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Thread: Remote .ics, check! Has anyone thought about remote VCards/.vcf?

  1. #1
    batfastad is offline Elite Member
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    Talking Remote .ics, check! Has anyone thought about remote VCards/.vcf?

    Hi everyone

    I've been following Zimbra for the past few years but I decided to stick with Exchange until our server could take no more. That day is coming close and I'll be ordering new hardware for Zimbra in the next couple of months.
    We're only a small business (10 users UK, 3 US remote users) but we'll be going for the NE edition with Zimbra mobile.
    Always want to make sure we get all the bells & whistles!
    I also wanted Zimbra to mature a bit more. I look down pm.zimbra and there seem to be many issues that are deal breakers for us. It looks like ZCS 5.5 will solve most of those though.

    Enough of the background... I had a revelation today!

    So calendar synchronisation seems to have taken off big style in the past couple of years, even though I thought .ics files had existed for a long time.
    Shared/remote calendering is one of the reasons I want us to ditch Exchange/Outlook. Synching everyone's calendars against a bunch of .ics files which get generated by PHP using data from our MySQL databases. (I've actually set Apache to parse .ics files as PHP)

    Shared production schedules, trade show dates etc, they all get updated by users on our intranet DB system. And using Zimbra to view all that info will be awesome!

    Then that got me thinking, you can store many many contacts in .vcf/VCard files. My phone does entire contacts backups in that format.
    So how about a feature that can let you add a "New Address Book" which is linked to a remote .vcf file?
    It could work almost exactly like the way you add a new calendar in Zimbra... tick the box for a remote .vcf file and enter the URL.

    We could then have Zimbra shared address books which are basically dynamic distrubution lists - updated by PHP from various MySQL queries of our intranet DB.

    Is that cool or what?!
    Or am I being a dumbass and have missed something really obvious?

    Security is of course a concern. People's personal info being pulled around in plain text .vcf files possibly over the internet.
    However our intranet DB is accessed using SSL only, and Zimbra will be accessible only over SSL as well. So the .vcf files that Zimbra pulls in will be coming over SSL only.

    Comments/ideas?

    Thanks, Ben

  2. #2
    dkarp is offline Zimbra Employee
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    Default

    iCal VEVENTs (etc) have a guaranteed unique UID and sequence number that we can use to identify which existing Zimbra appointment (etc) it corresponds to so that we can decide if we need to update it or not.

    Without this, you could still do a .vcf import. (We already allow you to import .vcf files...) But updates become a lot more difficult.
    Bugzilla - Wiki - Downloads - Before posting... Search!

  3. #3
    batfastad is offline Elite Member
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    Default

    Ah yes very true, hadn't thought about that.
    That's a shame there's no unique ID in the VCard spec.

    Still, I think it would be cool if Zimbra emptied that whole Address List and refreshed with the .vcf data. That would still be killer IMO!

    Obviously you'd want to keep an eye on the final size of the generated .vcf files. With all contact details entered, it could be a pretty big .vcf file to import which wouldn't be very efficient.

    Some of our remote iCal files are already nearing 300KB

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