Calendaring update: CalDAV and Google Calendar
A while ago I published a post on my problems trying to work in an enterprise environment without an Exchange compatible calendar. Â It's been tough, it's been heart-breaking, it's been a lot of work, but I have managed to hobble along with various forms of updates, patches, syncing tools that failed, etc. Â Then today, while still looking for a solution to Outlook 2007 and iCal Server compatibility, I read it: Â Google finally enabled CalDAV for their calendars. Â It's still very much in the beta stage, but it works. Â For those who are not familiar with the CalDAV protocol, it's an open source subset of the WebDAV protocol, which is a subset of the HTTP protocol. Â The standard was developed as an open source, non-proprietary competitor to the Exchange format, and works with cross-platform clients. Â The protocol allows for publishing and updating iCalendar files from multiple sources. Â Apple developers spent a lot of time and effort with this protocol in order to get it out there for their Collaboration server setup (iCal Server, Wiki Server, Blogs, iChat, etc.). Â As such, iCal 3.x (the version that came with 10.5 Leopard) supports it, as does a number of other clients (Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc.). Â The set up went very smoothly. Â Google has a support link here that shows you how to set up your iCal client to connect to your Google Calendar, and any secondary calendars to which you have access. Â It's very painless, and from what I can see so far works just fine for regular calendar entries. Â That being said, beyond just scheduling my classes, lab deployments, and the odd meeting, I don't use calendaring software much. Â Of course there enters a new wrench: Â Outlook. Â I still need to share my calendar with other people in the department using Outlook. Â Outlook 2003 doesn't support viewing iCal calendars through a WebDAV connection (which allows sharing, but not multi-user publishing), without a 3rd party plugin. Â It can read files that are in the iCal and vCal format, but from what I have read it doesn't support them very well (if anyone has heard or knows otherwise, please let me know!).Â Enter Outlook 2007. Â Outlook 2007 will let you read a Google Calendar without a problem. Â It's actually fairly easy to set up. Â You can also publish a calendar the same way using WebDAV. Â The problem is, you can't use a CalDAV calendar, no matter how hard you try. Â There are, in theory, some applications that act as a bridge, but I'm not too keen on bridges like that (though if you must, Calgoo has added CalDAV to it's calendaring utility!). Â I'd much rather use the application that comes with the OS (or in Windows case, the application that comes with the Office software you purchase separately). Â If anyone is aware of an alternative solution, please let me know! Â So while my personal calendaring needs are met with the Google Calendar solution, there is still one missing: Â setting up Outlook to add to a CalDAV calendar. Â Perhaps, with a patch to Outlook, this will be possible.