Forum OpenACS Q&A: iCal, vCal, we all call for i(etf) cal

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Posted by Jerry Asher on
Subject: How does iCal/vCal relate to PDAs?

I recently got a palm pilot. I'm already bored with the manual task
of creating palm datebook events for any email that details some must-

(Note 2/5, 4:00, Survey of Ass Gasket Traumas and Injuries, Grand
Rounds, UCSF)

I would like to know how to create email attachments that contain the
event, so that with a click, I could automatically import the event
into my palm desktop. I know how to create attachments, I need to
know the format for a calendar entry.

When I google for vcs specification, the first hit is for version
0.4., eventually I get to which describes the
ietf calendar project.

But in a nutshell, which spec should I be reading? What does the palm
actually implement? Where is the industry going?

I would like to offer a service so that folks with events can
describe the event and be given a download containing a calendar
attachment that can be uploaded into a palm or pocket pc.

What should I be looking at?


Posted by Jerry Asher on
Just to be clear, the idea is that the email originator would visit the site, describe the event, and be given an email attachment to add to his broadcast.
Posted by Don Baccus on
Check out the standard at

A partial implementation that allows you to synch your ACES 3.5 calendar with Outlook and probably your palm, KMail and Evolution is in the tree maintained by Malte.

I only tested it with Outlook when I finished it. Recurring events ("replace ass gasket every Monday") require timezone information in the standard, and ACES doesn't carry that, so I kludged it to the point where Outlook liked it since that's what the client (Sloan/MIT) wanted. Other calendar software may not fall for the kludge.

But non-recurring (single) events are kosher by the standard AFAIK.

And OpenACS 4 has timezone information, and though acs-events doesn't use it yet there's a hook for it. So eventually we'll be able to put out kosher iCalendar format files for recurring events, too.

BTW the format was developed by MS and Lotus and is as bad as you'd expect from hearing that.

Posted by Don Baccus on
What happens if you just e-mail it an iCalendar file?  In Outlook I'm pretty sure it will just turn it into a calendar event if you do that.  I know that to synch from the web all I do is send the file down with the right mime type, Outlook's fired up automatically and stores it.  Outlook then has notification features you can set (from within the iCalendar file, actually).
Posted by Jerry Asher on
Thanks Don,

I don't know what happens when you just mail an iCalendar file, as I've never received one.  I get lots of vcf vCards, usually from folks I would never want in my address book, but except for when I work in various Microsoft/Outlook enabled shops, I don't believe I've ever been sent a calendar event.

I'm glad to hear that OpenACS 4 will support such, at the moment, I just want to put up a free service like this vCard generator,, that I can point folks to so that they can generate calendar events of their own.  It's may be asking too much of them to do so, most folks with a Palm can already generate these things and forward them on using the Palm desktop already.

Posted by Adam Farkas on
This problem has actually been tackled in php --

can export to palm and iCal


This exports from a palm.

I think you should find them useful to study.

Posted by Don Baccus on
Exporting from a Palm would be nice to poach, but the first thing you mention is exactly what ACES 3.5 does in its calendar package ...