-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [MRBS-general] Behaviour of repeating bookings
From: "Campbell Morrison" <mail <at> campbellmorrison.co.uk>
Date: Sun, November 01, 2009 6:39 am
To: "'General purpose list (support/developers/users)'"
<mrbs-general <at> lists.sourceforge.net>
I've been looking at the behaviour of repeating bookings in MRBS. Some of
the repeat types have what might, to the new user, be slightly unexpected
behaviour and I am proposing making some changes and would welcome input
from the list.
These bookings allow you to make a regular booking on the same date each
month. For example you can make a booking on the 15th of every month for
the next year. The problem comes when you try to make bookings on the
29th, 30th or 31st of a month, because not all months have those dates.
At the moment if you try and make a booking for a date which doesn't exist,
MRBS will advance into the next month. For example if you make a booking
for the 29th of every month and there is no Feb 29th, then the booking will
be made for 1st March. I think this behaviour is slightly bizarre, and
also causes unexpected collisions. (Of course, an option to skip over
collisions is something else that MRBS needs and has been discussed before,
but I am not considering that here).
I can see two other behaviours which would probably be more intuitive:
(a) to skip the month completely if there is no date in that month
(b) to make the booking on the last possible day of the month. So if you
made a booking for the 31st of the month and there were no 31st, it would
make the booking for the 30th - and if no 30th then the 29th, etc.
I have done a few tests. Google Calendar does (a) and Microsoft Outlook
does (b), having first put up an OK/Cancel dialog box telling you that this
is what it's going to do. I haven't tested any other calendars.
Unfortunately I do not have access to Apple's calendar at the moment to try
I think either (a) or (b) would be better than the current MRBS behaviour,
and I don't have any particularly strong views myself. (a) might be
described as the strictly logical approach and (b) a more pragmatic
approach. I tend to favour the Outlook approach on the grounds that if
you're booking a monthly meeting you presumably normally want a meeting
roughly once every 4 weeks or so, and would not be pleased to find that you
sometimes have a gap of two months every now and now then. Also, a
booking of some sort is at least inserted in the calendar and can be
manually edited or deleted if required. But if it's not there you might
forget about it.
These allow you to make a regular booking on the same month and day of the
month for a number of years. For example you might want to make a regular
booking for 4th July every year for the next 10 years.
Most of the time there is no problem with this. The only time there is a
problem is if your first booking is on 29th February in a leap year (eg 29th
Feb 2008). Here MRBS does the same as a monthly repeat and places the
bookings for non-leap years on the 1st March.
Again there are the two possible solutions above and Google Calendar and
Microsoft Outlook do the same as above - except that this time Microsoft
Outlook doesn't put up the dialog box.
Monthly, corresponding day
These allow you to make bookings on the same weekday and ordinal position
within the month, for example the second Tuesday of every month. The Help
text for MRBS says do not use these bookings for dates after the 28th of the
month. However if you do, and book say the fifth Wednesday of every month,
then for the months that there isn't a fifth Wednesday MRBS will give you
the fourth Wednesday. In other words it seems to follow the Outlook model
Outlook does the same as MRBS for this type of booking. Google does not
offer the option.
So the question is, what do people think should be the MRBS behaviour:
Google-like, Outlook-like or something else? Can anyone say what other
calendars do? I suppose I could make the behaviour a configuration option,
but that feels like a bit of an opt-out, makes the code that much more
complicated and also could confuse users if they move between MRBS
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