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Many e-mail client programs contain calendar features. Since I rarely ever use any calendaring features I fail to see how e-mail and calendar are related.

To me it feels like calendaring is a functionality on its own and thus should be an individual program rather than being tied into an e-mail client. It doesn't really make more sense to me than i.e. sticking a scientific calculator into Photoshop. Also, no communication software I ever used included a calendar, except for e-mail clients.

So is there any good reason for calendars being integrated with e-mail? How did this arrangement come to be?

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    You really don't see any benefit to this? What if someone emails you saying "lets get together tomorrow at 7"? – JonW May 18 '16 at 11:43
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Because when you create an appointment, it will send a special mail that ask the others if they come or not.

All those who accept will have the meeting added in their calendar. The email here is used to as a communication channel for the calendar part.

The integration make sure that when you put someone on an appointement he will receive an email, insteand of having 2 separates applications where you have to remember/organize things so you know who did answer or not.

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    I agree this is one of the main reasons for this integration, but just wanted to point out that Apple doesn't take this approach. For example, in Mac OS X the default Mail client is separate software to the default Calendar. Even the default Contacts app is separate. However, all three work together seamlessly (eg. the user get's an invite via email in the Email app, they accept it and it appears in the Calendar app). I suppose it would be interesting to see if any research exists on which approach is 'better' or more intuitive from a user's perspective. – Monomeeth May 24 '16 at 23:24
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    @Monomeeth There was some choice made, some prefer one monolithic software that does many things, some preferred many software that communicate between them. Both can works, the first has the advantage to have all in one but this lead to interface very rich, even too much. And developments become quite hard over the time since the software will grow. Nowadays the tendancy is to build little software focus on one task, but it was totally the opposite not so long ago. – Walfrat May 25 '16 at 6:50
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I like this question! People who build software/hardware in the past - before app stores - used to have to sell it in the shops or on a website. People looked for features, ticking boxes - the more it had the better it was. This often meant that some of the features were of poor quality - due to developers just wanting to create the bear minimum of features to say the product did something.

Updates were never as easy to do as they are now, due to internet not existing or because of slow internet connections and often it meant a CD in the post, or wait and buy the next version.

So why is it still there?

  • People still expect to find it there - over time, when people bought packages of software, the calendar came with the email. If it did not nowadays, then not so advanced users might not know how to find a different one
  • Once people use software and integrate their life in to it, become familiar with it they struggle to move on.
  • I am sure large companies that buy software licenses just want to buy things that have it all and are tried and tested - I am thinking about things like Microsoft Office here which come with Outlook which has email and calendar built in.
  • Offer additional integration/features through their different "apps"
  • Because they can, they are usually very large teams who work on different areas

  • I had a few more, but cant think right now.. will add to it later

I agree! I find it a bit frustrating.

This mentality is something that I feel is dying out slightly which is good. Remember when everyone used to have to make EVERYTHING and put it all in the features list. Here are some examples :

  • Apple released iOS and it has a calendar, mail and all the rest. But over time, apps like Sunrise Calendar (sadly now bought by Microsoft to be butchered in to Outlook) Mailbox, Boxer mail came on to the scene and were SO far ahead in terms of features and how nice they were to use. I ended up using those instead of the ones built in to iOS.
  • Remember when we all bought phones and EVERY different company had their own OS which would rarely be updated or patched? Glad those days are over.
  • I bought an amp made by Denon - one of the big selling points was that is had Spotify integration. 2 years later Spotify released Spotify Connect and neither Denon or Spotify continued to support this thing that my amp used. Nowadays, Spotify just have to manage one service, that is universal - WIN!

I always wished companies focused on 1 thing and made it REALLY good. Many companies nowadays have API's to hook in to their data, we have a few great operating systems - Android, iOS - which allow us to pick and choose what we want to use instead of having to bow down to some companies operating system.

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Quite a bit of back and forth happens when manually trying to set up meetups using email

this is why I believe calendar features are common in email.

Consider the following conversation over email.

Harry can I meet you on friday to talk over the thesis?

Rachel No I wont be in on friday. can we make it thursday?

Harry No I cant make it on thursday. how about sunday morning or tuesday?

Imagine the time saved just by sharing calendars compared to the back and forth over a period of time to set up a meeting.

  • I fail to see how the functionality of "sharing calendars" is tied to e-mail. Of course a calendar app can use e-mail as a transport medium but it is only one of many possibilities for a calendar app to sync/comunicate with oder calendars. – Askaga May 24 '16 at 15:53
  • I agree this is one of the main reasons for this integration, but just wanted to point out that Apple doesn't take this approach. For example, in Mac OS X the default Mail client is separate software to the default Calendar. Even the default Contacts app is separate. However, all three work together seamlessly (eg. the user get's an invite via email in the Email app, they accept it and it appears in the Calendar app). I suppose it would be interesting to see if any research exists on which approach is 'better' or more intuitive from a user's perspective. – Monomeeth May 24 '16 at 23:25

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