Once the resources for a given unit have been setup in Nexus and the access permissions set by the Resource Manager, users with permission to book resources will be able to book those resources using their chosen calendaring application. For Mac users on Lion this means that you can book resources, or rooms from iCal in the same way that you already use iCal to set up meetings.
Booking a room using iCal is actually very straightforward because you simply treat the room as just another invitee to your meeting. All of the available resources (these are usually rooms) appear in the Nexus Global Address List in exactly the same way as if it were a person. So, for example if you wanted to book an OUCS meeting room, say the OUCS Babbage room, you would simply add a new event to your calendar and you would "invite" the OUCS Babbage room to that event by selecting the room from the address book in exactly the same way that you invite other Nexus users to your event. The room will then appear in the list of invitees and you can check availability in exactly the same way as you do for your other invitees. Once you have sent the invitation you will receive an automatically generated meeting acceptance or rejection message from the room according to whether it is available or not. If you wish to book a resource where it doesn't make sense to have any other invitees, for example, your unit may use Nexus to manage resources such as a projector, you will effectively be setting up a calendar event with just one invitee, the resource in question.
To illustrate this let's go through the step-by-step process of setting up a meeting in a particular room along with one colleague.
1. Setting up a meeting to include a room booking from iCal
In your main iCal window make sure that you have your Nexus account selected in
the left hand pane. Next bring up the new appointment window either by double
clicking on the required date in the calendar view or via the menu system by
[New event]. Now fill in the required
information for the appointment such as the title for the appointment and the
date, time, and duration along with any other relevant information such as
location and any notes.
Once you have filled in all the details that you would normally fill in to add an
event to your calendar you can invite the room to the meeting by clicking the
Add invitees link. This will open a text field in place of
the link with the cursor placed within this "invitees" field for you to start
typing the name of the room you wish to invite. As you type text into the
"invitees" field a list of possible matches will appear and you can select the
correct room from the list.
Figure images/ical-inviting-room.png [The new appointment window showing adding a room to an appointment in iCal]
Once the correct room has been selected that room is shown as an added invitee to this appointment along with a link to "Available Meeting Times..".
Figure images/ical-inviting-room2.png [The new appointment window showing the room added to an appointment in iCal]
Once you have added the room to the invitee list you can go on and invite your colleagues in exactly the same way.
Figure images/ical-invitee-list.png [The new appointment window showing the room and one other invitee added to an appointment in iCal]
To check that your room and all your other invitees are available for this appointment click the "Available Meeting Times.." link which will bring up a pop up "Availability" window that shows the availability for all parties of the meeting, i.e. the organizer, the room and all invitees.
Figure images/ical-checking-availability-room.png [The iCal availability window showing the availability of all parties involved in a meeting in a grid format]
If the availability window shows that some parties are unavailable you can use
the navigation arrows to step through the calendar to find a more suitable time
or you can click the
Next Available Time button to allow the
application to find this for you. Once you have settled on a meeting date that
you are happy has the required availability you can click the
Done to close the availability window and return to the new
appointment window. If you have changed the meeting date from the original date
that you selected this new date will now be reflected in the new appointment
Figure images/ical-completed-appointment-with-room.png [A completed iCal new appointment window ready to send invitations]
Finally, click the
Send button to send the meeting invitations.
The meeting request will now be sent to your colleagues and the appointment will
be added automatically to your calendar. You will receive an automatically
generated response on behalf of the room to indicate acceptance or rejection of
the meeting request. If you have already checked the availability of the room
then you would expect to receive an acceptance, you would only receive a
rejection if another user has booked this resource in the meantime.