil Lal,

    A couple weeks ago your team (as a reply to our support question) was hinting at an updated version of this "Events+" plugin, with a couple of new things like custom taxonomy, etc. within a week or so.

    We haven't seen any new release as of yet and we'd love to be one of the first to know about it/ help test it. We have a big need for some of these changes.

    Is there anywhere we can go to see the status of your upcoming plugin/theme releases?

    As a community, I'm sure there are more people than just us that would be interested in having the inside scoop on when we can expect changes (approximate of course) and what the details of the new products are.

    Thanks!

  • Hakan

    Hi controlyours,

    Events+ V1.3 is being internally tested now and you can expect it next week, if we don't meet an issue we cannot solve easily.

    This version does not include Google Calendar integration. However, it includes "event categories", weekly calendar, event countdowns, support for blog local time settings, register from front end, Google login and some improvements in help system. These includes may slightly change, in case we have a difficulty on that part of the improvements. I mean, some features can be removed not to delay the release or some more can be added.

    Cheers
    Hakan