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Apple Releases iCal 84

Freezebot writes, "Apple released his new iApp today, iCal. iCal is a calendar manager, which allows you to share your calendars online with your colleagues, family and friends, through your .Mac account. It is a free download." It also works with any WebDAV server. Friendly Canuck adds, "However, iSync is nowhere to be seen. I thought the whole point of iCal was syncing with other devices. Oh well."
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Apple Releases iCal

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  • And when I read that, at first I thought of "Cal-Tech", you know, the school.

    I wondered for a moment what Apple was doing holding Cal-Tech hostage. Hrm.
    • is actually Caltech, but a few street signs around here have it as Cal Tech. As for the topic at hand, even though iSync isn't out yet, the web page is up here [] and they promise it will here in September. The apple news sites ( say it should be available at the time of the Paris show.
    • "Cal" is also what the sports world likes to call UC-Berkeley. Because Berkeley is the oldest UC campus, it tends to still be called "California", and "Cal" is just short for that.

  • For us non-Mac people, we can still play with Mozilla Calendar []
  • I've been using ical [] since 1998.
  • File Format (Score:3, Informative)

    by Matthias Wiesmann ( 221411 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:02AM (#4227158) Homepage Journal
    One intersting thing is that the file format is text based and the structure seems quite obvious:
    PRODID:-//App le Computer\, Inc//iCal 1.0//EN
    I would have preferred an XML data format, but at least a text format means I can manage it using cvs (I don't want to buy a .mac account). The text encoding also seems to be UTF-8.

    Does anybody know if this format is used somewhere else or even documented?

    • Re:File Format (Score:3, Informative)

      by foobar104 ( 206452 )
      Does anybody know if this format is used somewhere else or even documented?

      Uhhh... you mean vCalendar? Yeah, I think [] I saw [] some somewhere [].
    • maybe this will help:
      (and yes it's blatant googled karma whoring)

      icalendar mailing list page []
      IETF iicalendar working group site []

    • Re:File Format (Score:5, Informative)

      by h0tblack ( 575548 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:15AM (#4227233)
      iCal uses an industry-standard iCalendar (.ics) specification. This is a text file that can be easily shared on the Internet. For more information on the iCalendar format, see or RFC2445 []. So yes, it's documented rather well and is far from a proprietary thing, you can relatively easily setup your own .mac iCal style server :)
    • Taken from RFC 2445, iCalendar<p>
      iCalendar Object

      The Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object is a collection of
      calendaring and scheduling information. Typically, this information
      will consist of a single iCalendar object. However, multiple
      iCalendar objects can be sequentially grouped together. The first
      line and last line of the iCalendar object MUST contain a pair of
      iCalendar object delimiter strings. The syntax for an iCalendar
      object is as follows:

      icalobject = 1*("BEGIN" ":" "VCALENDAR" CRLF
      "END" ":" "VCALENDAR" CRLF)

      The following is a simple example of an iCalendar object:

      PRODID:-//hacksw/handcal//NONSGML v1.0//EN
      SUMMARY:Bastille Day Party

  • I think it is a nice touch from apple not required a .Mac membership to use this tool. Although WebDAV servers are harder to come by it feel less of a tie in than .NET for example
    • I think I remember reading someplace that you can enable WebDAV server functions in OS X through some module in Apache. Oh, here it is []. The article is rather dated, as it refers to the public beta, but does anybody know if this hack still works? I guess I'll give it a shot when I get into work.
  • iCal Library (Score:5, Informative)

    by JHromadka ( 88188 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:17AM (#4227246) Homepage
    Apple also has a library [] of calendar subscriptions available. Movie and DVD releases, sports schedules, holidays, fall television premieres, and more.

    I was really hoping for iSync though, as I won't be able to really utilize iCal until the iSync beta is released later this month.

    • Yes, I've been there. Unfortunately, the Subscribe links only seem to work in IE, or at least they didn't in OmniWeb and Mozilla. I already used the iCal Feedback link to let them know about it.

      It would also help if there were more that I'd be interested in subscribing to, but that's a personal preference. US and Christian holidays were all I grabbed.

      Well, my calendar wouldn't look so empty if I didn't lose my job last week...

      • Re:iCal Library (Score:2, Informative)

        by khoward1 ( 171460 )
        I use OmniWeb and I didn't have any problem copying and pasting the URL's into iCal's "Subscribe" tool. It is a pain that they don't work with one click, but it's not like you can't get them at all.
        • Strange, I tried that yesterday before trying other browsers, and got an error message about bad addressing. I tried it again just now and it worked. Hmmm...

