Phasing Out the 30Boxes Plugin (June 30, 2012)

9 Mar

30Boxes was one of the first plugins we added to PBworks back when the service was still called PBwiki.  This simple calendaring application let our users add a shared calendar to any workspace, and to have that calendar show up on multiple pages.  And while 30Boxes has never been used by most of our users, it has a loyal following.

Unfortunately, 30Boxes has become an “orphan” product.  Its creators have moved on to other projects, and last week, the entire service suffered a 1-day outage.  While service has since been restored, it seems clear that without future investment of resources, it is likely 30Boxes will become less viable.

While we could simply keep 30Boxes as a plugin and simply offer it on an “as is” basis, we don’t feel that this is good for our user experience.  Therefore, we have decided to phase out the 30Boxes plugin.

The first step, which we have already undertaken, is to disable new insertions of the 30Boxes plugin.  We cannot in good conscience allow people to add a service we fear will not be reliable in the future.

The next step, which will take place on June 30, will be the disabling of the 30Boxes plugin.  After that, existing insertions will stop working as well.

We’ve chosen a date more than 90 days in the future to give our users plenty of time to seek alternatives.  This may involve using our HTML/JavaScript plugin to insert the calendaring service of their choice, or using other features within PBworks as an alternative.

For Business users, here is the relevant HTML/JavaScript documentation.  And here is the equivalent HTML/JavaScript documentation for our Personal and Education users.

UPDATE:

It sounds like 30boxes is a key part of many of your wikis.  As a result, we’ve come up with a compromise solution that will lessen our exposure to any potential 30boxes shutdown, while allowing you to continue using the product.

On July 1, while we will no longer support the embedding of the 30boxes calendar, any existing embeds will link to the same calendar on the 30boxes.com website.  This way, you can maintain access to 30boxes if you wish to continue using the product despite the warning signs, but we can prevent a 30boxes outage from affecting the wiki pages on which they’ve been embedded.

42 Responses to “Phasing Out the 30Boxes Plugin (June 30, 2012)”

  1. S. March 13, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    NO!!!! I love 30 boxes! Question: if you “phase it out”, will that mean that 30 boxes will not show on my PB works and I will not be able to access my previous inputs on the calendar?? Thanks.

  2. Chris Yeh March 13, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Sadly, this is the case. We can’t keep 30Boxes in if we can’t be sure the service will be reliable. We are looking at alternatives and welcome your input.

    • Stephanie March 13, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Thank you for picking June 30- it allows us educators to get through the school year!

      Is there any way to “save” events for the year before we lose the functionality of 30 boxes?

      • Chris Yeh March 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

        Stephanie,

        We knew we needed to give our teachers a chance to get through the school year.

        We don’t know of a way of saving the events from 30 boxes, I’m afraid.

  3. Donna Feher March 13, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Will you be adding a new calendar feature?

    • Stephanie March 13, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      Please keep me posted on the reply to this, I have the same question!

  4. Shawn Taylor March 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear this…30 boxes has been a great tool. I dread having to go back over 4 years to pull all the info out since I won’t have it for quick reference anymore. Too bad PB Works can’t “adopt” the orphan 30 box calendar??? It is so easy to use and has been so helpful to our work.

    Please let us know about alternatives. Thank you.

    • Stephanie March 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      Shawn,
      Do you know an easy way to pull the info out? I too have all my class assignments there… for years back, nice reference tool.

      • Chris Yeh March 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

        You might try logging into 30 boxes directly using the email address associated with your PBworks account. They have a “reset password” feature. If this succeeds, let me know, and I’ll spread the word.

  5. Kim March 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Waaah! No! I just got my professors to start using this so we can keep track of everything! Don’t make us go to Google calendar. Please find a substitute.

  6. Jamie Minton March 14, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    No!!! My students and I use this calendar everyday!! Please reconsider!!

  7. Bruce Robertson March 14, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Our school has used wiki for years, and the main event calender is central to the service. Hopefully you folks will be able to offer a similar alternative … I’m already hearing talk of moving to a different platform for keeping track of homework and school events, assignments, etc. Please find some way to keep a 30box type service, as I dread the thought of moving… Thanks for the excellent service!

  8. Jamie March 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I was able to load the content into my outlook calendar

  9. Austin March 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    To suggest that a collaborative environment does not use or need a calendar is disingenuous. Other wiki’s include a calendaring service (Tiki Wiki comes to mind). This post is obtuse in not providing a specific fix or alternative. I am sure the most common “alternative” would be Google Calendar. Unless I am very much mistaken, it may allow a calendar to be posted, but it does not allow wiki users to add or edit events.

    As a side note, I cannot find any evidence that 30boxes has been orphaned. A Google search only turns up this blog.

    • Chris Yeh March 20, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      Austin,

      Our conclusion that the service has been abandoned is based on the lack of changes to the website, and the fact that the contact person listed on the site has started 3-4 companies since, and does not appear to consider 30boxes a current activity.

      We do agree that calendaring is important; but as you point out with Google Calendar, it wouldn’t be tied in with wiki users as 30boxes is (which is why we’ve stuck with 30boxes for so long).

      We’re still looking for good alternatives.

