Registration Opens for CalConnect XXX at AOL in Dulles, Virginia – May 19-23 2014

Registration is now open and hotel reservations are available for CalConnect XXX in Dulles, Virginia, May 19-23, 2014. The logistics page is located at http://www.calconnect.org/calconnect30.shtml and contains hotel booking information, locations, meeting venue, travel information, etc.

Our meeting venue is AOL’s Steve Crane Center at 22000 AOL Way, about 2 miles from Dulles International Airport.

The Doubletree Sterling/Dulles Airport is our Conference Hotel. The hotel is about 4 miles from the airport, and runs a 24-hour shuttle between the airport and the hotel which also stops at AOL. Booking at our rate is done through AOL Travel Services; information is available via the logistics page links above.

As always, the first half of the week will be an Interoperability Test Event and the last half, starting Wednesday with lunch, will be the CalConnect Conference. In addition to the regular Technical Committee sessions and possible BOFs we expect to have report-outs from the Contacts Sharing Provisional Committee and the FSC (Federated Shared Calendar) Ad Hoc/Provisional Committee.

We are pleased to announce that there will be a special Workshop on the VA Scheduling System on Wednesday afternoon during the Conference, open to the public by registration and to all participants at the Interoperability Test Event and the Conference.

In late 2012, The U.S. Veterans Administration announced a “prize contest” to “…encourage creation of systems that help Veterans make appointments to receive outpatient and ambulatory care from the Veterans Health Administration.” and to ultimately “…to replace the current Medical Scheduling Package (MSP) with a scheduling product which is a standards-based, modular, extensible and scalable, …”

Recently, the winning proposals were announced. One of the winning teams has accepted our invitation to attend, and to present at, the workshop.

The workshop is to discuss health care scheduling requirements, especially in the context of the Veterans’ Administration Scheduling System challenge, to examine possible changes or additions to the standards and drafts to better support the scheduling for health care.

Please contact us with any questions. We welcome observers and please note that you may register for the Workshop on Wednesday afternoon with no charge.

Observations from CalConnect XXIX in San Francisco

CalConnect held its twenty-ninth interoperability test event and Roundtable Technical Conference the week of February 3-7 in San Francisco, California. The event was hosted by CalConnect founding member Mozilla, which did a great job with not only the event logistics, but also making everyone feel very welcome, which was reflected in the very strong attendance at these events.

36 people, representing 21 CalConnect member organizations and one observer, participated during the week. Almost a quarter of the attendees traveled internationally to come to CalConnect XXIX, from the Czech Republic, England, France, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand and Switzerland. Attendance at CalConnect events is growing, international membership and participation are bringing new energy and perspectives to CalConnect.

We have just published the first architectural diagrams for Tasks from TC TASKS and for Calendaring and Scheduling from TC API.

Here’s what’s trending from CalConnect XXIX:

Trending – Membership

Six of the seven new “Emergent Vendor” members (a new membership category for small vendors and startups) were represented at CalConnect XXIX, including milton.io, our newest member.

Trending – Technical Committees (TC’s) and Provisional Committees (PC’s)

  • TC PUSH (PUSH protocol for CalDAV and CardDAV)
  • TC ISCHEDULE (intersystem iTIP scheduling via HTTP)
  • TC TASKS (VTODO extensions for new scheduling areas such as logistics, project and energy management)
  • TC API (Abstract API for Calendaring and Scheduling) was established from the provisional committee of the same name
  • TC FREEBUSY Demo-ed a prototype web client supporting VPOLL
  • A Contacts Sharing Provisional Committee was established to look at developing a single standard for Contacts Sharing

Trending – Interoperability testing

The interoperability testing was very successful, with 23 participants from 13 organizations. The CalDAV Test Suite is rapidly being evolved into a really useful general testing tool for CalDAV servers. A more detailed accounting of the interoperability testing will be available at CalConnect Interoperability Test Event Reports.

Trending – Documents/Standards

Much of the work in CalConnect is focused on specifications to become internet draft submissions to the IETF and ultimately be progressed to become RFCs (Proposed Standards), rather than be directly published by CalConnect itself.

