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The webOS Wish List: CalDAV and CardDAV support 15

by Derek Kessler Wed, 19 Dec 2012 5:47 pm EST

The webOS Wish List: CalDAV and CardDAV support

With the recent news that Google is shutting down support for new Exchange ActiveSync and Google Sync connections in favor of open source IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV standards, we were given a brief scare here in the webOS Nation. While we're safe for now thanks to Synergy utilizing Google APIs instead of Exchange, we can't help but wonder if there might be a better way to go about it.

Google's recommending that iOS and Android users switch away from ActiveSync and use IMAP (or the Gmail app for those devices), CalDAV, and CardDAV, services that the two leading mobile operating systems support. Other mobile operating systems - like BlackBerry 7, Windows Phone, and webOS don't support the calendar- and contact-syncing protocols. They can still send and receive emails with IMAP, but email is a whole lot more difficult without access to your contacts and their email addresses.

BlackBerry 7 isn't going to get updated to support CalDAV or CardDAV - Google had to build a custom sync app for the aged operating system. Windows Phone will need a system update - and quick - to add in CalDAV and CardDAV support, as it's clear Google's not planning on making apps for Windows Phone as they did for iOS and Android unless the platform's marketshare picks up (one could argue that the lack of Google services on Windows Phone will perpetuate a vicious cycle with respect to consumer adoption and marketshare).

webOS, on the other hand, could be an easier fix. While a system update would be needed to correct a no-longer-functioning Google log-in option for webOS (again, that's not happening with the Exchange shut down), replacing it would be relatively easy and could be accomplished with a distribution in the App Catalog or through homebrew channels. Yep, that's right, we're talking about a Synergy Connector.

As Open webOS is based on open source software, is itself fully open source, and is all about embracing open source standards, it's actually surprising that CalDAV and CardDAV support wasn't baked in during the open-sourcing process. Thankfully, thanks to the existence of Synergy Connectors, adding support for both shouldn't be an overly complicated matter for both Open webOS and even webOS 2.x and 3.x. Since webOS 2.0, the operating system has included support for adding third-party synchronization services via Synergy Connectors, though it's rare that an app or service takes advantage of the option.

Our suggestion: Make a new complete package Google log-in Synergy Connector that combines IMAP email, CalDAV, and CardDAV (while also adding separated support for the latter two for other services). Build support into Open webOS and put the Synergy Connector up for free in the App Catalog. If that's something that HP/Gram's not willing to invest their time in, thankfully all three are open source standards and maybe somebody in the homebrew community will pick up the ball and run with it.

Have your own thoughts on this or any other webOS Wish List entry? We fully expect you to. That's why we have the comments, it's your place to say how right (or wrong) we are. And we have little doubt you have your own ideas as to what ought be on the webOS wish list, and so we've created a forum thread just for that - and an awesome discussion it has proven to be.

15 Comments

Absolutely! I've been wanting CalDAV support since getting my first webOS device. I've actually kicked around the idea of doing it myself, but have never gotten around to it. Never thought about CardDAV, but it seems like a no-brainer to go the way of the open standard. Oh, and by the way, CalDAV supports tasks as well, so a Synergy connector (c/sh)ould add support for tasks as well.

William_MPLX in the forums started it! http://forums.webosnation.com/webos-synergy-synchronization/284289-cardd...

I might be able to poke around a tad.

Wow that is an old thread!  I remember - at least I think I do - reading something about CardDAV in the forums not that long ago.  

Yes I did that. I also stopped working on it shortly afterwards, because there didn't seem to be much interest and I couldn't figure out how to make the GUI for it. To be honest it's not a good base someone writing a CALDAV or CARDDAV connector now. Most of it was quick and dirty sort of coding to check if things could be done and was most definitely *NOT* the way that it should be done. Having said all that, there may still be some useful hints in it (for example making PROPFIND requests). I'll have a think about it and post some things that I think could be useful tips for someone working on a connector into that thread.

William.

So was it only recently when Google announced plans to kill EAS support that they started recommending iPhone users use CardDAV for syncing Google contacts?

Yeah, just last week. Caught everybody off guard.

I knew Google just announced this last week - what I was asking is how long have been recommeding iOS users to use CardDAV to sync contacts.  I do know the help page was last updated on 12/17, I just wonder how long it's been there.  ( http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2753077&topic=... )
I found the article trying to set up an iphone for someone, since I knew Google Sync was going away and adding Gmail didn't add contacts.

Bah. I submitted a bug on this in webOS 1.0

I was told that they weren't going to implement it because it was "Apple proprietary formats." I showed him the RFC and told him he was wrong, and nobody ever said anything to me ever again. -.-

CAUTION - CAUTION

Please do NOT make just a Google Synergy Connector. (for Google only)

Much better would be a CardDAV / CalDAV Connector. One, that could - beside Google - be used for other CardDAV / CalDAV servers as well.
Other services like ownCloud.

Thanks in advance for considering this to whom ever is working on it.

Why caldav/carddav wasn't a synergy connector from the beginning is puzzling to me. Seems it would be the logical first stab at synergy.

CalDAV, maybe. Google didn't add CardDAV support until a couple months ago:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/28/google-contacts-carddav-protocol-supp...

The whole thing is kind of a poke in the eye to Gmail users who don't also use Android. Holding users hostage to establish standards. If I used Gmail I would be annoyed.

Hi,

I'm working on it! :) Currently i have some difficulties, but i think, before this year ends, everyone can download contscts from carddav servers.

The current state is:
- discover carddav servers with DNS PTR/SRV records or use user defined carddav server with path
- authenticate with http or https
- find user principal, and dav home
- find user address book
- download and parse cards

If currently i push the sync button, it's download contacts, check local contacts (which need to update/download/delete), and download contact cards, and parse it, and dump contacts data to /var/log/messages. Now, for the first "working" release, i need to implement some code, to create webos contacts from parsed vcard contacts data, and figure out how error reporting works on touchpad. The code for account add works on webos 2.1.0 emulator, and my pre -, but i can't send error message to users on my "new" touchpad, and touchpad simulator.

It's currently works with DAViCal and Apple's iCloud.

regards
Czo

Wonderful news Czo!!!
Any place where we can follow the progress? You should open a thread for this.
I was thinking about starting a Caldav/Carddav Synergy plugin myself (though I never programmed on webOS, but I have some html/JS experience, it could have been a good starting project) if I can help you with anything...

I would add gpg support in email to the webOS wish list !