Time Zone Support in Teamup Calendar

See also this blog post.

When a calendar is shared by a group of people located in different regions of the world, proper handling of time zones and daylight saving times becomes very important. Teamup Calendar offers very flexible time zone support. This article explains how the time zone for a calendar is configured and includes configuration examples for three typical scenarios.

Handling time zones is tricky. Every year, many countries switch between standard time and daylight saving time, and, unfortunately, they don’t make these shifts simultaneously. Furthermore, every year, several countries decide to change their time zones or daylight savings time rules entirely. Fortunately, Teamup Calendar helps users deal with that complexity.

Teamup Calendar introduced support for time zones on December 9, 2013; all calendars created after that date support time zone conversions and automatically adjust to daylight saving time on the appropriate dates.

Configuration of time zones in Teamup calendar

When creating a new Teamup Calendar, users are required to choose a time zone. This will be the default time zone for the calendar, but can be changed later by going to Settings. Select Date & Time option and you will see Time Zone section with several options:

The default time zone can be adjusted here. Furthermore, two check boxes enable you to control how Teamup Calendar applies time zones and if calendar users are allowed to select other time zones. Enabling option 2 will automatically enable option 1.

Option 1: Show time zone

  • If this option is enabled, then Teamup Calendar displays the current time zone in the dropdown calendar menu and in the footer (see below).
  • All users (with all permissions) then have the option to change the time zone in the calendar menu or by clicking on the time zone in the footer:

If a user changes the time zone, this selection will be remembered in a browser cookie.  The time of all events displayed on the calendar, including event viewer and event editor, is always relative to the displayed time zone.  If you need to display the event time in other time zones, simply click the time zone in bottom right and change to the time zone you want.

See also the same calendar displayed in the time zone of New York and in the time zone of Tokyo.

Option 2: Enable automatic Time Zone detection

This option influences which time zone is selected by default when the calendar is loaded.

If this option is enabled, Teamup Calendar will try to detect the local time zone of the user’s location and use it as the default time zone for the calendar when the calendar is first loaded.

If this option is not enabled, the time zone specified in the Settings will be used as the default time zone for the calendar.

If a user manually selects a time zone, this has always higher priority than the detected time zone or the time zone configured in the settings.

If both options are unchecked, the calendar’s default time zone will always be used and the users will not see the time zone and have no option to change it.

Use link parameter

You can append a time zone parameter to a calendar link to force a calendar to be loaded in a specific time zone.


Uuse cases of Time Zones with Teamup calendar

Time zone support in Teamup Calendar is configurable to support different use cases:

  • Hidden time zone
  • Static time zone
  • Automatic time zone detection

Look at the following typical use cases to help you decide which configuration is right for you.

Use case 1: All users Are local

Consider the case of a small local organization managing meeting room reservations with Teamup Calendar. All calendar users are located within the same time zone. Support for the conversion of times between different time zone is not needed. To keep the calendar interface lean, all time zone-related information is hidden.

The recommended configuration looks like this:

Use Case 2: Static Time Zone

Consider a theater that uses Teamup Calendar to publish performances on the Internet. Users of this calendar may be located in different time zones. However, since one needs to travel to the theater’s location to attend a performance, it is likely that users would want to see event times in the time zone where the theater is located.

The recommended configuration looks like this:

With this configuration, by default, the calendar will always show times in the configured time zone of the theater. But, users have the option to manually select another time zone.

Use Case 3: Dynamic Time Zones

Thirdly, consider the use case of a project team spread across different continents and using Teamup Calendar to coordinate their virtual meetings using video conferencing. Obviously, in this use case, each calendar user would need to see meeting times relative to his or her time zone.

The recommended configuration looks like this:

With this configuration, Teamup Calendar will try to detect the local time zone of the user’s location and use it as the default time zone for the calendar. In addition, users always have the option to explicitly select a time zone. This is useful if the automatic detection does not return the correct or preferred time zone.