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{ Monthly Archives } November 2014

SyncEvolution 1.5 released

About 1.5

This version is the new stable, supported version of SyncEvolution. Compared to the last 1.4.99.4 pre-release only minor changes were done (see below).

SyncEvolution 1.5 released

About 1.5

This version is the new stable, supported version of SyncEvolution. Compared to the last 1.4.99.4 pre-release only minor changes were done (see below). This section summarizes the changes since the last stable release, 1.4.1.

Based on community feedback and discussions, the terminology used in
SyncEvolution for configuration, local sync and database access was
revised. Some usability issues with setting up access to databases
were addressed.

Interoperability with WebDAV servers and in particular Google Contacts
was enhanced considerably. Access to iCloud contacts was reported as
working when using username=foobar@icloud.com and password, but is not
formally tested. Syncing with iCloud calendars ran into a server
limitation (reported as 17001498 “CalDAV REPORT drops calendar data”)
and needs further work (FDO #72133).

Contact data gets converted to and from the format typically used by
CardDAV servers, so now anniversary, spouse, manager, assistant and
instant message information are exchanged properly. Custom labels get
stored in EDS as extensions and no longer get lost when updating some
other aspects of a contact. However, Evolution does not show custom
labels and removes them when editing a property which has a custom
label (BGO #730636).

Scanning for CardDAV/CalDAV resources was enhanced. It now finds
additional calendars with Google CalDAV. For Google, the obsolete
SyncML config template was removed and CalDAV/CardDAV were merged into
a single “Google” template.

Using Google Calendar/Contacts with OAuth2 authentication on a
headless server becomes a bit easier: it is possible to set up access
on one system with a GUI using either gSSO or GNOME Online Accounts,
then take the OAuth2 refresh token and use it in SyncEvolution on a
different system. See the oauth2 backend README for details.
syncevolution.org binaries do not include this feature.

The PIM Manager API also supports Google Contact syncing. Some
problems with suspending a PBAP sync were fixed. Suspend/abort can
be tested with the sync.py example.

Performance is better for local syncs and PBAP caching. The most
common case, a two-way sync with no changes on either side, no longer
rewrites any meta data files. CPU consumption during local sync was
reduced to one third by exchanging messages via shared memory instead
of internal D-Bus. Redundant vCard decode/encode on the sending side
of PBAP and too agressive flushing of meta data during a normal sync
were removed.

The EDS memo backend is able to switch between syncing in plain
text and iCalendar 2.0 VJOURNAL automatically.

Graham Cobb fixed some all-day conversion issues in activesyncd. The updated version is part of the 1.5 release on syncevolution.org.

Details:

  • source -> datastore rename, improved terminology

    The word “source” implies reading, while in fact access is read/write.
    “datastore” avoids that misconception. Writing it in one word emphasizes
    that it is single entity.

    While renaming, also remove references to explicit –*-property
    parameters. The only necessary use today is “–sync-property ?”
    and “–datastore-property ?”.

    –datastore-property was used instead of the short –store-property
    because “store” might be mistaken for the verb. It doesn’t matter
    that it is longer because it doesn’t get typed often.

    –source-property must remain valid for backward compatility.

    As many user-visible instances of “source” as possible got replaced in
    text strings by the newer term “datastore”. Debug messages were left
    unchanged unless some regex happened to match it.

    The source code will continue to use the old variable and class names
    based on “source”.

    Various documentation enhancements:
    Better explain what local sync is and how it involves two sync
    configs. “originating config” gets introduces instead of just
    “sync config”.

    Better explain the relationship between contexts, sync configs,
    and source configs (”a sync config can use the datastore configs in
    the same context”).

    An entire section on config properties in the terminology
    section. “item” added (Todd Wilson correctly pointed out that it was
    missing).

    Less focus on conflict resolution, as suggested by Graham Cobb.

    Fix examples that became invalid when fixing the password
    storage/lookup mechanism for GNOME keyring in 1.4.

    The “command line conventions”, “Synchronization beyond SyncML” and
    “CalDAV and CardDAV” sections were updated. It’s possible that the
    other sections also contain slightly incorrect usage of the
    terminology or are simply out-dated.

  • local sync: allow config name in syncURL=local://

    Previously, only syncURL=local://@ was allowed and used
    the “target-config@context name” config as target side in the local
    sync.

    Now “local://config-name@context-name” or simply “local://config-name”
    are also allowed. “target-config” is still the fallback if only a
    context is give.

    It also has one more special meaning: “–configure
    target-config@google” will pick the “Google” template automatically
    because it knows that the intention is to configure the target side
    of a local sync. It does not know that when using some other name
    for the config, in which case the template (if needed) must be
    specified explicitly.

    The process name in output from the target side now also includes the
    configuration name if it is not the default “target-config”.

  • command line: revise usability checking of datastores

    When configuring a new sync config, the command line checks whether a
    datastore is usable before enabling it. If no datastores were listed
    explicitly, only the usable ones get enabled. If unusable datastores
    were explicitly listed, the entire configure operation fails.

    This check was based on listing databases, which turned out to be too
    unspecific for the WebDAV backend: when “database” was set to some URL
    which is good enough to list databases, but not a database URL itself,
    the sources where configured with that bad URL.

