Article

The Mystery of Calendar Processing

IBM i
Posted:
August 16, 2016

The essence of QMessage Monitor is to make sure you never miss an important message from your system and to get notified of any important notifications. This is based on the required message having an Automatic Reply record created for it, which has an escalation procedure and escalation user defined to notify the correct person. Calendars, when assigned to an escalation user, determine a user’s availability when messages are to be sent to that user during an escalation procedure. An example would be when a user has booked time off work or to control shift workers.

A calendar will have to be created for an escalation user through the Calendar Maintenance menu. Once the calendar is created, calendar rules will have to be created to attach to the calendar. Calendar rules define time-periods, which can be assigned to one or more calendars in order to denote whether a user is available or unavailable during the defined period. A calendar rule is similar to an appointment in Outlook. It describes either a single interval (“January 22, 2013, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.”) or the repetition of such an interval (“every last Friday in a month”).

The diagram below shows the flow of an important message from arrival to notification:

The Situation

In this example there are two support members. They have support duty every other month; changeover to the other support member is every first Tuesday of the month at 10:00am.

Setting Up the Calendar Rules

In this situation the duration of each support duty varies according to the month.  This means that this cannot be achieved using a single rule, and must be achieved using multiple rules.

The First Rule

The first rule is setup as follows:

The rule start time is 10:00 a.m., as this is the switchover time, and the time that a support duty starts.

The duration of this rule is set to the maximum possible days that the rule could last for; I think the maximum is actually 35 days (5 weeks x 7 days), but to be safe this has been specified as 40 days.

The rule is set to reoccur every two months, as the start time of one person’s support duty is every two months; and the day is set to be the first Tuesday of the month.

The Valid From date is set to be the first time that this support member's support duty starts.

If this rule was assigned to a calendar as it stands, the rule would overrun by a certain amount each month:

In this case, this is why the second rule is required.

The Second Rule

A second rule is therefore created to exclude this overrun; it is defined as follows:

The rule start time is 10:00am, as this is the switchover time, and the time that a support duty starts.

The duration of this rule is set to the maximum possible overrun days; the maximum is actually 12 days; the days specified in Rule 1 - the minimum rule length of 28 days. i.e. 40 - 28, but to be safe this has been specified as 14 days.

The rule is set to reoccur every two months, as the start time of one person’s support duty is every two months, and the day is set to be the first Tuesday of the month.

The Valid From date is set to be the first time that the other support member's support duty starts.

Assigning the Rules to a Calendar

These two calendar rules are then assigned to a calendar:

SPTDUTYA2 must be assigned first, and the Set to Exclude option used.

SPTDUTYA1 is then assigned (at a higher sequence number than SPTDUTYA2), and the Set to Include option used.

Previewing the calendar now shows the calendar functioning correctly:

Setting Up Support Duty B

Support duty B is set up almost identically to support duty A. 

Two more rules are created, SPTDUTYB1 and SPTDUTYB2; the only difference from SPTDUTYA1 and SPTDUTYA2 is that the Valid from date is specified as being one month in advance of SPTDUTYA1 and SPTDUTYA2.

These rules are then assigned to a calendar entry in the same manner as SPTDUTYA. The calendars can then be previewed to confirm they have been correctly set up.

QMessage Monitor's ability to escalate based on your staffing can make your weekends and vacations as relaxing as they should be—make sure to take advantage of it! If you have any questions about Calendar setup, please give us a call.

 

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