Recently published CalConnect documents:

Calendaring Service Architecture
Task Architecture V0.4
Report on Roundtable XXIX
Report on Interoperability Test Event XXIX
7 Things You Should Know About Digital Travel Itineraries
7 Things You Should Know About Tasks

Recently updated internet drafts and published RFCs:

jCard: The JSON Format for vCard (RFC 7095)
Non-Gregorian Recurrence Rules in iCalendar
Support for iCalendar Relationships
jCal: The JSON format for iCalendar
Use of the Prefer Header Field in Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV)
CalDAV Managed Attachments
New Properties for iCalendar
Timezone Service Protocol
Calendar Availability (VAVAILABILITY)
Event Publishing Extensions to iCalendar

Trending – Organizationally

To facilitate broader understanding, CalConnect has retired the name “Roundtable” as used for its thrice-yearly conference and members’ meeting and will use the term “CalConnect Conference” or “Conference” going forward. The term “Ad Hoc” to describe a short-term exploratory committee has been retired, and will be replaced by “Provisional Committee”.

Wrapping it all together

CalConnect wishes to again thank Mozilla for helping to make CalConnect XXIX such a productive and enjoyable week.

At our next event, CalConnect XXX, to be hosted by AOL in Dulles, Virginia in May, we are planning to hold a public workshop on the Medical Appointment Scheduling System Contest sponsored by the Veterans Administration, with participation from the VA and from the winning team in the contest. We expect this will be a half-day workshop available to the public (by registration) and will be publishing more information as it becomes available.

A chance to observe – CalConnect in San Francisco next week

If you’re based or currently in the Bay Area and are interested in calendaring, next week is your chance to be an observer at the 29th CalConnect event at Mozilla, February 3-7 2014. The week is divided in half – the first half is an interoperability test event; the second half (Wednesday afternoon to Friday afternoon) is the technical conference and members’ meeting.

Non-members may always participate or observe at the interoperability test event – and we have a provision for non-members to come to a single technical conference as observers to find out more about CalConnect and what’s going on.

If you want to find out more check out the event web page at http://www.calconnect.org/calconnect29.shtml and the schedule for the week. You can find the registration information at http://www.calconnect.org/regtypes.shtml. Observing at the interoperability test event is only $350, and attending the technical conference as an Observer is now $395 (includes breakfast, lunch, a Wednesday reception and Thursday dinner).

There’s lot’s going on this time; check out the Schedule and Topical Agendas. The meeting is at Mozilla, Harrison Street at The Embarcadero. Come check us out!

If you have any questions drop me a note: Dave Thewlis or call +1 707 840 9391.

CalConnect Welcomes Milton.io

CalConnect welcomes Miltio.io as a member of the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium. Milton.io, based in Red Beach, New Zealand, offers server protocol software for java, catering for WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV.

CalConnect establishes technical committee to develop PUSH for CalDAV (and CardDAV)

TC PUSH was formed to extend CalDAV and CardDAV with standardized support for PUSH notifications.

At present CalDAV and CardDAV clients have to poll the server at regular intervals to check for changes. To provide a close to “real time” user experience and present updates and notifications almost immediately to the user, a client has to poll at a high frequencies, possibly at the expense of higher consumption of resources like bandwidth and traffic, processing time and battery power.

TC PUSH will define methods to advertise/discover PUSH protocols supported by a server. In addition it will specify a generic PUSH protocol based on existing WebDAV technologies that can be used when no other PUSH method is available. To help implementers TC PUSH will provide guidelines to PUSH support on servers and clients.

See more about TC PUSH and its Charter and proposed deliverables at http://www.calconnect.org/tc-push.shtml.

CalConnect seeks assistance from travel industry technology experts

CalConnect needs your help! We are seeking guidance and assistance from travel industry technology experts to explore the travel itinerary model within calendaring and scheduling.

Traditional travel agencies have given way to travel that is booked directly by the traveler him/herself, using online services providing digital transactions from end to end – searching/selection, booking, payment, ticketing, itineraries, and other ancillary services. Many of these online systems are impressive in their capabilities and their comprehensiveness. However, much of their sophistication is the result of proprietary mechanisms which provide great workflow within their systems, but integrate less successfully with other calendaring & scheduling systems and third party applications.

It is equally true, however, that calendaring and scheduling standards do not really accommodate the needs of today’s (or tomorrow’s) online travel system. Frequently, the data has to be provided as unstructured text because no specific properties exist for the types of information provided. As a result the itinerary information cannot be created and managed by the end users as a native part of their calendar applications.

