The Social Calendar to beat them all!
Helios Calendar may look simple, but it’s actually an incredibly versatile tool for planning and promoting your schedule.
The concept almost seems redundant these days – after all, a huge number of people are already using the perfectly satisfactory calendars built into their iPhones, Blackberries, laptops or tablets. Do we really need another online calendar app?
The truth is, we probably don’t... but that’s not what Helios Calendar is offering. This unassuming bit of PHP web calendar software acts rather as a calendar client, infiltrating itself across an impressive range of formats and social media in order to provide a powerful tool for networking schedules.
The largely text-based calendar system can take a little time to get your head around – each page includes a whole host of links to other features, options and events, which means you can easily spend your first five minutes just navigating your way around with no real idea of where you’re going.
As you get more used to the system though, that same fluidity becomes the greatest strength of Helios.
When creating events using Helios Calendar, publishers are presented with a logical series of fields to complete. The form uses a TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor, which allows for some degree of control over formatting and appearance – to the extent of being able to feature images and even video in your event listings.
Everything is fully integrated into your online calendar. A typical event listing might feature links directing users to category pages, maps and location specifics, contact details for the event organiser and any associated websites; as well as further dates, in the case of recurring or regular events.
The map linked to each event page is powered by Google, which makes it nice and easy to load up directions, routes, or just save a location onto your own device.
One of the nicest things about using Helios though, is its potential for sharing.
Once you’ve created and published your event listing, other Helios users will be able to ‘download’ the event to their own personal calendar. Under the title “Save this Event” are links to iCalendar, vCalendar, Google Calendar, Yahoo! and Windows Live. No matter how your contacts prefer to organise their time, Helios Calendar offers full connectivity. It really is that versatile.
What’s more, the calendar integrates nicely with social media. There’s a comment box beneath each event listing, which allows for tagging user profiles in either Facebook or Twitter. Unlike many popular community features which insist on a frustrating sign-up process, this one – powered by LiveFyre – allows posters to log in quickly using their Twitter, Facebook, Google or LinkedIn accounts. By making it easier for users to comment, you’ll have more chance of stirring up a buzz about your upcoming events.
As for promotion, Helios offers an impressive selection of more than 50 share buttons corresponding to different social networks. That’s going to be really handy, when it comes to getting the word out about your event.
A few of the other features under the bonnet include HTML5 and CSS3 functionality, which will allow developers to integrate this utility seamlessly into their own sites.
There’s full support for mobile devices, as well – you won’t be needing any additional apps in order to reach out to your mobile contacts, or to post new events on the go.
We’ve already taken a look at some of the social tools offered with Helios Calendar, but in addition, the admin control panel allows webmasters to create and manage newsletters. These remain free and without any additional subscription charges.
The Helios site has a comprehensive support section with a straightforward contact form provided for any questions that fall outside of topics already covered by the extensive FAQs. The FAQs themselves are thorough though, and seem to touch on all the major aspects of the script’s functionality and user interface. In short, the system looks more or less foolproof.
Helios Calendar 3.0 has been released as an open source is available for immediate download under the GNU GPL. T
- Outstanding compatibility with social networks makes your events and calendars massively shareable
- Simple, straightforward layout
- Back end functionality allows for seamless integration
- Good support network available
- While the clean, text-based layout makes for logical navigation and ease of use, it’s not the most attractive calendar out there