Managing Internet Calendar Sharing in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (Part 2)

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Managing Internet Calendar Sharing in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (Part 1).

Intorduction

In the first article we covered all steps to enable Internet Calendar Sharing on the server side, now it’s time to see how the end-users can manage their Calendar information using the new features added to the Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1.

Let’s say that we have just added the user to the Sharing Policy and now the user can open its Outlook Web App session and click on Calendar, and then click on Share menu, as shown in Figure 01. The user will have two new useful items: Publish This Calendar to Internet and Change Publishing Setttings (are available only after enabling the feature on the user). Let’s click on Publish This Calendar to Internet…


Figure 01

In the new window called Calendar Publishing – Calendar we can define a couple of settings to publish the Calendar, as follows:

  • Publishing Detail
    We can define three different levels: Availability Only, Limited Details (which will show Appointment Subject, Date and time and also location), and Full details (which adds everything that we have in the Limited Details plus description of the appointment).
    Note:
    Bear in mind that Sharing Policy settings drive the level of Publishing Detail that the end-user can set on his own calendar. If the policy is availability only, that will be the maximum that the end-user will be able to use because Sharing Policy sets the boundaries to the end users.
  • Publish my calendar
    User can define how many months/weeks/days before and after Today that will be published. The standard is 3 months.
  • Access Level
    It will define if the URL created by the wizard will be easily searchable (Public) or hard to guess (Restricted).



After choosing the options we can click on Start Publishing (Figure 02).


Figure 02

The results can be seen in the Figure 03, the only difference is that now we have two URLs one link to subscribe to the calendar (a link to the calendar.ics file that can be consumed by any Calendar application) and the second one is to the Calendar virtual directory created during Service Pack 1 installation/upgrade process. The user can also click on Copy links to the Clipboard… to have both addresses in memory. We can stop anytime the Internet Calendar Sharing by just clicking on Stop Publishing.


Figure 03

If the mailbox user sends the link to an external user, the external user will be able to see the calendar using the link to view the calendar in a really nice way (Figure 04). Let’s analyze the Calendar view: first of all it is totally anonymous, it is also HTTP not HTTPS, there is no way to access user mailbox data or whatsoever, it’s just calendar information based on the configuration defined in the previous step.

Let’s also analyze what an Anonymous user that has the link can use of this new feature:

  • Remote user has access to the calendar using Outlook Web App experience
  • On the upper left side the name of the user will be displayed, besides of the URL informing the user name the remote user can double check there
  • On the upper right side all time range is available to the user, in the figure below the remote user won’t see any data before 11-May-2010 or after 12-November-2010
  • Remote user can change the time zone clicking on Time Zone section and it will change the appointments view to the desired Time Zone on the fly
  • Remote user can choose daily, weekly and monthly views of the calendar
  • Users can click on Subscribe and a file called calendar.ics will be available to download to use in your favorite software.
  • Remote users have the ability to print the calendar (day, week or month) just a couple of clicks away


Figure 04

If the mailbox user goes back to the Change Publish Settings… and change settings such as reduce the time range to be available or even configure the Publishing detail to Full Details all these changes will be available on the Internet view of the Shared Calendar.

If the user uses Restricted Access level a tough guess URL will be created and the user will be responsible to share the URL with his personal contacts, but if for some reason he doesn’t want to share with a specific Internet user, then the user has to stop publishing and start publishing again to recreate a new URL and then inform its contacts about the new URL.

Sharing a calendar afterwards…

The user can go back any time to the Publishing Calendar settings, clicking on Share and then Change Publishing Settings, but if the user just wants to invite a new Internet user to his calendar, he can just click on Share and then click on Send links to this calendar… as shown in figure 05.


Figure 05

The new window will be a new message that contains an invitation containing the links to view and subscribe to the user calendar (Figure 06).


Figure 06

Using Exchange Server 2010 and Windows Live Calendars…

In this section we will check both sides of the Internet Calendar sharing the subscription on Exchange side and also how an Internet Calendar service can take advantage of the published calendar on Exchange.

First, let’s start with the subscription where I’m going to use my Live Calendar (calendar.live.com) and the initial page is shown in Figure 07, and I’ve just added a couple of appointments on the calendar just to give more authenticity to our test.


Figure 07

A Live Calendar user can click on Share, and a new page will allow us to protect the calendar, just for test purposes I’m going to configure the calendar as public (I will check the option Make your calendar public) and then a link for HTML view and ICS will be available. I will be clicking on Import into another calendar application link, and the URL will be displayed in a new page, as shown in Figure 08. By the way, Live Calendar has almost the same experience of Exchange Server which makes even easier to work on both tools.


Figure 08

Let’s go back to Exchange side, opening Outlook Web App, and let’s click on Calendar item, then Share menu, and finally on Add Calendar… Let’s select Calendar from the Internet and paste the URL that we got from the previous Live Calendar page. (Figure 09)


Figure 09

The results of the operation will be a calendar with a globe icon on the left side and if it is selected the information will be displayed on the right hand side, as shown in Figure 10.


Figure 10

On the flip side, users using Windows Live Calendar can subscribe to a Calendar Published on Exchange Server 2010 just clicking on Subscribe and then they can specify the URL that was provided in the Outlook Web App, as shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11

Conclusion

In this final article we checked out how to configure the Internet Calendar Sharing on the client side of Exchange and how to integrate with an Internet Calendar Service like Windows Live.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Managing Internet Calendar Sharing in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (Part 1).

1 thought on “Managing Internet Calendar Sharing in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (Part 2)”

  1. Andrea Gaviraghi

    Hi Anderson,
    Thanks for these 2 articoles.
    I’m currently having a big issue with this.
    I have 5 Exchange 2010 SP3 CU 20, only one of these is Internet-facing. Also 5 AD Sites.
    The Internet-facing Exchange is CAS/HUB only while all the other server are CAS/HUB/MBOX.
    OWA and all other things are working fine since 5 years,no issue at all.
    ExternalURL is only populated on the Internet-facing server.

    Basically I can publish the calendar but then I get:

    400 Bad Request

    The URL generated is something like:

    http://mail.mydomain.com/owa etc…

    Mail is the DNA alias (both for internal and external DNS) of the Internet-facing Exchange server.

    If I change the URL by specifying the server where the mailbox that published the calendar resides (let’s say mail1.mydomain.com), all works as expected.

    It seems like proxying is not working well with this.

    Inalse “created” a Lab by reproducing the same infrastructure, and althe same occurs.

    Is there something missing? What can I check?

    Thanks and best regards,

    Andrea

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