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ical validation for applications and Google Calendar
Last Post 12 Oct 2010 10:51 PM by Matt M. 28 Replies.
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Matt M
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10 Aug 2010 02:22 PM  
Hiya,

The ical feed has several validation problems - one of which I have been able to overcome, but others which need some updates to Invenmanager to fix.

Please see the validation of my ical feed at http://arnout.engelen.eu/icalendar-validator/urlvalidate?url=http://www.autechheads.com/autechheadsevents.ics


This outlines where the ical feed is breaking with RFC implementation, which prevents correct operation in Outlook, Google Calendar, and others. Most notably:

* File extension for URL should end in .ICS (I have been able to work around by doing an ISAPI Rewrite)
* Feed specifies utf-8 but does not properly filter non utf-8 characters
* Missing escapes in descriptions for commas
* Missing UID property (unique ID) for each event - should be an event id in the database that can be used!
* Missing ORGANIZER property for each event

I'm relatively unconcerned about the .ICS extension - as I said, it's easy to work around with an ISAPI Rewrite. However the others should be relatively easy to fix and make the ical feed compatible with a wide variety of calendar apps - any chance we could get a quick update?

Cheers,

Matt
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10 Aug 2010 06:26 PM  
Matt,

Sure, we can work on this...
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16 Aug 2010 02:30 PM  
Do you know when this will be updated?

Thanks :-)
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16 Aug 2010 02:38 PM  
Hi Matt,

We are working on the next update: v4.0.2, it should be soon, but I won't be able to promise a definite date...
as there are other feedback still coming in...

On the other hand, we tested the iCal with Google calendar and Outlook successfully. And I also tested using your method, and i found out Google iCal feed also cannot pass the test.. . Nevertheless, we will get our application corrected according to your suggestion... and I really appreciate it..
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Matt M
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16 Aug 2010 02:42 PM  
It depends on how you test it - if it's as an ics import, it will work. But as a feed, it has stricter requirements - I wouldn't be surprised that Google iCal feed fails the test, they have really inconsistent implementation standards :-)
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16 Aug 2010 02:55 PM  
Got it.

You should have it by next week, I hope.
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Matt M
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28 Aug 2010 12:23 PM  
When do you expect to have the UID field added? I haven't validated the latest version's feed but at a glance this isn't implemented; haven't looked in detail at the rest, but can certainly see escapes for commas, etc.
Michael Schmitz
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09 Sep 2010 07:16 AM  
I am looking forward this this change as well.

I attempted to import the ICAL feed from my Invenmanager calendar to Windows Live Calendar. I received the following error from the Windows Live Subscribe to Calendar screen:
"There's a problem with the calendar URL that you entered. Please make sure you've entered it correctly and try again."

When I enter the same URL into the web address field of my browser window it correctly downloads my ICAL file. (so I know I am using the correct URL) My ICAL URL is here:
http://www.firstpresiowacity.org/DesktopModules/EventsCalendar/ical.aspx?PortalID=0&ModuleID=441&TabID=100

I hope the addition of the UID attribute will correct this issue I am having with Windows Live Calendar.

Perhaps one of the tests you will run on the finished changes is to check compatability with the web based "Windows Live Calendar"? Find it here:
http://windowslive.com/Online/Calendar

Thanks you for letting me know when the update is ready!

Cheers,
Mike
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09 Sep 2010 06:31 PM  
Mike,

Yes, we have corrected the UID issue and should be included in the next update v4.0.4. thanks.
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20 Sep 2010 03:10 PM  
Are we near to a release for 4.0.4?

Keen to have working ical...
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20 Sep 2010 11:49 PM  
Yes, it is under testing now.
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28 Sep 2010 03:57 AM  
Thanks for the update - are we close? Is there an ETA?
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28 Sep 2010 01:41 PM  
Matt,

Yes, you should have v4.0.4 before the end of this week.
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03 Oct 2010 05:22 PM  
Assume it's delayed? No problem, just want to keep my users updated.
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03 Oct 2010 06:00 PM  
Hi,

You can get it from the Download page now... :)
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03 Oct 2010 06:26 PM  
Thanks very much... promo codes is reporting it's version 4.0.3, is that right?

Doing a reinstall of all modules nonetheless.
Matt M
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03 Oct 2010 07:23 PM  
Ok, it's working BUT!

One last issue. Recurring events use the same UID which causes issues in some implementations - could 4.0.4 have just a small revision to add a unique number after each instance?

eg. if it shows the same event 3 times:

1st UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-1
2nd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-2
3rd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-3

If it could be added quickly, I think this would then sort out this one last issue and close the book on ical!
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03 Oct 2010 11:40 PM  
Got it. that makes sense...

sure, you can expect an update soon.
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04 Oct 2010 05:40 PM  
The duplicate UIDs for recurring events is not compatible with Windows Live Calendar. And this means the latest update has not helped me. I was highly anticipating this fix.

