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

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.

Published by Chris Yeh

Chris has been building Internet businesses since 1995. He has been a founder, founding employee, or seed investor in almost a dozen startups, including PBworks, and advises a wide array of startups ranging from network equipment makers to vertical search engines. He liked his investment in PBworks so much, he decided to join the company. Chris earned two degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

42 thoughts on “Phasing Out the 30Boxes Plugin (June 30, 2012)

  1. 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. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  7. 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!!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 🙂

    1. 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

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  16. 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?

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