    Now a new SyncSource::isUsable() operation is used, which by default
    just falls back to calling the existing Operations::m_isEmpty. In
    practice, all sources either check their config in open() or the
    m_isEmpty operation, so the source is usable if no error is
    enountered.

    For WebDAV, the usability check is skipped because it would require
    contacting a remote server, which is both confusing (why does a local
    configure operation need the server?) and could fail even for valid
    configs (server temporarily down). The check was incomplete anyway
    because listing databases gave a fixed help text response when no
    credentials were given. For usability checking that should have
    resulted in “not usable” and didn’t.

    The output during the check was confusing: it always said “listing
    databases” without giving a reason why that was done. The intention
    was to give some feedback while a potentially expensive operation
    ran. Now the isUsable() method itself prints “checking usability” if
    (and only if!) such a check is really done.

    Sometimes datastores were checked even when they were about to be
    configure as “disabled” already. Now checking such datastores is
    skipped.

  • command line: fix –update from directory

    The “–update ” operation was supposed to take the
    item luids from the file names inside the directory. That part
    had not been implemented, turning the operation accidentally
    into an “–import”.

    Also missing was the escaping/unescaping of luids. Now the
    same escaping is done as in command line output and command
    line parsing to make the luids safe for use as file name.

  • sync output: hide “: started” INFO messages

    These messages get printed at the start of processing each
    SyncML message. This is not particularly useful and just
    adds noise to the output.

  • config: allow storing credentials for email address

    When configuring a WebDAV server with username = email address and no
    URL (which is possible if the server supports service discovery via
    the domain in the email address), then storing the credentials in the
    GNOME keyring used to fail with “cannot store password in GNOME
    keyring, not enough attributes”.

    That is because GNOME keyring seemed to get confused when a network
    login has no server name and some extra safeguards were added to
    SyncEvolution to avoid this.

    To store the credentials in the case above, the email address now gets
    split into user and domain part and together get used to look up the
    password.

  • config: ignore unnecessary username property

    A local sync or Bluetooth sync do not need the ‘username’ property.
    When it is set despite that, issue a warning.

    Previously, the value was checked even when not needed, which
    caused such syncs to fail when set to something other than a plain
    username.

  • config templates: Funambol URLs

    Funambol turned of the URL redirect from my.funambol.com to
    onemedia.com. The Funambol template now uses the current URL. Users
    with existing Funambol configs must updated the syncURL property
    manually to https://onemediahub.com/sync

    Kudos to Daniel Clement for reporting the change.

  • EDS: memo syncing as iCalendar 2.0 (FDO #52714)

    When syncing memos with a peer which also supports iCalendar 2.0 as
    data format, the engine will now pick iCalendar 2.0 instead of
    converting to/from plain text. The advantage is that some additional
    properties like start date and categories can also be synchronized.

    The code is a lot simpler, too, because the EDS specific iCalendar 2.0
    <-> text conversion code can be removed.

  • SoupTransport: drop CA file check

    It used to be necessary to specify a CA file for libsoup to enable SSL
    certificate checking. Nowadays libsoup uses the default CA store
    unless told otherwise, so the check in SyncEvolution became
    obsolete. However, now there is a certain risk that no SSL checking is
    done although the user asked for it (when libsoup is not recent enough
    or compiled correctly).

  • CardDAV: use Apple/Google/CardDAV vCard flavor

    In principle, CardDAV servers support arbitrary vCard 3.0
    data. Extensions can be different and need to be preserved. However,
    when multiple different clients or the server’s Web UI interpret the
    vCards, they need to agree on the semantic of these vCard extensions.

    In practice, CardDAV was pushed by Apple and Apple clients are
    probably the most common clients of CardDAV services. When the Google
    Contacts Web UI creates or edits a contact, Google CardDAV will
    send that data using the vCard flavor used by Apple.

    Therefore it makes sense to exchange contacts with all CardDAV
    servers using that format. This format could be made configurable in
    SyncEvolution on a case-by-case basis; at the moment, it is
    hard-coded.

    During syncing, SyncEvolution takes care to translate between the
    vCard flavor used internally (based on Evolution) and the CardDAV
    vCard flavor. This mapping includes:

    X-AIM/JABBER/… <-> IMPP + X-SERVICE-TYPE

    Any IMPP property declared as X-SERVICE-TYPE=AIM will get
    mapped to X-AIM. Same for others. Some IMPP service types
    have no known X- property extension; they are stored in
    EDS as IMPP. X- property extensions without a known X-SERVICE-TYPE
    (for example, GaduGadu and Groupwise) are stored with
    X-SERVICE-TYPE values chosen by SyncEvolution so that
    Google CardDAV preserves them (GroupWise with mixed case
    got translated by Google into Groupwise, so the latter is used).

    Google always sends an X-ABLabel:Other for IMPP. This is ignored
    because the service type overrides it.

    The value itself also gets transformed during the mapping. IMPP uses
    an URI as value, with a chat protocol (like “aim” or “xmpp”) and
    some protocol specific identifier. For each X- extension the
    protocol is determined by the property name and the value is the
    protocol specific identifier without URL encoding.