In the context of our mission to promote interoperable, standards-based calendaring & scheduling, CalConnect is endeavoring to identify the necessary additions and extensions required to the calendaring standards (in particular iCalendar, the “data model”) to fully support travel itineraries as an integrated element in a user’s calendar, and itineraries as elements in automated processes, and to add the additions and extensions to the standards.

However, we need the guidance and assistance of travel industry technology experts to identify what elements are required, and to fully explore the travel itinerary model within calendaring and scheduling. Our initial goal is to develop a set of use cases and requirements for digital itinerary systems to enhance the usefulness of calendar data. We anticipate this work taking place over a six month period via periodic conference calls and online communication. Following on from this CalConnect will develop the enhancements to the calendaring standards themselves to satisfy the identified industry requirements and use cases.

Therefore, we are forming a working group, a collaboration between the calendaring & scheduling experts from the CalConnect member organizations, and travel industry experts, and are seeking help in finding these experts. To learn how you can participate, or identify someone who might participate, please contact Dave Thewlis, CalConnect’s Executive Director, at:

Dave.Thewlis@calconnect.org
+1 707 840 9391

For additional background on travel itineraries and calendaring and scheduling see “7 Things about Digital Travel Itineraries” at http://www.calconnect.org/7_things_itineraries.shtml.

To learn more about becoming a member of CalConnect, see http://calconnect.org/whyjoin.shtml.

———————————–
CalConnect’s focus is interoperable calendaring and scheduling. Through promoting, advising, educating, and the work of our technical committees, we advance the state of interoperable calendaring and of interoperable scheduling. CalConnect is a 501(c)6 tax-exempt mutual benefit association incorporated in 2004. We are a member-driven organization – our agenda and our work products all result from the leadership by participants from our member organizations. The consortium is a partnership between vendors of calendaring & scheduling systems and tools, and users of those tools in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our membership includes some of the world’s largest software development organizations, as well as emergent vendors and startups, end user organizations, interested individuals, and research universities. CalConnect’s members believe that through the collegial interactions and collaborations among erstwhile competitors in the marketplace, calendaring & scheduling vendors and consumers all benefit.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR CALCONNECT XXIX IN SAN FRANCISCO, FEBRUARY 3-7, 2014

REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR CALCONNECT XXIX, FEBRUARY 3-7, 2014, HOSTED BY MOZILLA IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

As usual, Monday and Tuesday all day and Wednesday morning will be the CalConnect Interoperability Test Event; Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday will be the CalConnect Conference.

General Information:

Logistics information for this event may be found at http://www.calconnect.org/calconnect29.shtml including venue, travel, hotel, and other planning information. The session schedule is available; the agenda slots will be assigned and topical agendas will be posted closer to the event. The meeting venue will be at Mozilla’s San Francisco facility, 2 Harrison Street, San Francisco.

The Conference Hotel is the Shattuck Plaza Hotel in Berkeley; due to extremely expensive hotel prices in San Francisco, we will be using BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit system) to commute to and from San Francisco each morning and evening (the hotel is 1/2 block from a BART station; Mozilla is about a kilometer from a BART station). Please note that you need to book your via the link on the CalConnect logistics page for this event to receive the CalConnect rate. Also note that the room block ends as of 3 January 2014 – so if you are planning to come I encourage you to get your room reserved soon!

I also encourage you to register early as early registration helps us with event planning and logistics, in addition to restaurant reservations. (Please remember that you need not pay when you register; if desired you may wait until the event and pay by credit card.)

About the Conference:

The overall schedule for sessions has been set although the actual assignment of slots will be made next month. Early registration for the conference will be $350 through 17 January 2014, and $395 thereafter. Another reason to register early: you won’t forget and miss the early registration deadline. Please note that the early registration about applies so long as you register <= 17 January, even if you don't actually pay until the event.

In addition to our regular Technical Committee sessions, we will expect to receive the reports of several Ad Hoc Committees (short-term working groups) established to explore specific new areas of possible work, including Calendaring APIs, Federated Shared Calendars, and a generic PUSH facility for CalDAV. New Technical Committees for some or all of the new areas may be instantiated before or at this meeting.

