Continuing the tradition of the App Previews in Windows 8, Microsoft's new Metro-style Calendar app is high on promise but lacking some obvious functionality. I suspect it will only get better over time.
Microsoft has a rocky history with Windows-based calendar applications, but over the years its grown a competent stable of calendaring services through Hotmail, Exchange, and now Office 365. Powered by the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) technologies that back these services, the new Metro-style Calendar app connects to Microsoft's services, of course. But it also connects to other EAS-based calendars, including Google Calendar.
Calendar offers a simple, full-screen, Metro-style interface. The default view provides a look at your schedule using a month view. But you can also display week or day views.
Like other Metro-style apps, Calendar utilizes web browser-like navigation. To move back or forward in time through your schedule, you can swipe the screen in either direction or use the Internet Explorer-like keyboard shortcuts CTRL + LEFT ARROW and CTRL + RIGHT ARROW (for back and forward, respectively). Or, when you move the mouse around on-screen you’ll see small navigational arrows appear near the top left and top right of the screen. Click one to navigate in either direction.
These browser-like navigational movements take place within the context of the current view. So when you “go back” while viewing your schedule in week view, you go back to last week. Go forward while using day view and you will navigate to tomorrow. It’s all very logical.
Once you start viewing your various calendars in the Windows 8 Calendar app, you’ll probably want to use this interface to manage your various events as well. And as you might expect, Calendar offers some useful functionality around creating and viewing events.
To create a new event, open the Calendar app bar and tap New. (This button resembles a “+” sign.) As you can see, there are a number of items to configure here.
What's missing, for now at least, is any form of notification support. Checking PC Settings, you'll see that Calendar does not (yet) support notifications. It will, eventually, of course. Well, I assume it will.
One area where Calendar does work really well is in snapped mode. The snapped Calendar app provides a thumbnail view of the month as well as any events that are occurring today. You can also click other days in the month view to see the events for those days.
Two additional commands are available via the snapped Calendar’s app bar: Go to Today and New (event). When you choose the latter, you get the nice snapped version of the new event screen too.
But the best aspect to Calendar, perhaps, is that it integrates nicely in Windows 8 in the places that make the most sense. Configured correctly, the Windows 8 lock screen can show detailed information about your next event. And the Calendar live tile animates through all of the day's pending events.
Overall, Calendar is in great shape but for its lack of support for notifications, which I assume is temporary, and its inability to work with non-EAS calendars. I have less faith in Microsoft's ability or desire to correct that last issue. But Calendar is pretty nifty regardless.