Calendar API: Availability Endpoint now… Available!

This post was written by our software engineer, Ryan Connor.

Finding an appropriate meeting time can take a lot of effort, even with just a few participants who have only a single calendar. Finding a meeting time that is sure to work for many participants with multiple calendars managed by several cloud services? Good luck!

Fortunately, Kloudless now helps you do just that. We are proud to announce that the Calendar Availability endpoint is online and ready to help your application find meeting times that work for any combination of user accounts and their calendars.

Using the Calendar Availability Endpoint

The Calendar Availability endpoint returns all available time windows among a set of calendars that match a specific meeting duration and desired time windows for the meeting. The endpoint also supports requests involving multiple calendars for multiple accounts.

To illustrate, imagine your app has 100 users who have two personal (Google) calendars and two work (Outlook) calendars for a total of four hundred calendars. One call to the Calendar Availability endpoint can retrieve available meeting times (if any) for all 100 users subject to all four of their calendars. Alternatively, you can retrieve available meeting times for just a subset of users and/or their calendars.

Kloudless seamlessly integrates with Google and Outlook Calendar behind the scenes—all you have to provide are Account IDs, Calendar IDs, a meeting duration, and time constraints. Let’s take a look at exactly how to do that.

Formatting the Request and Parsing the Response

Here are the details for the request and response format of the Calendar Availability endpoint based on our docs. You can scroll down further to see concrete examples.

Request Format

URL: https://api.kloudless.com/v1/accounts/{account_id,account_id,…}/cal/availability

Method: POST

Headers:

  • Authorization: Bearer [Token]
  • Content-Type: application/json

Body:

  • calendars: List of Calendar IDs. Uses the default calendar if empty. (Optional)
  • meeting_duration: ISO 8601 format for duration. (Required)
  • constraints: A dictionary of constraint keys and values. (Required)
    • time_windows: List of desired time slots with the following values.
      • start: ISO 8601 datetime format
      • end: ISO 8601 datetime format

Response Format

Headers:

  • Content-Type: application/json

Body:

  • time_windows: List of desired time slots with the following values.
    • start: ISO 8601 datetime format
    • end: ISO 8601 datetime format

The start and end times of each time_window in the response bookend (inclusively) the time periods in which all of the accounts are available given the constraints. Note that the times are returned in the GMT time zone, so you may want to convert to the time zone of your choice.

Concretely, if the response includes the “2 – 5 PM” time window and you wanted a 30-minute meeting, you can safely schedule the meeting to start and end at any time within 2 – 5 PM, inclusive (e.g., 2 – 2:30, 2:01-2:31, …, 4:29-4:59, 4:30-5:00).

Example Usage

Single account, two calendars specified

curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer [TOKEN]' \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -XPOST -d '{
        "calendars": ["ra5werWRsZXQzLcRik5BudGltb6RwwUNnbWFpbC5jb21=",
                      "fa2xvdWRsZXNzLnRlc3QudGltb3RoeUBnbWFpbC5jb20=”],
        "meeting_duration": "PT1H",
        "constraints": {
            "time_windows": [{
                "start": "2017-05-20T08:00:00+07:00",
                "end": "2017-05-20T12:00:00+07:00"
            },{
                "start": "2017-05-21T08:00:00+07:00",
                "end": "2017-05-21T12:00:00+07:00"
            }]
        }
    }' \
    'https://api.kloudless.com/v1/accounts/123/cal/availability'

 

{
  "time_windows": [
    {
      "start": "2017-05-20T02:00:00Z",
      "end": "2017-05-20T04:00:00Z"
    },
    {
      "start": "2017-05-21T03:00:00Z",
      "end": "2017-05-21T04:00:00Z"
    }
  ]
}

In this case, the requestor wants to find an appropriate meeting time for a one hour meeting during the 8 AM – 12 PM GMT+7 time window on either May 20, 2017 or May 21, 2017. The requestor is requiring one account as a participant in the meeting and further specifying two calendars from that account.

Note that the primary calendar within an account is automatically considered if no calendars are provided. But, if any calendars are provided, the primary calendar must be included to be considered. For example, if the primary calendar ID in this case is neither ra5werWRsZXQzLcRik5BudGltb6RwwUNnbWFpbC5jb21= nor fa2xvdWRsZXNzLnRlc3QudGltb3RoeUBnbWFpbC5jb20=, the primary calendar would be ignored when retrieving availability. To also consider the primary calendar, the requestor should provide it as a third calendar in the given calendar list.

The response indicates that any one-hour slot between either 9 AM – 11 AM GMT+7 on May 20, 2017 or 10 AM – 11 AM on May 21, 2017 works for the meeting. Of course, the desired meeting length is exactly as long as the boundaries of the second available time window, so there is only one slot that works on that date.

Multiple accounts, no calendars specified

curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer [TOKEN]' \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -XPOST -d '{
        "meeting_duration": "PT45M",
        "constraints": {
            "time_windows": [{
                "start": "2017-06-15T08:00:00-03:00",
                "end": "2017-06-15T17:00:00-03:00"
            }]
        }
    }' \
    'https://api.kloudless.com/v1/accounts/123,456,789/cal/availability'
{
  "time_windows": [
    {
      "start": "2017-06-15T05:00:00Z",
      "end": "2017-06-15T06:30:00Z"
    },
    {
      "start": "2017-06-15T07:45:00Z",
      "end": "2017-06-15T10:00:00Z"
    },
    {
      "start": "2017-06-15T12:30:00Z", 
      "end": "2017-06-15T14:00:00Z"
    }
  ]
}

Here, the requestor wants to find a time for a 45-minute meeting during the 8 AM – 5 PM GMT-3 time window on June 15, 2017. The requestor is requiring three accounts as participants in the meeting, and since no calendars are specified, is searching for availability based solely on each account’s primary calendar.

