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Selecting A Web Calendar – Part 2

This is a continuation of my multi-part series on choosing a calendar for your website or business. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to check out part one of selecting a web calendar.

One of the choices you have to make when deciding on a calendar system is what software model to choose. It’s an important enough issue that it really deserves thought before making a decision. Broadly speaking the options are:

Software as a Service (SaaS)
Also known as a cloud system, the software runs on the vendor’s servers for you. Examples would be a site hosted on, or Office 365.

Installed Software
You download and install the software on a computer that you control.

Pure Plugin Model
This is similar to installed software, but the plugin world adds enough unique issues that it needs to be talked about separately.

Hybrid Plugin/SaaS Model
In this case a plugin provides a small subset of features, typically for web site integration, while the heavy-duty back end functionality resides on a cloud/SaaS server. Our Connect Daily Calendar uses this model.

Here’s a table that shows the advantages and disadvantages of each model.


Model Advantages Disadvantages
  •  Vendor usually upgrades to latest versions when released. You always have the newest features and bug fixes.
  • Data is backed up and can be restored.
  • Simpler Support. Vendor support staff can easily login and troubleshoot problems.
  • Typically, no buy-in or approval from in-house IT staff required.
  • Recurring Fee
  • System will be unavailable if internet connection is down.
  • If vendor goes out of business, data may be lost.
  • No recurring fees unless you upgrade.
  • Software under your control. No dependency on vendor.
  • Requires IT buy-in of selected package.
  • Installation and upgrade require technical staff.
  • Data may or may not be backed up.
  • Application Rot – You’re usually running an older version without current fixes or enhancements.
  • More difficult to support. Vendor support staff usually can’t login and manage the system.
  • Target installation server must support scripting language/database supported by application.
  • Decreased dependency on vendor compared to a SaaS or hybrid SaaS solution.
  • Easy to update, usually self-updating.
  • Recurring fee. Typically, plugins must be updated as the CMS they run on is updated. Practically speaking, you must have a maintenance or update agreement.
  • Compatibility can be a nightmare. Different CMS versions, OS versions, scripting language versions, database versions, installed plugins or themes, all combine to make a large pure plugin very difficult to make stable.
  • Greater reliability of core application.
  • Simpler support for core application.
  • Smaller footprint for CMS plugin.
  • Higher performance of CMS since most functionality resides on separate server.


  • Recurring Fee
  • If vendor goes down, web site may be impacted.

Our recommendation is that if the software application is very complex, the best approach is the Hybrid SaaS/Plugin Model. It truly offers the best of both worlds. You can have a large, complex application that will be stable and well maintained. Additionally, compatibility and performance issues are much less likely with this model.

If the application is very small, then a pure-plugin or software approach is the way to go. It’s got fewer moving parts to go wrong, and costs are generally going to be lower.

In our next article, we’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of paid versus free calendar software.

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