At times, it's often the simplest of tasks that cause web developers the biggest headaches. One of those is the simple Add to Calendar button you find on so many sites that work across key calendar programs online and via desktop applications.
In their infinite wisdom, key calendaring platforms never agreed upon a standard fo distributing event details; as a result, each major calendar has its own format. Apple and Microsoft adopted .ics files as a format… a plain text file with the details in it. Google, as an online service, utilizes its API to process event information.
What is the ICS Format
The Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification is a media type that allows users to store and exchange calendaring and scheduling data such as events, to-dos, journal entries, and free/busy information. Files formatted according to the specification usually have an extension of .ics.
AddEvent is a great little service that outputs the necessary code and files to add or subscribe to Apple Calendars, online Google calendars, Outlook, Outlook.com, and online Yahoo! calendars. AddEvent offers both online tools as well as an API to customize your Add to Calendar links and buttons however you'd like.
AddEvent Options and Tools Include
- Add to Calendar Button (for websites) – a quick and effortless way for your users to add your events to their calendars. Easy to install, language-independent, time zone, and DST compatible. Works perfectly in all modern browsers, tablets, and mobile devices.
- Subscription Calendar (multiple events) – easily add multiple events to your user's calendars by subscribing to a calendar you create. You can even make a change on your calendar, and that change will be reflected on all of your subscribers’ calendars.
- Events (for newsletters and social sharing) – enable users to add your events to their calendars no matter where they learn about them – be it newsletters, social media like Facebook or Twitter, or campaign tools like MailChimp, Marketo, or Salesforce. AddEvent's event tool makes it quick and painless for you to create an event with its own landing page which you can then share on social media, or use as a link in newsletters and campaign tools.
- Direct URL Method (and API's) – a customizable link that can be used to create an event on-the-fly, or send your users to their calendar service where they can add your event, or even attach your event to an email you send to your users.
It's a robust, simple, and useful little platform that really helps your registrants and business associates. Whether you're building out a platform and need an add-to-calendar functionality or if you're just a business distributing an event reminder for everyone, AddEvent is a great platform. They also offer:
- CalendarX – an embeddable calendar, a subscription calendar, and a data collection service all rolled into one. As an embeddable calendar, it makes your events visually friendly for your users by giving them an actual calendar to look at on your website. As a subscription calendar, it allows your users to easily add your events to their calendars and stay up-to-date on any event changes (similar to the Subscription Calendar tool, though with more options and deeper analytics).
- Analytics – Track exposures, event-adds, calendar subscribers and more. Analytics provides valuable data about your calendars and events created via the Dashboard or the Calendar & Events API.