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Roster2Outlook on Mac with WineBottler
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 January 2010 12:00

Good news for Mac users! Recently, I was pointed to a program called WineBottler that enables you to run windows programs on your Mac. Of course I had to try to see if it would work with Roster2Outlook. And I was able to run Roster2Outlook on OS X. You have to install WineBottler and install MS .NET 2.0 or higher. I tried with 2.0 and this seems to work. So far I wasn't able to install MS .NET 2.0 sp2 or MS .NET 3.0.

As far as I understand, WineBottler basicaly emulates a windows environment where you are able to run windows programs. You can download WineBottler here.

So far I have been able to import a roster and export it to an ICS file that was readable in iCal. Of course, you can't use the option to export directly to Outlook and it doesn't seem to recognise the add-ons when you convert it to a MAC application. If you run it from within the Windows environment, it does recognise the add-on, but so far I've not been able to download a roster with the add-on. You can change the settings though and they do take effect (at least the few I've tried).

This doesn't mean I'll stop working on a 'real' Mac version, but at least it does take the pressure off.

I'll start a topic in the forum too about this topic where you can post your feedback about WinBottler and Roster2Outlook. 1 year!
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 19:32

It is almost a year ago that I registered the domain and it has been a great success! The site has already over 600 users. Last year have seen some great improvements to Roster2Outlook to make it more robust and compatible for different airlines. From the poll you can see that users from many different airlines use Roster2Outlook and this took some tweaking of the code to make sure it works for all those airlines.

This year I also build the first two add-ons for Roster2Outlook that enables users to download their roster automatically. The add-on is available for easyJet and FlyBE, but if you want to see if a add-on can be created for your airline feel free to contact me.

Two months ago, you saw the first banners on the website. This is still a trial to see if I can raise some money to keep the project going without having to charge the users. At the moment it doesn't generate a lot of money, so I have to consider if I continue with the advertisements. When I started with Roster2Outlook it was a personal project and I didn't mind other people using it. A lot of people have been very helpful with feedback to make Roster2Outlook even better. But last year, I haven't made many changes for myself. Most changes were requests from other people. And when I look ahead to a possible Mac version of Roster2Outlook, without doubt the project has become even less personal. Not that I mind. I like the challenge to solve the problems reported by you, or try to create something completely new for another operating system. But investing in new software and maybe even hardware has its cost. As does the maintenance of this website. And as you know everything is done in my spare time. So if you haven't done already, consider donating to the project. This will help keeping it free for as long as possible.

More recently I finally started putting some user guide online. This was long overdue, and still incomplete but at least there is something available now.

Thanks to the donations I received, I'm able to continue the website for a while. So I would like to thank everybody who put in a donation! Every donation goes directly to the Roster2Outlook project.

What's new for 2010? Soon I'll release a new version of Roster2Outlook with some bug fixes reported by users. Those are mainly minor bugs that affect only individual users. I'm also looking at a major update that changes the process of writing the appointments to Outlook. Instead of deleting the old ones and creating new appointments, I'm looking at a solution to edit the appointments. This will result in better performance for Outlook as all deleted appointments are stored in Outlook. I also believe this will resolve an issue with Google Sync that now always asks for your permission to delete the removed appointments from Google when you sync with Outlook.

Another project I've picked up again is a version for Apple. I have been able to install an application to write Apple applications. Now I'm trying to understand how to write the code. I have already been successful in creating an iCal event from the code, so it's looking promising. However, there is still a lot of work to do and I have to do it in my spare time, so I will probably take some time. Please be patient.

Once again, thank you all for your support, feedback and donations! And I wish you all the best in 2010!

Happy New Year!

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 December 2009 09:58
iCal now supported by ICS files
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:17

Finally I figured out why iCal wasn't able to import the ICS files produced by Roster2Outlook. Thanks to the help of someone with a Mac I came to the conclusion that Roster2Outlook was using the wrong text encoding. I suspected this before but found the default text encoding from Roster2Outlook was also supported by iCal. Now I realized that this encoding creates some hidden characters at the beginning of the file which are ignored by Windows/Outlook, but are giving errors when trying to read the file on a Mac.

So I changed the text encoding to one that is 100% supported by Mac and Windows and was able to import the created ICS file into iCal. I also tested the new encoding with Outlook, Google and Thunderbird without any problems.

Good news for people who have access to a windows machine to generate the ICS file and want to import this ICS file in iCal on their Mac. But you still need Windows to run Roster2Outlook.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:27
Who do you fly for?
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:05

There was a small error in the poll to find out who you all work for. Entries of users that work for an airline that isn't in the list and used the "Other..." option to add their airline were not saved in the results. Only the airline was added to the list.

This bug has been fixed now, so all entries should be saved correctly again. If you see the results of the poll, your entry is alreay registered correctly. However, if you see the list of airlines with the submit button, you either haven't put in anything yet, or your entry was not saved in the results. Please do it again, so we can have a good idea of who is using Roster2Outlook!

Thank you!

Version 2.3 released
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 19:00

Today version 2.3 has been released. There are two major changes and some bug fixes in this version. All changes are the result of user feedback, being it request for new features or bug reports.

The main two change are an option to Export Separate Sectors, and the support of command line arguments.

When you go to the options page, you can now select the option to Export Separate Sectors. When you select this option, each sector will be exported to Outlook as a separate event. For the moment this option is only available when you export directly to Outlook. This is only the first attempt to export separate sectors and is still very basic. The description of the appointment contains all information that would be exported to a full day appointment, except for the other sectors. However, if you have for example a positioning crew on one of the sectors, this will displayed for all sectors. Also hotel information is displayed on all sectors and not just the last one. If you have any suggestions, or problems with this new option, please let me know in the forum.

The next change is the support of command line arguments. At the moment, only one argument is supported, making it possible to run the program fully automated. When you start the program from the command line, type:

Roster2Outlook.exe /a

With the "/a" parameter, the program will run fully automated. This works only when you have a download add-on in the program folder. The program starts, attempts to download your roster, exports it to Outlook and closes again.

You can also use this option when you have a shortcut to Roster2Outlook by right-clicking on the shortcut, selecting Properties and add the parameter "/a" behind text in the Target textbox (make sure the parameter is outside the quotation marks). You can also use it in Windows Task Scheduler if you want to run the program automatically at a specified time or interval (e.g. each day at 06:00). The program won't warn you of any changes, but Outlook reminders will still be generated for any changes. Roster2Outlook uses the settings that you used the last time you ran the program. Again, if you have any suggestions to improve this feature, or experience any problems, let me know.

This version also solves a reported bug: it was not possible to change some of the options anymore. The affected options were:

  • Replace Appointments Without Prompt
  • Replace Codes With Explanations
  • Include Memo's
  • Include Hotac Information

Changing any of those options didn't do anything and the option would revert back to it previous setting. With this release you can now check/uncheck all options again.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 19:06
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