      • Bruce Robertson March 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

        Thanks – glad to hear you folks are open to finding an integratable alternative. The monthly calendar is the core piece for our school community. Cheers.

      • typeknitmom April 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

        any progress? I’m with the groups here that will bemoan the loss of 30boxes.

  10. Tiffany March 18, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I’ve just tried moving and editing events in the calendar and it says I have to be logged in to do this, but I am already logged in!! Help!! And please don’t remove the calendar function (or at least put something similar in its place) – I use this with a team based across the South West of England and it’s really really helpful!!

  11. J. Mager March 19, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Please find an easy and similar replacement for the calendar.

  12. Monica March 20, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    I’m in agreement with many other educators. PLEASE find a replacement calendar that will work the same way as 30 boxes. Our grade level teams use it daily and would be lost without it. It is so easy to use and has met our needs for several years. Please help.

  13. Dan Rieb March 24, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    I agree with @ShawnTaylor: can’t you purchase 30Boxes or possibly develop your own calendar in-house? For me and my teams/students, a wiki calendar is vital.

  14. S April 4, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Hello Wiki staff: Urgent help – Can you please give me a step-by-step on how to export my calendar to another interface. It’s hard to do it long hand. Thanks.

  15. Hasan Luongo (@MistOne) April 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I think the important question left to be answered is what calendar solution/tool will replace 30 boxes. Clearly a calender is crucial for team and project management.

    thanks.

  16. Chrissie April 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Has there been any progress on finding a new calendar tool? I am not keen on installing a google calendar plug in and we can’t have a project management tool with out a calendar.

  17. judithnast@gmail.com April 30, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I join all the previous authors of comments about this calendar matter and truly hope that there’s some assistance provided for migrating to another calendar with the same functionality or whatever the best alternative to that is. As a non-technical person, I’m worried that I won’t be able to figure this out on my own.

  18. Patrick May 7, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    I just got the warning that the calendar will be phased out and join the chorus for a replacement, it has worked so well for us! I also did not quite understand your update – the calendar will continue to work as it has on pbworks, or will be a link to the calendar on their site?

    • Chris Yeh May 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      You will get a link to the existing calendar, but on the 30Boxes site.

  19. Pam Caster May 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Thanks for giving us an alternative by linking to the 20Boxes site. Our program also uses the calendar feature so staff on all campuses can use the same calendar and add events.

  20. Shawn Taylor May 18, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Any update on “adopting” the 30 Boxes program or finding a better alternative? You folks created a brilliant wiki program…can your development team whip up a program to substitute for 30 boxes with an easy import feature for all the old data currently stored in 30 boxes??? C’mon you guys are brilliant…has to be a better alternative. :-)

    • Shawn Taylor May 18, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      PS…I’ve tried using a couple of other plug in calendars and none of them has the flexibility or simplicity of the 30 Boxes program. Please help.

  21. Vicky May 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    The best plug in i have is worky.com, heres a good review about it:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/web-app-tools/worksy-com-all-your-business-apps-in-one-place/

    • Chrissie June 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      I have a few questions:
      1) after the 30th, instead of the calendar will we see a link that takes us to our previous calendar but on the 30 boxes site instead? Or do we have to upload all the info again onto the 30 boxes site?
      2) for the worksy link above, how do I go about adding that plug in to PBWorks?

      Thanks!
      Chrissie

      • Chris Yeh June 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

        Chrissie,

        You won’t have to reload the 30boxes information; whatever you loaded before should still be there.

        I checked out Worksy, but couldn’t figure out how to get the calendar widget. If Vicky can help me figure that out, I’ll figure out how to embed it in PBworks.

  22. Chrissie June 11, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Thanks Chris! I will look out for the response to the worksy widget then.

    • Austin June 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      As 30boxes continues to work for me without issue, I fail to see the need to shut it down. I also see that no substitute has been implemented, something that surely should have been done before eliminating 30boxes. I do not see the wisdom in this action and it does not seem anyone is listening. It seems Worksy had to be recommended on this blog before anyone looked into providing an alternative.

      • Chris Yeh June 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

        We looked around for potential replacements, but were unable to find one.

        The problem we face is that we have no control over whether or not 30boxes stays up. Attempts to communicate with the team there met with silence.

        We’ll happily look at any alternatives that someone uncovers.

        One of the reasons we have phased out many of the plugins we used to offer is that it’s simply too difficult to determine in advance which will stay around. The plugins we do offer (YouTube, Twitter) are for services we are confident will continue to exist.

      • Patrick Dyson June 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

        Please keep the 30 boxes plugin (as a deprecated option for existing implementations) until a replacement turns up!

  23. Chrissie June 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    any luck with the worksy plug in?

    • Chris Yeh June 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Unfortunately, Worksy’s calendar doesn’t seem to have a plugin feature.

  24. Fernanda June 29, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Oh no! After an extensive search and trying out several calendars, I found this one which seemed to be perfect to use with other instructors and students. Couldn’t you find some gradate student who will take over maybe as a special project?

  25. Nuke May 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    So it’s been two years now. Surely some progress has been made?

  26. putlocker August 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Youur site is useful.
    Thanks for sharing!

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