eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Sunbird, 0.2 - Sharing Calendars

February 8, 2005 20:39 by matthaw

A few weeks back my girlfriend and I were looking to start sharing our calendars. Mostly because I didn’t know when she had to work (department stores, yuk!) and I constantly had to ask her what we were doing on the alternating weekends she didn’t have to work. So, being a developer, my first thoughts were – hey, I could build a calendar sharing app. Ohh, but the daunting task was ahead of me, and I really didn’t feel like taking my personal time to do this. Next thought? Well, that was to setup a VPC with Exchange Server – and after 3 hours I realized that this was overkill for just sharing calendars. So, I tabled the idea for the time being.

Then, a few days back, Sunbird 0.2 was released from the Mozilla organization. I thought, hmm…this could possibly work. And after installing it on my work machine to check it out, I realized this was perfect for what we needed. If you’ve never heard of Sunbird, its, obviously, a calendaring application that is standalone from any of the other Mozilla applications. It allows you to store and share your calendar much like Outlook (well, sharing is a lot easier). The ability to have many calendars open at once was exactly what we needed.

So, last night I installed it on my home machine, and had my girlfriend install it on hers (she’s THAT tech-savvy). Now, to actually share our calendars, I had to do a little bit of custom configuration, which I’ll describe below.

1. Create a shared folder that both (or all) users can access. I used my server, and created a share allowing anyone to read/write to it. I later back this share up in my nightly backup routine.
2. Open up Windows Explorer, and browse to C:\documents and settings\<UserName>\ApplicationData\Mozilla\Sunbird\Profiles\<DEFAULTPROFILE>\Calendar
3. Copy the CalendarDataFile.ics to your shared directory, renaming it to whatever you wish so that its easier to locate for other users. I used Matt.ics for mine and Heather.ics for my girlfriend’s.
4. Open CalendarManager.rdf in Notepad.
5. Find the “My Calendar” RDF:Description element, and change the NC:path attribute’s value to point to the new location of your .ics file on your shared drive.
6. Save and close the .rdf file.
7. Launch Sunbird, and you’re ready to add other calendars.
8. Click the “Calendars” tab.
9. Right click, and choose to add a new calendar. Give it a name, and use the “Browse” button to point to whatever calendar you wish to use. Note, do not pick up your own calendar, but the other person’s calendar.

From there on out, you’re able to see your and the other persons calendar at the same time. It is important to note why my above instructions are so important. Due to (my guess) a bug, trying to edit “My Calendar” to point its location to the shared directory never saves. It’ll revert to the local .ics file that we moved, and modifying the .rdf file manually was the only way to get around this. Also, if you should happen to be entering events in your calendar at the same time that the other person is, it doesn’t dynamically update the calendar. You must close and re-open Sunbird. Same if you change the color of the calendar.

I also realize that there’s an option to “Publish” your calendar to a remote site, but that requires WebDAV to be installed on your destination server. Supposedly, you can use FTP, but I was never able to get that working. A great thing about publishing your calendar, is that it can theoretically live on your website, and anyone can consume that calendar. However, until this gets finalized and working properly, the sharing methods I described above are the best methods.

So, if you’ve been looking for this type of functionality, and didn’t know where to turn, try out Sunbird…it gets the job done.

Categories: General
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And the 1000th Comment Goes to...

February 4, 2005 22:46 by matthaw
Wow, 1000 comments for 338 posts…pretty good. Thanks for taking me to the bleeding edge Chris!

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McLaws on Interviews

February 4, 2005 22:43 by matthaw

Last night, Robert McLaws posted the 3 interviews he has coming up with some superb names over at Microsoft. Normally, I like to see his things crash & burn (VisualBlogger 2004(5) anyone?), but this time around I’m supporting him. I just popped over to see if he’s received any comments concerning the interviews, and heartbreakingly enough, he’s received none. Personally, I don’t have any questions, otherwise I’d post them…but I know there are a few of you out there that have that undying canny for creating obscure questions that makes guys like these squirm because of NDA.

So, hop on over to his posts and submit a question for John Montgomery, Brian Goldfarb, and Don Box.

Categories: .NET
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Definition of 'Recursion'

February 4, 2005 20:33 by matthaw


n. See recursion
See also: recursion

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An Index Scared Me

February 1, 2005 18:26 by matthaw

Seriously, a SQL Index I created scared me. Here’s the story – I’m working on a project at work, and this table that is used to collect information has about 100K records in it – basically 1 record per day with 450 unique combinations. And, not to mention our testing data is from Sept. of ‘04 – so the live database has about 130K of records.

So, anyways – I was creating a stored procedure that retrieves those 450 unique records, and have 2 sub-queries that grabs info from the “large” table. Talk about slow, right? No indexes on it, so I created 2 different indexes for columns that I use, and that sped it up from many minutes (like 10) to 9 seconds. Ohh, but thats still not fast enough – so I turned to the SQL Performance Monitor and Index Tuning Wizard (that which rarely results in providing any good information).

But this time it was different, yes, this time it suggested I create a new index that combined the 2 columns into 1 index. So, I did – reran the query…

And with a flash of the screen, and a curddling scream like a girl, I had my data…yes, it was under 1 second, and was more like a few milli-seconds. So, my word of advice, index…index…index – but only if you have to. You’d be amazed with the speed that indexing can do. Now, back to the world I know well, ASP & ASP.NET development. I think I’ll leave the DBA stuff to our Data Architect from now on.

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JavaHMO moving to Tahiti

February 1, 2005 17:12 by matthaw

The news is true, and I just have to say – good. JavaHMO will be moving to Tahiti, or HME after the 2.3 release. Why is this good? Well, so much of JavaHMO has hooks into the HMO specs to make things work, that as Leon states, is a terrible mess. Moving their applications to use HME, will advance the functionality of JavaHMO making things much easier. The code name is currently slated as Galleon for the JavaHMO re-write.

[Via TiVo Blog]

Ohh – another thing, PVR Blog setup a new HME section. Check it out – I’m sure it’ll grow over time.

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