My company has a calendar we use in Outlook to display what dates members of our IT group are taking off for vacation. For previous versions of SharePoint, we rendered this page as an Outlook Web Access Calendar web part, but there are several issues with this for 2013:
- That web part was deprecated (although you can manually re-add it to the web part gallery and/or use a PageViewer web part to get at the same place).
- Style-wise, it looks garish compared to both the default 2013 branding and the custom solution we've applied.
- Most importantly, it only renders a small number (I think 3) all day events, sometimes giving people who look at the web part the false impression that only 3 people are off duty when in fact the number might be 4 or more.
The "new" calendar overlay seems to be the ideal fix for this. There's even a way you can hook into Outlook. However, I don't know of a way to tie it to a specific calendar. When I add the pertinent Exchange information, it looks like the OWA link it asks for is only used as a hyperlink for the events that the Exchange web service pulls up. Problem is, I don't see a way to tell the Exchange web service that I don't want the individual end user to pull up his own calendar, I want it to pull up that vacations calendar for everybody.
Is there an OOB way of handling this? I'm sure I could resolve this by creating a timer job that calls the calendar in question once a day (for instance) and loads the list based on the information that it finds, but I'd really prefer to handle this without deploying code because of, well, all the reasons that exist for preferring OOB solutions to customized ones. However, I've had no luck trying to figure out how to send commands to the Exchange web service via query string, which looks to be the only way you can do it.