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caldiar

MS Outlook + Travel Alert

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Hey everyone. I'm back yet again and still working on my old game project but that's grinding to a halt as I've been asked out of the blue a peculiar request - Unfortunately I can't go into the details of what is wanted (and I feel quite silly for not giving as much info as I could since it would help you guys help me) but here's the basics: I need to make a program that checks two or more peoples' calendars in MS Outlook and compare the two with each other. I need to be able to then alert all the people involved of any possible matches with another person. Seeing as how all of my background is in game programming I thought this would be quite refreshing to try tackling. I haven't told my friend that Id make this program yet. I wanted to get a demo whipped together to show him before creating false expectations. The actual question is - what is the best way to design this? Would I want to have the program be installed on every computer that is using it or would I want the program to run on a server that then connects to the clients' outlook accounts to perform the comparision? Is there a language best suited for this kind of thing? I've only really ever used C and C++ to any extent past "Hello World". Any shoves in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

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I would assume the best language would be VB for Applications, since Office apps are often scripted with that.

I think you also need to figure out how you get access to someone else's calendar, presumably stored on a remote machine.

I expect Outlook has some functionality for this sort of thing built in, to be honest.

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You're in for a world of pain my friend. Working with Outlook means working with MAPI. MAPI is incredibly powerful and general, but it's also got an incredibly steep learning curve.

Ideally, everyone's calendars are hosted on the same Exchange Server. If so, you want to look at creating an Exchange Add-In. This is basically SQL programming in the newer versions of Exchange, and therefore pretty easy to do.

If you aren't in this utopian land, you can look at creating a custom appointment form with VB that sends appointments to a third party server, that can do the comparing and notifying. You may want to look at using MSXML2 to do AJAX like XMl posting for this. Note that as of Office 12, this requires people agreeing to use the macro pretty much constantly.

Lastly, you can look at developing a DLL add in for Outlook that does this part for you (and avoids the hassle of macro security). http://www.outlookcode.com/ is probably your best resource for this, and if you can get your hands on a book called Inside MAPI by Del la Cruz and Thaler, you'll be in pretty good shape to climb the MAPI learning curve to do what you want to do.

Good Luck!

Valere

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