  • iSync (Score:4, Informative)

    by h0tblack ( 575548 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:19AM (#4227258)
    AFAIK iSync is in beta and will be available pretty much on schedule - end of september. I think Apple are using ical to push their .mac services for now rather than it's integration with iSync, which I'm sure will follow.
  • So close... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pathwalker ( 103 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:21AM (#4227281) Homepage Journal
    Arrrgh - not only did they leave out the feature I've been wishing for in a scheduling program, it looks like they almost put it in, but decided not to at the last minute.

    I work nights, and I would kill for a program that would let me create events that, for example, start at 6:00 pm on one day, and end at 6:00 am on the next, without having to resort to the ugly hack of splitting the event into chunks, so it avoids that unbreakable midnight barrier.

    I was excited when I saw the date box by the ending time when I created an event, but my hopes were dashed, when that box only became active for all day events...

    I guess it's time to dig into the export format, and see what happens if I create an event that spans days manually, and try to import it...
    • Re:So close... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pathwalker ( 103 )
      I guess it's time to dig into the export format, and see what happens if I create an event that spans days manually, and try to import it...

      Oh well - it still truncates the events at midnight. The info for the event shows it extending to the correct time/date, but it is treated as if it ends at midnight, and the published [] version just extends a little too far down the page...
    • Re:So close... (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually it does support this but you have to screw with iCal for a little bit to get it to work, here's the steps:

      Create Event (Around Noon)
      Take the bottom of the event and strech it out so it covers the amount of hours you want
      Then move the event to the proper time (Click on the time title bar)
      Get info on the event (Command + I)
      And make sure the time is correct

      Yeah it's weird but it works as this below shows:

      DTSTART;TZID=US/Easte rn:20020911T223000
      SUMM ARY:Weds Club Night
      DTEND;TZID=US/Eastern:20020912T02 0000

      Sure it sucks to have to take more than a single simple step but you can do it!
    • As mentioned in a reply to your message on MacSlash, you can simply create a multi-hour event in one day, then drag the start time so it spans past midnight. Bass-ackwards, but hey.

    • Don't know why it isn't linked to the main iCal page, but maybe you can give Apple some feedback [] on this. They've been reportedly pretty good about listening to user feedback the last couple of years (but we'll see if they fix those iMovie or iTunes bugs I reported last weekend...).
    • I work nights, and I would kill for a program that would let me create events that, for example, start at 6:00 pm on one day, and end at 6:00 am on the next, without having to resort to the ugly hack of splitting the event into chunks, so it avoids that unbreakable midnight barrier.

      Not only that, but you can't view any events that are later than 7:00pm in "Daily" or "Weekly" view modes! WTF is that?? (You can schedule them with the palette but then they disappear to the bottom of the window, out of sight.)

      The real cruelty is that it looks like there's a space for a scroll bar on the right side of the window (probably put there by the windowing API), but there is no scroll bar to use to scroll down. Enlarging the window has no effect either, it just stretches the currently-viewable area so that >7:00 events are still out of sight. I'm guessing that this is a bug, and I sincerely hope that a patch is released soon.

  • isn't there an x application called ical (which has been around since 1993)?
    • by CXI ( 46706 )
      Yeah, and iCal is also a Windows based web calendar server []. What, does Apple block employees from Google or something?
  • all in all i like ical although i'm not to happy about the speed. switching from week to month takes some time (3secs) on my 600 ibook. probably depending on the amount of dates...

    does anyone know a webdav server for free ?
    or how do i use that with my jagwire? like hosting my calendar myself ?
  • The sharing page [] doesn't say anything about restricting access to your shared calendar to specific people. Does that mean anyone can look at your published calendar (assuming you are using .mac to publish)?

    I can see it now -- your published vacation to Bermuda is an invite into your home to lowlifes.

  • the icon knoweth (Score:2, Interesting)

    hell, i just think it's cool that the icon shows the current date...i've been looking for an easy way to just look at my iBook and know what date it is
  • by Fiery ( 21015 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @11:09AM (#4228262) Homepage _4.htm []

    This useful document explains how to configure an Exchange server to allow the publishing and searching of Free/Busy information, and how to configure Outlook clients to use the F/B information.

