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Thread: sync calendar and contacts for backup

  1. #1
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    Default sync calendar and contacts for backup

    i use offlineimap to sync my zimbra imap to my local backup. not only does this give me a complete backup of my email in one folder, but it also allows me to have offline access to email should i be wifi-less.

    this was possible because there are many imap syncing tools out there to choose from. however, i don't see how i can do the same for my calendar and contacts.

    i could do an export of my .ics files and all my contacts manually in the zimbra interface, but that would not be automated.

    i believe there are REST calls i could make for my calendar and contacts, but this is not syncing, and would require me to re-downloading what i already have each night.

    has anyone tried to solve this problem? seeing as how calendar is running off of caldav and the contacts are running off of carddav i am surprised i wasn't able to find a syncing tool myself.

    i'ld think that if i can sync to an .ics file and sync my contacts to a csv file or vcards, that would make it possible for me to import my stuff back into zimbra or any other standards compliant PIM manager in the future.

    anyhow, not that big of a deal, but just in case someone on here has been on this path before...

  2. #2
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    Why not just use a CalDAV and CardDAV client? (And while you're at it, why use offlineimap instead of an IMAP client? I'm genuinely curious; I've looked the offlineimap page and the only rationale I can think of is that you might hate GUI interfaces.)

    CardDAV Clients

    See also Zindus (I believe it doesn't use CardDAV, probably more like the iSync connector that uses SOAP.)

    CalDAV Clients
    CalDAV Clients - DAViCal Wiki

  3. #3
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    ewilen,

    i'm looking for a way to keep my data portable and backed up at the same time. offlineimap allows me to sync all of zimbra to a folder that is structured according to the maildir protocol.

    this gives me a few things

    1) offline access to my imap
    2) maildir is portable from one imap server to another, i can switch between gmail, zimbra, or others easily using offlineimap (or imapsync)
    3) complete backup of my imap where i can store it for safe keeping

    i have and use various caldav clients, but that just sync from zimbra caldav to their own private storage format. the analogy to maildir here is an ics file. for carddav, i assume what i want here is all the individual vcard files in my address book.

    a command line tool allows me to automate this process as well. so nightly i run offline imap, and i get a maildir folder that gives me exactly what i need. if i found another program to sync my caldav to an .ics file, i could move around my calendar from zimbra to gmail to other caldav servers pretty easily.

    so in the end, i'm not looking for a client program that allows me to USE calendar/address book, but for a program that sync/exports my data in a format that is standardized and portable in a way that can be automated.

    i in fact use many clients as is (mutt, zimbra web, thunderbird), just pondering on the forums in case someone has tried to answer the question i am posing myself.

    thanks anyhow

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    Hi, eleith. Thanks for the explanation. It's not a feature I need right now but it's good to know the tool exists (and now, why it exists). Good luck in your search.

  5. #5
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    I'm searching for something similar, so if you find anything, I'd love to hear about it. What I'm looking for is a CalDAV to CalDAV sync program (serving the same space as imapsync does for IMAP) and a CardDAV to CardDAV sync. The specific task I'm trying to accomplish is keeping a user on two distinct Zimbra installs in sync.

  6. #6
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    tslosek,

    that is a unique use case, thanks for posting.

    there are python tools that can read vobject, carddav and caldav but they are pretty infant. i think a sync program can be written on top of them if they could mature a bit more.

    on macosforge there is a calendar server project that you can use to run your own caldav/carddav server. i saw some people can run it on linux as it is python based, but it is unclear to me right now if those can be used to produce syncs copies from server to server...

  7. #7
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    eleith,

    Part of my reason for wanting to go Zimbra to Zimbra is that one thing I've noticed throughout my experience with address book/contact lists over the years is that NO two systems support the same fields. At least as long as the two Zimbra installs are at the SAME version there is a chance of the sync being completely lossless.

    I've been poking around with Cal:AV from cpan for perl, but it seems to be oriented toward .ics files, which may mean that it doesn't, f.e. allow access to the ctag/etag to actually know when changes have been made.

  8. #8
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    eleith,

    I think I've found a tool that comes quite close to your original query, but doesn't match my need.

    On ubuntu 10.4 LTS it is called 'sitecopy', and when set up properly, I've been able to get it to download a copy of both my Calendar and Contacts folders to .ics and .vcf files. It has some issue I don't quite understand with ZCS 5, but so far it works fine for ZCS 6. It also does a full download each time not a sync of only changes made - for my purpose this is a problem, but for once a day, maybe not such a big deal.

    I think this is the upstream: sitecopy

  9. #9
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    tslosek,

    awesome, i'll start playing with it now. while a sync would be nice, you are right, a full download every now and then will get me most of the way there.

    i appreciate you posting back on this thread.

  10. #10
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    i got sitecopy to work synchronizing zimbra's calend and contacts.

    the output is a large number of ics files (one for every event) and a large number of vcf files (one for every contact). it doesn't seem to be synchronizing as it downloads everything everytime i run it, but i feel like maybe with the right flags, i can get it to actually synchronize.

    the vcf files seem portable as there might be a way to merge them all into one file and import them back into zimbra or some other address book that supports them.

    their is definitely an ics merge tool out there as well that will merge all the ics files into one, so there seems like a clear path to importing those as well.

    overall, i think sitecopy comes pretty close to what i need. i am not ready to run it nightly just yet, but i think to make snapshots every know and then of my data, it comes pretty close.

    in case anyone wants to know, here is the config file you need to set up for your zimbra server if you want to use sitecopy

    Code:
    site some-name
       port 443
       server server-name.com
       protocol http
       http secure
       username yourusername
       #password or sitecopy can prompt you
       local /where/you/want/to/store/copies
       remote /dav/yourusername/name-of-share
    'name-of-share' is the name of your address book or the name of your calendars. if you use the default zimbra ones, they are just 'Calendar' and 'Contacts'

    you can include multiple blocks of the above config so you can sync multiple calendars/addressbooks in one go.

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