Local vs. Online Calendars: What’s the difference?

Help > Calendars > Local vs. Online

When it comes to calendars on Shine, you’ll usually see it distinctly divided into one of two types: a local calendar, and an online calendar. What is the difference between these two and how does it affect how Shine works with them? Let’s dig in!

Basic Definitions

local calendar  is a calendar that is stored, well, locally. (This usually means something like “on your computer”).

So, based upon that, you’d probably assume that an online calendar is a calendar that is stored online. If you did assume that… you're dead wrong you’re completely right!

Technically, the distinction will get a tiny bit blurrier if you look too much into the details, but we won’t discuss those for right now. (See the “Any More Questions?” section at the bottom if you don’t see the world in just black and white.)

Local Calendars

The first type we’ll focus on are local calendars.

Local calendars are stored on a storage device you physically own and have access to, such as the computer or device you’re reading this on right now! Or a flash drive, or maybe even a private media server or something. Either way, it’s something you access or manage by dealing with the individual files themselvesIf you delete that file, that calendar is gone.

These calendars are primarily stored in the Shine Calendar format, and usually have a file extension of “.shl”. Shine can directly access, edit, and manage these calendars, without the need to log into an account or connect to the Internet.

Local calendars have some distinct advantages:

  • Works anytime, all the time, no Internet connection needed (as long as you have access to the file)
  • Can utilize Shine’s encryption services
  • File access is handled through your OS’s file access system, which can usually be finetuned

At the same time, though, local calendars do have some disadvantages:

  • Can’t share calendars with others easily
  • Probably won’t connect well into other programs or workflows
  • Can only be accessed on the computer the file is on

Online Calendars

Online calendars are calendars that you can access and work with through the powers of the Internet!

You can store calendars online in hosting services, such as Google Calendar or Outlook.com, and Shine will be able to access and interact with them through those services. Not only that, but you can log on to Google Calendar or Outlook.com on any Internet-connected device and work with these calendars yourself!

For how Shine does it, it doesn’t actually directly control or manage these calendars. Instead, it constantly sends requests to the hosting service to do these actions on its behalf (such as creating a new event here or renaming a calendar there). If you want more details about how Shine does this, check the corresponding help articles for Google Calendar and Office 365/Outlook.com. (links not yet added)

With how everything is moving online, there is definitely some notable advantages:

  • Super easy to share and work alongside others
  • Can be accessed anywhere with any device with the Internet
  • Many programs/services can connect to your calendars and work with them too, not just Shine
  • Securely stored and managed on the hosting provider’s servers; even if your device breaks, the calendars will still be online

This being said, however, this doesn’t mean that there’s no downsides. Here’s a few disadvantages:

  • No Internet connection, no online calendar (although many apps will rely upon a local backup while your Internet is out)
  • Your calendar and data is subject to the hosting provider; their terms and conditions, their security, their service uptime. Most of them are pretty good on all counts, but you can never be 100% sure

Which do I choose?

As you can see, each type has some advantages and each has some disadvantages. When creating a new calendar, you should consider them and also consider what you want to do with the calendar.

If this calendar is meant to just be for yourself and just for this device, or you are more concerned about security and privacy, a local calendar may be a better option.

However, if you want your calendar to be shareable or visible by others, or if you want to be able to access it through a variety of devices and apps, an online calendar may be the way to go.

Within Shine, you are presented this choice at the “Create New Calendar” window, through the drop-down list labeled “Where to store it:”. Select the “On this computer” option to create a local calendar, or select one of the connected online accounts to create an online calendar.

Otherwise, calendars that you import through a file will be imported as local calendars and calendars that you import through online services, such as Google Calendar, will be imported as online calendars.

Any More Questions?

Can I transfer a calendar from being local to online, or vice-versa?

Yes, but not directly. Most calendar apps/services support a file format called iCalendar, and Shine does as well! Shine will import all iCalendar files as local calendars.

To move from online to local, you’ll need to start at your hosting provider. Usually through the calendar settings page or something similar, you’ll find an option to download an iCalendar (or ICS) file. From there, you can open Shine, and select “Options > Calendars > Import > From file” and select the file you just downloaded.

To move from local to online, you’ll want to start in Shine. Press Alt on the keyboard to show the menu bar, if it isn’t visible already. Select “Calendars > Export > iCalendar…” and select the calendar you want. Click “Export” and select a location to store the file. Then move to your online provider and look for an option to import a calendar. Follow the steps there, and when you’re asked to upload a file, select the one you just created.

Are .shl calendar files stored online considered online calendars?

Well, now we’re getting nitpicky, aren’t we?

Shine considers a calendar “local” or “online” based upon how it accesses and interacts with it. If Shine interacts with a calendar through a .shl file, it’s considered a local calendar, no matter where it is actually stored. However, if Shine accesses a calendar through an online service (such as Google Calendar), and not through a specific file, it’s considered an online calendar.

You can definitely store .shl calendar files online to share them with others, but you’ll want to be sure you disable “Windows account encryption” first.

I tried to share my local .shl file with another person, and they get an error saying “Cannot read calendar because it is encrypted through another Windows account.”

Ahh, yes, this is something to be wary of. You’ll want to turn off the “Windows account encryption” option in the calendar, and try sharing it again.

Please take a look at the Calendar Encryption article for more details.

Why can’t Shine encrypt online calendars?

Shine’s calendar encryption only works for .shl calendar files. Online calendars are secured and encrypted by the website they’re hosted on.