by Michael D. Johnson

Meeting for Good: How Campers Built an Open Source Tool to Solve Time Zones

Today, I’m thrilled to announce a free tool that solves the two biggest problems with scheduling meetings: time zones and availability.

It’s called Meeting for Good, and here’s a quick demo of it in action:

A growing percentage of people are working remotely. Collaborating with people around the globe is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. But our tools for collaborating haven’t quite caught up.

I should know — as the nonprofit guy at freeCodeCamp and creator of Open Source for Good, I’ve spent the past two and a half years organizing hundreds of developers around the world to come together and code pro bono for nonprofits.

Together, our teams build free and open source software. Separately, we all have our own obligations. Most of us work, raise families, go to school, serve in our country’s military, or some combination of the above.

We’re busy in different ways, and at different times.

And because freeCodeCamp is a global community, we almost never live in the same time zone.

So scheduling a call with, say, five people in five different countries is easier said than done.

Although there are a few web-based tools that try to help people schedule meetings, we’ve yet to find one that’s easy to use, supports multiple timezones, and helps people find common availability.

Here’s a good example of a bad solution:

Oh cool, let me go scrounging for a pen while you hold my event hostage.

Yeah, not great.

We set out to build this tool with one simple goal: to help people effortlessly schedule calls across multiple timezones.

And that’s exactly what we did. It’s called Meeting for Good. We’ve been using it for months and it’s getting more polished every day. You’re welcome to use it too.

We’re hosting it for free, with no ads. And of course it’s also open source.

How exactly does Meeting for Good work?

  1. Create an event, with a range of possible dates and times:

2. Enter your availability, using simple click and drag:

3. Invite others, using email, the event’s custom URL, or recent invitees:

That’s it! It’s ridiculously simple.

As participants join and add their own availabilities, you’ll see the event update itself with times that work for everyone in your timezone.

Four people, four timezones. Converted automatically to mine.

If you want more detail on the times where there’s overlap, you can click “View Details” and look over the heat map:

Shout out to the person available on Sunday nights. It wasn’t me. I have HBO.

And your dashboard will let you see an overview of all of your upcoming events at a glance.

We’re really proud of the app so far, and we’re nowhere near finished.

We’d love to know what you think too, so please leave a comment with your feedback.

Special thanks go to JP (in Sao Paulo), Aniruddh (in Singapore), Bob (in California), and Akira (in New Caledonia) for their volunteer contributions in building Meeting for Good.

We’ve also got more new software projects to unveil this summer, and a new directory on the way to display all of our Open Source for Good projects in one place.

Stay tuned and happy coding!

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