Lodahl's blog: Arrgh... problems with my calendar sync again

01 July 2007

Arrgh... problems with my calendar sync again

I'm using the Mozilla Lightning plug-in for Thunderbird for calendaring. This, together with Google calendar has been a very fine solution for me for a long time. Specially after I found a small sync application called GCALDaemon to sync my local calendar with Google.

Yesterday, I upgraded my Lightning plug-in to version 0.5 and at the same time I installed another plug-in called 'Provider for Google Calendar'. This plug-in should be the native Google sync application in the future. So far so good. Upgrade and install and restarted Thunderbird. I also removed the GCALDaemon from my computer.

This is where Arrgh comes in to the picture. It didn't work. I could see my calendar entries for about five seconds, and then the calendar view was empty. I tried to remove both the provider-plug-in and my calendar accounts from Lightning and then installed it again. The funny thing was, that I couldn't remove the Provider thing . I gave up after about an hour and started to plan how to reinstall GCALDaemon.

Then today, when I started my computer, I got some weird warnings from Thunderbird. I found that my calendar accounts had reappeared and I could actually see my appointments ....for about five seconds.

I tried to remove that Provider thing again. No luck. After restarting Thunderbird, Provider was still there. Double arrgh.

Then I came to remember, that Thunderbird has an irritating problem, that when you close the program, it actually continues to run as a hidden service. Yes, Thunderbird was still running, even after I closed it. Kill Thunderbird. Start Thunderbird again. The provider thing was removed. Yes !

I installed Provider again and now I could see all my accounts and appointments. I can create appointments in Lightning and they are synchronized to Google. Fantastic.

Morale: Remember to close the application and kill the process in the process window. Closing and starting is not always a complete restart. Maybe some of the Mozilla guys could look into this problem one day ? Okay, I know that I'm a part of the problem, because I'm running Microsoft Windows. Bare with me.

Anyway, I must say that the Mozilla guys has done a great job this time. Bidirectional sync works fine and the layout has got a huge improvement. And now i can print my weekly and monthly calendar and put it on the refrigerator door together with the rest of my family plans.

I have been working with calendaring in Lotus applications for about ten years now. And I know how difficult it can be to visualize a calendar on a computer screen. Do you remember Organizer ? One of the first applications, that tried to visualize a calendar by copying the design from a manual calendar. I still think that concept could win awards today.

But still, the hard thing is to keep the environment running. I remember one of my customers, who wanted to keep half the staff on Lotus Notes and the other half on Microsoft Exchange. Imagine the question: Can we get an overview of all employee calendars ? Will it be possible to invite to a meeting across the applications ?

Converters and integration ended up being a nightmare. When we solved one problem, another fire new problems occurred. That was about four years ago.

Open standards could solve the problem today. With iCal and WebDAW it would be quite easy to establish a common platform for both Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange calendars.

1 comment:

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