I was looking at an event on Facebook today and noticed a new "export" button underneath the event image. There is no mention of this on their blog that I could find, but it was a good surprise. A few months ago I suggested to Facebook that they implement iCalendar exporting of events so that people could view their Facebook events in other programs (Such as Apple iCal, Mozilla Sunbird, etc). I'm guessing other people suggested this as well, but who knows, they finally got around to it! At last, all of the websites and services that I use that have something to do with events all show up in one place. Calendars I subscribe to include (but are not limited to): My Facebook Events, Faster Mustache events, Last.FM Concert recommendations (based on my listening habits!), Atlanta Drink Specials, and the WeatherUnderground weather forecast for Atlanta. Everything I put in my calendar is published to my calendar on this website, and the combination of both sets of calendars is in iCal on my laptop which synchronizes with my phone so I always have a good idea of whats going on when and where. (Those of you that know me... I _hate_ being late or missing things so hoorah for technology that helps). This is all pretty great but a few things are missing:
  • I should be able to invite people to events regardless of their source using my email program and their response should show up in my calendar as well as anywhere else the event is mentioned (if I/they want).
  • I should be able to check and see when my friends and coworkers are available before inviting them to something.
  • I should be able to edit a calendar using multiple programs and not require a website or a calendar program to be the only place I can make changes that get pushed out.
There are tools out there that are working on these that wrap around the CalDAV standard (iCalendar + WebDAV). Apple announced a calendar server (with an open source backend) for it's upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Server, Zimbra has a server package, The Open Source Applications Foundation is busy at work on Chandler, and companies like Microsoft and Oracle have products that do enterprise calendaring and are working on making them slightly more interoperable. A speaker at WWDC 2006 mentioned that the current state of calendering is like e-mail was back when almost no-one had it and you had to know everything about the recipient and everything about how to get to them to be able to communicate with them. (Anyone remember that? It was before my time.) The technology exists that with enough cooperation, scheduling and sharing events in the next few years will be as easy as e-mail is today. (Calendar SPAM could be an interesting problem!) I'm looking forward to the ability to push this information around as easily as I currently do email (Multiple mail clients, IMAP mail server, easy to send/receive from anyone) and installing Chandler on one of my testing servers to play around with has moved up on my short list of things to do.

comments powered by Disqus