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SyncEvolution 0.7 and beyond – Calendar Support for the iPhone?!

I have dodged this question for a while: will I continue to work on SyncEvolution for the iPhone and add the currently missing support for calendars, notes and tasks? My own priority was to have contacts synced between Evolution and the iPhone. But others seem to depend a lot more on their calendar and immediately asked for that. The short answer is no, synchronizing more than contacts is not coming soon. For the long answer keep reading.

My current goal is to have a stable SyncEvolution 0.7 release out before even considering taking on more work. I believe users deserve stable, tested releases instead of constantly changing “beta” software. 0.7 is not done yet: there has been one report of a crash on the iPhone. On the Evolution side users switching to 2.12 have reported problems. There are also some features and workarounds that I wanted to add during this release cycle.

Beyond that I haven’t decided yet. The biggest problem with calendars, memos and tasks on the iPhone is that there is no documentation how the API to access them works. For contacts at least something could be learned from the Mac OS X documentation although the iPhone was sufficiently different to make the port very tedious. One could try to bypass the API and access the data in the sqlite databases, but most likely this will confuse the iPhone GUI like it did for contacts. Perhaps the upcoming Apple SDK or the Leopard iCal API will provide more information.

Another chunk of work is the encoding and decoding of the data in formats understood by SyncML servers. For calendars and tasks the vCalendar 1.0 or iCalendar 2.0 (if time zone definitions are needed) could be used. Markup for memos could be a problem. It might have to be stripped, lest it confuses other devices.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Henrik | November 9, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Let me start by saying: this is amazing! Someone finally made the iPhone SyncML-compatible. Wonderful!

    But… I’d really want to be able to sync the calendar aswell.

    I’d be interested in sponsoring such development, if that is needed.

    Otherwise: great work!

  2. Patrick Ohly | November 10, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Henrik, thanks for your kind comments and the offer to sponsor calendar synchronization. Because 0.7 took so much of my time I decided to start accepting PayPal donations but simply sending a post card is just as well – see http://www.estamos.de/projects/SyncML/Support.html#Supporting+SyncEvolution

    Future support for calendars/memos/tasks depends mostly on the effort required to implement that, and that in turn hinges on the availability of documentation about the APIs. Currently I wait for Apple’s iCal API (part of Leopard) and the native iPhone SDK before deciding anything.

    So please, don’t donate unless you already like and use what is available now because I don’t want to promise delivering anything beyond that just yet.

    If there is some other open source developer who wants to work on calendar support right away, then I’d be happy to start a fund raising campaign on behalf of that developer and/or help getting started with SyncML and the classes in SyncEvolution which have to be implemented (but that part is pretty easy).

  3. Gregoire Gentil | December 30, 2007 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations for your outstanding syncevolution! For the calendar support, I think that everybody is waiting for it! You may take a look at:
    http://wayetender.spawnpoint.com/
    http://epowerservices.com/personal/ical2sqlite-0.1.tar.gz
    This guy has just implemented a one-way synchronization mechanism but at least, you have the structure of the calendar database.

  4. Ingvar Hagelund | March 7, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    There are some ugly bugs in ical2sqlite. I wrote a perl script that downloads ical data from our Open-Xchange server, circumvents the bugs that bite me hardest, converts and uploads the result to the iphone. http://users.linpro.no/ingvar/updateiphonecalendar

    Anyone got ical2sqlite to work on x86_64? It only crashes for me.

    Ingvar

  5. Tyler | May 15, 2008 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    It may be that this information is not news to anyone here, but just in case, I’ll post what I know about getting 2-way sync between Google Calendar and iPhone/IPod Touch. I did a lot of searching to figure out how to make it work, and I’m very happy now that I’ve got it working well for me.

    I have found two successful ways to do it, but neither are entirely free.

    1) If you already own Microsoft Outlook, you can set iTunes to synch your iPhone/iPod Touch calendar with Outlook, and then use Google Calendar’s free Outlook synch program. It works fine, if you happen to have Outlook. I don’t personally want to buy Outlook, so I use the next method.

    2) Use SyncJE plus ScheduleWorld. SyncJE provides a 15 day trial, but after that you have to buy it. It costs $40 and never expires. I am currently using the trial but I expect I will buy it. It seems to work very well.

    Hope this info is useful to somebody.

{ 2 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] has finally announced the SDK for the iPhone. In contrast to what I had hoped earlier, it does not seem to contain any documentation about accessing the calendar data. The AddressBook [...]

  2. [...] that’s it.  SyncEvolution doesn’t support tasks nor calendar yet, but at least the AddressBook support is pretty good and stable. If you are a Mac programmer or you [...]

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