Building a Mixed-in Container Calendar in 25Live Publisher

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These articles have been prepared for schools using 25Live Pro and 25Live Publisher.

What is a Mixed-In Calendar?

Very simply, a mixed-in calendar is a calendar in which two or more calendars have been mixed together to create a more comprehensive calendar.  So, for instance, you might have a Major Events Calendar, a Student Life Calendar, and an Athletics Calendar.  Each of those calendars is hosted on its own web page on your campus website.  However, you want to create a more comprehensive calendar that contains the events on all three of those calendars.  Then, one option is to create a mixed-in calendar mixing the three calendar feeds together to create a more holistic calendar.  You could choose to mix two of the calendars into one of the other calendars.  Or, you could choose to create an empty container calendar to mix all the calendars together.  Mixed-in calendar feeds are considered siblings, or equals, so on the calendar list control they will all output aligned flush left.


Mixed-in Calendars and Duplicated Events

One issue you will likely encounter with mixed-in calendars is duplicated events.  Think of the example above with three calendars being mixed together.  The potential is present for the same event to occur on all three individual calendars.  Thus, when you mix them together, your new mixed-in calendar will actually contain some events in triplicate.  For this reason, you must plan your mixed-in calendar very carefully and monitor them.  You will also need to educate your users that to get their event on the comprehensive mixed-in calendar they only need to send their event to the primary calendar of their choice and the mix-in process will take care of getting it on the comprehensive calendar.

A Best Practices Approach to Building Mixed-in Calendars

A best practice for building mixed-in calendars is to begin by creating an empty container calendar in 25Live Publisher.  In so doing, the mix-ins are being added to this empty container keeping your original calendar feeds that may need to be operating on web pages as stand-alone calendars free of extraneous events.  And, you may then choose to hide this container calendar from the calendar list control so that visitors are not confused when they attempt to use the control.

Building an Empty Container Calendar in 25Live Publisher

To build an empty container calendar in 25Live Publisher:

  1. Locate the Tasks options and click Create Calendar.
  2. The Create a New Calendar window will open where you will build the container calendar for your mix-ins.  The settings for this new calendar are contained in seven groups:  Calendar Name, Event Templates, Relationship to Other Calendars, Mix In To Publications, Enabled Features, Default Event Settings, and Display Options.
    1. The Calendar Name group contains two settings:  Calendar name and Web name.
      1. The Calendar name field should contain the name you want to give to your new mixed-in container calendar.  This is a required field.  So, for instance, let's say this calendar will be the container for your campus master calendar, you might name it, Campus Master Calendar.
      2. The Web name field should contain the web name which is used by the spud code when you Publish the calendar.  It is optional at this point but if you do not enter it now, it will be created for you when you publish this container calendar.  It is a best practice to go ahead and enter your preferred web name for this calendar.  It is best to use the following naming convention similar to this:  Your database instance name-campus-master-calendar, where you would replace Your database instance name with the name of your 25Live instance.  This identifies this calendar as part of your calendar feeds.

    2. The Event Templates group contains options for Available templates and Default template.  Remember that in the case of event templates they are created in Publisher as your events cross from 25Live to Publisher via the feed.  So, each event type becomes its own event template.
      1. The Available templates setting would be used if you were able to create events in 25Live Publisher for this container calendar.  Since all events must flow from 25Live Pro to 25Live Publisher, you may leave this setting to its default.  Only events and their associated event types will have templates.  And since this is a mixed-in calendar container, it will contain no events of its own.
      2. The Default template can be selected from any event template currently available in Publisher.  However, since you will not be creating events on this calendar, you may simply accept the default setting of Standard Event.

