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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

iCal meets XML meets RSS.

Ray Ozzie asks whether (and why not) anyone has build a Feed extension and process to combine iCal information (calendar events) or vCard (personal contact) information.

Rather than manually re-key date or contact information publish it as rss feed, with updates as necessary.
Think about following your favorite sport team, Band, TV show schedule; publish conference schedules; sharing work calendars, school calendars as a feed.

Interesting application of iCAL and RSS.

Update (Sept 22) : Thinking more about this :

  • xml versions of iCal and vCard (which is owned by a commercial company) which would be a good thing, cause is would allow more people to publish this kind of info.

  • there is work being done on a xml calendar events. (use the google, Luke!)

  • being able to read iCal or kcal should be part of Outlook or Notes. (the Mozilla Calendar is here).

  • a RSS feed for most things is over kill:
    1. Most event info is published once and never changes : the sports team, TV; School year (Parent Teacher days, school events), class schedules; conference schedules and lots of other things can be published once at the beginning of the seasons and import just once. A feed is not needed.
    2. Too many items crowding my calendar, for which might need to separate calendars if I couldn't filter on categories. I would like to click a link to add a list of events and then control which events actually get added to my calendar from that list
    3. If there is some event list that is regularly published, I what to control what get added to my Calendar, before it get there.

So, what would work :
  • Make it easier for people to publish this sort of infomation is widely used formats
  • a feed to notify me of new events at add to my calendar
  • a pre-add list to control what gets add to my calendar
  • be able to filter my calendar
  • preserve infomation in the event entry about where it came from (a perm link?) and a event id for purposes of correction and new information.

This subject is now beging picked up by various other voices : Jon Udell, Russell; Plan b and Winer

Jon Udell has yet more on iCal explorations. 2 value points : an advantage of making the iCal standard format into a XML format ( like the stalled xCal ) is that partner could extended it with addtional non-standard payloads (Links , rich test, meta-data ); and it could be used as part of a web service. These are both potential value adds, and allow experimentation between (or with-in) companies.

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