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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mirapoint behaviour and your calendar migration

First, we'd like to thank the IT team at a liberal arts college in Massachusetts for making their Mirapoint system available to us for migration testing.

Now we'd like to ask some hard questions about the preferred way to migrate data INTO Mirapoint from (say) Meeting Maker or Oracle Calendar Server.

Let's take a look at a typical meeting invitation on the Guest's side. "zygf" invites "russi" to a meeting and Mirapoint puts it on russi's calendar. So far so good. From within the calendar russi now has some options (also so far so good)

He "Accepts" and the meeting remains in his calendar (I do not notice any color or state change here -- does anyone know if this is normal?).

What happens if russi DECLINES the meeting?

The short answer (and it's kind of a weird one) is that it STAYS in his calendar!
The response IS updated on the Meeting Organizer's calendar:

This brings us to our conundrum: Declining a meeting will automatically remove it from a Meeting Maker calendar, and declining will change color state on an Oracle Calendar.

So the question: Is the right thing to do to try to replicate the legacy calendar or to insert data in the New World Order of the Mirapoint system the organization is migrating into? If we delete declines meeting then users do not have the option of going back and re-accepting them. But if we KEEP the declines in the calendar we run the risk of user confusion during the crucial post-migration period.

Since we've decided we're lousy at making decisions for other people we figured we'd ask and then listen to the responses.

Other issues in the Mirapoint user interface:

  • There are no Optional Guests or CC / BCC for meetings
  • There is no "Weekend move" functionality so we would need to nail meetings / appointments to the specific date of the month
  • The "By week of month" option is in the interface limited to one instance (e.g., the SECOND Tuesday of the month) but on inserting a properly formatted VCS file we can create a "Clean Refrigerator" appointment on the FIRST and THIRD Friday of the month. Only problem arises when the owner tries to modify the series as opposed to separate instances.
  • No “Last day of the month” capability – e.g., in Meeting Maker I can have a meeting “the Nth day from the end of the month” – usually it’s the Last day – but Mirapoint has odd behavior if I try scheduling a monthly meeting on the 31st – it leaves it completely OUT of months with 30 or fewer days. This is just plain goofy.
  • Master exceptions: via EXDATE. This might cause problems with Outlook as a client to Mirapoint. It did in early Zimbra migrations – we need to investigate some more.
  • Resources: Looks like Mirapoint has just a single category “Resources” as opposed to the MM distinction of “Location” and “Resources”
  • Final note: I have to give Mirapoint kudos for their interface for calendar sharing. It's very simple and very clear (something most other vendors have not figured out how to do yet):

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