Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sync heck: CalDAV vs Exchange Server - a Google Apple review

Two years after writing "Synchronization is Hell" I'm pleased to report it's been only a bit heckish of late for my iPhone and our family Calendar.

Three months ago I switched my iPhone sync to
  • CalDAV to multiple Google Calendars, including my wife's family calendar, my personal calendar, and various school and sport and social calendars all shared via Google. (iCal also subscribes to these. It's useful when I want to see the most data, but it's not essential.)
  • MobileMe for Personal Contacts. MobileMe manages Contacts sync for me across multiple OS X machines.
  • Microsoft's "Exchange" (ActiveSync) for my corporate Contacts, Calendar and email.
  • Gmail for my personal mail.
Yes, it's rather complicated. Life would be easier if the iPhone could handle multiple ActiveSync accounts - then I could also sync to Google using ActiveSync. I lost access to my Google Contacts when I switched my single iPhone ActiveSync client to the corporate server. I think I'm now ready to retry Spanning Sync, which I gave up on about a year ago and take another stab and "Project Contacts".

Despite the Contacts loss and some quirks, it's been a miracle to finally have work and personal and other calendars all in one place. I have a fairly full and complicated life, and being able to coordinate calendars this way has been genuine progress.

There are a few limitations with this I never see mentioned elsewhere -- so here's the exclusive list:
  1. On my iPhone I can't move an appointment between calendars after I've created it
  2. Exception handling is quirky. I can set an appointment in Google to workweek only, but it may not stay that way on my iPhone.
  3. I can't invite people to appointments created on the iPhone CalDAV account, even though Google supports invitations. I can do invites with the ActiveSync account.
See also:

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