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.

Interoperability Testing at CalConnect XXVIII

The Interoperability Test Event at CalConnect XXVIII featured 5 clients and 8 CalDAV servers tested by 13 on-site participants and two remote. In addition to the “regular” CalDAV and iMIP client/server and server/server testing, significant achievements include

  • First (and successful) tests of jCal, the JSON format for iCalendar, tested for at least three servers
  • CalDAV Managed Attachments, tested by multiple clients and servers
  • Timezones By Reference (including servers/clients behavior if timezone data not sent, and CalDAV extensions to advertise Timezones by Reference (e.g. Timezone Service Protocol enabled)
  • Initial testing of Prefer Header, a new specification allowing a WebDAV client to request certain behaviors be implemented by a server while constructing a response to a successful request
  • VPOLL support on servers and interaction with existing clients
  • Testing new VTODO properties/values defined by CalConnect TC-TASKS to verify they are supported by servers and clients
  • In-depth review of the CalDAV Tester Suite and how to implement and use it

We invite everyone interested in interoperability testing to join the test event at Mozilla in San Francisco at CalConnect XXIX, February 3-7, 2014.

Cyrus Daboo of Apple Third Recipient of CalConnect Distinguished Service Award

CalConnect is honored to announce that Cyrus Daboo of Apple is the third recipient of the CalConnect Service Award. The award was presented at CalConnect XXVIII on September 25, 2013.

Cyrus earned his Doctorate in Physics from Cambridge University in the U.K.. and moved to the United States after working as a Research Associate at Cambridge in the mid-1990s. In the U.S. he founded his own firm and developed Mulberry, a calendaring and e-mail client adopted largely in the academic sector, which he eventually made an open source project.

Cyrus became involved with calendaring and scheduling in the process, and with the IETF. He was one of the original authors of the CalDAV standard, and was involved in the establishment of CalConnect, as he attended the original formation meeting in Montreal in 2004. His firm, Isamet, became one of the founding members of CalConnect and Cyrus has been at, and involved in, every CalConnect event.

In early 2006 Cyrus went to Apple, where he has been responsible for Apple’s iCal Server and the open source Darwin Calendar Server. Cyrus has been extremely active in CalConnect since before he went to Apple, and has continued his activities as author and editor of many standards and specifications. He has served as Chair of TC CHAIRS for all but two years since 2006, and has served as Apple’s Steering Committee representative since Apple became a member of the Steering Committee.

Cyrus has been active and effective not just in authoring and progressing specification and standards, but broader areas involving CalConnect, including identifying new work areas, conducting workshops and sessions, and helping to progress our work. He is an exemplar of collegiality, willing to work with and help anyone, and never condescending, but treating all as colleagues.

Cyrus is one of the few people who seem somehow to actually manage not just to be in multiple places at once, but to work effectively in those places, and has been one of the primary drivers of CalConnect’s success, as well as of CalDAV, CardDAV, and the other standards he has been instrumental in authoring and progressing. Cyrus is one of the thought leaders of CalConnect, thinking about and speaking to what we can do better and how we can do it. If there are any close to indispensable people in the calendaring and scheduling world, Cyrus is certainly one of them, and he has remained a stalwart support of CalConnect from the beginning.

Thank you, Cyrus, for your long service and outstanding contributions to CalConnect and interoperable calendaring.

CalConnect Welcomes fruux and Stylite

CalConnect welcomes fruux GMBH and Stylite AG as members of The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium.

fruux, based in Münster, Germany, offers a multi-platform, multi-device unified contacts/calendaring system. fruux is also behind sabre/dav, a popular open source implementation of WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV.

Stylite, based in Kirchheimbolanden, Germany, offers EGoupware, an open source team collaboration suite.

Is CalConnect Right for You? Are you Right for CalConnect?

Earlier this week, we welcomed Ribose as the newest CalConnect member, and our first member organization based in Asia. Including Ribose, five organizations have joined CalConnect since we announced our new membership fees and categories in April of this year.

In our conversations with Ribose’s leadership, we learned that Ribose had been aware of CalConnect for some time, but had previously assumed that CalConnect was just for the “really big players”.

CalConnect does need the “really big players”, however one might reasonably define them, for a number of reasons, but CalConnect cannot succeed, cannot meet its mission, with only the “really big players”, the “really small players”, or only the “really anything-else players”.

As we note on our “Why Join” page,

We are a partnership between vendors of calendaring & scheduling systems and tools, and users of those tools. 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 success, and ultimately the success of our vision of interoperable calendaring & scheduling depend on broad, engaged, diverse, and informed participation by those organizations developing calendaring and scheduling products, and those organizations which are using calendaring and scheduling products.

“Why Join” is, of course, a marketing piece to entice you to join or learn more about CalConnect, but the quoted paragraphs are a genuine representation of what CalConnect believes and stands for. We expressed a similar sentiment in the aforementioned “new membership fees/categories posting” on the CalConnect blog,

Here is what we hope to accomplish with our new membership and interoperability event fees – increase diversity, geographic distribution, age, gender, and company size of our membership. This is essential to CalConnect and its mission.

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. Although there is some overlap, each of these membership categories has a different perspective, has different requirements and needs, and each can make a different contribution as a CalConnect member.

CalConnect is as close to a true meritocracy as any organization I have ever been involved with. Anyone, irrespective of membership category or company affiliation, can become a CalConnect thought leader, technical leader, or organizational leader, based on merit – your participation, your contributions, and your collegiality.

CalConnect is anchored in these precepts:

  1. CalConnect is a membership driven organization – multidimensional diversity, and broad, engaged participation are the keys to sustainability and maximum impact.
  2. CalConnect needs to influence the world, and CalConnect needs to be influenced by the world, not just its membership.
  3. The future of calendaring and the future of CalConnect are intertwined – CalConnect helps shape the future of calendaring, and the future of calendaring will surely shape CalConnect.

So, Is CalConnect Right for You? Are you Right for CalConnect?

If you are trying to solve a problem, find a solution, build a product, help drive the standards, or simply get to know the people driving calendaring & scheduling today, CalConnect is right for you.

If you are a large software development organization, an emergent software vendor or startup, if you are end user organization, a college or university, a government organization or department for which scheduling/calendaring is critical to your workflow or product line, if you are a standards organization which needs calendaring /scheduling expertise, or if you are an individual interested in calendaring /scheduling products or standards, you are right for CalConnect.

Gary Schwartz
President

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