Observations from CalConnect XXXII in San Jose, California

CalConnect held its thirty-second Conference (XXXII) and Interoperability Test Event the week of January 26-30, 2015, hosted by Kerio Technologies in San Jose, California. This event was also the Tenth Anniversary of CalConnect’s first members meeting in January of 2005 at the University of Washington. The first day of the XXXII Conference was dedicated to the Tenth Anniversary Celebration, a look back at our first decade, and a look forward to the next decade of interoperable calendaring and scheduling.

The week led off with the Interoperability Test Even on Monday. The event had 24 participants from 14 organizations.

On Wednesday afternoon, we offered a special program for our Tenth Anniversary with 49 people in attendance, including twelve who came only for the celebration, plus 34 registered participants at CalConnect XXXII, which was held Thursday and Friday. We took this opportunity to leverage this milestone conference as a first step in reprogramming our conferences to be more engaging, more interactive, and more accessible to those not directly involved in the work or topic being presented. We augmented our traditional technical content with panel discussions, invited speakers, and special presentations, looking to transform attendees into active participants. Overall, the results of this initial effort were well received.

Here’s what’s trending from CalConnect XXXII:

Trending – Membership

Fastmail, based in Melbourne, Australia, joined CalConnect in December, bringing the 2014 new member total to 5. Fastmail is a hosted e-mail service which recently added an integrated calendaring service to their offerings.

Welcoming 2015, ZeeZide, based in Magdeburg, Germany, became our first new member of the new year. ZeeZide is a software development company interested in interoperability testing and standards.

Presently, over one third of CalConnect’s membership is international (not based in North America), including members in the U.K., several European countries, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Trending – Technical Committees and Provisional Committees (TCs and PCs)

  • TC-EVENTPUB will begin work on a proposal for QR codes for Calendar URIs.
  • TC-FREEBUSY has continued work on VPOLL and provided a live demonstration of three VPOLL-enabled (consensus scheduling) clients conducting a poll between three separate servers via iSchedule and VPOLL.
  • TC-SHARING has submitted its base specifications for WebDAV resource sharing and notifications (see below) and is beginning work on its calendar sharing specification.
  • TC-TASKS has submitted its Task Extensions to iCalendar and iCalendar Relations drafts (see below).

Trending – Interoperability Testing

The test event was extremely successful, with 24 participants from 14 organizations, including one non-member company. As always there was much testing of CalDAV features, including new and under development capabilities such as CalDAV PUSH, Calendar/ Contact Sharing and VPOLL. Unlike recent test events we saw a lot of iMIP testing including much testing against Microsoft Exchange. We also conducted BOF sessions on CalDAV PUSH, the possibility of QR codes for Calendar URIs, and a focus session on the CalDAV Tester Suite for new users. A more detailed accounting of the test event is available at CalConnect Interoperability Test Event Reports.

Trending – Special Events: CalConnect Tenth Anniversary Celebration

Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to a celebration of CalConnect’s Tenth Anniversary; our first real members’ meeting was held in January of 2005 at the University of Washington. We had a number of invited guests present in addition to the participants attending the regular CalConnect Conference, resulting in a fairly packed room of 46.

Special sessions for the Celebration included the History of CalConnect; The Freebusy
“Challenge”; Calendaring as a Platform; and a panel discussion on the Future of Calendaring. Additionally, we had two invited speakers: Lisa Dusseault, the original author of CalDAV, spoke on the trials and tribulations of committee standards development, and Steve Allen from the University of California Lick Observatory on “The Time People Want”, an exploration of the history of the measurement of time and time zones. Our special thanks to all our invited guests and speakers for making our Tenth Anniversary event so engaging.

Trending – Documents, Specifications and Standards

Much of the work in CalConnect is focused on specifications to be submitted as internet drafts to the IETF, with the goal of having them progressed to become RFCs; other work is published directly by CalConnect itself or submitted to other organizations.

CalConnect is currently working on seventeen specifications intended for the IETF. Of those seventeen, ten are currently at the IETF:

STATUS: AD review prior to IETF last call

Non-Gregorian Recurrence Rules in iCalendar https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-calext-rscale/
This document defines how non-Gregorian recurrence rules can be specified in iCalendar data.

STATUS: working group last call (TZDIST)

Time Zone Data Distribution Service https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-tzdist-service/
This document defines a time zone data distribution service that allows reliable, secure and fast delivery of time zone data to client systems such as calendaring and scheduling applications or operating systems.

Accepted by IETF Working Groups as WG Drafts

Calendar Availability https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-daboo-calendar-availability/
This document specifies a new iCalendar calendar component VAVAILABILITY that allows the publication of available and unavailable time periods associated with a calendar user. This component can be used in standard iCalendar free-busy lookups, including iTIP free-busy requests, to generate repeating blocks of available or busy time with exceptions as needed.

New Properties for iCalendar https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-daboo-icalendar-extensions/
This document defines a set of new properties for iCalendar data.

CalDAV: Time Zones by Reference http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-tzdist-caldav-timezone-ref/
This document defines an extension to the CalDAV calendar access protocol to allow clients and servers to exchange iCalendar data without the need to send full time zone data.

Updated drafts already at IETF not yet adopted by a Working Group

Improved Support for iCalendar Relationships http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-douglass-ical-relations/
This specification updates RELATED-TO and introduces new iCalendar properties LINK and RELATED-ID to allow better linking and grouping of iCalendar components and related data.

VPOLL: Consensus Scheduling Component for iCalendar https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-york-vpoll/
This specification introduces a new iCalendar component which allows for consensus scheduling, that is voting on a number of alternative meeting or task alternatives.

New submissions to the IETF

Task Extensions to iCalendar https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-apthorp-ical-tasks/
This document defines extensions to the Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar) to provide improved status tracking, scheduling and specification of tasks.

WebDAV: User Notifications https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-pot-webdav-notifications/
This specification defines an extension to WebDAV that allows the server to provide notifications to users.

WebDAV Resource Sharing https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-pot-webdav-resource-sharing/
This specification defines an extension to WebDAV that enables the sharing of resources between users on a WebDAV server.

Trending – Organizationally

Pamela Taylor, one of the original Directors of CalConnect and who served on the
Board of Directors until last year, and Dave Thewlis, the Executive Director of CalConnect who has also served on the Board of Directors from CalConnect’\’s inception, were honored with the CalConnect Distinguished Service Award.

Wrapping it all together

CalConnect wishes to again thank Kerio Technologies for helping to make CalConnect XXXII such a productive and enjoyable week, and to the organizations and individuals who participated in the event and in the Tenth Anniversary Celebration.

The next CalConnect event will take place May 18-22, 2015, in Bucharest, Romania, hosted by 1and1. We’ll be posting more information about this event going forward, and we invite you to join us and learn more about what we are doing — and participate in the work going forward.