The Exchange Project - Syncing Exchange to iCal and back

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As noted [elsewhere][], I decided to go on with the Exchange2iCal project I started almost one year ago.I’m actually getting along nicely, also due to the fact that Jeffrey Harris released the wonderful [VObject][] package some days ago. (Thanks to [Jon][] for the tip!)

iCalendar Sync

So far, the following bits and pieces are working:

  • I can get the whole Exchange Calendar as an ics file, including recurrence, alarms and meeting status. * I can parse and compare two iCalendar files and get the following information: * New Local/Remote Events * Changed Local/Remote Events * Deleted Local/Remote Events

The first part can be considered “stable”, that is, if you’re OK w/ read-only access to you calendar, you could basically use that part. You can download these here: [e2i][].

Warning> These scripts are provided strictly as is. It’s alpha status at best, hacked together to work on my environment and not tested elsewhere than my Mac. There isn’t a README available and I assume that you know how to get the different tidbits needed to make it running, in particular:> * Python 2.3> * PyObjC (If you want to profit from Keychain-based authentication to Exchange)> * Basic knowledge of Python» (If you can’t, then maybe you’re not the exact target audience for these scripts and better wait for the moment where I have something a little more user-friendly or where Apple themselves release an iSync to Exchange. I know there are quite a bunch o’ people in the wild that’d like to see this working, but sorry, it’s just not there yet.).» I further assume that you know how to read a program and change certain parameters. > There is some documentation in the code, but remember:> **This is not for the faint-hearted!**> And now go and run exchange.py :)#

The second part (parsing & comparing) is still very buggy and unstable. I get pretty decent results but the parsing & comparing is somewhat unpredictable.


Now, I am heading for the following: * Increase the stability of the comparison1 * Implement a first one-way updater * Wrap the thing up so fetching, comparing and updating will become one monolithic sync process * Write an iSync plugin

(This last point should be the easiest, as PyObjC can now be used to program NSBundles in Python, as seen [here][]. ;) (Hat tip: [John Gruber][])

Some other tidbits are going along with this as well: * Increase the stability and usefulness of the XSLT that transforms the Exchange data to iCalendar * Bring meeting attendee info into the iCS if possible * Recur to less file-based transactions (i.e., less data-dumps and more advanced uses of stuff like LibXML2’s Python bindings etc.) * Lure our Sysadmins to install Exchange 2003 ASAP. * Become better in Python programming :) * Set-up some project space with a constant URL so people can find this – if they want :)


RationaleYou might ask yourself the question what the rationale of this project is? I’ll admit, I’m only doing this to get /.ed once in my life. :) But before you go and call the dot to slash me, bear in mind that this project is not yet finished – some more time is needed to get something that’s worth a /. :)#

(Actually, getting Exchange on my Mac desktop would be great, too … )



  1. That is, better understand the [VObject][] architecture :)[elsewhere]: /2004/11/20/more-on-exchange-os-x/ “More on Exchange & OS X”[VObject]: http://vobject.skyhouseconsulting.com/ “VObject Project Home” [Jon]: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/12/09.html#a1130 “Jon Udell on CalDAV”[here]: http://www.pycs.net/bbum/2004/12/10/ “PyObjC, py2app, and bundle”[John Gruber]: http://daringfireball.net “John Gruber”[e2i]: http://mycvs.org/wp/wp-content/e2i-0.1.tgz “Exchange2iCal” ↩︎

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