TechNet iCalendar Reminders…

The other evening, I discovered that my esteemed colleague, Spencer Harbar, will be presenting a MSDN webcast on the topic of “SharePoint Products and Technologies for Internet Site Development: Content Deployment”.  Upon registering, I realized that I didn’t have Outlook setup to connect to my work e-mail (rather it’s set up for my test servers on the home network) so there wasn’t an easy way to add the iCalendar reminder to my Outlook calendar that I use for work that alerts me on my BlackBerry.

Perhaps it would work on my Google Apps domain that I have setup for personal e-mail, right?  Unfortunately the iCalendar file (ics format) was not readable by the Google Calendar on my first attempt.  Doing a little Googling, I came across several articles that stated compatibility issues between Microsoft iCalendar reminders and other non-Microsoft iCalendar systems.

So that led me to download the iCalendar object, open it in Outlook and then save it to yet another iCalendar object, slightly reformatted which then apparently could be imported into my Google Calendar.  “Huh?”

Reading through the IETF RFC 2445, I pondered whether or not Microsoft is following the proper format to provide a well formed iCalendar object.  From the looks of it they are, however I’m perplexed as to why the Google Calendar is incapable of importing the object without having it reformatted through Outlook first.  Is it due to the fact that it’s looking for the PRODID field which looks to be missing?

The initial iCalendar reminder form Microsoft:

BEGIN:vCalendar
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:PUBLISH
BEGIN:vEvent
DTSTART:20090127T173000Z
DTEND:20090127T183000Z
UID:1032396521
DTSTAMP:20090104T205527Z
DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We w
ould like to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast:
How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying Share
Point Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). nnPlease revi
ew the information below.nnEvent Code: 1032396521nEvent Name:
TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, an
d Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)
nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific
Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-
08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the followin
g link for more information regarding this Event https://msevents
.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4. We look forwa
rd to seeing you at the Event!
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: De
signing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publish
ing Portals (Level 300)
PRIORITY:3
BEGIN:vAlarm
TRIGGER:P0DT0H15M
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:Reminder
END:vAlarm
END:vEvent
END:vCalendar

What I received upon exporting from Microsoft Outlook 2007:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 12.0 MIMEDIR//EN
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:PUBLISH
X-MS-OLK-FORCEINSPECTOROPEN:TRUE
BEGIN:VEVENT
CLASS:PUBLIC
CREATED:20090104T205909Z
DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We would like
    to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does
    IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishi
    ng Portals (Level 300). nnPlease review the information below.nnEvent
    Code: 1032396521nEvent Name: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Desi
    gning, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Porta
    ls (Level 300)nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pac
    ific Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-08:0
    0) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the following link for mo
    re information regarding this Event https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.a
    spx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!
DTEND:20090127T183000Z
DTSTAMP:20090104T205527Z
DTSTART:20090127T173000Z
LAST-MODIFIED:20090104T205909Z
PRIORITY:1
SEQUENCE:0
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing,
    Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Leve
    l 300)
TRANSP:OPAQUE
UID:1032396521
X-ALT-DESC;FMTTYPE=text/html:<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//E
    N">n<HTML>n<HEAD>n<META NAME="Generator" CONTENT="MS Exchange Server ve
    rsion 08.00.0681.000">n<TITLE></TITLE>n</HEAD>n<BODY>n<!-- Converted f
    rom text/plain format -->nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>Thank you for your interest i
    n Microsoft Events. We would like to remind you of the following event: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). </FONT></P>nn<
    P><FONT SIZE=2>Please review the information below.</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FO
    NT SIZE=2>Event Code: 1032396521</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Event Name: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)</FONT></P>nn<P>
    <FONT SIZE=2>Start Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Start Time:
    9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SI
    ZE=2>End Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>End Time: 10:30 AM (GM
    T-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>P
    lease click on the following link for more information regarding this Even
    t <A HREF="https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&
    t=4">https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4</A
    >. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!</FONT></P>nn</BODY>n</HT
    ML>
X-MICROSOFT-CDO-BUSYSTATUS:BUSY
X-MICROSOFT-CDO-IMPORTANCE:2
BEGIN:VALARM
TRIGGER:-PT15M
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:Reminder
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

Is it just me or is there some variance between the two iCalendar objects?  The Google iCalendar specification for formatting of an iCalendar object merely requires:

BEGIN: VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:< [enter ID information here] >
(other header information goes here)
BEGIN:VEVENT
(event details for individual event)
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
(event details for individual event)
END:VEVENT
END: VCALENDAR

Any thoughts on why the variance of the objects would cause an issue for the first ICS to not be importable, but the second could be after being processed by Outlook 2007?

At a minimum, remember to signup for the event to hear Spence on SharePoint 🙂

MSDN Webcast ICS
Outlook 2007 MSDN Webcast iCalendar ICS file

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