Back in December we started rolling out version 3.5 of myPractice which included 'sync to myPractice Webcal'. The idea behind this initiative was to provide our customers with a central place (ie the Customers myPractice Website account) that their appointments could be uploaded to that would alllow integration with existing calendar systems such as Google Calendar, iCal on the Mac, Outlook and iPhone calendar etc.
We have quickly come to realize that this approach is not working and is likely to cause frustration and endless Support calls. Why? I'm glad you asked, otherwise this would have been a short post...
iOS5 devices do not support 'subscribing' to the industry standard "ics" calendar file format directly. We worked around this by suggesting users link their calendar to their Google calendar and then to their iPhone or iPad.
This in itself requires a chain of events to occur... From myPractice, upload to the myPractice website, which is then linked to Google, which is then linked to the iPhone. Yuck.
Reason 2: the absolute 'deal-breaker' was found about 2 weeks ago when we realized that there was no way to force Google to refresh a subscribed calendar. Apparently, based on reading hundreds of postings from disgruntled Google calendar users, Google polls subscribed web calendars on their own schedule, and there is no way to influence this. The schedule is believed to be somewhere between 2 and 6 hrs (and up to 24 in some cases).
This of course makes a web calendar useless for most of our customers. You will never know when Google last updated your calendar and would have no idea if it were up-to-date.
So, we are scrapping the existing 'webcal' initiative from versions 3.5 and 3.6 and moving to something better.
Instead of using your myPractice website account as the repository for your calendar and linking to that from other devices, we have utilized the Google Calendar programming interface to 'talk' directly to Google. Wait, how is this different to the previous system? ... You are full of good questions today aren't you?
The difference is that myPractice will talk to your Google calendar in real-time. When you update an appointment in myPractice, this change will be uploaded immediately (assuming you are connected to. Internet of course). We are 'pushing' your information to Google rather than waiting for Google to come to us.
The iPhone, iPad and android devices all have the ability built-in to link to Google calendars. We feel this is the quickest and most useful way we can provide your appointments to your phone or other device.
Each User of myPractice has complete control over whether their Calendar is synced. Only the User themselves can 'switch on' this integration and enter the appropriate Credentials.
To set up your Google calendar, check out this link.