Making Headway on Calendar Interoperability

In the 1980s, it was difficult if not impossible to look at someone else's "public" calendar, see what times were available, and send a request to join you at a meeting. It's now 2005, and things are looking up. With many of the calendaring products on the market today, you can send a meeting request that other calendaring clients will recognize as a calendar request. You can also delegate, decline, accept, suggest an alternative date, and add it automatically to your calendar.

This interoperability exists because of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards, such as iCalendar, iTIP, and iMIP. While these standards have helped smooth the path for calendaring and scheduling, there is still a long way to go. These days, most people want more than just the basics. They want to be able to download theater schedules, search for open appointments at their doctor’s office, and add flights directly to their calendar from an airline's Website. A continued emphasis on interoperability will move these goals forward.

The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium was founded recently to improve interoperability among calendaring products and vendors. The consortium provides a chance for end users to collaborate with vendors and impact how products are delivered. The group also sponsors interoperability testing events at which product and application developers gather to test their codes' interoperability and conformance to the calendaring and scheduling standards. The next event will be held at Duke University in Raleigh, N.C., from June 1 to June 3.

... Pat Egen

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