ACS released the latest update to Facility Scheduler and AccessACS last night. Probably one of the more notable new features (for me, anyway) is the ability to publish individual calendars as well as events. This can go a long way toward a single calendar solution for ministry.
Previously, each event had a check box that allowed it to be visible “to the free world” instead of just “AccessACS members”. AccessACS would provide an HTML link to your public calendar, which you would then add to your website, link to, put into a widget, etc. All published events would be displayed via this link. This is also where Broadcast and the .mobi apps would pull their information from.
Check out Matthew Irvine’s post on Broadcast. This is hot. (While you are at it, add his feed to your list.)
If you were logged into AccessACS as a member, you could see all the events on all the calendars. Published or not.
This was good. The new segregation is great.
Let me explain:
We have five calendars: Main Church Calendar, Preschool Calendar, Elementary School Calendar, Special Events, and the Staff and Vacation Planning Calendar.
Obviously, I don’t want my vacation to be a published event on the church website for the free world to see. But it might be nice for the members to know when I am out of the office for an extended period. Previously I would just select not to publish that event. The only people who could then see it were members and only if they were logged into AccessACS. That was useful for them. For segregating viewing ability from “free world” to “members only” this worked well.
One of the drawbacks was that there was only one calendar link created by AccessACS. Which means a published event is a published event is a published event. Church, school, staff, you name it.
The new upgrade gives you the following:
1. AccessACS creates a separate HTML link for published events for every calendar.
- We still have the aggregated “Public Calendar” that includes ALL published events from ALL calendars.
- The church can now publish a cleaner public calendar as it will only have published church events.
- Elementary School can have a “Public” calendar of their own to put on their website, widget, etc as well as a “private” calendar with other events that the parents must log into AccessACS to see.
2. You can now also select which calendars are displayed within AccessACS for view by members. Note the absence of the “Staff and Vacation Planning Calendar”.
Suppose the staff has an internal calendar that we wish to limit the view to only staff members. Maybe an equipment maintenance calendar. I certainly wouldn’t want someone going up to our maintenance staff on Sunday morning and asking if he got the oil changed on the bus this week. This allows for that.
You would have to be logged into the Facility Scheduler thin client to see it. I can even drill down further and create a role that would allow certain individuals access to certain calendars only.
This enhancement is really going to be quite useful. It always seems like the simplest things have the greatest impact (think:ball point pen).
There is another enhancement just on the AccessACS side which, if it works like I think it does, will make our Volunteer Coordinator and some key Lay Leaders so happy they will be hard to live with.
Can’t wait to try it out.