CalConnect is coming to Europe this October

We are excited and very pleased to announce our first full CalConnect conference in Europe! If you are interested in Calendaring and Scheduling, in the standards and technologies – if you want a chance to do interoperability testing against other implementations – if traveling to North America to do so hasn’t been practical – here’s your opportunity. And we are offering extremely attractive special one-time registration fees for non-members.

Our first European conference will be in in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 3-7, 2011, hosted by Kerio Technologies. We encourage our European colleagues and all others interested in Calendaring and Scheduling to join us. We’re working to make this event as attractive as possible to organizations that are not currently members but may have thought about exploring CalConnect, and a European event is a chance for people to participate in a CalConnect member meeting without having to incur the travel costs and time of coming to North America.

CalConnect is a collaboration between calendaring and scheduling vendors and users. It was established to further interoperability between calendaring and scheduling implementations, and works towards this purpose by driving the evolution of calendaring and scheduling standards through technical committee work, holding regular interoperability testing events, and hosting regular conferences, workshops and symposia focused on calendaring and scheduling.

European companies were among CalConnect’s founding members in 2005; as standards and interoperability are central to CalConnect’s mission, and are strong core values of European Information Technology, we have long recognized the importance of increasing European involvement in CalConnect. To that end we held special events in Europe and 2007 and 2008 in preparation for having a regular CalConnect conference in Europe, as we are doing this year. This autumn’s event in Prague is one which we hope will be the start of even greater European participation in CalConnect’s interoperable calendaring and scheduling projects.

Overview

Our venue is the Hotel Majestic Plaza in Prague. Prague (Praha – the name of the city in Czech), the Capital City of the Czech Republic, is known as the pearl of Europe; it is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled cities in Europe. For six centuries it has remained nearly untouched by war, leaving intact stunning examples from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles. Prague is one of Europe‘s most charming and affordable destinations.

Full information about the conference may be found at CalConnect XXII including schedules, registration, and logistics information.

The first 2.5 days (Monday, Tuesday, the morning of Wednesday) will be our Interoperability Test Event. The last 2.5 days (Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday) will be our Technical Conference (Roundtable) which will include workshops, symposia, and technical committee sessions: briefings on what the CalConnect technical committees are doing, and discussions of problems, alternatives, and participation in the work of the Technical Committees.

Registration and Fees

You must register separately for the Interoperability Test Event and the Roundtable Technical Conference. Please see Registration and Fees for more information and registration forms.

Special Fees for This Event:
$350 U.S. per person to non-members to cover either the Interoperability Test Event, the Roundtable Technical Conference, or both. Non-members may always participate in the Interoperability Test Events, and may attend a single Roundtable as observers to determine if they are interested in joining CalConnect. CalConnect is also offering a special Interoperability Test Event fee of $350 for one person for non-vendor members of CalConnect.

We encourage you to register as soon as possible. Upon registration you will be invoiced for the amount due. However, you may choose to pay later, up to the week of the event, if it is more convenient.

Who and What is CalConnect?

As stated above, we are a collaboration between calendaring and scheduling vendors and users, established to further interoperability between calendaring and scheduling implementations, and works towards this purpose by driving the evolution of calendaring and scheduling standards through technical committee work, holding regular interoperability testing events, and hosting regular conferences, workshops and symposia focused on calendaring and scheduling. See our current member list at CalConnect Members. Learn more about CalConnect at our website and our blog, and from our newsletter CalConnect Minutes, published after each CalConnect Roundtable (conference), in particular the latest newsletter reviewing CalConnect XXI in May at NASA Ames. You can find out more about membership in CalConnect at CalConnect Membership.

Questions and Feedback:

Please contact us at contact@calconnect.org with questions or feedback.

In particular, if you are interested in the Interoperability Test event and would like to suggest specific areas of testing, or potential participants, we want to know. If you have specific areas of interest or topics which you would like to see addressed in the workshops and symposia, please let us know about that as well!

Please join us in Prague!

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More Information:

More information about the test event, the technical conference, and the workshops may be found below. The schedule for the week may be viewed at CalConnect XXII Schedule. The entire set of logistics information, including travel, hotel booking, schedule, and as we get closer to the event, topical agendas and final topics for the workshops and symposia, may be viewed at CalConnect XXII.

Interoperability Testing

The Interoperability Testing will take place Monday and Tuesday, October 3-4, plus Wednesday morning the 5th. Our interoperability test events offer those with calendaring implementations a chance to test against others one-on-one; the event is structured to allow “testing pairs” where you will get a chance to test with everyone in the course of the 2.5 days.

The exact testing scenarios will be decided based on who is coming and what (and with whom) they want to test. Some of the areas we expect to be testing include:

iCalendar/iMIP/iTIP testing
CalDAV, including implicit scheduling
CardDAV
CalDAV/CardDAV SRV discovery and well-known URI
Freebusy Read URL protocol
The new Timezone Service Protocol
xCal, the XML format for iCalendar
CalWS, the Web Services protocol for calendaring**
Mobile CalDAV client/server testing
If there is interest, synchronization testing for mobile clients in general

Please see CalConnect XXII IOP Test Event for more information.

