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Thread: Leopard iCal and ZCS iSync connector, duplicate events

  1. #1
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    Default Leopard iCal and ZCS iSync connector, duplicate events

    If a user creates a calendar event and invites another person within the company (within Zimbra), the message goes out via e-mail inviting him/her. Even if iCal is not set to automatically accept invitations, the event appears in his/her calendar automatically (probably through the iSync services)...but there is no ability to accept/decline.

    If he/she double-clicks the .ics attachment from the message, a notification shows up in iCal (with option to accept/decline), but then iSync services (or whatever) has already populated the calendar with that entry (ARGH!). So, if the user accepts or declines that notification, he/she now has two duplicate calendar entries.

    If he/she then attempts to resolve the duplicates and nukes the .ics generated entry, the user then has no ability to delete and not notify the meeting originator, which then confuses that user as to whether the recipient actually declined or accepted the meeting.

    Is there a way to use the iSync services AND get the ability to accept/decline meetings AND not generate these duplications? I think we're having a logic puzzle here and we're losing.

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    Default Specs

    BTW, this is ZCS 5.0.2, not 4.x.

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    An answer to that would be most helpfull here too!

    -Marc

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    Default Research

    Here are the full results of my testing. I'm guessing that this is functioning as designed. The short answer is that users may either respond to invitations through the web portal or through iCal in Leopard by toggling "my status" and picking Accept/Decline/Tentative and clicking "Reply," but they should not use the .ics attachments that come into Apple Mail from Zimbra, because those .ics files create duplicate events in the calendar AND usually create them on the wrong calendar in iCal anyway. (And even if they do get inserted on the correct [Zimbra] calendar, they never reconcile.)

    [prattle follows]

    [Please note that in the discussion below, "Casper" is a test user, and "John" is a real user. We are playing the role of Casper as we use the connector.]

    This is all using Leopard 10.5.2 and the connector from Zimbra 5.0.2.

    Here is what I did:

    - Configure the Zimbra connector to sync only Casper's "Calendar" calendar, which Zimbra created. Don't sync contacts. (Doesn't matter; I just didn't because I didn't want my address book changed.)

    - Use iCal, but do not add Casper's account to Apple Mail. (Just use the web portal to read Zimbra mail.)

    - Add an event (no invitees) to Casper's calendar.

    - Event syncs with iCal; iCal reflects the event. Zimbra and iCal agree. (Whee.)

    - Delete the event from either iCal or Zimbra; each reflects the deletion eventually, depending on the connector sync frequency settings (on the Sync tab). (Again, whee.)

    - Create an event from John's account, and invite Casper. Doesn't matter if you do it directly or use the "Find Attendees" tab.

    - Casper receives an e-mail notification of an event. He can (in the Zimbra web portal) accept/decline/mark tentative at the top of the preview pane. If no action is taken on that e-mail notification, the event goes into his calendar automatically. The event automatically syncs to iCal (of course).

    - Casper can also respond to the event accept/decline/tentative by double-clicking the event in iCal and toggling his status.

    Either way will relay the acceptance/declination/tentative back to the originator. If done through iCal, it sends an e-mail (using Apple Mail) in the background to convey the status back to the originator.

    (Note that if the main mail account set-up in Apple Mail is not the Zimbra mail account, then iCal will grab the first mail account it finds, send the status reply from the wrong account, and then the originator will receive a status note--from the wrong e-mail--and the status of the event will not update from "Needs Action.)

    Casper will list on the originator's calendar event (when he/she holds the mouse over it) as "Needs Action" until he accepts, declines, or says "maybe."

    IF CASPER WANTS TO RESPOND TO THE INVITE THROUGH iCAL then the "my status" dropdown MUST be toggled, even if it just means popping it and re-selecting "Accept." Doing so changes the button that normally says "Done" to "Reply," which triggers the invite reponse.

    Otherwise, if the user just double-clicks the event, eyeballs it, and says "Done," no response is ever sent, even if "Accept" is what's showing for "my status."

