|Java Time: Timecruiser’s Java applet provides a fully functional calendar.|
Timecruiser 2.0 $50/user
Timecruiser Computing Corporation
If you’re a system administrator looking to implement a centralized company-wide calendaring system, but don’t want to go the Microsoft Exchange route, check out Timecruiser Computer Corp.’s Timecruiser 2.0. It’s a Java-based multi-platform calendar system that works with any Java-enabled browser. It works equally well on an intranet or over the Internet, providing mobile professionals with sharable calendars. Timecruiser sports both an HTML and a Java interface so your users can access their calendars from any computer.
Timecruiser’s Java interface is the most impressive part of the package. It provides access to all scheduling aspects of the product including the addition and viewing of capplets, Timecruiser’s encapsulated Java applets. Capplets can be attached to any scheduled event, such as a meeting, and they can include items like URL links or animated graphics. A programming interface is provided so that you can write capplets of your own.
The HTML interface uses tables to present calendars. It’s a bit more cumbersome than the Java interface, but it gets the job done. You can use Timecruiser to post public calendars on your intranet — an ideal public Web-based bulletin board. There’s a nice “What’s Happening” view that shows users an organized collection of today’s and tomorrow’s events.
Timecruiser calendars support the same features that come in most commercial calendar packages. Individual calendars can be mixed into a hierarchical calendar for both viewing and editing. This allows a manager to view the company, group, and personal calendars at the same time while scheduling meetings in the group calendar. Events can be scheduled by time, by day, and by task. The Java interface nicely pre-sents all of this information in a more compact fashion than the HTML interface.
On the client side, it’s easy to get users up and running with Timecruiser. You simply need Netscape Navigator 4.5 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher. Then, just visit the Timecruiser page to start the process. Java applets are downloaded automatically.
Server setup is a bit more complicated. System requirements include a Pentium II processor, 64 MB RAM, Apache, Sun’s JServ Java Server and Java Servlet JSDK 2.0, and about 100 MB of hard-disk space. The installation program does a good job of adding all the hooks into the Web server and Java server. Runtime SQL services are provided with Timecruiser, but using third-party SQL services allows backup and support to be done as part of a site’s overall database-management tasks. We successfully set up Timecruiser on TurboLinux 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 6.1.
We utilized Timecruiser’s built-in SQL database services, usable by almost any SQL server. The database can even be maintained on another PC. Performance was surprisingly good, and even a Pentium II was able to serve up dozens of calendars without delay.
Timecruiser doesn’t support Internet mail services or synchronization with other commercial calendars like Microsoft Outlook. And you can’t sync it up with your Palm PDA either. The folks at Timecruiser say these enhancements are planned for the next release of the product, due sometime in the first quarter of this year. Resource scheduling is another important feature that is expected in the next version.
Pricing is a bit unusual, but it’s equitably done. A license is for either a user or a calendar. Buy 50 licenses and you can have 50 calendars with an unlimited number of users, or 50 users with an unlimited number of calendars. All told, Timecruiser is a good choice for client/server-based calendars for Linux clients and servers and in heterogeneous environments.
* Works with any browser
* Flexible licensing
* No synchronization with Palm or commercial calendars
* No resource scheduling
William Wong is a network consultant and former director of PC Labs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.