    3. The Relationship To Other Calendars group contains settings denoting whether this calendar is a top-level calendar or a sub-calendar.  For a container for mix-ins we will essentially cancel out the top-level/sub-calendar relationship and turn it into a sibling calendar of the mix-ins.
      1. The Top-level calendar setting controls whether or not this container calendar will be treated as a top-level calendar.  We could indeed build our mixed-in in that fashion but it really is not a top-level calendar in all reality.  It is only a container for other calendar's events.  As such, set the Top-level calendar setting to No, make this a sub-calendar.  This will open up the Sub-calendar of setting for your next step.
      2. The Sub-calendar of setting is defaulted to None - This is a top-level calendar.  In this instance, we want to accept the default.  By first saying it is not a top-level calendar and then treating as if it is, we turn it into a sibling of all of its coming mix-ins.
    4. The Mix In to Publications group contains a list of all your current calendar publications.  You could choose to mix-in the calendars that will be on this container at this time or you may wait until you Publish the container calendar.  As a best practice, it is better to perform your mix-in operations during the Publish Settings phase.
    5. The Enabled Features group contains only one setting:  Allow event registration.  Since the event registration module is not turned on in 25Live Publisher, change the response to No for this container calendar.
    6. The Default Event Settings group contains settings controlling both event registration and event creation in 25Live Publisher.  Since you cannot create events for this calendar in 25Live Publisher, you may simply accept all the default settings.
    7. The Display Options group contains a number of important settings for your calendar.
      1. The Time zone setting controls the time zone used for events on your calendar.  You should go ahead and set the time zone to whichever time zone your campus resides in.  Multi-campus implementations my need to create separate container calendars for events making use of different time zones if they have campuses in multiple time zones.
      2. The Week display settings determines what day of the week on which the calendar entries will begin.  Since users are accustomed to calendars beginning each week on Sunday, it is a best practice to leave this setting to its default value.
      3. The Day display starts setting determines when events for each day will appear on the calendar.  Set the earliest hour you want events to be displayed.  For instance, if you have events that start at 6:00 AM, you will want to alter the default value.  You may also simply accept the defaults and revise this later when you publish the container calendar.
      4. The Day display ends setting determines when events for each day will stop appearing on the calendar.  So, events after 11 PM would not display on this calendar.  Again, you may simply accept the defaults and revise as needed when you publish the container calendar.
  3. When you are satisfied with all of your choices, click the OK button to create your new empty container calendar.
  4. 25Live Publisher will return you to the main window with your new container selected.  You will see that there are no events to display.  Remember, this is a container, there will never be any events on this calendar because it is not attached to a 25Live event feed.

Publishing the Container Calendar

After you have created your new empty container calendar, you are ready to begin the work of publishing that calendar.  At this point, your calendar will only contain default styles.  You will use another calendar or a calendar stylesheet to deal with setting the styles for this new calendar.

With the calendar selected in 25Live Publisher:

  1. Click the Publish Settings link to begin the process of publication.
  2. The Publish Settings will open labeled with the name of your calendar.  In this example, the container was called Sample Container Calendar, so the window is the Publish Sample Container Calendar.  The settings for publication are arranged in six groups:  Default Calendar View, Publish Settings, Mix-In Events From These Calendars, Search, Display Options, and Email Settings.
  3. At this point, accept all of the defaults and click the Publish button.
  4. You will return to the Publishing Control Panel for your calendar where you need to locate the Copy All Publish and Spuds Settings From drop-down menu.
  5. From the menu, locate either your calendar stylesheet (if you have created one) or a calendar that contains the styling you want to apply to this new calendar.
  6. Once you click on a calendar or a stylesheet, you will receive an Are you sure message.  Click OK.
  7. The styling and basic publish settings will be copied from your selected calendar and stylesheet and applied to this calendar.  Your next step is to review the Publish Settings.  Click the Edit Publish Settings button.
  8. In Edit Publish Settings, you will need to review a number of fields.
    1. Make sure that the Access Type is set appropriately.  Most calendars should be set to Public.
    2. Check the Display unpublished fields and place a checkmark in the checkbox for any fields you actually want to appear on event details for this calendar.
    3. Make sure that the Featured event field is populated with your Featured Events custom attribute.
    4. Place a checkmark in the box beside the calendar feeds you want to mix-in to this container calendar.

      Building a Mixed-in Calendar in Stages

      Since mixed-in calendars can introduce duplicate events, it is a better practice to gradually build your mixed-in calendar so that you can preview and monitor what is happening as you add each feed.  Instead of placing a checkmark in each calendar that you want to add to the container all at once, place only two check-marks to begin with and then after you preview to ensure that their are no duplicated events then add one feed at a time previewing in between to ensure that you know exactly which feed contains events that are duplicating on the calendar.  Building your mixed-in calendar in this fashion lets you know exactly which feed has events that are being collected by two event searches.

    5. Review the Search group of settings to ensure that a public-facing calendar is Searchable and that it contains Search keywords, and City and region information.
      Search keywords should be words that will be appearing in the event title or event description of the events being mixed-in to the calendar.  You might also add search terms that you think potential visitors would use in searching the calendar.  Having appropriate search keywords will raise the relevance of your events to the search engine spiders and raise their prominence in web searches.

      Currently, you may leave the Include event schema setting to No as this functionality is not currently enabled for 25Live Publisher.

    6. Check your Display Options to ensure that the appropriate Time zone has been set and that the week and day display settings are appropriately set for this calendar.
    7. Make sure that the Email Settings are set to allow Email subscriptions and Forward replies.
    8. Click the OK button to commit your changes.  If you take the approach outlined in the info note above about building mixed-in calendars progressively you will need to come in and out of Edit Publish Settings multiple times so that you can preview the effects of adding a feed to the calendar container.
  9. Your published calendar is now styled and ready for additional work.  Depending on how your stylesheet is structured, you may have to modify calendar spud settings, control settings, or promotion spud settings.  Additionally, if you are using the Calendar List Control you will likely want to hide the mixed-in container from the drop down list.  You can accomplish this by visiting the Control Spuds tab, locating the Calendar List control and set the General Settings → Include publication to No.