Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bump: Watch it and weep

Calendar sharing used to be a lot easier when River and I both had Palm-based PDAs. We would beam events back and forth with abandon! Then we both left Palm behind and our own calendar swamp was born.

Now, for reasons I explain elsewhere, I am buying an iPhone. If you read my top 10 list of reasons, you won't see "calendar sharing" as one of them. Yes, Apple is improving the iPhone calendar, allowing users to initiate meeting requests from the phone itself. But seeing someone else's calendar still requires a third-party Web service, and if like us you want to keep a local copy of the calendar (not on Google Gears), you'll need Apple iCal or Microsoft Outlook on a Mac or PC respectively.

Here's the weepy part: for iPhone users, contact sharing is now as simple as the old Palm PDA beaming was, thanks to Bump Technologies:

Bump is free, so it will probably be ubiquitous on iPhones.

But the makers of Bump cannot add calendar sharing to the service because, unlike what is possible with iPhone contacts, Apple has not published the APIs to allow such sharing when it comes to calendars. Here's the official statement from David Lieb, co-founder and president of Bump Technologies, responding to an email from me:

"We'd love to support calendar event sharing with Bump, but, at least right now with OS 2.2.1, Apple doesn't give apps access to calendar events. We could create a web interface and hack our way around it, but we like to keep things simple and intuitive for our users. Perhaps things will change in future Apple OS releases. As we port Bump to other platforms, this is definitely something we'll want to support."

As I reported earlier here, the iPhone OS 3.0 -- which Bump and all developers are under NDA and cannot disclose details about -- does not include the calendar APIs. Which is a damn shame.

Maybe a groundswell of demand for calendar bumping will follow the widespread adoption of Bump for contact sharing.

May it be so!


Doug said...

After getting the iPhone, consider the swamp draining factor.

I have an iPhone 3G and with OS 3.0 I can (finally) add a Google Calendar (via CalDAV) to my iPhone in addition to my work's Exchange Calendar. This means that I can view my wife's calendar (aka my social calendar) in the same context as my work calendar. I can event create events on her calendar.

This is a big win for me.

Unknown said...

This is huge for me, too! My wife is still gnashing her teeth since I left my longtime Palm relationship and finally made the move to iPhone. We're trying to figure out the simplest method for sharing calendar events, and thus far are still using the old-fashioned side-by-side, item-by-item tedious method of entering our calendared lives into the digital world. This seems savagely inelegant given the promise of Apple's tools. If you'd include a 'letter to Apple' button on here, I'd be all over it! And my wife would probably wear it out!

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