Feature Brief: iCalendar Integration in Kavi Groups 3.4


iCalendar is an open standard for exchanging calendar data on the internet. It is designed to facilitate the sharing of calendar data among different systems -- web sites, desktop calendar applications, PDAs, etc. iCalendar is widely supported in desktop Personal Information Manager (PIM) applications on a wide variety of platforms. Kavi supports iCalendar in Kavi Groups 3.4, allowing users to:

This document is divided into the following sections:

Finding iCalendar Files

A new Calendars tab has been added to the My Groups page, listing all available calendars, with Download links. The Download links point to iCalendar files containing each calendar. Note that single-event iCalendar files are also emailed with each calendar event notification email.

My Groups - Calendars tab
Figure 1: My Groups - Calendars tab

Calendar tab
Figure 2: New My Calendars page - note My Groups roll-up calendar

Downloading and Importing iCalendar Files

After clicking on a calendar's Download link, your browser will prompt you to download the iCalendar file.

Download My Groups calendar
Figure 3: Download dialog box

Once you have downloaded the iCalendar file, you'll need to import it into your calendar application. This is useful in case your calendar application does not support subscriptions.

Importing .ics files into Microsoft Outlook

Import iCalendar file
Figure 4: Importing a iCalendar file in Microsoft Outlook 2003 - Step 1

Selecting Outlook import options
Figure 5: Importing a iCalendar file in Microsoft Outlook 2003 - Step 2

Choosing my_icalendar file
Figure 6: Importing a iCalendar file in Microsoft Outlook 2003 - Step 3

After downloading the iCalendar file and importing it into your desktop calendar application, your desktop calendar now contains events from Kavi Groups. Microsoft Outlook 2003 is shown in Figure 7.

Outlook calendar view
Figure 7: Outlook calendar view

Importing .ics files into Lotus Notes 6

Lotus Notes can import .ics files when they are attachments to email (as with event notification emails - they contain a file with the single event's data inside). However, there is no direct 'Import' feature for .ics files that are downloaded from web sites. A workaround is to email yourself the .ics file and import it from that email. Instructions are below.

Subscribing to Calendars

Many desktop calendar applications support calendar subscriptions -- this allows the desktop application to read a web URL periodically and present a view of that calendar information. Generally these applications support the concept of multiple calendars -- for example, a separate calendar for each group -- and allow you to easily show or hide events from different calendars.

To set up calendar subscriptions, cut and paste Calendar download links for each group you want to view into your application's subscription dialog box (see below for a Mozilla Calendar example). If you want to view a single calendar with all Kavi Groups activity in it, simply use the My Groups Calendar link. You will need to enter your web site username and password in order to complete the subscription. Some clients that support subscription: Mozilla Calendar, Apple iCal, KDE Kontact.

The calendar link for the My Groups calendar will be similar to the following:

The calendar link for a specific Group will be similar to the following:

Note: Some calendar programs, such as Apple iCal, do not allow you to specify URLs with the https (vs. http) scheme. For Kavi-hosted sites, you can workaround this limitation by entering the URL with its http equivalent. The site web server will automatically redirect to the calendar application secure server.
Mozilla Calendar - subscribe
Figure 8: Mozilla Calendar (an add-on for Firefox, Mozilla, or Netscape) - Subscribe to Remote Calendar...

Mozilla Calendar - New Calendar Subscription
Figure 9: Mozilla Calendar - Name the new calendar (note Download link has been pasted in)

Mozilla Calendar - viewing a subscribed calendar
Figure 10: Mozilla Calendar - note ability to check/uncheck calendar visibility boxes, upper left

Figure 10 shows Mozilla Calendar displaying a month view of a subscribed calendar. The calendar is updated when new items are added to Kavi Groups, or items are edited or deleted. Note that the iCalendar file also includes Action Items (also known as Tasks or To-Do Items in desktop applications), and Mozilla Calendar shows these by default in the left-hand side of the calendar window.

Apple iCal - viewing a subscribed calendar
Figure 11: Apple iCal - note ability to check/uncheck calendar visibility boxes, upper left

Figure 11 shows Apple iCal displaying a month view of a subscribed calendar. The calendar is updated when new items are added to Kavi Groups, or items are edited or deleted. Apple iCal supports To-Do items within iCalendar files, but they are not shown in this screenshot.

Receiving iCalendar Files In Email

Kavi Groups 3.4 sends a iCalendar attachment with each calendar event email notification. This attachment contains information for that event, and it can easily be added to your desktop calendar -- this is useful in case your desktop calendar doesn't support subscriptions, or you just want to add certain events to your calendar.

Groups event notification email
Figure 12: Kavi Groups calendar event email notification (note iCalendar attachment -- double-click it to add to the Microsoft Outlook 2003 calendar)

Adding a iCalendar attachment to Outlook
Figure 13: The first time you double-click a iCalendar attachment in Microsoft Outlook 2003, you are prompted to Open or Save the attachment. Select Open, and uncheck 'Always ask before opening this type of file' to skip this step in the future.

Outlook add appointment
Figure 14: Microsoft Outlook 2003 shows more information about the event, allowing you to edit it before you add it to your local calendar. Click Save and Close to add the event.