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Mon, 29th Oct 2007

   Using Apple's iCal with CommuniGate Pro


Can I use the iCal client that comes with MacOS to access CommuniGate Pro Calendars?


Note: These methods have been tested from CommuniGate Pro versions 4.3 - 5.2 and MacOS Tiger 10.4 and Leopard 10.5. These are my notes and experience using Apple's iCal client scheduling software withCommuniGate System's (CGS) CommuniGate Pro (CGP) communications server software. I provide these notes in the interest in helping anyone who may be interested in using these applications together. In my opinion these two software solutions work well together and provide a very usable calendaring solution. If you feel there are errors in my notes please feel free to send email to with the text CORRECTION: in the subject line of your message I will try to correct any mistakes or errors found in these notes. Please do not contact Stalker Software support for help with information contained in this document. This document offers no guarantee of support for any client with CommuniGate Pro. This information should be used at your own risk, there is not  promise of support, functionality or protection from something going wrong contained in this document. There are risks associated with using these two software packages together if you access your CommuniGate Pro calendar from other clients such as Mozilla Sunbird, Outlook, or even CGP's Webmail. I will try to explain the pitfalls as best as I can, but I suggest reading the documentation and help of the specific end clients as well as CommuniGate Pro to understand the calendar client's intent when subscribing and publishing events to the CommuniGate Pro server. This capability is part of CommuniGate Pro's Groupware features that include many items such as MAPI, meeting request support, automatic request processing and quite a few more formats, functions and protocols supported. You license may or may not allow for the use of these features. Please backup any existing calendars before you try using the software as described in the notes. I was able to quickly create a backup by copying the contents of the "Calendar" IMAP folder on CGP to a local folder. If I had not done this, my first iCal publish would have wiped all of my events from the server. You may need to learn how to do this with your MUA Note: This document was composed with the Mozilla Composer application. Mozilla composer publishes directly to CommuniGate Pro's end user personal website features via http with proper authentication. The following software versions were used when this was written: • iCal  Version 2.0 (1024) on MacOS version 10.4 • CommuniGate Pro version 4.3 with all Calendar related features enabled for the user account Subscribing to a CommuniGate Pro Calendar with iCal iCal can be configured to subscribe to CommuniGate Pro Calendar files by selecting Subscribe... from the Calendar menu in iCal. and entering a URL like this one in the dialog box below: I really do wish this would also work with https, but the client returns an error and does not seem to support ssl for calendar subscriptions. It does at least support authentication and will as you for your CGP credentials: After you provide the correct user name and password, iCal presents you with options for the calendar name and handling of the data contained in the .ics file. Once you have subscribed to this calendar, the calendar is read-only. You will not be able to publish events and changes to the calendar.  This ready-only status is part of iCal's design. The subscribe feature is really designed to subscribe to another user's calendar. I have tried to do this with other CGP users that I have access rights to, but I have not sucessfully received other calendars. The CommuniGate ACLs should  work, but I think I need to read the logs more to see what is actually happening here.I notice that iCal changes my original URL to: This makes sense to me, but it does not allow me to replace the second ~username with another i have rights to. There is a workaround for this but it leaves the CGP directory structure for CalendarData. You can actually subscribe to iCal calendars that have been published to the personal webspace features of CGP. This however doe not respect ACLs and publishes those calendars so that all can subscribe to them. This may not be desired in an organization managing private internal information. it may work, however, for an ISP with Mac users who do want to share their iCal calendar with the world. Publishing to a CommuniGate Pro Calendar or Personal Website with iCal A local iCal Calendar or a new one that you choose to create can be set to publish it's contents to CommuniGate Pro. This allows users to have the content of their schedule on the server for access from webmail when their iCal client is not available. An event change in webmail will be applied to the subscribed calendar when it reaches it refresh interval, but not to the local iCal Calendar that is used for publishing. This can be a problem because the "Publish" feature in iCal will overwrite the Webcal changes. This leaves users in a position where they must choose which calendar client will control their schedule and which will only be used to read the schedule. This document doe not cover invites, acceptance, and free/busy management. However, consideration should be given to the use of those features when deciding which client will be used. Once you decide which calendar you wish to publish to CommuniGate Pro, you can select the Calendar and choose Publish... from the Calendar menu. The following dialog box will appear: The options I select in the above dialog box in order to overwrite the CGP default calendar are: Publish calendar as: Calendar       Note: iCal will add the .ics when it creates the file on the server Publish on: a Private Server Base URL:      Note: ssl does seem to work here Login: CGP_username Password: your_secret_pass The 4 checkboxes are more preferences than anything, but I would check them all if I used iCal as my main calendar client. This publish option will overwrite all contents of the calendar with the events and items contained in the Calendar you published to CGP. The same filename of Calendar is what causes the overwrite. You can try other names if you with, but that will impact Webmail and overall consistency with the behavior of the system. I was able to use this same publishing method to write iCal and Free Busy (.vfb) data to the CGP personal website space. A change in the Base URL to something like allowed me to publish the same information to the directory iCal_Publish_test on my personal webspace. This may be a good alternative to use for testing if you try this with your iCal client. I was very happy that I had a backup of all my calendar data when I first tested Publish with iCal and CGP.

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