    X-SPOUSE/MANAGER/ASSISTANT <-> X-ABRELATEDNAMES + X-ABLabel

    The mapping is based on the X-ABLabel property attached to
    the X-ABRELATEDNAMES property. This depends on the English
    words “Spouse”, “Manager”, “Assistant” that Google CardDAV
    and Apple devices seem to use regardless of the configured
    language.

    As with IMPP, only the subset of related names which have
    a corresponding X- property extension get mapped. The rest
    is stored in EDS using the X-ABRELATEDNAMES property.

    X-ANNIVERSARY <-> X-ABDATE

    Same here, with X-ABLabel:Anniversary as the special case
    which gets mapped.

    X-ABLabel parameter <-> property

    CardDAV vCards have labels attached to arbitrary other properties
    (TEL, ADR, X-ABDATE, X-ABRELATEDNAMES, …) via vCard group tags:
    item1.X-ABDATE:2010-01-01
    item1.X-ABLabel:Anniversary

    The advantage is that property values can contain arbitrary
    characters, including line breaks and double quotation marks,
    which is not possible in property parameters.

    Neither EDS nor KDE (judging from the lack of responses on the
    KDE-PIM mailing list) support custom labels. SyncEvolution could
    have used grouping as it is done in CardDAV, but grouping is not
    used much (not at all?) by the UIs working with the vCards in EDS
    and KDE. It seemed easier to use a new X-ABLabel parameter.

    Characters which cannot be stored in a parameter get converted
    (double space to single space, line break to space, etc.) during
    syncing. In practice, these characters don’t appear in X-ABLabel
    properties anyway because neither Apple nor Google UIs allow entering
    them for custom labels.

    The “Other” label is used by Google even in case where it adds no
    information. For example, all XMPP properties have an associated
    X-ABLabel=Other although the Web UI does not provide a means to edit
    or show such a label. Editing the text before the value in the UI
    changes the X-SERVICE-TYPE parameter value, not the X-ABLabel as for
    other fields.

    Therefore the “Other” label is ignored by removing it during syncing.

    X-EVOLUTION-UI-SLOT (the parameter used in Evolution to determine the
    order of properties in the UI) gets stored in CardDAV. The only exception
    is Google CardDAV which got confused when an IMPP property had both
    X-SERVICE-TYPE and X-EVOLUTION-UI-SLOT parameters set. For Google,
    X-EVOLUTION-UI-SLOT is only sent on other properties and thus ordering
    of chat information can get lost when syncing with Google.

  • synccompare: support grouping and quoted parameter strings

    Grouped properties are sorted first according to the actual property
    name, then related properties are moved to the place where their group
    tag appears first. The first grouped property gets a “- ” prefix, all
    following ones are just indended with ” “. The actual group tag is not
    part of the normalized output, because its value is irrelevant:

    BDAY:19701230

    • EMAIL:john@custom.com
      X-ABLabel:custom-label2

      FN:Mr. John 1 Doe Sr.
    • IMPP;X-SERVICE-TYPE=AIM:aim:aim
      X-ABLabel:Other
    • X-ABDATE:19710101
      X-ABLabel:Anniversary

    Redundant tags (those set for only a single property, X-ABLabel:Other)
    get removed as part of normalizing an item.

  • WebDAV: use server’s order when listing collections

    When doing a recursive scan of the home set, preserve the order of
    entries as reported by the server and check the first one first. The
    server knows better which entries are more relevant for the user (and
    thus should be the default) or may have some other relevant
    order. Previously, SyncEvolution replaced that order with sorting by
    URL, which led to a predictable, but rather meaningless order.

    For example, Google lists the users own calendar first, followed by
    the shared calendars sorted alphabetical by their name. Now
    SyncEvolution picks the main calendar as default correctly when
    scanning from https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/.

  • WebDAV: improved database search (Google, Zimbra)

    Zimbra has a principal URL that also serves as home set. When using it
    as start URL, SyncEvolution only looked the URL once, without listing
    its content, and thus did not find the databases.

    When following the Zimbra principal URL indirectly, SyncEvolution did
    check all of the collections there recursively. Unfortunately that
    also includes many mail folders, causing the scan to abort after
    checking 1000 collections (an internal safe guard).

    The solution for both includes tracking what to do with a URL. For the
    initial URL, only meta data about the URL itself gets
    checked. Recursive scanning is only done for the home set. If that
    home set contains many collections, scanning is still slow and may run
    into the internal safe guard limit. This cannot be avoided because the
    CalDAV spec explicitly states that the home set may contain normal
    collections which contain other collections, so a client has to do the
    recursive scan.

    When looking at a specific calendar, Google CalDAV does not report
    what the current principal or the home set is and therefore
    SyncEvolution stopped after finding just the initial calendar. Now it
    detects the lack of meta information and adds all parents also as
    candidates that need to be looked at. The downside of this is that it
    doesn’t know anything about which parents are relevant, so it ends up
    checking https://www.google.com/calendar/ and
    https://www.google.com/.

    In both cases Basic Auth gets rejected with a temporary redirect to
    the Google login page, which is something that SyncEvolution must
    ignore immediately during scanning without applying the resend
    workaround for “temporary rejection of valid credentials” that can
    happen for valid Google CalDAV URLs.

