All in One Events Calendar OR The Events Calendar ??

Which Events Calendar should I use for WordPress

For the purposes of consistency and clarity I will be referring to the two calendars in reference to their creators. The All in One Events Calendar as Timely Calendar and The Events Calendar as Tribe Calendar. I will also be reviewing the premium and pro versions of each respective plugin. I originally begin writing this as a side by side comparison of the two plugins each and every feature. I was doing this in conjunction with working on a calendar feature for a client. Choosing a calendar based on “features” ended up not being the deciding aspect on which calendar I ended up using. But as Tom McFarlin puts it:

… the top-to-bottom, end-to-end experience that goes into using the product.

..is what helped me make my decision in which calendar to use. This includes:

the quality of the code, the landing page, the support, the user’s experience with installing and configuring the plugin, and the available documentation.

That said, I found that the overall experience as a developer using the Tribe Calendar was exactly what I needed. I need to mention a few things that helped me make this decision. Choosing a calendar plugin can end up being a big decision especially if the user will be using the calendar heavily or (as in the case of my client) it was being used to schedule event booking to sell tickets to an event. Ending up with a bad product could be detrimental to business. When choosing a plugin I challenge you to be less impulsive and do the proper research in order to choose the appropriate product for the task you are trying to achieve. You may be inclined to go with a free product due to your budget (or lack thereof) or a premium plugin. I encourage you to think about plugins as products and the people and business behind these products to better understand what we are getting into. The amount of time and energy that goes into plugin development, support and maintenance is not cheap or speedy. The Tribe Calendar has a premium price which may turn you away if you are looking to do things on a minimal budget. But I can assure you that it is worth the price! You are paying to keep that quality by supporting a team of people behind your product. Timely recently completed its round of seed funding to support their efforts. Read about it on their website. They want to build “The Worlds Calendar” which will likely take them into app building and cross-platform compatibility. SO, stay tuned for that! Needless to say there is a lot of support behind these two plugins and that in itself is reassuring.

In the meantime … I needed a calendar.

I was looking for a calendar I could customize the design and some of the functionality. I didn’t want this to break every time there was an update to the plugin either. I wanted to change the output of events list widget and create my own custom design for it. I also needed reoccurring events. So I installed the Tribe Calendar and the Timely Calendar and set about my task. Initially I loved the Timely Calendar posterboard view and this almost sealed the deal. But you can’t judge a book by its cover. I still had to customize my calendar. The first comparisons I made were on the front end (calendar functionality, look and feel, user settings, etc..). I have laid out just a few of the features below, and this is by no means all of the features, but just a few that stood out to me:

PREMIUM VERSIONS?

Tribe Calendar & Timely Calendar both have premium versions. The Tribe Calendar has a Personal – $50, Business – $100 , and Developer – $250 version. Time.ly has a free “Premium” version available to update once you install the plugin from the repository or direct download off of their site.

REOCCURRING EVENTS?

Both the premium (Timely) and pro version (Tribe) have reoccurring events.

CALENDAR TEMPLATES?

Both plugins support selecting a page to use your calendar on. Time.ly offers themes selector in a similar fashion to the theme repository in WordPress. Events Calendar offers a template page which is well documented with a themers guide. It also offers the ability to add HTML before and after the calendar output.

WIDGETS? – YES

Both plugins have events list widgets.

calendar widget view

A side by side view of Tribe The Events Calendar widget (left) next to the Timely All in One Events Calendar (right)

Notice the red box in the figure above that says, “Want to modify the display of this widget? Try a template override. ” This little bit of info was all I needed to customize my widget as I intended to do so. I could have poured through the Timely Calendar plugin files to see what I needed to do in order to achieve the same task with their product, but this would be time consuming to audit all the code and find an appropriate way to get it to do what I wanted it to do. BUT – you should never do this! Why? You may break something or waste a boat load of time. So I looked on the Timely website to find out where I can customize certain aspects of the plugin to do what I wanted it to do. This led me through a series of articles which leads me to my next topic:

DOCUMENTATION / SUPPORT?

I spent a bit more time on Time.ly’s website trying to find my answers. The support is broken up into tons of articles and I find this to be a bit scattered and confusing.  The Tribe calendar documentation is great! On the user admin you will find tons of contextual help and links to specific pages on their documentation site. Tribe offers a super helpful ‘help’ tab in their events settings. I love the themers guide! There is even a new user primer with video tutorials! Talk about going the extra mile! As far as documentation and support Tribe is PRO and many other plugin developers could learn from them. To me this is the selling point- a well documented, flexible, plugin with a full support team. On first glance (initial install and demo view) you may go with the Timely calendar and that may be all you need. If you begin any customization of your calendar and want to get your hands dirty with some code, Tribe’s documentation will guide you every step of the way. If it is not in the docs – you will get a prompt response from them and they will point you in the right direction.