    You could theoretically then configure iCal to use that same F/B publishing location -- at which point, iCal becomes a client for Outlook calendar sharing.

    Not a bad thing, really, and certainly useful information to have around.
    • We tried this at work today (got it at ~10am BST so plenty of tinkering time).

      Outlook seems to be ok with simple events, but it barfed importing a repeating event with people attached.

      Not sure whether it was attendees or repeating that caused the problem.

      So you have to be careful iCal->Outlook. Reverse didn'tseem to cause any problems in our (limited) tests.
    • I did this as soon as I got my iPod and heard about iCal (order the iPod same week I heard about iCal).

      However, for some reason Outlook at work has "When sending meeting requests over the Internet, use iCalendar format" disabled. Any idea why? I'd love to be able to send them to my e-mail account and use that to get them onto my iPod.
  • by helixblue ( 231601 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @11:14AM (#4228303) Homepage
    If you want to be able to view your iCal entries on your iPod, simply copy ~/Library/Calendars/* to /Volumes/(Name of iPod)/Calendars directory when your iPod is mounted up.

    No need to export all your calendars since it's just .ics files :)
  • Apple released his new iApp today, iCal.
    Apple is a person, then?
  • Move forward to February 17, 2003. According to iCal, Daylight Savings Time starts then.

    Having a refresh period for subscribed calendars is a good thing, me thinks.
  • The apple bod at Expo told me end of the month for iSync. Greets from Paris.
  • Er, mind if "iDon't"? This pitch smacks of the early personal computer desperation to find something to do with that marvelous new machine. Fact is, most of us are too busy following our schedules to put them up online for others to admire.

    Americans do enough work without also fetishizing it through a slick Aqua interface. As for sharing my calendar with my family and friends, well, we have this funny little habit of just being in the same places anyway.

    • by Garin ( 26873 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:16PM (#4228861)
      Ummm... I think you're missing the point. It's not just for other people to a "admire", it's for them to use. You can have a shared calendar that other people subscribe to for their scheduling. For example, one soccer mom can make up the master carpooling schedule, and all the other soccer moms in her group can subscribe to the published version. Or you can publish all of your indie band's concert dates, so all your groupies can be sure to attend. I'm sure you can think of lots of examples where groups of people share a common event calendar.

      It's a way to publish a single calendar to lots of people at the same time, and have it integrate into their iCal seamlessly. Maybe you won't have a use for it, but I sure do.
      • Yeah but what about cross platform calendar support? Anyone have Windows or for that matter a Linux Calendar application that supports:

        1. Webdav
        2. vCalendar files

        Would Outlook work with that?
        • Sounds like a job for the Mozilla calendar project. They already have a system that works quite well. Check out to see what they have.

          I'm not a programmer, but I would imagine that it would be relatively straight-forward to put the required support into that project to deal completely and seamlessly with iCal. vCalendar is pretty simple to parse, and I don't imagine webdav would be tough to put in. Maybe I'm wrong though, since (as I say) I'm not a programmer.
    • Well, i think its a great idea.
      I'm already using it to create a shared calender of the upcomings gigs my band has.
      No HTML editing whatsoever. Fire up iCal, enter dates and publish.

      And the fact that that calendar doesn't interfere with my personal calendar is very nice.
      The sleek design of the calendars are very cool.
      I can't wait untill we'll be using it at work ;-)

      One app for ALL my (and my coworkers) calender needs is just excellent.

      If i can sum up some advantages I have for my digital lifestyle since I use the Apple iApps and/or MacosX:

      - iPhoto , one app to manage my library and export the pictures in nice galleries with a couple of clicks
      - iCal , one app for ALL my calender needs. Anyone who has a browser can look at my schedules if they need to.
      - iTools (i hate the .mac name), one service were I can put backups, calenders and my photogalleries. Sure, a bit pricy but usefull nonetheless. When I took pictures of some gig, they'll be online within 30minutes after I plug the camera in my powerbook. Complete with titles and editing.
      - Addressbook : one place for ALL my addresses, and soon it will be synced with my ericsson phone via bluetooth iSync (I use irDA for the moment)

      In my opinion the "i" in iApp stands for "integration" and I like it very much. No "Internet Explorer/windows" integration but just "digital lifestyle-integration"

      I know there are good alternatives on other OS's but they lack integration in my humble opinion.
  • by funkboy ( 71672 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:36PM (#4229124) Homepage
    I was at the keynote. Steve said that a beta of iSync would be out by the end of the month, and that they were looking for a release sometime around the end of the year.