  • WebDAV: enhanced database search (Google Calendar)

    Additional databases where not found for several
    reasons. SyncEvolution ignored all shared calendars
    (http://calendarserver.org/ns/shared) and Google marks the additional
    calendars that way. The other problem was that the check for leaf
    collections (= collections which cannot contain other desired
    collections) incorrectly excluded those collections instead of only
    preventing listing of their content.

    With this change,
    https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/?SyncEvolution=Google can be used
    as starting point for Google Calendar.

  • WebDAV: fix database scan on iCloud

    The calendar home set URL on iCloud (the one ending in /calendars/) is
    declared as containing calendar data. That was enough for
    SyncEvolution to accept it incorrectly as calendar. However, the home
    set only contains calendar data indirectly.

  • WebDAV: support redirects between hosts and DNS SRV lookup based on URL

    When finding a new URL, we must be prepared to reinitialize the Neon
    session with the new host settings.

    iCloud does not have .well-known support on its www.icloud.com
    server. To support lookup with a non-icloudd.com email address, we
    must do DNS SRV lookup when access to .well-known URLs fails. We do
    this without a www prefix on the host first, because that is what happens
    to work for icloud.com.

    With these changes it becomes possible to do database scans on Apple
    iCloud, using syncURL=https://www.icloud.com or
    syncURL=https://icloud.com. Giving the syncURL like this is only
    necessary for a username that does not end in @icloud.com. When
    the syncURL is not set, the domain for DNS SRV lookup is taken
    from the username.

  • WebDAV: more efficient item creation

    PUT has the disadvantage that a client needs to choose a name and then
    figure out what the real name on the server is. With Google CardDAV that
    requires sending another request and only works because the server happens
    to remember the original name (which is not guaranteed!).

    POST works for new items without a name and happens to be implemented
    by Google such that the response already includes all required
    information (new name and revision string).

    POST is checked for as described in RFC 5995 once before creating a new
    item. Servers which don’t support it continue to get a PUT.

  • WebDAV: send “User-Agent: SyncEvolution”

    Apple iCloud servers reject requests unless they contain a User-Agent
    header. The exact value doesn’t seem to matter. Making the string
    configurable might be better, but can still be done later when it
    is more certain whether and for what it is needed.

  • WebDAV: refactor and fix DNS SRV lookup

    The syncevo-webdav-lookup script was not packaged. It did not report
    “not found” DNS results correctly and the caller did not check for
    this either, so when looking up the information for a domain which
    does not have DNS SRV entries, SyncEvolution ended up retrying for
    while as if there had been a temporary lookup problem.

  • Google: remove SyncML template, combine CalDAV/CardDAV

    Google has turned off their SyncML server, so the corresponding
    “Google Contacts” template became useless and needs to be removed. It
    gets replaced by a “Google” template which combines the three
    different URLs currently used by Google for CalDAV/CardDAV.

    This new template can be used to configure a “target-config@google”
    with default calendar and address book database already enabled. The
    actual URL of these databases will be determined during the first
    sync using them.

    The template relies on the WebDAV backend’s new capability to search
    multiple different entries in the syncURL property for databases. To
    avoid listing each calendar twice (once for the legacy URL, once with
    the new one) when using basic username/password authentication, the
    backend needs a special case for Google and detect that the legacy URL
    does not need to be checked.

  • Google Calendar: remove child hack, improve alarm hack (FDO #63881)

    Google recently enhanced support for RECURRENCE-ID, so SyncEvolution
    no longer needs to replace the property when uploading a single
    detached event with RECURRENCE-ID. However, several things are still
    broken in the server, with no workaround in SyncEvolution:

    • Removing individual events gets ignored by the server;
      a full “wipe out server data” might work (untested).
    • When updating the parent event, all child events also get
      updated even though they were included unchanged in the data
      sent by SyncEvolution.
    • The RECURRENCE-ID of a child event of an all-day recurring event
      does not get stored properly.
    • The update hack seems to fail for complex meetings: uploading them
      once and then deleting them seems to make uploading them again
      impossible.

    All of these issues were reported to Google and are worked on there,
    so perhaps the situation will improve. In the meantime, syncing with
    Google CalDAV should better be limited to:

    • Downloading a Google calendar in one-way mode.
    • Two-way syncing of simple calendars without complex meeting
      serieses.

    While updating the Google workarounds, the alarm hack (sending a
    new event without alarms twice to avoid the automatic server side
    alarm) was simplified. Now the new event gets sent only once with a
    pseudo-alarm.

  • CardDAV: implement read-ahead

    Instead of downloading contacts one-by-one with GET, SyncEvolution now
    looks at contacts that are most likely going to be needed soon and
    gets all of them at once with addressbook-multiget REPORT.

    The number of contacts per REPORT is 50 by default, configurable by
    setting the SYNCEVOLUTION_CARDDAV_BATCH_SIZE env variable.

    This has two advantages:

    • It avoids round-trips to the server and thus speeds up a large
      download (100 small contacts with individual GETs took 28s on
      a fast connection, 3s with two REPORTs).
    • It reduces the overall number of requests. Google CardDAV is known
      to start issuing intermittent 401 authentication errors when the
      number of contacts retrieved via GET is too large. Perhaps this
      can be avoided with addressbook-multiget.
  • oauth2: new backend using libsoup/libcurl

    New backend implements identity provider for obtaining OAuth2 access
    token for systems without HMI support.
    Access token is obtained by making direct HTTP request to OAuth2 server
    and using refresh token obtained by user in some other way.
    New provider automatically updates stored refresh token when OAuth2
    server is issuing new one.

