CalDAVing my Calendars

With my iPhone, I now have access to view and update my personal calendar whenever I need it.  Previously, I relied on my work calendar to track the personal events that occur during normal business hours, e.g. dentist appointments.  Outside of work, I maintained a separate calendar on my personal laptop for tracking personal activities (outside of business hours) and recurring household events such as wedding anniversary and birthdays. However, unless I’m in front of a computer,  my personal calendar was generally inaccessible to me.  I needed a better solution for managing the various calendars that run my life.  With the help of the Internet, I’m able to setup a system that provides access to my personal calendar whether I’m working, at home, or on the road.

By using Google Calendar as a centralized repository,  I’m able to view and update my personal calendar from my iPhone, the iCal calendar on my laptop as well as the iCal calendar for work.  Both iPhone and Apple’s iCal calendar supports CalDAV, an Internet protocol for accessing and managing remote calendars.  Since Google Calendar also supports CalDAV, I’m able to subscribe to my Google Calendar from my CalDAV enabled clients.  Google provides some very helpful Web pages on connecting to Google Calendar from both iPhone and iCal.  I have also found useful resources in the Blogsphere.  The setup for connecting all 3 CalDAV clients including testing took less than 1/2 days.  Once I migrated my personal calendar onto Google Calendar, it was viewable from my iPhone as well as the iCal calendar on both my personal and work laptop.  Even better, when I add, update or delete an event from my Google Calendar using any of the 3 calendar clients, it automatically propagates to the other 2 calendars.

For really sensitive or personal events, I’m choosing to use a local calendar (doesn’t sync with Google Calendar) on my iPhone or the iCal calendar on my personal laptop.  The iPhone and iCal calendar are synchronized whenever I update my iPhone via iTunes.  Given I largely leverage Google Calendar for my personal calendar needs, this setup has worked very well for me so far.  The only noteworthy gotcha was the duplicate alerts on newly created events.  I soon realized that Google Calendar was assigning a default alert, in addition to the one set by the CalDAV client.  In my case, the remedy was to simply disable the default alert in Google Calendar.  Although I’m very happy with the current setup, I look forward to spending more time learning about CalDAV.  Given its flexibility, I anticipate it will make it possible to  interconnect my calendar with my friends and family members to ease planning of special events.