A blog named for the muse of Astronomy containing musings by an astronomer

Google Calendar adds CalDAV! Still twitchy however.

Posted on July 28, 2008 by Juan

Finally there is a free way to synchronize your Google Calendar and you iCal! Google has added support for CalDAV! So if you are running Leopard, you can now (in theory) synchronize iCal and GCal without paying a third party or pulling out our hair for some of the private solutions The detailed instructions for getting iCal talking to GCal are here.

Unfortunately, it looks to to be as twitchy as running your own Darwin Calendar Server. I’ve been using CalDAV on my own personal server for a few months and I have to admit it has been a bit twitchy, but getting better as time rolls on. I tried to synchronize this afternoon to Google Calendar and got the following error:

The server responded with
"HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error"
to operation CalDAVWriteEntityQueueableOperation.
I got this error when trying to create a new calendar in Google from iCal. This is actually a documented error, but it didn’t go away for me like Google suggested it would. I am also getting that error when I try to import items into my GCal calendar via an “import” of the ics file I “exported” from my old calendar. I saw this same error on my server some time back. I needed to update my Darwin Calendar Server source code before I could fix it. In any case, I hope this is only a temporary issues since I could be very happy with the idea that I can now drop the maintenance of Darwin Calendar Server on my own computer and hand that task over to Google.

Followup (July 30): I noticed all of the errors occurring during the import were for old classes last semester. So I forced my way through them by clicking “Revert to Server” for every one of the errors. There were probably 20 of them. Once done, I compared my calendar on my computer and Google’s Calendar, they were identical. So for now, it looks like GCal’s CalDAV server may serve my needs after all. I could have avoided all this by directly importing my ics file into Google through their web interface.

Followup (August 27): So I got an iPod Touch and discovered that CalDAV calendars are loaded on the iPod Touch as “Read-only”. If Apple really wants to back CalDAV as a standard, you would think they would support it more fully on their own products. For now, I found that BusySync works quite nicely for syncing my iCal calendars with gCal in such a way that the calendars are hosted on my Mac and the iPod Touch then can treat the calendars are read-write. This, along with the lack of native ToDo list synchronization on the iPods are about the stupidest bits of inconsistency I have seen in using the iPod Touch. Luckily the ToDo list being missing from the iPod Touch doesn’t affect me as much as I am using OmniFocus, which works very well on the Mac and iPod Touch and allows synching between both.

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