Ditching Oracle Calendar Sync

Since I need to interoperate with Oracle Calendar, and I want to sync with my Mac, and Oracle’s Mac Calendar sync client will not work with my E2, it follows that I need to come up with a way to get the Oracle Calendar data onto the Palm without using the sync client.

The Oracle Calendar client includes an “Export” feature which will export data into a vCal file. I can export data for any specified date range, then import this data into any app that supports vCal. Palm Desktop supports this, as does Apple’s iCal app that comes bundled with MacOS X. So, a simple solution would be to just export the Oracle Calendar data regularly, import it into one of those apps, and then sync the data with the Palm.

The obvious drawback to this is that it’s a one-way operation; this will pull data out of Oracle Calendar, but it will not take new entries created on the Palm and back-populate them into Oracle Calendar. If I specifically need something (a meeting for work, etc.) to show up in Oracle Calendar, I’ll need to use the Oracle Calendar client to create it. I can live with this, but it will mean changing my calendar habits, using Oracle Calendar only for work stuff like meetings etc. and using Palm Desktop or iCal as my “main” calendar. I won’t be able to use the Palm to schedule group meetings at work, but I never used it for that anyhow, because the sync client doesn’t support the concept of multiple attendees. So, no great loss there.

Another issue is the export/import process itself. It’s cumbersome and time consuming, but certainly doable in the immediate term. Oracle does provide an API which I could potentially use to automate things on the export side. I’ve managed to track this API down. It’s part of the Supplemental package supplied with the Oracle Collaboration Suite product. Oracle offers a free download. They provide a C++ interface and a Java/Web Services interface. However it appears they are phasing out the C++ interface. The current stuff from Oracle only has C++ libraries for the Mac (happily, that’s what I’d be using). It’s also unclear if either of these interfaces will work with UMBC’s slightly-out-of-date version of the calendar server.

I may give this a shot at some point, but it will take some time (I will also need to get up to speed with developing stuff on the Mac). In the meantime, I can do it manually.

Here is a link to some sample code that uses the C++ API to export Oracle Calendar data.

There’s also a package out there called OraCal2iCal which purports to automatically download Oracle Calendar data into Apple’s iCal app. From reading about it, it sounds like it works by actually driving the GUIs for the Oracle Calendar client and iCal to do the work for you. A cute idea, but a bit hackish for my tastes. Still, it might be worth a look at some point, particularly if I’m not able to work out a solution that uses Oracle’s API.

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