  • signon: make Accounts optional

    The new “signon” provider only depends on lib[g]signon-glib. It uses
    gSSO if found, else UOA. Instead of pulling parameters and the
    identity via libaccounts-glib, the user of SyncEvolution now has to
    ensure that the identity exists and pass all relevant parameters
    in the “signon:” username.

  • gSSO: adapt to gSSO >= 2.0

  • signon: fix build

    Static build was broken for gSSO and UOA (wrong path name to .la file)
    and gSSO was not enabled properly (wrong condition check).

  • datatypes: raw text items with minimal conversion (FDO #52791)

    When using “raw/text/calendar” or “raw/text/vcard” as SyncEvolution
    “databaseFormat”, all parsing and conversion is skipped. The backend’s
    data is identical to the item data in the engine. Finding duplicates
    in a slow sync is very limited when using these types because the entire
    item data must match exactly.

    This is useful for the file backend when the goal is to store an exact copy
    of what a peer has or for limited, read-only backends (PBAP). The downside
    of using the raw types is that the peer is not given accurate information
    about which vCard or iCalendar properties are supported, which may cause
    some peers to not send all data.

  • datatypes: text/calendar+plain revised heuristic

    When sending a VEVENT, DESCRIPTION was set to the SUMMARY if empty. This may
    have been necessary for some peers, but for notes (= VJOURNAL) we don’t know
    that (hasn’t been used in the past) and don’t want to alter the item
    unnecessarily, so skip that part and allow empty DESCRIPTION.

    When receiving a plain text note, the “text/calendar+plain” type
    used to store the first line as summary and the rest as description.
    This may be correct in some cases and wrong in others.

    The EDS backend implemented a different heuristic: there the first
    line is copied into the summary and stays in the description. This
    makes a bit more sense (the description alone is always enough to
    understand the note). Therefore and to avoid behavioral changes
    for EDS users when switching the EDS backend to use text/calendar+plain,
    the engine now uses the same approach.

  • datatypes: avoid PHOTO corruption during merge (FDO #77065)

    When handling an update/update conflict (both sides of the sync have an
    updated contact) and photo data was moved into a local file by EDS, the engine
    merged the file path and the photo data together and thus corrupted the photo.

    The engine does not know about the special role of the photo property.
    This needs to be handled by the merge script, and that script did not
    cover this particular situation. Now the loosing side is cleared,
    causing the engine to then copy the winning side over into the loosing
    one.

    Found by Renato Filho/Canonical when testing SyncEvolution for Ubuntu 14.04.

  • vcard profile: avoid data loss during merging

    When resolving a merge conflict, repeating properties were taken
    wholesale from the winning side (for example, all email addresses). If
    a new email address had been added on the loosing side, it got lost.

    Arguably it is better to preserve as much data as possible during a
    conflict. SyncEvolution now does that in a merge script by checking
    which properties in the loosing side do not exist in the winning side
    and copying those entries.

    Typically only the main value (email address, phone number) is checked
    and not the additional meta data (like the type). Otherwise minor
    differences (for example, both sides have same email address, but with
    different types) would lead to duplicates.

    Only addresses are treated differently: for them all attributes
    (street, country, city, etc.) are compared, because there is no single
    main value.

  • engine: UID support in contact data

    Before, the UID property in a vCard was ignored by the engine.
    Backends were responsible for ensuring that the property is
    set if required by the underlying storage. This turned out to be
    handled incompletely in the WebDAV backend.

    This change moves this into the engine:

    • UID is now field. It does not get used for matching
      because the engine cannot rely on it being stored
      by both sides.
    • It gets parsed if present, but only generated if
      explicitly enabled (because that is the traditional
      behavior).
    • It is never shown in the DevInf’s CtCap
      because the Synthesis engine would always show it
      regardless whether a rule enabled the property.
      That’s because rules normally only get triggered
      after exchanging DevInf and thus DevInf has to
      be rule-independent. We don’t want it shown because
      then merging the incoming item during a local sync
      would use the incoming UID, even if it is empty.
    • Before writing, ensure that UID is set.

    When updating an existing item, the Synthesis engine reads
    the existing item, preserves the existing UID unless the peer
    claims to support UID, and then updates with the existing UID.

    This works for local sync (where SyncEvolution never claims
    to support UID when talking to the other side). It will break
    with peers which have UID in their CtCap although they
    rewrite the UID and backends whose underlying storage cannot
    handle UID changes during an update (for example, CardDAV).

  • engine: flush map items less frequently

    The Synthesis API does not say explicitly, but in practice all map
    items get updated in a tight loop. Rewriting the m_mappingNode (case
    insensitive string comparisons) and serialization to disk
    (std::ostrstream) consume a significant amount of CPU cycles and cause
    extra disk writes that can be avoided by making some assumptions about
    the sequence of API calls and flushing only once.

