Dear Palm: It's time to fix Calendar | webOS Nation

Dear Palm: It's time to fix Calendar

by Derek Kessler Tue, 20 Oct 2009 9:13 am EDT

Calendar The core functions of any Palm device have always been the PIMs: Personal Information Management. That’s your contacts, memos, tasks, and calendar. The contacts app is quite good with the Synergy unified contract, Tasks is has seen some minor improvements, while Memos feels almost toy-like. But that’s not what bothers us the most, for that you have to look at Calendar.

Don’t get us wrong, we think its great that you can pull down our calendars from Google and Exchange and show it all in one view. We like how easy it is to use, but to be frank, it’s simply too slow and too limited. What do I mean by too slow? When I swipe to a new day, it can take seconds for the gray loading overlay to disappear. That wouldn’t be so bad if I could still swipe to another day, but I have to wait for that day to load before I can move to the next. When I move to a day that has several events scheduled it takes even longer to load, which leads me to suspect that the calendar is checking for changes of for each event before letting me interact with or move on from that day.

This makes me wonder where that background multi-tasking is happening; calendar data is on the order a handful of kilobytes, couldn’t this all be synced regularly behind the scenes? Maybe it is, but then I have to wonder why I have to wait for each day to check for changes first - just start a full sync of upcoming days the instant I load the calendar.

Then there’s the month view. Why can’t I be shown the colors of what I have planned that day? It’s good to know that I have something that day and the general time of that something, but no calendar colors means that I have no indication what was scheduled for that day until I actually open that day.

The week view is a touch better, in that I can see the time that I have something scheduled and even what calendar it’s in, but if I want to see any details of that event, I have to click on that day, wait for it to load, and then find the event. In my old Palm OS calendar I could go to week view, tap on an event, and get a small pop-up window of the details of that event. There is little reason for the webOS calendar to lose functionality from the aged Palm OS calendar.

Now let’s say I want to schedule an event for Wednesday in two weeks. If I try to add the event while looking at a different day, I have to know the date that I want to put it on, since the date picker provides dates as a scrolling list of numbers. This does not work if I don’t know what date Wednesday in two weeks is. There are two options that I would consider to be a reasonable change, either add day-of-the-week abbreviations to each date (e.g. 22 H for Thursday, the 22nd) or put in a full month view so that I can easily find Wednesday in two weeks.

The last bone I’m going to pick today with Calendar is the lack of an Agenda view. For as web-connected as webOS is supposed to be, an agenda view for Calendar seems like it should be a no-brainer. Again, this is another old Palm OS calendar feature that seems silly to have been omitted from webOS. But it can go a step beyond the old Agenda view and give us options to view current weather, stock market updates, news headlines, and more, along with a list of my upcoming appointments.

I’d also love to see an agenda view with the ability to display upcoming/past due entries from Tasks, but I know that the Mojo SDK is currently limited in such a way that I can’t pull data from apps - only add data, so that can wait. Oh, and maybe you could update the SDK so that apps can query data from other databases. That would allow, for example, an app like Fandango to check my calendar for conflicts before letting me purchase a movie ticket, and then it can add the movie time to my calendar like it does now.

So, of all the core PIM apps, Calendar is the one in the most need of work  to regain lost functionality. You’ve read my desires for an improved Calendar app; how do you want to see Calendar improved?