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August 05, 2005

Seven hundred thousand calendars

5 Aug 2005 If you use Google to search for the words "online calendar", you'll get 725,000 results. Online calendars are something people need or think they need. And even more interestingly, something software developers like to build!

The trouble is that interoperability between calendars is a mess. Even though a standard (RFC2445, or iCal) was created back in 1998, interoperability between competing internet calendar software is a mess. I haven't been a great user of calendars such as the one in Outlook, but for a recent project, I was called upon to make recommendations for an online calendar. It was for use in a calendar listing like this tax calendar. Accountants amongst my acquaintances will probably copy the entries and pencil the dates on their paper calendars. But now that we're starting to use vCards to import contact details into systems, why not have a solid standard for importing and updating calendar entries as well? When you find an event description on a web page, it should be as simple as a click a link to import that event into a diary and another link to subscribe permanently to events on that calendar.

The Web changed the way our customers perceive technology. They simply expect things to work. Things need to get easier. More widely accepted, simple standards, less vendor lock-in. Today, there is no widely accepted solution for what I described above. Next week, we'll look at what's available today and how we might apply it.

Posted by Marius at August 5, 2005 05:20 PM

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Assuming you don't have the time to vet all 725,000 results, you might want to give http://www.airset.com a look (full disclsoure: I work there).

It enables you to create multiple groups, then share calendars, contacts, lists, blogs and bookmarks within those groups. Web access and sync to Outlook and Palm are free. We'll be adding iCal support in the next week or two. We're also going to begin working with the CalConnect folks to help address the interoperability issues.

Users can also access, update and sync their networked data via mobile phone too. Essentially turns an ordinary mobile phone into a networked smartphone. Mobile client due for release in early fall and will cost users about $5 a month.

Hope you'll give it a look.

Posted by: Patrick Hurley at August 6, 2005 03:27 AM

I had a look and yours looks like a neat calendar service. However, I'm from the other side looking in. I'm looking for the appropriate format to publish calendar or diary entries on a site, no matter which software or service a person my use or prefer.

Posted by: Marius Coomans at August 7, 2005 11:16 AM

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