Dissecting the vCalendar File
The vCalendar format utilizes data normally stored within a calendaring and scheduling application, facilitating the cross platform exchange of information about items such as events and to-do's. An event is a calendaring and scheduling entity that represents a designated amount of time on a calendar. For example, it may be an activity, such as a two-hour project team meeting from 9am to 11am, on Tuesday, January 23rd. A to-do is a calendaring and scheduling entity that represents an action item or assignment.
vCalendar can be used to transport personal calendaring information between applications of your choice whether they are personal information managers, e-mail systems, or Web browsers. Once the information is on your system, you can share it with other vCalendar-enabled application with desktop interaction techniques such as the clipboard and drag-'n'-drop.
Let's take a look at the vCalendar file we created. As you can see, you can open it up in Notepad since it is a text file. Here's what it looks like:
PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 9.0 MIMEDIR//EN
DESCRIPTION;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:This is a Test Event.=0D=0AHere are i=
ts details=0D=0AThis event has been added from a vCalendar format file=0D=
=0Ausing a browser based web application.=0D=0A=0D=0ACool huh?=0D=0A
A vCalendar file is enclosed within the "BEGIN:VCALENDAR" and "END:VCALENDAR" tags. Within that, the actual event is enclosed within the "BEGIN:VEVENT" and "END:VEVENT" tags. The IMC Web site ( http://www.imc.org
) contains a full description of the vCalendar format.
The actual event is described using the following tags:
- DTSTART and DTEND denote the starting and ending date/times for the event. These tags use the format: YYYYMMDDThhmmssZ where YYYY = year, MM = month, DD = date, T = start of time character, hh = hours, mm = minutes, ss = seconds, Z = end of tag character. The entire tag uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to express the date/time of the event so remember to adjust your event times accordingly.
- LOCATION;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE indicates the location
- SUMMARY;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE indicates the subject
- DESCRIPTION;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE indicates the description
In addition, you can use other tags such as CATEGORIES and PRIORITY to add categories to the event or signify its priority. The vCalendar format documentation available at the IMC Web site can help you identify all the tags.