Note that you can pass time window start and end times in any time zone (and, in fact, differing time zones within the same request). Furthermore, the calendars to be searched on need not be in the same time zone as the constraints. The important point is that the times are passed as ISO 8601-formatted strings—Kloudless will handle the rest.

The response indicates that any 45-minute slot between 9 AM – 10:30 AM GMT-3, 0:45 AM – 1 PM GMT-3, or 3:30 – 5 PM GMT-3 on June 15, 2017 works for the meeting.

Looking to the Future

The Calendar Availability endpoint provides a simple way to coordinate meetings among multiple calendars and calendar accounts. Going forward, we will monitor usage of the endpoint and listen to your feedback to determine the best way to expand the endpoint’s functionality and flexibility. We already have some great suggestions for making the endpoint more customizable, including:

  • The start_times constraint. If the requestor provides start_times in addition to (or in lieu of) time_windows, the endpoint would return the subset of start_times that work as the start time for the meeting. Essentially, this lets the requestor ask “Which of these exact start times are OK for the meeting?”
  • The ​min_attend_percent constraint. Right now, a time window will only be included in the response if every given account is available in that window—that is, if one relevant calendar in one account is not available during a window, that account is not available and so that window is not returned. With the min_attend_percent constraint, a time window would be included if at least the specified percentage of accounts are available during that window.e
  • The work_or_personal constraint. The requestor could provide a work_or_personal argument to limit the times considered for work or personal hours. This could be especially useful when trying to coordinate across widely varying time zones. For example, a colleague across the world may technically be “available” for a meeting at the time the requestor desires, but that’s of little use if it’s 2 AM for that colleague!

Wrapping Up

We’re excited to rollout the Calendar Availability endpoint to the developers on our platform. What do you like about the endpoint right now, what questions do you have about it, and what do you wish it would do in the future? We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on Twitter, our developer forums, comments below, or at hello@kloudless.com.

 

Sharing files with Citrix ShareFile: a Look at the API

Disclaimer: This is coming from my personal experience with the Citrix ShareFile API and other cloud storage APIs. It is meant as a summary of the good aspects as well as the “gotchas” that I have encountered. Hopefully it will provide some insight into decisions that were made when designing the Kloudless API.
Developing for Enterprise Cloud Storage

Google and Dropbox are household names while Box is in the headlines for its ongoing IPO. However, the enterprise cloud storage space is a completely different landscape, with various companies like SugarSync, Egnyte, Bitcasa, and Citrix ShareFile all competing for companies’ cloud storage needs. What should you, as a developer, consider when addressing enterprise customers’ concerns?

Citrix ShareFile Features

ShareFile recently revamped their API, transitioning from an HTTPS endpoint to an ODATA specific HTTP Rest API. As a developer, the new API looks like many others, offering a familiarity and ease to integrate functionality. However, a few unique features separate ShareFile from the rest.

Control Planes (with Subdomains)
Like many other API providers, Citrix ShareFile implements the OAuth 2.0 protocol for authorization. ShareFile’s endpoints are:

  • Request Token
  • Access Token
  • Refresh Token
  • API requests

The authentication endpoint is separate from API requests based on Control Planes. The Control Plane separates user authentication, access control, reporting, and brokering from where any corporate data is stored. Enterprises can now feel safe about their data as Citrix’s service offers an API to interact with that data.  In addition, the subdomains allow for user creation, which is extremely important for CIOs, enterprises, and other groups. As a developer, I notice that the <appcp> corresponds to a specific control plane (sharefile.com, securevdr.com, etc.), which must be tracked.

On Premise Storage Zones
connectors

In this diagram, you’ll notice the second feature of Citrix ShareFile’s architecture: Storage Zones. Citrix ShareFile gives you the flexibility to choose where corporate data is stored with Citrix-managed Storage Zones or Customer-managed Storage Zones in two flavors: Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure. Plainly, some companies want their corporate data on premise or on their own servers. This is a great feature for an Enterprise cloud storage provider. Now, as a developer, how does all of this affect me?

ShareFile API

The underlying product architecture of Citrix ShareFile gives insight into how the API is structured. Most endpoints look familiar, but I will highlight the key similarities and differences.

Items endpoint
The Items endpoint is the typical interface to a user’s files and folders. ShareFile has specifically exposed the following entities: File, Folder, Note, Link, and Symbolic Links. Each item entity has its own OData representation with the corresponding functions to create folders, retrieve folder contents, update an item, and even create links to specific items.

Storage Centers and Zones endpoint
The Zones and Storage Centers allow for interaction through the API. This is extremely important if companies want to deploy private storage centers or zones. Other cloud storage providers do not have or expose this functionality because of the architecture. One thing to keep in mind as a developer is that a user’s data may be spread across different storage centers and zones, but to a user, it appears as a single account.

Kloudless and ShareFile

At Sharefile’s Synergy Conference in early May 2014, interesting new features were announced. ShareFile can now connect not only to Sharepoint but a few other enterprise content platforms like Alfresco, Documentum, and Filenet. The connection theme continues, with the Kloudless API allowing developers to connect to enterprise and consumer cloud storage services through a standard API interface. Kloudless gives the developer flexibility in choosing what cloud storage features to integrate into their product including native functionality and user interface components. If you want to develop for users with both personal and company cloud storage accounts, you can get started quickly and easily with Kloudless — we’ll help!

Take a look at developers.kloudless.com as we continue to improve our developer friendly resources (SDKs, API mashups, and example apps)! Have any ideas or questions about the Kloudless API? Leave your questions and comments below, or drop a note to hello@kloudless.com.