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Thread: Zimbra/iCal/iPhone...ugh.

  1. #1
    itmike is offline Active Member
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    Default Zimbra/iCal/iPhone...ugh.

    OK, I poked around but didn't see anything that looks quite the same.

    My company's CEO has been using the iCal connector on OSX10.5 for some time without a hitch, but starting in the past few weeks, there have been issues. He's using the iCal connector version 5.0.9. He used to have no difficulty syncing his iCal, Zimbra Calendar, and iPhone, but now we have two symptoms:

    1) Every time a sync occurs, he gets the same message about having to update 1100 (or whatever) entries in his calendar. The sync then appears to work, but if run again a minute later, it will throw the message about having to make the same 1100 updates.

    2) Data now appears to be syncing in only one direction--from Zimbra folders to iCal. Data entered on his phone does not get replicated to Zimbra (or apparently even his iCal, although it may be that iCal is being updated but is then overwritten by the Zimbra data, I'm not sure).

    When the problem first occurred, I uninstalled the iCal connector, reinstalled, and reset the account sync data. At first I thought that corrected the problem of the constant "1100 changes" message, but the user has reported that continues to happen.

    I realize this is a bit light on details, but that's about what I've got to work with. I haven't been able to discover settings for preferences or controls for the sync'ing behavior other than the really basic setup info in System Preferences. Also, unfortunately, I don't currently have access to the system that is experiencing this problem--it's the CEO and he's traveling.

    A few general questions:

    1) The control for conflict resolution--is that a part of iCal, iSync, the iPhone itself, or what? What am I supposed to be looking for?

    2) Anyone who has an iCal/Zimbra/iPhone setup working? What order did you set everything up in? How many things are "installed" and what information did you have the chance to provide?

    Since I don't have the machine, any general tips or avenues to investigate would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    ewilen's Avatar
    ewilen is offline Moderator
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    One thing I would look into is using CalDav instead of iSync to sync iCal with the server.

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    itmike is offline Active Member
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    Thanks, ewilen.

    OK, so sure enough, after removing the iSync connector, I was able to get things working. Very strange, though.

    The user's description of events is:

    2 months ago, the system was working great with the iSync connector. The user had one set of calendars in iCal that was synced with Zimbra AND his iPhone. No problems.

    A few weeks ago (believed to be last week of December) he started having some problems. When I first looked at this, he had two sets of Calendars in iCal that looked virtually identical, one called Tom Tomson and the other one called ttomson@mycompany.com. Lots of duplicated entries. (*Fake names.)

    Does anyone know what changed? Or more importantly--HOW it got changed? Did Apple push a new iCal? We have not upgraded Zimbra, and the user doesn't think he made any changes on his system, yet it seems like the iSync account somehow started working through CalDAV.

    I'm kinda thinking this might have been a result of an iCal upgrade. Does that sound right?

    (I really love Macs and OSX, but that automatic software update is something I wish everyone would shut off.)

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    ewilen's Avatar
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    I suppose it's possible there was some update to iCal that was pushed in an Apple update, but I don't remember one, personally.

    Basically CalDav support in iCal appeared with 10.5. If you have the iSync connector installed, I believe you can specify in the System Preferences whether you want it to set up CalDAV for you and/or whether you want it to sync the old fashioned way. (I think you can also control what it syncs; I don't have an installation in front of me to check.)

    I'm guessing that somehow, whereas you used to have it set to just use iSync, somehow the setting got turned on that enables CalDAV. How could this happen? I've seen similar things in other software (settings mysteriously flipping on/off) and I'd ascribe it to some mix of errant user clicks and software bugs. I'm agnostic on the proportions other than to say that errant user clicks are > 0%.

    BTW, you're welcome!

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    itmike is offline Active Member
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    Aw, nuts. I spoke/posted too soon.

    OK, I've got Zimbra and iCal all happy, yes. But when we sync the iPhone, we get a second "local-only" Calendar in iCal that doesn't sync with anything else.

    Where do I specify what folder syncs with which?
    Is there no way to tell iCal to sync the Zimbra folders with the iPhone directly?

    It appears to me that the only setting specifies which Calendars are sync'ed (from iTunes, bah), but it doesn't seem to offer a way to set up the relationship.

    I keep feeling like something serious is missing from this equation, but I'm not clear whether it's the software or myself. It seems too simple to do what I want it to do.

    (Too many years of Windows programs asking me if I wanted to change the installation directory, maybe.)

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    ewilen's Avatar
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    If you have a Zimbra mobile license, that would be the way to go, by far. Essentially you set the iPhone up to see Zimbra as an Exchange server.

    If not, I'm afraid I don't have any experience with that setup.

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    stiller is offline Partner (VAR/HSP)
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    Quote Originally Posted by itmike View Post
    Aw, nuts. I spoke/posted too soon.
    OK, I've got Zimbra and iCal all happy, yes. But when we sync the iPhone, we get a second "local-only" Calendar in iCal that doesn't sync with anything else.
    As far as I know, iCal will only sync new caldav calenders through caldav, not your existing local ones. The trick I used, was to export the local calenders you would like to sync to a file and then import this file to one of your newly created caldav calenders. It's a bit of a workaround, but it works well. iTunes should no longer sync calenders to the iPhone after activesync has been enabled for calenders on the iPhone, to prevent cycles. So it's iCal <-> Zimbra <-> iPhone. I have this setup and it works beautifully.

    Here's hoping that a future iCal release will let me copy or migrate calenders to caldav more easily and reflect changes to caldav in real-time. I still need to refresh iCal while changes are pushed to my iPhone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewilen View Post
    If you have a Zimbra mobile license, that would be the way to go, by far. Essentially you set the iPhone up to see Zimbra as an Exchange server.

    If not, I'm afraid I don't have any experience with that setup.
    It works a dream apart from shared calendars.

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    ewilen's Avatar
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    I haven't personally tested but if you need iPhone access to shared calendars, perhaps one of the web interfaces (standard AJAX/non-AJAX/mobile) will work.

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    ewilen's Avatar
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    Just came across this: RemoteCalendar - ?a CalDAV iPhone Client

    It is a CalDAV app (it says iPhone client but presumably will also work on iPod touch). Support for Zimbra is touted, although general functionality/compatibility is still developing. Current price is $6.99, so if you only need to support a few people on iPhone and you don't already have Zimbra Mobile, it's probably worth checking out.

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