    Intriguingly, if responded to through iCal, even though the originator is e-mailed AND the event shows as "accepted/declined/tentative" in Casper's calendar, it will not change the "Needs Action" status in the originator's calendar. This would seem to be a bug on Zimbra's part, though it's likely due to a full sync not happening quickly (even with synching set to 1 min).

    Acknowledging the invite through the web portal causes everything to work normally, and the "Needs Action" status is then correct.

    -- Cancellation of the event by the originator removes it from Casper's calendar and leaves an e-mail noting the cancellation.

    -- Notifications in iCal (the small pane to the lower left) don't work unless people double-click the .ics attachments or Mail is set to auto-accept invitations, and you DON'T want to do that--otherwise it duplicates the event that already got synched through the Zimbra connector. Instead, they just have to spot the new event that already got put in their calendar, and toggle Accept/Decline/Tentative and click Reply if they want to respond to the event through iCal. (Remember, responding through iCal does not change the "Needs Action" status of the calendar entry on the originator's calendar, although it does send them an e-mail noting your accept/decline/tentative choice.)

    -- Marking an event tentative through the web portal makes it "ghostly" in Casper's calendar and correctly notes that it was marked as "tentative" in John's calendar AND it will reflect the correct response ("Tentative") in iCal. However, tentative events and new events are hard to spot in iCal, because they look like everything else unless you double-click them to check their status.

    -- Responding to an invite through the web portal automatically removes the e-mail with the "Accept / Decline / Tentative" buttons after a response is picked. This means (since they IMAP to Zimbra through Mail) that the invitation message is also gone out of Mail.

    -- Declining an event REMOVES it from iCal but leaves a very faint image of it on the web-portal calendar (showing it as status: declined) and also properly marks the event as declined on the originator's calendar. (Eventually, the wispy image of the declined event disappears altogether.)

    -- Using the .ics attachment from Mail opens a notification in iCal which allows Casper to respond Accept / Decline / Tentative. Responding to the notification creates the proper response to the originator, BUT it dupes the event in iCal (usually placing it on the wrong calendar anyhow--if Casper has the usual "Home" and "Work" calendars in iCal, then iCal will usually stick it in "Home."). If moved to the correct calendar, it then dupes the event to Zimbra (showing two events in the web portal version of the calendar). It never is properly reconciled.

    CONCLUSION:

    -- When responding to invites, Leopard users with the Zimbra connector need to either:
    * use the web portal to view the invite e-mail and choose "Accept / Tentative / Decline" from the button bar just above the message preview, or
    * if they must use iCal, double-click the event when it appears in their calendar, toggle the "my status" dropdown, and click the "Reply" button

    -- Don't use the .ics files attached to the notification messages. Disregard them. Use one of the two above options to reply to an invitation. The .ics files cause problems and do not self-reconcile when they create duplications.

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    Wow, that pretty tedious to test and document.

    It shows that ZCS is not quite ready for transparent use of Mail and iCal on Macs. I'm not ready to try and explain all this to the boss.
    Do you plan to test using CalDAV instead of the iSync connector? At some point I'll need to have the free/busy functionnality in iCal.

    Thanks for your efforts! I hope we'll see some improvements soon.

    -Marc
    Last edited by mgibeault; 04-11-2008 at 10:56 AM.

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    Still no comments on this from Zimbra?
    It seems to be so complex to make it work and still I can't begin to guess what is a bug and what is a configuration error on my part, or what is user error.
    Is there a document somewhere that explains how to configure Zimbra / iSync / Mail / iCal / Contacts on Leopard? Can free/busy information be available? How about tasks? Can we access the GAL via LDAP or else? Cn we access shared contacts?
    Zimbra is advertised to work on Leopard but the only thing it can do (more or less) reliably is send and receive mail...

    -Marc Gibeault

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    nothing new since 2008 form what I can tell. Open standards are the biggest issue for me on a Mac. How does Card Dav work? Because the iSync connector does NOT as far as I can tell.

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