Monday, September 29, 2008

iCalendar, CalDAV...then what? Part 1

I received an email last week that I will reproduce here in its entirety, then comment on in a subsequent post:

"Hi Scott-

"I've been a follower of your blog for a long time. I'm a technical lead for a software development team at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC and what I don't get is why do we, as a calendar community, continue to push improvements to iCal (such as cal dev), when the REAL problem is iCal (RFC 2445) itself? To me it seems like we are trying to improve in very small ways what amounts to a very, very outdated standard. I believe iCal should just be tossed and a much more contemporary calendar standard created based on some calendar-related XML vocabulary, perhaps specifically RDF so that calendar data would play nicely with the Semantic Web.

"We have developed a custom web based calendar application (now in its 4th year) that allows users to subscribe to events using iCal and SMTP as the transport mechanism. NASA has moved to a centralized exchange infrastructure which has helped, but still, creating iCal that plays nicely with both Entourage and Outlook clients is extremely difficult. Each client handles iCal a little differently (especially with respect to All Day Events) and who knows what JuJu Exchange does during the client1-server-cleint2 syncing process. Initially, we were hoping that xCal, an xml-ized version of iCal circa 2000 or so, was going to catch on, but evidently it died due to lack of agreement on the last 10% (recurrence etc).

"Anyway, I wonder why no one ever talks about the need for sweeping reform in this area, given that xml-based syndication has been so successful in the RSS related areas, despite it's checkered "standards" development history.

"Just some food for thought.

"BTW, feel free to use any of this for your blog. I was going to post it as a comment, but it's not really related to any particular post..."

Alex Pline
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC

1 comment:

Alex Pline said...

To make matters worse, even Microsoft's own two calendar clients (Outlook and Entourage) don't handle All Day events the same way. Here is a nice summary of the problem:

http://socketjockeying.com/2007/02/27/outlook-all-day-events-timezones-god-help-me/

This should not be this hard!