Sharing calendars may get easier

Sharing calendars may get easier

Summary: Calendaring is an application that has often caused me to shake my head. For something so basic, we still haven't gotten it right.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Servers
5

Calendaring is an application that has often caused me to shake my head. For something so basic, we still haven't gotten it right. Sharing calendars between applications requires an import/export shuffle, timezones still mess everything up, and the free-busy problem is a major headache. I despise any email that starts "We need to schedule a time..." because I know it's going to set off an email storm and waste my time.

Sure, if you're inside an enterprise and everyone else can be forced to use Exchange, Notes, or Groupwise, then you can mostly solve the free-busy problem, but as soon as you want to include folks outside of the sphere of your IT hegemony, you're sunk. Things like Google Calendar, iCalShare.com, and MeetingWizard are nice, but they're not the bullet-proof, distributed solution the world needs.

I'd pretty much given up hope, but a recent show on IT Conversations with Dave Thewlis has opened my eyes to some recent developments that might give rise to a solution.

Dave is the executive director of The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium (CalConnect), an IT consortium focused on the promotion and evolution of calendaring and scheduling standards and the development of interoperable Internet-based calendaring and scheduling products and applications.

CalConnect, working thought the IETF, promotes standards like CalDav, a standard for distributing iCalendar files. There are various clients and servers that support CalDAV. What's more, CalConnect hosts interop events three times a year to show how various calendaring systems can work together.

At WWDF this year, Apple announced Darwin Calendar Server, which will be included with server versions of Leopard when it ships, but anyone can download and install it right now, since it's open source. Unfortunately, you can't get a copy of iCal (Apple's calendar program) that supports CalDAV until you install Leopard and other clients are immature.

With any luck and some time, CalConnect's efforts might result in you and I being able to easily schedule meetings with people regardless of the systems they're using. Cross your fingers.

Topic: Servers

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

5 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • WorkgroupShare

    I've been using WorkgroupShare for three months. It works great and it's cheap. It synchronizes Outlook's calendaring and tasks with minimal setup (about 10 minutes).

    http://www.softalkltd.com/products/workgroupshare/
    JohnGerands
  • Just squares on a screen...

    I?ve been fighting with this exact problem for several months now, and like you, I can?t understand why it should be so difficult. I use Evolution on Suse on my home PC, this can subscribe to my wife?s iCal calendars (family events) on her .mac account. But unfortunately my work PC is on Outlook Exchange. Outlook syncs well with my Pocket PC and other employee?s calendars but I can?t access these calendars from my home PC nor can it subscribe to iCal. I?ve tried Google calendars, but they won?t sync with anything and I really don?t want to have to upload calendars in .ics files every night. ScheduleWorld on the other hand Syncs with Evolution (kinda), Pocket PC, and Google, but won?t subscribe to iCal.

    I?ve pretty much given up and being able to see all of my upcoming events in one place. If anyone has any solutions I?d be glad to hear them.
    30otsix
    • Two words...

      Day-planner. You won't go wrong with a plain old fashioned paper day planner.

      Just my MHO
      markguer9
      • here is a picture

        you have fifty people who need to meet.

        now to sync up 50 day planners you call each person and get their entire scheduals for the next 2 months and then sit down and correlate them all then call/email the other 49 people to them the time to meet. how long will that take and OH NO! one of them in the hours it took you to perform your task has penned someone into your slot. oh darn!
        Hrothgar - PCLinuxOS User
  • And break Exchange's back?

    Not if M$ has anything to say about it.
    Roger Ramjet