Support for iCalendar and vCard in Domino

Technote (FAQ)


Question

Are iCalendar and vCard supported in Domino and Notes?

Answer

What is iCalendar?

iCalendar is an Internet standard (RFC 2445) for deploying interoperable calendaring and scheduling services for the Internet. The iCalendar format is suitable as an exchange format between applications or systems. It allows users of different Internet mail applications to exchange calendar information. iCalendar information is formatted as a MIME content type: text/calendar. MIME enables the object to be exchanged using several transports, including SMTP, HTTP, a file system, desktop interactive protocols such as the clipboard or drag/drop interactions, point-to-point asynchronous communication, and wired-network transport.

Note: Per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCalendar : "vCalendar is an older standard exchange format for calendar data promulgated by the Internet Mail Consortium (IMC). iCalendar is a newer standard (RFC 2445) for calendar data, heavily based on vCalendar..... iCalendar is version 2.0 of the vCalendar specification."


What is vCard?

vCards are very similar to what are known as signature files. A vCard is an Electronic Business Card that gets attached to outgoing Internet messages.

A vCard is identified as a .vcf file attachment and contains information such as Name, Title, Phone, Fax, Address, City, State, Zip, email etc. When you receive a message with this type of attachment, you can import the contents into your personal Name and Address Book (personal NAB) as a Contact document. Through the attachment properties, you can choose to view, open, edit, save, or remove. Choose View and you will have the contents of the vcf file displayed in a Contact form from the personal NAB. You can then choose SAVE, to add this person's contact information to your personal NAB.

You can choose to view, open, edit, save, or delete the attachment via the attachment properties. One way to access the properties is to select the attachment and then select from the Notes menu: Attachment > Attachment Properties. If you select View, the contents of the .vcf file display in a Contact form from your personal NAB. You can then select Save to add this person's contact information to your personal NAB, if desired. See the Supporting Information section below for steps to create your own .vcf file.


How are iCalendar and vCard supported?

Domino 6.x and higher support vCard as follows:

Users can open a vCard attachment and add the contents to personal Name and Address Book (NAB) contact documents. This feature also allows users to drag a URL link for a vCard or iCalendar message to the file system.

Domino 6.x and higher support iCalendar as follows:

Note: In addition to the functionality described below, Notes release 7.0.2 introduced the ability to import from a public calendar in iCalendar format. Refer to the topic, "Importing and exporting calendars from iCalendar" in the Notes/Domino 7.0.2 Release Notes for additional information. Further, Notes 8.5 introduced the ability to subscribe to an iCalendar source as a calendar overlay. Notes 8.5 also allows Notes to be registered as the *.ics/*.vcs handler so it will be invoked to import or overlay when an .ics or .vcs file is opened inside or outside of Notes.

iCalendar workflow support is built into the Calendaring & Scheduling (C&S) services in the Lotus Domino server for Lotus Notes client and Lotus Domino Web Access (iNotes Web Access) users. To receive and process an iCalendar invitation, the application sending the meeting must be sent in an iCalendar format in a text/calendar MIME part, and must be received by a Domino 6.x (or higher) server.

Notes/Domino 6.x and higher support iCalendar when sending meeting invitations from Notes to other products (for example, Microsoft® Outlook).

The difference between iCalendar and traditional C&S is that iCalendar is not specific to a single domain. You can schedule meetings with other domains simply using that person's Internet mail address. In addition, instead of routing the invitation via adjacent/non-adjacent domain documents, it is routed directly through a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server.

This means that if a Notes user (UserA) in one company is sending an invitation to a Notes user (UserB) in another company over SMTP or a non-Notes/Domino user who is using a different Mail client that supports iCalendar (UserC), rather than receiving the invite in an e-mail format UserB or UserC will receive a calendar invitation with full meeting workflow; UserB and UserC will be able to respond (Accept, Decline, etc.) to the invitation as if it were sent over Notes Remote Procedure Calls (NRPC). NRPC is the Notes-based protocol for routing mail internally within a single Notes domain or between Notes domains.

Keep in mind that within a Notes/Domino environment, iCalendar works between only releases 6.x and/or 7.x and/or 8.x of Notes/Domino. If the other company is running Domino 5.x servers, they will receive a regular e-mail with an .ics attachment rather than an invitation with workflow built in. This is because Notes/Domino R5 does not support iCalendar; R5 takes the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Calendar document and converts it to an attachment.

A Notes meeting invitation is sent in an iCalendar format whenever a message is sent over SMTP if Notes and Domino are version 6.x or higher. In general, your Notes client always creates iCalendar whenever a invitation is sent to an internet address. However, if the notes client Location document is set to "through Domino Server" and "Notes Rich Text Format" (Not the default), then iCalendar conversion will happen on the server and not on your client. With this configuration, messages sent to internet addresses on your Domino server will not ever be converted to iCalendar.




Supporting Information:

Steps for adding your own .vcf file?

You can also add your own .vcf file to outbound Internet messages by using a custom stationery and including that as an attachment. You can not, however, add a .vcf attachment to an html signature.

If you want to create your own .vcf file, you can do this using Notes, Outlook Express or even Netscape Messenger.

Lotus Notes:
Create a contact document for yourself in your personal NAB. Fill in the pertinent information you want placed on your .vcf file, name, title, address etc. Save the new contact. From the view level, select your contact document and from the menu, select File, Export. Give your vcf file a descriptive name (most mail systems will use a similar Firstname_Lastname.vcf format). Use the drop-down list in the 'Save As Type' field and select vCard 2.1 or vCard 3.0 and then Export. The next dialog box will ask you how to export the file and what fields to include: either all information or only basic address fields.

MS Outlook Express:
The easiest way to exchange contact information with people over the Internet is by attaching a business card to e-mail messages. A business card is your contact information from the Address Book in vCard format. The vCard format can be used with a wide variety of digital devices and operating systems.

Note: You must have your contact information in your address book before you can create a business card.

1. In the Address Book, create an entry for yourself, and then select your name from the Address Book list.
2. On the File menu, point to Export, and then click Business Card (vCard).
3. Select a location in which to store the file, and then click Save.

Note: To add your business card to an e-mail message, click the Insert menu, and then click My Business Card.

Netscape Messenger:

Setting Your Identity Preferences

To set your identity preferences, such as your user name, signature file, and personal address card:

1. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences. Select Identity from the Mail & Newsgroups Preferences category.

2. In the Identity Preferences panel, type your name, email, reply-to address, and organization.

3. To attach a "signature" to your messages, type the absolute path at Signature File. Click Browse to locate your signature file.

4. Select "Always Attach My Personal Card to Messages" to attach your address card (vCard) to all outgoing messages.

5. Mac OS only: Check "Use Internet Configuration system" if you want Communicator to use preferences already specified in your Internet Configuration system for the identity (name, email, reply-to, organization), signature, and SMTP mail server and user name preferences.

6. Select OK.

To create a personal card (vCard):

Click Edit Card to display the Edit Card dialog box (Windows and Mac OS only).


Related information

Can a Notes Calendar Invitation Form Be Sent Through th
Knowledge Collection: Lotus Domino iCalendar
A simplified Chinese translation is available


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Document information


More support for:

IBM Notes
Calendaring and Scheduling

Software version:

6.5, 7.0, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0

Operating system(s):

Linux, Mac OS, Windows

Reference #:

1102862

Modified date:

2009-11-20

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