iCalendar Gotchas

Another development in progress here on the CETIS site is a calendaring and event-registration system. We’ve built a database – and various members of staff have provided some events to put in it… For our next trick we need to get the data out again.

The main player in interchange formats for calendaring is the iCalendar spec (aka rfc2445. The format neatly imports into iCal on the mac or Google Calendar or most other modern calendaring systems…

HOWEVER when cranking the information from the database into iCalendar format I came across several important gotchas which I may otherwise not have noticed.

1) The calendars must be encoded as LATIN 1 with Windows-style CR,LF line breaks. Not doing this causes iCal to barf on the file.
2) You need to watch out for carriage returns generally. For example an event description spread over several lines can cause problems – or missing one out between fields for that matter.

With these issues more-or-less sorted we now have a (hopefully) working cetis-events ical feed.

http://jisc.cetis.org.uk/events/detail.php?format=ical

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