More on publishing and sharing calendars

I did some more research on calendar sharing over the long weekend. The first thing I tried was using iCal to publish a calendar to my new WebDAV server. It worked without a hitch. However, all this does is upload the .ics file to the web directory. I can then subscribe to the calendar with another iCalendar-capable client, but there’s no built-in facility to view the calendar with a web browser, as I had originally thought (apparently this is a feature of Apple’s .mac subscription service).

A little bit more searching turned up a nifty app called PHP iCalendar. This does exactly what I was looking for: install it, point it at a directory with iCalendar files, and it displays everything on my web browser. Installation was as easy as putting mod_php4 on my web server, untarring the distribution, and editing the config file. It works great and the interface is nice. So, with that I now have read-only access to my calendar from anywhere on the net.

I also wondered if there was a full-featured iCalendar-compatible calendar app out there for Linux. I found the Mozilla Calendar and Sunbird Project. Mozilla Calendar is a plugin for Firefox or Thunderbird, while Sunbird is a standalone app. Both share the same codebase, features and bugs. This is alpha pre-release software, but it’s being actively developed and appears to be the most promising solution. It works with Windows, Mac and Linux, meaning I could hypothetically use it on all three platforms (although on the Mac, I currently need iCal for Palm synchronization). I’ve downloaded this and verified that it seems to work, but I haven’t played with it extensively.

All this gives rise to the question: Could I keep the “official” version of my calendar on my web server, access it with Sunbird, iCal and/or PHP iCalendar, and have all my changes automatically sync up with the web copy? That is definitely the question, and if it’s doable, I think it’s the optimum solution. If I can track down a working version of the Oracle Calendar SDK for Linux, I could even automate the integration with Oracle Calendar.

I know I can configure iCal to automatically publish to the web whenever I make a change to it (although I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how it works in practice). I think Sunbird has a similar capability. Again, it remains to be seen how well this will actually work. I don’t have the Mac with me today, so I’ll play around with Sunbird on my Linux box, and see what it can do.

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