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Shared Calendars

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18th Feb 2004 | 17:33

One of the projects that we've assiduously avoided doing is a shared calendar system for the whole University, on the grounds that there aren't any plausible open standards and implementations, and we fear lurking scalability problems in the human side of things.

The iCal/vCal standard is fairly mature, but the associated Calendar Access Protocol is mired in committee bikeshedding (it's on revision 14). In the mean time people like Apple and Mozilla are using WebDAV as the publication and sharing mechanism; there's also an internet draft on this topic.

Perhaps this provides a plausible way forward for us, if the interoperability comes together...

(The small matter of a directory rears its ugly head too.)

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Comments {2}


from: pjc50
date: 18th Feb 2004 20:26 (UTC)

There aren't any good open calendar systems because geeks don't use calendars. :)

I got really interested in calendaring when our CEO insisted on Exchange for the calendaring, and I get the impression that the lack of a good open calendaring implementation is holding back a lot of businesses from going off Exchange+Outlook and onto free software on their mail servers. It's best to think of Outlook not as a mail client but as a database thick client for displaying objects from an OODB in forms. One of those forms is a mail message; calendar and contact items are others.

I think WebDAV is the answer, as it actually works where iCap doesn't. But unfortunately to really take off whatever solution has to provide some sort of DCE/RPC Exchangealike interface. Nobody's done this yet. All the free software exchange implementations require CLOSED-SOURCE client plugins, which tend to be flaky.

You're right about human scaleability problems; if it works at all people are going to use it to arrange supervisions.

You might be best off finding a way to funnel money or programmer time to the SRCF, as they were originally set up for this sort of thing: projects that the CS deemed infeasible due to lack of resources, security risks, Not Invented Here and spurious claims of impossibility...

As for a directory, what's wrong with LDAP?

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 19th Feb 2004 07:20 (UTC)

It was a sly reference to the current LDAP project, which follows 15 years or so of bikeshedding about directories...

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