    What I want is the version of iTunes that knows about Rendezvous and adds everybody in the room's shared playlists to your iTunes playlists and can stream them on demand. They demoed that today, along with a bunch of other cool stuff. Steve also threw in a good measure of Windows bashing.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @02:14PM (#4230168) Homepage Journal
    I have iCal on my 10.2 Mac and Mozilla's calendar on a Win2k machine. Out of the box, they don't seem to want to read each other's .ics files. Opening them in a text editor shows they're both plain text and quite similar. Short of writing my own parser/translater in Perl or PHP, does anyone know how to get them to play well together?

    In other news, is a pretty sweet page. Just as a mailto: link opens your mail client with the proper info in place, they have webcal:// links that automatically open in iCal. nice.

    my only problem with ical so far is the grey they use to show selected dates is sooooo close to white.
    • In other news, is a pretty sweet page. Just as a mailto: link opens your mail client with the proper info in place, they have webcal:// links that automatically open in iCal. nice.

      Sadly, my copy of Mozilla doesn't do this. I click, and it just sits there. I had to copy the link location, choose "Subscribe" in iCal, and paste the location in. Not too painful, but not one-step easy.

      Where would one define "webcal" as a protocol, anyway?

      • Where would one define "webcal" as a protocol, anyway?

        Is this a job for Protozilla? []

      • At first I thought you meant that the webcal:// links wouldn't open in Mozilla's calendar, then I realized you probably meant you visited the page with mozilla, clicked a link, and iCal wasn't alerted. Is that right? I first thought it was an apple/microsoft explorer/ical exil/monopoly thing, then the answer hit me. Unfortunately, the answer only works for Explorer which, we already know, doesn't have the problem. In IE, there are two things in the prefs (command-semicolon) that let you deal with non-http and non-html: receiving files:file helpers, for file (mime) types, and network:protocol helpers, which decides how to handle mailto:, ftp://, gopher://, etc. links. Mozilla 1.1 only has the MIME dialog. If you can find out how to make Mozilla open Eudora or Outlook instead of itself when you click mailto: links, you'll be on the right path.

        Come to think of it, how did you *ever* do this with Netscape? I have never browsed much on a Mac, except IE at work, where I rarely click mailto: links. At home, I use Eudora, but when I clicked on a mailto: link in Netscape, I was happy to use NS to compose and send the message. In IE for Mac and Win you can choose what app to launch for email. Hmmm...

        The guy who responded with a link to might be on the right track, but it seems like overkill.

        You can try figuring out what MIME type apple is serving the .ics files as and set that in Mozilla's options, but I think Moz will get stuck on the webcal:// part before it starts worrying about the mime type.
    • webcal links are not a feature, they are a bug []to work around another bug [].
  • is there a way to import birthdates into ical ?
    if not has anyone written a script or something.

    i was pretty dissapointet when import feature from addressbook didn't get the birthdates from my palm file.
  • I love the app, don't get me wrong, but it's still beta quality. The UI is horribly slow, everything from resizing the window to unchecking the calendars. I've had UI elemtents dissappear on me. It wont import from apples addressbook (this is supposed to be a system wide database, apple isn't using it, why would anyone else?). It doesn't import entourage holidays, but it does import the other info. Why would that be? Seems overly selective.

    The subscribe feature is still not user friendly. The average Joe is supposed to know to use webcal:// before each address? I didn't know you could subscribe to holidays, i had to find that in a maccentral forum post. This should have been an option in the drop down menu.

    They rushed this out the door. I just hope 2.0 isn't far off. In the meantime I'll use it unless I find something better.
  • ... or can it not even read iCalendar attachments in Mail ??
  • Hello world,

    Has anyone noticed that when using iCal to invite other individuals to events (say meetings), Mail immediately reports the following warning:


    An AppleScript is attempting to send a message. Do you want to allow this automated message to be sent? If you click OK, all other automated messages will be sent without asking first until you quit Mail.

    Huh? That strikes me, at least, as rather omninous. Especially as responding to the meeting invitations you receive results in the same warning.

    This seems like a very tempting spot for a trojan horse or some other such spoof. Thoughts?

  • Like "OS 9" and "X", "ical" already has a well-established meaning: ical [] is the name of a venerable UNIX calendaring program, still in pretty wide use. It would be nice if Apple were a bit more sensitive to other people's software products, be they commercial or free.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!