  • local sync: exchange SyncML messages via shared memory

    Encoding/decoding of the uint8_t array in D-Bus took a surprisingly
    large amount of CPU cycles relative to the rest of the SyncML message
    processing. Now the actual data resides in memory-mapped temporary
    files and the D-Bus messages only contain offset and size inside these
    files. Both sides use memory mapping to read and write directly.

    For caching 1000 contacts with photos on a fast laptop, total sync
    time roughly drops from 6s to 3s.

    To eliminate memory copies, memory handling in libsynthesis or rather,
    libsmltk is tweaked such that it allocates the buffer used for SyncML
    message data in the shared memory buffer directly. This relies on
    knowledge of libsmltk internals, but those shouldn’t change and if they
    do, SyncEvolution will notice (”unexpected send buffer”).

  • local sync: avoid updating meta data when nothing changed

    The sync meta data (sync anchors, client change log) get updated after
    a sync even if nothing changed and the existing meta data could be
    used again. This can be skipped for local sync, because then
    SyncEvolution can ensure that both sides skip updating the meta
    data. With a remote SyncML server that is not possible and thus
    SyncEvolution has to update its data.

    It is based on the observation that when the server side calls
    SaveAdminData, the client has sent its last message and the sync is
    complete. At that point, SyncEvolution can check whether anything has
    changed and if not, skip saving the server’s admin data and stop the
    sync without sending the real reply to the client.

    Instead the client gets an empty message with “quitsync” as content
    type. Then it takes shortcuts to close down without finalizing the
    sync engine, because that would trigger writing of meta data
    changes. The server continues its shutdown normally.

    This optimization is limited to syncs with a single source, because
    the assumption about when aborting is possible is harder to verify
    when multiple sources are involved.

  • PBAP: support SYNCEVOLUTION_PBAP_CHUNK_TRANSFER_TIME <= 0

    When set to 0 or less, the chunk size is not getting adapted at all
    while still using transfers in chunks.

  • PBAP: use raw text items

    This avoids the redundant parse/generate step on the sending
    side of the PBAP sync.

  • PBAP syncing: updated photo not always stored

    Because photo data was treated like a C string, changes after any
    embedded null byte were ignored during a comparison.

  • ephemeral sync: don’t write binfile client files (FDO #55921)

    When doing PBAP caching, we don’t want any meta data written because
    the next sync would not use it anyway. With the latest libsynthesis
    we can configure “/dev/null” as datadir for the client’s binfiles and
    libsynthesis will avoid writing them.

    The PIM manager uses this for PBAP syncing automatically. For testing
    it can be enabled by setting the SYNCEVOLUTION_EPHEMERAL env variable.

  • PBAP: avoid empty field filter

    Empty field filter is supposed to mean “return all supported
    fields”. This used to work and stopped working with Android phones
    after an update to 4.3 (seen on Galaxy S3); now the phone only
    returns the mandatory TEL, FN, N fields.

    The workaround is to replace the empty filter list with the list of
    known and supported properties. This means we only pull data we really
    need, but it also means we won’t get to see any additional properties
    that the phone might support.

  • PBAP: transfer in chunks (FDO #77272)

    If enabled via env variables, PullAll transfers will be limited to
    a certain numbers contacts at different offsets until all data got
    pulled. See PBAP README for details.

    When transfering in chunks, the enumeration of contacts for the engine
    no longer matches the PBAP enumeration. Debug output uses “offset #x”
    for PBAP and “ID y” for the engine.

  • PBAP: remove transfer via pipe

    Using a pipe was never fully supported by obexd (blocks
    obexd). Transfering in suitably sized chunks (FDO #77272) will be a
    more obexd friendly solution with a similar effect (not having to
    buffer the entire address book in memory).

  • PBAP: Suspend/ResumeSync() (FDO #72112)

    By default, the new API freezes a sync by stopping to consume data on the
    local side of the sync.

    In addition, the information that the sync is freezing is now also handed
    down to the transport and all sources. In the case of PBAP caching, the local
    transport notifies the child where the PBAP source then uses Bluez
    5.15 Transfer1.Suspend/Resume to freeze/thaw the actual OBEX transfer.

    If that fails (for example, not implemented because Bluez is too old
    or the transfer is still queueing), then the transfer gets cancelled
    and the entire sync fails. This is desirable for PBAP caching and
    Bluetooth because a failed sync can easily be recovered from (just
    start it again) and the overall goal is to free up Bluetooth bandwidth
    quickly.

  • PBAP: transfer data via pipe (part of FDO #72112)

    The main advantage is that processed data can be discarded
    immediately. When using a plain file, the entire address book must be
    stored in it.

    The drawback is that obexd does not react well to a full pipe. It
    simply gets stuck in a blocking write(); in other words, all obexd
    operations get frozen and obexd stops responding on D-Bus.

  • PIM: include CardDAV in CreatePeer()

    This adds “protocol: CardDAV” as a valid value, with corresponding
    changes to the interpretation of some existing properties and some new
    ones. The API itself is not changed.

    Suspending a CardDAV sync is possible. This freezes the internal
    SyncML message exchange, so data exchange with the CardDAV server may
    continue for a while after SuspendPeer().

    Photo data is always downloaded immediately. The “pbap-sync” flag
    in SyncPeerWithFlags() has no effect.

