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Issue 3.1


iCal Import/Export 0.5

Issue: 3.1 (September/October 2004)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,179
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 3104
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By now, every Apple developer has heard of Apple's digital hub strategy; tying in a person's complete life on his or her Macintosh. This marketing campaign has achieved its most recent apex with the release of iLife '04. The digital hub strategy is not just limited to the applications Apple charges for. In fact, the complete line of applications in the digital hub strategy includes Address Book, iCal, and Mail. The majority of the digital hub applications have been controllable through REALbasic for years. For instance, REALbasic has always been able to communicate with Internet mail servers. The advent of REALbasic 5.5 achieved Address Book interoperability. The only item REAL Software missed the mark on was iCal integration. The new iCal Import/Export class from Corey Redlien fixes this tragic flaw.

The iCal Import/Export class does precisely what its name implies. It converts data into the vCalendar format and can render vCalendar format into human readable information. The vCalendar format is a standard, which iCal uses to store data. One can even create a complete calendar using iCal Import/Export and have iCal display the calendar's contents.

The joy of using iCal Import/Export is the ability to learn the vCalendar format. The class includes a log window in which every interaction with the vCalendar format is transcribed. This aids greatly in debugging as well as becoming fluent with the new code being created. In addition, the author of the class commented some -- not all -- of his code, something many programmers forget.

Without realizing it, Redlien included some pieces of code that will save programmers lots of time. In most cases, these snippets can be used separately from a project dealing with the vCalendar format. One of these snippets is an EditField that will only accept properly formatted dates or times. Many programmers need this type of code and can now borrow it from the iCal Import/Export class. Also included is an example of how to integrate with Address Book in REALbasic 5.5.

As of press time, this class relies on Einhugur's UtilsLib plugin for localization information such as time zones. Redlien notes that the same can be achieved through declares but has not bothered to add them in yet. Overall, the example project sports a somewhat unfinished look and functionality. For example, the programmer still needs to add support for "To Do" lists. Potential users of iCal Import/Export should send complaints to the author as he has labeled the current version 0.5 and it is open source.

However, the version number itself is a great reason to become interested in the class. According to the programmer, iCal Import/Export is "in no way complete...dirty...[and] ugly." If it seems that way to the author, this phenomenal class will only get better as it nears a 1.0 release. REALbasic programmers should be holding their breath in eager anticipation of a finished product.

End of article.