Monday, November 17, 2008

Extending the SharePoint calendar to stop double-booking room/resource reservations

CodeProject - SharePoint Reservations


After rejecting the Room and Equipment template, I decided to create a new custom SharePoint list based on the Calendar so I could leverage the existing features and functionality. The interface is well known to my users, so extending it would result in minimal training requirements. My biggest requirement was to prevent collisions. Since I wanted to keep things generic, I called the project Reservations. Once a user reserves a time slot, no other user could create an overlapping reservation. Additional requirements included: a custom POC field, and the start date has to be before the end date. The POC field is used when the user doing the scheduling is not the same as the person using the resource, but it can be removed if necessary. As additional resources need to be tracked, new reservation lists can be created by the site administrators.


In conclusion, I used a simple approach to a common problem that was based on existing standards. Since standards were followed, the resulting tool can be extended with typical SharePoint tools. Training requirements were reduced to a message about how to handle collisions since the user interface was unchanged.


This, double-room booking, is an issue that we have. No matter how many, “check to make sure someone else hasn’t already booked a room” emails that go out we still get people double (in once case triple) booking our conference rooms (silly humans). An automated, systemic solution is needed which is why this caught my eye. I doubt I’ll be able to push this through here for implementation, but it’s good about this just in case…

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