THE CODE

Now I will be the first to admit that I am not a top code judge able to pick out the fine details between each line and determine who wrote the best code with regards to these plugins. Both plugins have plenty of useful comments along the way to help you out.  But again, I wouldn’t make any changes unless the authors give you a method to do so in their documentation.

Social?

Tri.be offers a Facebook Events add-on (starting at $20) for their Events Calendar Plugin. Time.ly has this feature available in the premium version for free.

Responsive?

Both Calendars work in responsive websites.

Other Options / Features …

I really like the Additional Fields available in the Tribe Calendar. The posterboard view is a great feature for the Timely Calendar.

DESIGN

The posterboard view is super awesome with Timely’s Calendar but I am not a big fan of the their single event page layout. When I look at it I immediately want to do some customizing to the design. I tend to lean towards the clean and simple design of the Tribe Calendar. I am more happy with their design out of the box.

Conclusion:

After a long night of Calendar-ing … I am leaning towards the Tribe calendar simply because of the overall experience from end to end – the great docs, excellent support, and great user experience. Plus it did exactly what I needed it to. Worth the $$!! Again it really depends on what you are doing and IF the plugin will achieve your task. In this case the Tribe Calendar was it!

I hope this was helpful! You may be wondering what my end product looked like. So while the site is not live yet, I’ll share a screenshot of the events widget before and after I got my hands on it: tribe events calendar widget change

13 thoughts on “All in One Events Calendar OR The Events Calendar ??

  1. Hi Steven,

    Evan from Timely here, first off I’d just like to say thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough review of our product and against a most worthy opponent (Tribe’s Events Calendar).

    You provided some great insight here on the pros and cons of both calendar systems and I just want to toss in on a few points briefly:

    1) Booking/ticketing – If we had a dime for every time one of our calendar users or prospective users asked for this well… that would be our business model right there and it is obviously a big part of Tribe’s as that is one of the best reasons for upgrading to their premium calendar. So let me say for the record that the RSVP/booking/ticketing feature is definitely on the horizon for us but it’s a tricky feature to get right and we’re not going to release it until we know we’re giving our users something stable and beautifully integrated. Once you start transacting in other peoples money (and livelihoods) the stakes raise considerably so we’re doing our tests, watching the trends and aiming to release something really solid and useful.

    2) Customization: Fair conclusion. Currently Tribe’s Premium Events Calendar does offer more customization to the developer and this goes back to our initial desire to create a calendar plugin that was essentially “plug and play” for the average WP user. That said, increasing customization has always been part of the road map, especially as we’ve seen some of the customizations to both calendar and widget that some developers have come up with on their own and we do intend to offer more and more options for the developer to adjust the All-in-One to whatever their or their client’s need may be. So in short, you will see increasing customization features in every new release of the All-in-One going forward.

    3) Support /Documentation: We have a dedicated support team running near 24/7 for our plugin – and that’s free support for anyone who needs it whenever they need it. It’s not easy but it’s something we were committed to providing from the very beginning because our primary concern is in caring for and growing our calendar community. That said our support documentation- though extensive- could use some organization and a hat tip to Tribe on that front. We are working on a more organized system and more video tutorials for key features and popular requests

    4) Posterboard / design: We’re glad you like Posterboard View. It’s just a taste of where we’re going to be taking the UI of our calendar apps and a window into our philosophy that event calendars need to be more engaging, with richer content, more social connectivity/context and truly revolutionary UI/UX. The month/day/week calendar is a design that has gone largely unchanged for hundreds of years which means it’s ripe for an innovative incursion to bring it up to speed with today’s modern web culture and that’s exactly what we aim to do.

    As always it’s an iterative process, helped enormously by users and developers like yourself who provide great feedback and review.

    Thanks for keeping us on our toes Steven, if you have any further questions about the All-in-One or our development road map please get in touch.

    Evan Aagaard
    Communications Manager – Timely

    PS. That’s one fine looking events widget!