Please note that it is necessary to assign the same UID for a particular instance of a recurring event each time an ICAL request is made. Said another way, if an ICAL request is made from Windows Live Calendar today and a particular event has a UID of "EventsCalendar-62-661-315-2" when the same request is made tomorrow and in the future it needs to still have a UID of "EventsCalendar-62-661-315-2" (not "EventsCalendar-62-661-315-3").

For this reason I recommend appending the date to the end of the UID for recurring events (or all events). Since an event cannot recur twice in the same day, appending the date is an easy way to make the UID unique and it is an easy way to assign the same UID to a particular event every time an ICAL request is made. For example, an event that recurs weekly for three weeks may look like this:

1st UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201003
2nd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201010
3rd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201017

This seems like an easy change as well. I was looking forward to having iCal working for my client. I would be tremendously grateful if you could please make a version of 4.0.4 with a change like the one described above available for download on this thread (or emailed)?

Thank you!
Mike
Michael Schmitz
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04 Oct 2010 08:15 PM  
If anyone can settle for a manual process and needs valid .ics files with all events having unique UIDs immediately like I did, consider the following manual process. Warning: If the final solution from Invenmanager is formatted differenly you may end up with duplicate events after Invenmanager releases a fix for the non-unique UIDs.

1. Install TextPipe Pro (30 day evaluation version works), leave default set to non-greedy (minimal) matching
2. In TextPipe Pro setup two "Search and replace (single or multiple lines, patterns and more)" filters with a "Find type" of "Pattern (perl)" and action "Replace".
3. Setup the first filter with the following "Find Pattern":
DTSTART[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?)
DTEND:[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?
DTSTAMP:[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?
UID:EventsCalendar[0-9a-zA-Z-]{1,50}?

And the first filter should have the following value in the "Replace with" field:
$0-$1

4. Setup the second filter with the following "Find Pattern" (this one finds events marked "All Day Event"):
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?)
DTEND;VALUE=DATE:[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?
DTSTAMP:[0-9,T,-,Z]{1,25}?
UID:EventsCalendar[0-9a-zA-Z-]{1,50}?

And the first filter should have the following value in the "Replace with" field:
$0-$1

5. Run these filters on the .ics file you download from your website. Then you can upload the .ics file to the appropriate destination for your event data.

The resulting data in the .ics file looks something like this with the date and time appended to the UID field for regular events and just the date appended for "All Day Event"). This ensures unique UIDs and UIDs that will stay the same across multiple exports. (If the date or time of a recurring event should change it creates a less than ideal but still workable scenario):
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20101006T143000Z
DTEND:20101006T153000Z
DTSTAMP:20100909T110500Z
UID:EventsCalendar-100-441-94-20101006T143000Z
ORGANIZER:mailto:fake@fake.com
CREATED:20100909T110500Z
DESCRIPTION:event description
LOCATION:Coover Lounge
SEQUENCE:0
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:summary information
TRANSP:TRANSPARENT
END:VEVENT

Cheers,
Mike
Matt M
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04 Oct 2010 08:24 PM  
[quote]
For this reason I recommend appending the date to the end of the UID for recurring events (or all events). Since an event cannot recur twice in the same day, appending the date is an easy way to make the UID unique and it is an easy way to assign the same UID to a particular event every time an ICAL request is made. For example, an event that recurs weekly for three weeks may look like this:

1st UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201003
2nd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201010
3rd UID - EventsCalendar-62-661-315-201017
[/quote]

Happy to support this. This is a better way to handle than my suggestion.
Matt M
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04 Oct 2010 08:28 PM  
Just noticed the dates in the UID isn't quite right.

I'd be happy to support so long as the UID is appended with the full UTC date, ie. 20101005 for example.
Michael Schmitz
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04 Oct 2010 08:42 PM  
Agreed, full UTC date is good. I was debating whether or not the time should be included. I recommend that it would be best not to include the time in the UID field because if the time of the recurring event were changed and the date remained the same, this scenarios would be handled gracefully and the UID for each instance of the event would not change.

Cheers,
Mike
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04 Oct 2010 09:52 PM  
Guys,

Sure, you will have an update for this in a few days. (by tomorrow I hope). :0

So, this way you avoid the hassle of using the text converter.
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05 Oct 2010 12:25 AM  
Thanks very much! Appreciate it! :-)
Michael Schmitz
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06 Oct 2010 03:08 AM  
Quick turnaround on an update would be excellent! Thank sir!
Matt M
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07 Oct 2010 10:00 PM  
Close now? (hopeful grin)
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08 Oct 2010 12:15 AM  
Matt,

we will post the update v4.0.5 by this weekend...
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12 Oct 2010 10:51 PM  
Awesome - v4.0.5 UID looks good, we'll test this tomorrow.
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