    Syncing can be configured to be one-way (local side is read-only
    cache) or two-way (local side is read/write). Meta data must be
    written either way, to speed up caching or allow two-way syncing. The
    most common case (no changes on either side) will have to be optimized
    such that existing meta data is not touched and thus no disk writes
    occur.

  • PIM: handle SuspendPeer() before and after transfer (FDO #82863)

    A SuspendPeer() only succeeded while the underlying Bluetooth transfer
    was active. Outside of that, Bluez errors caused SyncEvolution to
    attempt a cancelation of the transfer and stopped the sync.

    When the transfer was still queueing, obexd returns
    org.bluez.obex.Error.NotInProgress. This is difficult to handle for
    SyncEvolution: it cannot prevent the transfer from starting and has to
    let it become active before it can suspend the transfer. Canceling
    would lead to difficult to handle error cases (like partially parsed
    data) and therefore is not done.

    The Bluez team was asked to implement suspending of queued transfers
    (see “org.bluez.obex.Transfer1 Suspend/Resume in queued state” on
    linux-bluetooth@vger.kernel.org), so this case might not happen
    anymore with future Bluez.

    When the transfer completes before obexd processes the Suspend(),
    org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.UnknownObject gets returned by
    obexd. SyncEvolution can ignore errors which occur after the active
    transfer completed. In addition, it should prevent starting the next
    one. This may be relevant for transfer in chunks, although the sync
    engine will also stop asking for data and thus typically no new
    transfer gets triggered anyway.

  • PIM: add suspend/resume/abort to sync.py

    CTRL-C while waiting for the end of a sync causes an interactive
    prompt to appear where one can choose been suspend/resume/abort and
    continuing to wait. CTRL-C again in the prompt aborts the script.

  • PIM: enhanced progress notifications (FDO #72114)

    This adds GetPeerStatus() and “progress” events. Progress is reported based
    on the “item received” Synthesis event and the total item count. A modified
    libsynthesis is needed where the SyncML binfile client on the target side of
    the local sync actually sends the total item count (via NumberOfChanges).
    This cannot be done yet right at the start of the sync, only the second SyncML
    message will have it. That is acceptable, because completion is reached very
    quickly anyway for syncs involving only one message.

    At the moment, SyncContext::displaySourceProgress() holds back “item
    received” events until a different event needs to be emitted. Progress
    reporting might get more fine-grained when adding allowing held back
    events to be emitted at a fixed rate, every 0.1s. This is not done yet
    because it seems to work well enough already.

    For testing and demonstration purposes, sync.py gets command line
    arguments for setting progress frequency and showing progress either
    via listening to signals or polling.

  • PIM: add SyncPeerWithFlags() and ‘pbap-sync’ flag (FDO #70950)

    The is new API and flag grant control over the PBAP sync mode.

  • PIM: fix phone number normalization

    The parsed number always has a country code, whereas SyncEvolution expected it
    to be zero for strings without an explicit country code. This caused a caller
    ID lookup of numbers like “089788899″ in DE to find only telephone numbers in
    the current default country, instead of being more permissive and also finding
    “+189788899″. The corresponding unit test was broken and checked for the wrong
    result. Found while investigating an unrelated test failure when updating
    libphonenumber.

  • engine: enable batching by default (FDO #52669)

    This reverts commit c435e937cd406e904c437eec51a32a6ec6163102.

    Commit 7b636720a in libsynthesis fixes an unitialized memory read in
    the asynchronous item update code path.

    Testing confirms that we can now used batched writes reliably with EDS
    (the only backend currently supporting asynchronous writes +
    batching), so this change enables it again also for local and
    SyncEvolution<->SyncEvolution sync (with asynchronous execution of
    contact add/update overlapped with SyncML message exchanges) and other
    SyncML syncs (with changes combined into batches and executed at the
    end of each message).

  • Various compiler problems and warnings fixed; compiles with
    –with-warnings=fatal on current Debian Testing and Ubuntu Trusty
    (FDO #79316).

  • D-Bus server: fix unreliable shutdown handling

    Occassionally, syncevo-dbus-server locked up after receiving
    a CTRL-C. This primarily affected nightly testing, in particular (?)
    on Ubuntu Lucid.

  • D-Bus: use streams for direct IPC with GIO

    When using GIO, it is possible to avoid the DBusServer listening on a
    publicly accessible address. Connection setup becomes more reliable,
    too, because the D-Bus server side can detect that a child died
    because the connection will be closed.

    When using libdbus, the traditional server/listen and client/connect
    model is still used.

  • LogRedirect: safeguard against memory corruption

    When aborting, our AbortHandler gets called to close down logging.
    This may involve memory allocation, which is unsafe. In FDO #76375, a
    deadlock on a libc mutex was seen.

    To ensure that the process shuts down anyway, install an alarm and give
    the process five seconds to shut down before the SIGALRM signal will kill
    it.

Upgrading from releases <= 1.3.99.4:

If the value of “username/databaseUser/proxyUser” contains a colon,
the “user:” prefix must be added to the value, to continue treating it
like a plain user name and not some reference to an unknown identity
provider (like “id:”, “goa:”, “signon:”, etc.).

