Non-Building Resource Reservations Solution

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mnmpeterson
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Non-Building Resource Reservations Solution

Postby mnmpeterson » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:01 am

Our stake has a set of canoes that can be reserved and used for church activities. With the old calendar system we set up a resource calendar so the person in charge of reserving the canoes could enter the reservations online and members could easily find out what days the canoes were available without calling the scheduler. They could also submit a reservation request online or call the scheduler to reserve them.

The new calendar system does not have "resource" calendars, only locations. It treats all locations as a physical location where an event occurs. This means if I create a location called "Stake Canoes" and enable it so members can see the days they are available, "Stake Canoes" shows up as a location for editors to chose from when creating an event. Since you would never schedule an event at "Stake Canoes" it makes no sense having the it show up in the list of locations when creating an event.

The solution was to remove all units from the list of "Units using this location" when I set up the Stake Canoes location. This prevents Stake Canoes from showing up in the list of locations when creating an event. Members can still see Stake Canoes in the list of locations and view when they are blocked or available (just like any other location).

The Stake Canoes scheduler can only Block times for the canoes instead of reserving them for a specific unit (since there are not units assigned) but that's OK since a unit isn't going to schedule an event at the canoes anyway. People will still need to contact the scheduler for the canoes so he can block the requested time in the the "location" calendar.

It's not quite as nice as the old resource calendar since members can't reserve the canoes online but at least they can see when they are reserved and see who to call or email to schedule them.

This could be a solution for reserving other resources that are not tied to a physical location such as AV equipment, canning tools, portable grills, etc.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:00 am

mnmpeterson wrote:The solution was to remove all units from the list of "Units using this location" when I set up the Stake Canoes location. This prevents Stake Canoes from showing up in the list of locations when creating an event.


Not necessarily true. It will be interesting to see if a created "location" behaves differently, but I'd test before assuming wards can't create events using it.


mnmpeterson wrote:The Stake Canoes scheduler can only Block times for the canoes instead of reserving them for a specific unit (since there are not units assigned) but that's OK since a unit isn't going to schedule an event at the canoes anyway.


We generally advise against using reservations to "book" a resource. It's too easy to have a event and a conflicting resource leading to a double-booking. Since there's a good chance that calendar editors CAN create an event for the canoes, you could run into this problem.
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:20 pm

mnmpeterson wrote:The new calendar system does not have "resource" calendars, only locations. It treats all locations as a physical location where an event occurs. This means if I create a location called "Stake Canoes" and enable it so members can see the days they are available, "Stake Canoes" shows up as a location for editors to chose from when creating an event. Since you would never schedule an event at "Stake Canoes" it makes no sense having the it show up in the list of locations when creating an event.
There may be some missing information on how the canoes are used in your post since I don't see why the canoes, as a group, cannot be treated as a location and each canoe as a room at the location. Are the canoes only used on Church property that is setup as a location?

If the canoes are property of the stake they can be scheduled the same as a projector. Some stakes may use a resources only calendar that is either public or private to schedule a projector. If you want others to be able to see the availability as well as schedule the canoes I don't see why having a location called Stake Canoes is an issue.

Using an example, this is how I see the canoes being scheduled. There is a location called Stake Canoes. There are twenty canoes listed as "Canoe 1", "Canoe 2", ... , "Canoe 20" in "Rooms and equipment at this location". The YM of Troop XYZ from Ward A want to schedule ten canoes for an activity. The event is scheduled on the Ward A YM calendar with the location as Stake Canoes and Canoe 1 through Canoe 10 selected in "Rooms and equipment at this location".

The event is scheduled using canoes. The actual location, such as Lake Coldwater, can be provided in the description of the event. Anyone else wishing to see the availability of the canoes can use the same procedure as used to determine availability of a meetinghouse location or rooms at that meetinghouse location.

With the canoes, as a group, set up as a location the building scheduler assigned to that location can create reservations just as for any other location.

The only issue I see created by this setup is scheduling an activity at a meetinghouse location along with some canoes (dry land canoe instruction). Then two events would have to be created for the same actual event. But this scenario with the canoes may be quite rare since canoes are usually used away from any stake building location.
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Postby mnmpeterson » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:55 pm

jdlessley wrote:There may be some missing information on how the canoes are used in your post since I don't see why the canoes, as a group, cannot be treated as a location and each canoe as a room at the location. Are the canoes only used on Church property that is setup as a location?

This is a set of six canoes loaded on a trailer stored at a storage facility. The canoes are not used at any particular location. It's not like we have a lake at the Stake Center and even if we did people would want to use them elsewhere.

jdlessley wrote:If the canoes are property of the stake they can be scheduled the same as a projector. Some stakes may use a resources only calendar that is either public or private to schedule a projector. If you want others to be able to see the availability as well as schedule the canoes I don't see why having a location called Stake Canoes is an issue.

