Bringing your Calendar to the Web, Part 1: Introduction

Lately, I’ve been exploring some new ideas on how to attract new users and maybe also developers. There are many people out there that prefer using a web-based calendar, which is fine, but I believe they can find added value by storing their data locally.

Surfing the web, you probably make a lot of contact with calendar related websites. The most obvious is a web-based calendar like Google or Yahoo Calendar. But there is actually a lot more. Have you ever used a short-term scheduling service like or ? Or to go one step further, you’ve surely visited a site that contains a massive amount of calendar data, for example local event sites like or

So what happens when you visit a scheduling site? You’ve probably been invited to participate by a friend. So you look at the site to see what times are suggested. Then you switch back to your calendar to see if you have time. Then you switch back to the site and after a few clicks you have set up your availability. But then you forgot to check for the next week. You see whats going on here? You are switching back and forwards, wasting a lot of time. If you could allow the site to access your calendar, you could see all the data in one place, no need for switching to your calendar application or website. The same goes for upcoming events. If you’re looking for a nice concert to go to, it would be swell to know if you are free on those days.

This post is the start of a series, I will be posting more about this topic soon. Next up I will be writing in more detail about the possible consumers of your calendar data. Please stay tuned, you are welcome to leave your feedback and ideas.


  1. If I would have Lightning available in Firefox, and Firefox could grab the event time from the website, I could do all this right in Firefox (or the Lightning installation inside it)…

  2. Robert, you can use feeds to do that :D

  3. re doodle, quite some time ago, Reto (i.e. Mr Doodle) hinted to me(actually said quite clearly), he would welcome to get Doodle connected to Calendar. I passed it to Kinger, but I don’t know if anything has come out of it. I reiterate the interest anyhow – feel free to use me as a go-between or contact him directly.

  4. My main concern is PRIVACY. Therefore, I always keep my calendar locally (or on a secure server which I really trust), and I will NEVER allow any commercial web site to access it. PRIVACY is also a reason why I am using Firefox and Thunderbird as separate programs.
    On the other hand, I would be much interested in temporarily importing in Lightning the events published by a web site, in order to import one or several foreign events to free slots in my private calendar.
    In order to perform this functionality, the web site displaying events only needs to provide a CalDAV URL, which I use inside Lightning to create a new network calendar. Lightning then displays both my private calendar and the foreign events of the network calendar. This permits me to select the adequate foreign events, which I copy and paste inside my private calendar. Finally, I delete the network calendar.
    In order to ease this process, I suggest that the Lightning team :
    – Explains to the webmaster of each major web site displaying events that each web page of the site should display a CalDAV URL,
    – Permits to drag and drop this URL to the left pane of the Lightning tab in order to create immediately a network calendar.
    For individual events, I suggest that the Lightning team :
    – Explains to the webmaster of each major web site displaying events that each displayed event should be a link to an ICS file,
    – Permits to drag and drop this event to any Lightning calendar in order to import it immediately inside this Lightning calendar.
    Best regards.

  5. Finally, someone is “thinking outside of the box!” Being able to create a Facebook event via Calendar integration with Facebook would be a promising concrete implementation of this meme. Tungle integration would also be nice (see the Lotus Notes tungle plugin) If messaging would also get their act together and think about social integration (read: ala Microsoft Social Connector or Threadsy) the whole Thunderbird ecosystem would have newfound relevancy.
    (IMHO), of course)

  6. Before embarking on major feature expansion, I might suggest that
    – the team concentrate on fixing bugs and
    – pursuing (along with other calendar software providers) a standard for representing Tasks/ToDo items

  7. Still waiting for the 1.0 release…

  8. Very interesting, being able to easely import events from the web to my calendar is a big thing. This is also the part (in my experience) where Thunderbird / lightning struggles today. E.g. when I visit webpages that have schedual information and offers me to download events as an ical file (.ics), lightning isn’t a program that I can choose to open ics files as default (it’s not listed, and it won’t work when selecting thunderbird either, at least not last time i tried).
    Ofcourse I can download the ics file, open thunderbird/lightning, browse for the ics file and import it. But then again, takes too long time. And that’s why I use google calendar today (no offense, I think lightning is great). I would easely switch back to TB/lightning if a more elegant sollution could be possible :)

  9. One thing I keep running into is attaching emails to calendar items and tasks. I can attach websites to them, I’d love to attach relevant emails, as well as tasks and calendar items, to calendar items and tasks. Does that make sense?