Managing Google Calendar from iCal

I use Google Calendar (or GCal as it's often called) at home to share upcoming events such as important dates, weekend plans, medical appointments, travel schedules, etc with my family and this is working quite well. After showing my mom how to use it, she has even eclipsed me to become the biggest calendar user in our family. We subscribe to each other's calendars so we can see who's busy or available at any time. We haven't gotten to the point where we invite each other over calendar though, which is good IMHO, because that's a bit too impersonal. :)

Since I want to see both work calendar and family calendar in one place, I opted to subscribe to them via iCalendar format. This gives me a read-only copy of the calendars in iCal; if I need to create or modify an event, I need to use the web interface. Ideally, I want to be able to manage both work and family calendars directly in iCal.

As if Google heard my wish, they added CalDAV support about a month ago. It was very easy to setup, and has worked fine for me except for a full-day outage about two weeks back. Here's what my iCal looked like before with iCalendar subscription (pic to the left), and here's what iCal looks like after with CalDAV enabled:

Before After

Now I can fully manage my family calendar from iCal. I'm one step closer to my ideal state! My biggest gripe with this setup is that to see my secondary calendars and subscribed calendars, I need to create a separate account for each. It would be much better if they just show up under one account. Is this due to a defect in Apple iCal, Google's implementation, or CalDAV protocol?

For my work calendar to become fully manageable in iCal, I have to wait a bit longer, as CalDAV support is coming to Sun Comm Suite Calendar Server in 2009.

[UPDATE] Here's a more complete list of UX issues with Google Calendar in iCal over CalDAV. Also, the developer of the Google Calendar Provider for Thunderbird/Lightning shared his thoughts.

[UPDATE 2009-06-19] Secondary calendars are indeed accessible if you enable them under the Delegation tab in Preferences > Accounts.

Comments:

For a better update on Sun's CalDAV calendar server, I would link to <http://wikis.sun.com/display/CommSuite/Project+Aries > and <http://commsuite.demo.sun.com/aries/ >.

Posted by Derek Diget on September 02, 2008 at 11:38 AM PDT #

Ciny, one of Sun's calendaring experts, wrote this to me: BTW, a calendar collection is a collection of resources, not calendars. CalDAV does define a calendar-home-set property on a principal that can be used to list all the calendars you own. Not sure if Apple client and server make use of this property, when you create new calendars. For subscribed calendars, the story is different. I am not aware of any standard property on the principal to list that.

Posted by Robert Chien on October 08, 2008 at 04:31 AM PDT #

For Sun calendar have a look @ http://web.mac.com/sebsto/projects/JSCalendarSync.html. It synchronizes between iCal and Sun Calendar

Posted by Wilbert van de Pieterman on November 19, 2008 at 04:36 AM PST #

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I currently live in San Francisco Bay Area. For the past seven years, I have been designing and building messaging solutions for Sun.

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