Sync stuff working great

Today I gave the Mark/Space iCal sync conduit a really good workout, and it came through it without missing a beat. First off, I added the LOCATION field to the Oracle Calendar download. I’m not sure why I wasn’t pulling it down originally, I guess it was just an oversight. As a result, I now have location data for my meetings, and a lot of existing entries now have the additional field.

Next, I created a new calendar that has a bunch of repeating events (various birthdays and anniversary dates). Then I deleted all of the birthdays and anniversarys that I had stored in Oracle Calendar. Finally, I added a couple new events via the Palm.

In short: Add a new iCalendar field to several dozen existing events, add a new calendar consisting of repeating events, delete a dozen or so existing events, and copy a couple events from the Palm to the Mac, all in one sync. The Mark/Space conduit handled everything without a hitch. The deletions propagated, the new fields were added, and the new calendar was added with the proper recurrence rules.

This is really the way things are supposed to work when you pay for software: It should work, work well, and work reliably, and if it doesn’t, the company should stand behind the product and either make it work, or refund your money. So far, it looks like the $40 for Missing Sync was money well spent.

This also makes me curious about event recurrences. The iCalendar spec allows for some pretty fancy recurrence rules. I’m not sure if the Palm Date Book allows that much flexibility. If I were to define a really fancy recurrence (say, an event that happens the second tuesday of every month except March, or whatever) I wonder how that would propagate to the Palm. One of these days I’ll have to try it.

Incidentally, I created my birthday/anniversary calendar from scratch with a text editor. Then I copied it to my web server and subscribed to it with iCal. It worked fine, and seems to be a good way to handle relatively static calendars like this. The only requirement is that each event needs to have a unique UID. I used UIDs of the form:

YYYYMMDDTHHMMSSZ-#@concerto.ucs.umbc.edu

Where # is an ascending number. For the date stamp, I used the approximate time that I created the file.

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