About the Interoperability Test Event:

The information page for the Interoperability Test event is at http://www.calconnect.org/iop1402.shtml. Please see this page for the current list of areas we plan to test; it will be updated regularly as testing registrations and requests are received. In addition, participants may have other areas they wish to test and we will be happy to include them in our planning; the test event registration form provides a place to indicate what you want to test. n all cases at least two participating organizations must be interested in testing a particular area or scenario to form testing pairs.

We invite you to join us in San Francisco at Mozilla for CalConnect XXIX.

CalConnect closes XML Technical Committee: work completed

TC-XML was chartered to develop a two-way reference mapping of iCalendar to XML (and later to JSON), and to develop a core abstract calendaring API and web services bindings for that API.

TC-XML developed both XML and JSON representations for iCalendar data, respectively xCal and jCal, and produced drafts published at the IETF (xCal is now RFC 6321, jCal is in final review). In addition, TC-XML supported an ongoing liaison with OASIS and worked with them on SOAP and Rest API’s for calendaring, as part of the “smart grid” work by the OASIS WS-Calendar technical committee. The SOAP and Rest API’s have been published as CalConnect documents and also incorporated into the OASIS WS-Calendar specification. Additional IETF drafts have been produced for new properties used by that work, and are being used by other TCs (e.g. TC-TASKS) and will progress at the IETF along with the other TC’s work.

As a follow-on for TC-XML, we have identified a need to codify a complete, generic calendar store API, and a new Ad Hoc committee within CalConnect is now working on developing a strategy to move forward with that work. The Ad Hoc committee will also be responsible for the liaison effort with OASIS WS-Calendar until a new Technical Committee is formed.

Work Products:

xCal: The XML Format for iCalendar (RFC 6321)
CalWS-Rest Restful Web Services Protocol for Calendaring
CalWS-SOAP SOAP Web Services Protocol for Calendar
jCal: The JSON Format for iCalendar (IETF Draft)

CalConnect welcomes Softly Software

CalConnect welcomes Softly Software as a member of The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium.

Softly Software, based in Bedford, United Kingdom, offers online scheduling tools.

Exploring New Work Areas for CalConnect

At last week’s CalConnect Roundtable XXVIII in Prague, we established Ad Hoc Committees to explore three new potential areas of work, APIs Federated Shared Calendars, and CalDAV “Push”. Additionally we decided to continue the work of the existing “Itinerary” Ad Hoc.

The Ad Hoc Committees will make recommendations at the next CalConnect event in February whether these Ad Hocs should be chartered as Technical Committees, continue as Ad Hoc Committees, or be disbanded.

In greater detail, the three new areas of work are:

API Ad Hoc

A follow-on to our XML Technical Committee, this Ad Hoc will consider further work in the areas of web services and formal APIs for Calendaring and Scheduling. The goal is to define a standard interface into any Calendaring and Scheduling system.

FSC Ad Hoc

The FSC or “Federated Shared Calendars” Ad Hoc will consider sharing calendars between different calendaring systems, both direct scheduling via iSchedule, as well as subscribed calendar sharing, with the goal of improving the user experience and providing capabilities which can be implemented by major and small service providers alike.

PUSH Ad Hoc

*PUSH is not currently part of the CalDAV standard, and some server vendors have implemented proprietary solutions. This Ad Hoc will consider how to accomplish PUSH with HTTP/WebDAV technology in a standardized way, for use with a variety of device types in different networking environments. The goal is to develop an extension to the standard(s) to help define existing mechanisms in a more interoperable way, as well as create, or make use of, a standard PUSH technology.

ITINERARY Ad Hoc

The Itinerary Ad Hoc was established at a previous Roundtable and has been exploring ways to improve the overall user experience when dealing with digital itineraries by making use of iCalendar to provide richer information that can be exposed to users and third-party applications in a consistent manner. The Itinerary Ad Hoc is looking to involve experts in the area of travel itineraries in this work, to provide suitable input into the nature of problems and determine what needs to be addressed.

*A PUSH notification is a signal from a server to a client that data has changed on the server, probably due to some activity not directly caused by the client receiving the push notification. Push notifications can provide an immediate signal that data has changed on the server, and thus avoid the need for clients to regularly “poll” the server looking for changes. This provides an overall better user experience, as well as potentially reducing server loads and lowering client power usage.

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