So when a scout troop creates an event that takes place at Lake Pleasant, how are they supposed to set the location to "Other location" (so they can enter "Lake Pleasant" in the text box) AND select Stake Canoes as a location so they can reserve them at the same time? As far as I can tell there is no way to set an event at two locations at the same time.

jdlessley wrote:Using an example, this is how I see the canoes being scheduled. There is a location called Stake Canoes. There are twenty canoes listed as "Canoe 1", "Canoe 2", ... , "Canoe 20" in "Rooms and equipment at this location". The YM of Troop XYZ from Ward A want to schedule ten canoes for an activity. The event is scheduled on the Ward A YM calendar with the location as Stake Canoes and Canoe 1 through Canoe 10 selected in "Rooms and equipment at this location".

The event is scheduled using canoes. The actual location, such as Lake Coldwater, can be provided in the description of the event. Anyone else wishing to see the availability of the canoes can use the same procedure as used to determine availability of a meetinghouse location or rooms at that meetinghouse location.

Seems kind of hacky to me. I think putting the actual location in the location field is better than putting a non-location resource as a location just to reserve it. Having the canoes scheduler block the times in the resource calendar is much more straight forward than the above scenario.

jdlessley wrote:With the canoes, as a group, set up as a location the building scheduler assigned to that location can create reservations just as for any other location.

The problems is the scheduler for the canoes is different than the scheduler for any building. If we did set them up as a "room" of, say, the Stake Center, then event editors would have to select Stake Center and canoes. What if the group is meeting at a different building for the activity? People see Stake Center canoes in the calendar not realizing they are meeting at a different location. Even if you put the meeting place in the event description people won't see it unless they open the event details. When you click an event in the calendar it doesn't display the description just When and Where.

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Postby mnmpeterson » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:59 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Not necessarily true. It will be interesting to see if a created "location" behaves differently, but I'd test before assuming wards can't create events using it.

I tested it and it works. By not assigning any unit to the location it doesn't show up in the list of locations ... even for administrators.

RussellHltn wrote:We generally advise against using reservations to "book" a resource. It's too easy to have a event and a conflicting resource leading to a double-booking. Since there's a good chance that calendar editors CAN create an event for the canoes, you could run into this problem.

The scheduler wouldn't create a reservation. He would just Block the calendar on the day(s) they are reserved.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:39 pm

mnmpeterson wrote:The scheduler wouldn't create a reservation. He would just Block the calendar on the day(s) they are reserved.


In this case, since there doesn't seem to be a way to create an event at that "location" it may work OK. But otherwise Reservations and "Reservation:Block" is risky.

However, I'd still check from time to time to insure that the location doesn't suddenly show up in the ward or stake level. Particularly with any new releases of the calendar. You're trusting that the way it works now is the way it will always work.
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Postby mnmpeterson » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:32 pm

RussellHltn wrote:However, I'd still check from time to time to insure that the location doesn't suddenly show up in the ward or stake level. Particularly with any new releases of the calendar. You're trusting that the way it works now is the way it will always work.

Yup, you're right. I checked today after the 2.0.6 update and the location was showing up in the list. I checked the location configuration and it had the stake listed as a unit using this location. I removed it again and the location disappeared from the list. I'll have to check tomorrow to see if the stake gets added to the units using this location again.

It's not a big deal if Stake Canoes shows up in the list of locations. If somebody really wants to schedule an event at that location it's not going to hurt anything. It will just be confusing for people wanting directions to the Stake Canoes. :confused:

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:43 pm

mnmpeterson wrote:It's not a big deal if Stake Canoes shows up in the list of locations. If somebody really wants to schedule an event at that location it's not going to hurt anything. It will just be confusing for people wanting directions to the Stake Canoes. :confused:


Just as long as they don't have "Building Scheduler" rights to the "Stake Canoes". Because in that situation a "event" is allowed to override a "Reservation: Blocked" resulting in a double-booking. Note that there's a long list of "Default Admins" who can give themselves Building Scheduler rights at any time.

That's why I am opposed to using Reservation:Blocked instead of an event for booking the resource. There's almost no way to absolutely prevent that chain of events.
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Postby mnmpeterson » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:49 pm

RussellHltn wrote: Note that there's a long list of "Default Admins" who can give themselves Building Scheduler rights at any time.

You must know the 1st counselor of our Stake Presidency :):):)

Even if someone does manage to double book the canoes they still have to contact the default scheduler to arrange to get keys to the storage facility. I really don't think it's going to be a problem.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:54 pm

mnmpeterson wrote:You must know the 1st counselor of our Stake Presidency :):):)


I've been around long enough to have some knowledge of human behavior. ;)


mnmpeterson wrote:Even if someone does manage to double book the canoes they still have to contact the default scheduler to arrange to get keys to the storage facility. I really don't think it's going to be a problem.


Well, except that it means the problem will be discovered a few days before the event - but after it's already been announced the plans have been made. But, it is better then finding out THAT day.
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