Calendar Server

Introduction

The Biology Department manages a calendar server (using Davical software) for shared calendaring that supports CalDAV. There are a variety of calendar applications that will interoperate with it.

You can put a calendar (or calendars) here and then enable other users to read or write in those calendars. Groups may find this useful for coordinating, being able to see what each are doing, and scheduling events. Currently, there isn't a convenient way to manage permissions by group, but you can easily give permissions to individuals.

The calendar uses your Biology Department account (ie LDAP authentication) and a calendar will be created for you automatically when you log in the first time. Your calendar is private unless you explicitly share it with people.

You can create additional calendars and configure sharing through the web interface. Note that there is no web-version of the calendar: the only way to see your calendar is using a calendar client as referenced above. The web interface is only for (1) creating more "collections" (ie calendars or addressbooks) and (2) granting access to your calendar: you can give any other account that exists in the system the right to read or modify your calendar. Note that you can't give permissions to someone until they have logged into the system (either with a calendar app or via the web interface): once they do, they'll be available in the list of users you can give permissions to.

You can grant read or write access to other users in the web interface on a global or a per-calendar basis. You can also create time-limited tickets. Unless you grant global access (either read or read/write) the users will not show up in the Delegation tab of iCal (see below).

Below are some hints for setting it up with iCal, the iPhone, and Lightning.

Configuring iCal

Unfortunately, the interface has evolved over time, so each version of the MacOS has a slightly different version for configuring CalDAV settings, but they're all similar.

Lion (10.7)

Under "Preferences", go to the "Accounts" tab, and (using the "+" at the bottom) add an account. Select "CalDAV" under "Account Type", enter your username & password, and set "Server Address" to "calendar.bio.umass.edu".

Under "Delegation", if people have given your account read or write privileges to their calendars, you can check boxes to have their calendars displayed. The "Edit…" button, however, does not currently work.

You can also manually "subscribe" to calendars by different users (if they've given you read access) using a URL like the one described below for lightning. This is, in some ways, more convenient than using the Delegation tab, as you can control the color of their calendar.

Configuring iPhone

Under "Settings" and "Mail, Contacts, Calendars", you can "Add Account" and select "Other" at the bottom of the list of account types. Choose "Add CalDAV Account" on the next screen, put "calendar.bio.umass.edu" for the server, and enter your username and password. It should automatically begin to show you all of your calendars.

Configuring Lightning

Thunderbird has an add-on called Lightning that supports CalDAV. If you select Add-ons under the Tools menu, you can find it in the available add-ons and install it for free.

Unlike iCal or the iPhone, it doesn't know how to configure itself, so you have to add the calendars manually. To add a calendar, you need to right-click in the "Calendar" region of the Calendars tab, select New Calendar, select "On the network", Format "CalDAV", and for Location enter a URL where "username" is replaced with your username:

  https://calendar.bio.umass.edu/caldav.php/username/calendar

If someone has given you permission to read or write their calendar, you can also add their calendars in the same way.

Configuring Android

Android phones and tablets do not natively support CalDAV (like iPhones and iPads do), but there is a CalDAV Sync client which works quite well. It isn't free, but is inexpensive (currently costs <$3). It is beta software, but has worked well for me.

Once installed, you can go to the Accounts tab in the main Android Settings and add an Account of type "CalDAV". The server should be set to "calendar.bio.umass.edu", check the box for "Use SSL", and enter your username and password. Once you've connected, you can choose which calendars to display.