    • Evan – Thanks so much for commenting on this. Perhaps one point I failed to mention was age, that seed funding and the continual growth around your product is going to have a huge impact on it in the future. I am really excited to see where Timely takes it! As far as I know Tribe’s 2.0 version has some more tracks behind it, but you guys are catching up. Glad to to hear that you are taking great care with ticketing / booking. As I have dealt with so many clients on this front – if you get it wrong – it is not worth doing at all! You’re right, you really have to nail it!

      Again – I think for what I was doing – the Tribe Calendar really did the job, but in other cases I may consider using the Timely Calendar. It is all about what you need to do with the product.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Dear Timely you launched the product far before it should have ever been launched. The fact that your plug-in comes up when people “WordPress Max CPU” and see what you find or type the WordPress org website and paste this in support/topic/max-cpu-usage your see what why this is a much better events calendar then the all-in-one events calendar.

      The “all-in-one events calendar” might be the worst thing I’ve ever had the unpleasant will experience of working with. It truly is a terrible plug in. I will gladly endorse your choice for The Tribe Calendar better plug-in over the all-in-one events by timely that maxes out most CPUs even when there are 4 of them and they’re on a VPS with 5 gigs of RAM.

      I did not come here to slam anyone however if you spent the amount of hours I have trying to fix a huge issue on a school’s website no less. You find out that nothing is worse for your RAM, CPU and its inability to stop Google bot from crawling it excessively meaning it really doesn’t stop.

  2. Hey Steven. Ok, here is my response – The events calendar all the way (no offense Evan). The Events Calendar and Events Calendar Pro are our go to for all of our web projects. It offers great integration with other plugins we use, primarily Gravity Forms, and is easy enough for users to manage. Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t really strayed away from the products that Modern Tribe offers, because I haven’t needed to. Thanks for the great review though. I’ll look into All in One further.

  3. Hi Steven thanks for your sweet comparison. I am still a little torn between the two although I have previously used the Timely Calendar before. Might just have to try The Events Calendar out and do some comparison of my own. I will keep your analysis in mind though when checking out the features. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Jay, again it is all about great support and knowing that there is a team of awesome peeps supporting the plugin. I believe this is what makes a great product. Obviously from this post I prefer the Tribe Calendar. I do recommend checking out their 3.0 preview – it is looking pretty slick and I have tested the beta version. I haven’t tested the Timely calendar since writing this post so I can’t speak to any updates they may have rolled out.

  4. Hi Steven,
    Thanks for your comparison from a designer’s point of view. I do my own business website and marketing but I’m a keen amateur not a skilled coder. I’ve been using the two free versions of the same calendars for the last 2 days to try and decide which one to go with….if either. I tun sailing holidays so all of my “products” are events and it would be great to have a calendar that updates itself when I add a new entry – up til now I’ve been using posts and putting a link through from a table that I’ve styled as a calendar. It’s been working well and I think I’m going to stick with it for this year, at least until I have the time to spend to test out a calendar alternative thoroughly. As you quite rightly point out, getting it wrong can have a HUGE impact on my business as most of mine comes through the internet.

    I was initially wowed by the Timely calendar, for me the Agenda and the Poster views are good, as is the month view, but I struggled with customising it to fit with my theme – so time consuming to find out which bits of css I can change and where, and I also found a couple of bugs which appear still to need resolving e.g. eliminating a filter. The Tribe calendar was initally easy to get going with and as you say, has a better single page design out of the box.

    I’ll continue playing….when I have more time, but your opinions helped me to decide to leave it alone for now.

    • It all boils down to whether the plugin has great support and a solid team behind it. As I pointed out in my article I chose the Tribe Calendar simply because of its easily customizability, great documentation and great support.

  5. I am very frustrated with Timely — so much so that I am pulling it completely. Even after following directions to the T to avoid excessive bot searches of every calendar page — the website does nothing but crash because google/bing won’t stop searching the calendar. Hostgator replies with pulling down every site on our same server. I don’t think I would recommend this plugin to my enemy. Save yourself the $70 and do not buy this plugin. It’s really too bad… It is a nice design, great features… but if you can ever get it to work you’re a genius. Having been in web development for 7 years… I have completely given up on this piece of garbage product. I wish I could get my $70 back and invoice the company for the 10 x I’ve been on hold with server company to get website back up – IF YOU READ ONE THING TODAY.. DO NOT BUY THIS PLUGIN.

    • Hi Babette,
      I have to say that I am with you. I have had my sporting club site pulled down twice now on Hostgator and all because of Timely’s plugin. Needless to say i am now searching for an alternative. Do yourself a favour and use a different plugin.

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