The lookup of passwords in GNOME Keyring was updated slightly in
1.3.99.5. It may be necessary to set passwords anew if the old one is
no longer found.

Upgrading from release 1.2.x:

The sync format of existing configurations for Mobical (aka Everdroid)
must be updated manually, because the server has encoding problems when
using vCard 3.0 (now the default for Evolution contacts):
syncevolution –configure \
syncFormat=text/x-vcard \
mobical addressbook

The Funambol template explicitly enables usage of the
“refresh-from-server” sync mode to avoid getting throttled with 417
‘retry later’ errors. The same must be added to existing configs
manually:
syncevolution –configure \
enableRefreshSync=TRUE \
funambol

Upgrading from releases before 1.2:

Old configurations can still be read. But writing, as it happens
during a sync, must migrate the configuration first. Releases >= 1.2
automatically migrates configurations. The old configurations
will still be available (see “syncevolution –print-configs”) but must
be renamed manually to use them again under their original names with
older SyncEvolution releases.

SyncEvolution 1.4.99.4 -> 1.5

Mostly a bug fix release.

Details:

  • vcard: fix caching of PBAP contacts (FDO #84710)

    After changing PBAP to send raw items, caching them led to unnecessary
    disk writes and bogus “contacts changed” reports. That’s because
    the merge script relied on the exact order of properties, which was
    only the same when doing the redundant decode/encode on the PBAP side.

    Instead of reverting back to sending re-encoded items, better enhance
    the contact merge script such that it detects contacts as unchanged
    when just the order of entries in the property arrays is different.
    This relies on an enhanced libsynthesis with the new RELAXEDCOMPARE()
    and modified MERGEFIELDS().

  • sync: ignore unnecessary username property

    A local sync or Bluetooth sync do not need the ‘username’ property.
    When it is set despite that, issue a warning.

    Previously, the value was checked even when not needed, which
    caused such syncs to fail when set to something other than a plain
    username.

  • D-Bus server: fix unreliable shutdown handling

    Occassionally, syncevo-dbus-server locked up after receiving
    a CTRL-C. This primarily affected nightly testing, in particular (?)
    on Ubuntu Lucid.

  • scripting: prevent premature loop timeouts

    The more complex “avoid data loss during merging” scripting ran for longer
    than 5s limit under extreme conditions (full logging, busy system, running
    under valgrind), which resulted in aborting the script and a 10500 “local
    internal error” sync failure.

  • signon: fix providersignon.so (TC-1667)

    The shared providersignon.so ended up being compiled with “gsso” as
    prefix for the username. There also was a problem with invalid
    reference counting.

  • PBAP: support SYNCEVOLUTION_PBAP_CHUNK_TRANSFER_TIME <= 0

    When set to 0 or less, the chunk size is not getting adapted at all
    while still using transfers in chunks.

Upgrading from releases <= 1.3.99.4:

If the value of “username/databaseUser/proxyUser” contains a colon,
the “user:” prefix must be added to the value, to continue treating it
like a plain user name and not some reference to an unknown identity
provider (like “id:”, “goa:”, “signon:”, etc.).

The lookup of passwords in GNOME Keyring was updated slightly in
1.3.99.5. It may be necessary to set passwords anew if the old one is
no longer found.

Upgrading from release 1.2.x:

The sync format of existing configurations for Mobical (aka Everdroid)
must be updated manually, because the server has encoding problems when
using vCard 3.0 (now the default for Evolution contacts):
syncevolution –configure \
syncFormat=text/x-vcard \
mobical addressbook

The Funambol template explicitly enables usage of the
“refresh-from-server” sync mode to avoid getting throttled with 417
‘retry later’ errors. The same must be added to existing configs
manually:
syncevolution –configure \
enableRefreshSync=TRUE \
funambol

Upgrading from releases before 1.2:

Old configurations can still be read. But writing, as it happens
during a sync, must migrate the configuration first. Releases >= 1.2
automatically migrates configurations. The old configurations
will still be available (see “syncevolution –print-configs”) but must
be renamed manually to use them again under their original names with
older SyncEvolution releases.

Source, Installation, Further information

Source code bundles for users are available in
http://downloads.syncevolution.org/syncevolution/sources
and the original source is in the git repositories.

i386, lpia and amd64 binaries for Debian-based distributions are
available via the “stable” syncevolution.org repository. Add the
following entry to your /apt/source.list:

Then install “syncevolution-evolution”, “syncevolution-kde” and/or
“syncevolution-activesync”.

These binaries include the “sync-ui” GTK GUI and were compiled for
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid), except for ActiveSync binaries which were compiled for Debian Wheezy, Ubuntu Saucy and Ubuntu Trusty. The packages mentioned above are meta-packages which pull in suitable packages matching the distro during installation.

Older distributions like Debian 4.0 (Etch) can no longer be supported
with precompiled binaries because of missing libraries, but the source
still compiles when not enabling the GUI (the default).

The same binaries are also available as .tar.gz and .rpm archives in
the download directories. In contrast
to 0.8.x archives, the 1.x .tar.gz archives have to be unpacked and the
content must be moved to /usr, because several files would not be found
otherwise.

After installation, follow the getting started steps. More specific HOWTOs can be found in the Wiki.