**The existing REST specification will also have a SOAP version published before October. CalWS is being developed in support of the WS Calendar specification from OASIS as part of the NIST Smart Grid initiative; however it is a general implementation of calendaring and scheduling operations via web services.


Technical Workshops and Symposia

Thursday and Friday mornings will be dedicated to four 1.5 hour workshops and symposia. The workshops are included in the Roundtable Registration. We have not finalized the subjects as yet but the areas under discussion include:

Introduction and overview of calendaring and scheduling standards and specifications
Technical overview of CalDAV and the CalDAV standards with Q&A with the author(s)
Tasks/VTODOs – extensions needed to calendaring standards to more fully support tasks, project management applications, and so forth (follow-on to workshop at our May event at NASA)
VAVAILABILITY, consensus scheduling and Office Hours
CalWS (web services protocol for calendaring) – technical overview and workshop

The CalConnect XXII Schedule will be updated with the topics and speakers for the workshops and symposia as they are identified.

Roundtable (Technical Conference)

At each CalConnect event, the Roundtable offers an opportunity for each of the CalConnect Technical Committees to present its work, invite suggestions, and conduct open discussions with the attendees on issues or topics under deliberation in the technical committee. In order to facilitate people in North America joining the Roundtable portion of the week’s events, the Roundtable sessions will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, as shown in the CalConnect XXII Schedule. The schedule includes

Opening and introduction to CalConnect
Report from the Interoperability Test Event
Technical Committee sessions for all CalConnect TCs
Opportunities for BOFs (“birds of a feather” discussions)
Final wrapup and summary of all Technical Committee sessions
CalConnect Plenary Session

The conference will conclude no later than 18:00 on Friday, October 7th.

Social Events:

There will be a dinner for all Interoperability Test Event participants on Monday Evening, a Reception on Wednesday evening (at the hotel) for all participants in either the Test Event and/or the Technical Conference, and a dinner for all Technical Conference participants on Thursday evening.

CalConnect Artifacts Repository and iCalendar in XML (RFC 6321) Schema

CalConnect has established a code artifacts repository as a place to publish code artifacts such as schema. The first schema set published is the iCalendar in XML Schema (xCal) developed with and in support of the OASIS WS-Calendar effort.

xCal – iCalendar in XML – published as RFC6321

Today the IETF published xCal, the iCalendar in XML specification, as RFC 6321 – http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6321. CalConnect congratulates the authors of the specification, and our XML Technical Committee, for their hard work and perseverance.

Calendar Technology is not a “War”

Several days ago the New York Times ran an article about paper versus electronic calendars which suggested a “war” between paper versus electronic calendars: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/fashion/calendar-wars-pit-electronics-against-paper.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2.

The article is interesting and makes valid points about why some choose to stay with paper calendars, but I would argue that positioning the distinction as a “war” between paper versus electronic calendars is wide of the mark. In actuality, the choice of paper or silicon, or both, is based on one’s needs, likes, and comfort level.

Many of us are familiar with paper calendars, find that they do what we need them to do, and don’t require additional gadgets. Others find that they have requirements which dictate electronic calendars, which are much easier to share, backup, and schedule with others. Individuals and households who use both paper and silicon are fairly common: a paper calendar is maintained because it is visible and easy for anyone to update, but other uses require the electronic calendar as well.

The point is that individuals, households and groups can and will choose the methods(s) they are comfortable with, and which meet their needs. Of course over time those needs may expand; that doesn’t mean that paper calendars are invalidated, any more than my ability to write down an event on a paper calendar obviates the reasons I use an electronic calendar. But it does mean that there are tricks that a paper calendar simply isn’t going to learn.

When we started CalConnect in 2005, I expressed the vision of the organization as

Our vision of the future is not only interoperable calendaring, but ubiquitous interoperable calendaring.  Calendaring should—and can—be as ubiquitous as electronic mail.

Actually, of course, calendaring has been pretty near ubiquitous for many years, long before electronic mail or computers, so in a sense I missed the real point, which wasn’t calendaring by itself, but calendaring and scheduling.

Scheduling appointments with others in a convenient way that doesn’t require separate actions such as phone calls, sending separate e-mails, or just everyone copying down the same details on paper, is the real “Holy Grail” of calendaring and scheduling, and is certainly a tipping point for electronic calendaring.

Scheduling has been done via computer technology for at least forty years (anyone remember IBM’s PROFS?) For some years, calendaring systems have offered appointment and meeting scheduling for employees of businesses and organizations who implement them, although doing it between different people and systems has been haphazard.

It’s the “interoperable” part that is difficult, and why CalConnect was started. But it really is the point. Pamela Taylor, one of our Board members, made the point succinctly and pithily:

Being able to schedule meetings with my work group is important.  But being able to schedule an appointment with my hair stylist could change the world.

In other words, fully self-service from her personal electronic calendar: ad hoc scheduling with virtually anyone else who has an electronic calendar. That really could change the world!

Dave Thewlis
Executive Director
CalConnect – The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium

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