iCal Import - All Day Events Not Working

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
BrianTAllen
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iCal Import - All Day Events Not Working

Postby BrianTAllen » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:31 pm

Has anyone had luck importing iCal files into their calendars with all day events working?

I've tried exporting iCal files from the LDS.org calendar, deleting the events, then reimporting them and it doesn't work. I've tried Google iCal files and they don't work.

Can someone post a working iCal with a single event that will import?

Or is this a known bug and all day events just don't import?

Thanks!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:10 pm

There is a known problem where all day events in an iCal file import as timed events (starting at midnight and ending at 11:59pm), rather than true All Day events. What's worse, they are considered as starting at midnight Mountain Time, so if you are in Central Time, for example, they will start at 1:00am and end at 12:59am the following morning. This was reported in the thread All Day Events not recognized on import.

But the events do import. For example, this iCal file does import an event, which you can later edit and change to a real All Day event.

Code: Select all

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:-//Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints//LDS Calendar 2.0//EN
CALSCALE:GREGORIAN
METHOD:PUBLISH
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTAMP:20111228T043826Z
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE;VALUE=DATE:20111230
DTEND;VALUE=DATE;VALUE=DATE:20111231
SUMMARY:December 30
DESCRIPTION:This is a test all-day event on 30 Dec 2011.
UID:000000000000000000000000000000000000004674171@calendarws.lds.org
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

BrianTAllen
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Postby BrianTAllen » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:20 am

I have over 600 events to import, nearly half of which are all day events, so I was really hoping to avoid having to manually edit half of them!

I can't be the only one dealing with this. Is there anyone in the know that has an ETA on a fix? I'm a software developer and can look at it if this is something open to the community (I know some of the Church IT projects work that way, and some don't).

Thanks!

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:42 pm

BrianTAllen wrote:I'm a software developer and can look at it if this is something open to the community (I know some of the Church IT projects work that way, and some don't)
The calendar is not a community development project. It is solely in-house.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

RobertCMartin
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Manually editing imported All Day and Multi-Day events is not a solution

Postby RobertCMartin » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:27 pm

I have just taken two days off from work to prepare our ward calendar and have gotten nowhere. I'm self-employed, so those days off have cost me. I wouldn't have minded except that I've accomplished nothing.

When I started on this I realized that waiting seconds after every mouse click and wondering whether anything was happening or whether I should click again was not going to bring me peace in this life. There is no indication on-screen that anything is happening in response to a mouse click until the screen refreshes or a dialog box appears. I have waited patiently but in vain plenty of times after clicking on an event before realizing that my click must not have done anything. Plenty of other times I have thought nothing was happening, clicked again, and watched in despair as the dialog box I was waiting for appeared and immediately disappeared in response to my queued second click. And if I am so fortunate as to get the dialog box to appear and stay put, I have to click another link in that dialog and then wait for a further dialog before I can actually edit the item. One event down, hundreds to go. Totally frustrating.

So I decided it would be much quicker to create the calendar offline in Outlook and then import it into the calendar. After spending hours to create the calendar offline, I started importing and discovered that "All day" and multi-day events were displaying "2" or "2:00" in front of their description and also highlighting an extra day. I figured I must be doing something wrong and set out boldly to figure out what, not know beforehand the things I should do. I learned how to export ics files, studied them, experimented, and finally discerned that the calendar's import function must be treating DATE values as beginning at 12:00 AM MST and converting them to 2:00 AM my time (I'm in Pennsyvlania). So then I experimented with offsetting my start times by -2 hours, tried using DATE-TIME values rather than DATE values (local, UTC, and TZID), downloaded and tried a couple different iCal conversion programs showing my time zone as MST and then EST, and finally read and mastered the relevant portions of the iCalendar protocol. After two days of spinning my wheels, I find this thread.

Due to the Conduct Standards I agreed to observe when I logged on, I cannot tell you how I responded to the suggestion that users manually edit events after importing them. Suffice it to say that manually editing imported events defeats the whole purpose of creating them offline and then importing them. The whole purpose was to avoid having to edit events in the calendar!

Bottom line, the calendar purports to have an import functionality that it lacks. This thread, which finally tells me so, was not easy or obvious for me to find. It was only after spending so much time on this that it even occurred to me how I might frame a fruitful internet search for a solution (and I had to search in Google to find this thread; my searches in LDSTech were unavailing).

There should at least be a prominent comment on the "?" button next to the import link, or on the import dialog, or in the Help file that says something like this:

[INDENT]"All day" and multi-day events will not import correctly no matter what you do and no matter how hard or long you try and no matter how smart you think you are. You may be learned, but you aren't that wise. [/INDENT]

Or maybe this:

[INDENT]Abandon all hope ye who enter here.[/INDENT]

That way eager folks like me don't waste days trying to make it work. I'm a bishop of a small, rural ward and have other things to do, but I have nobody I can delegate this to who has the requisite computer competence and who wouldn't, wisely, have given up after five minutes. So I'm stuck with it. I truly do appreciate what you guys do, and I know that ultimately this stuff is intended to make our lives easier, but you could do better than to offer and encourage us to use a service that is not ready to perform as advertised.

BrianTAllen
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Postby BrianTAllen » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:55 pm

I feel your pain! I'm a full time computer programmer and it took many sleepless nights to import the 650 events for our stake calendar (half of which were all day events, improperly imported).

I was able to import everything, but half of it showed up at the wrong time, the wrong day, or wasn't properly recognized as multi-day. I did it a month at a time (importing a month in .ics format, then manually editing the events), and March would behave differently than May, because of daylight savings. The same applied at the end of the year, in reverse.

In the end I'm left with the same conclusion: An unpredictable, unreliable import was worse than no import.

A year ago when there was no import I wrote a command-line program on my server that would log in, submit a single event, wait 5 seconds, then do it again for the next event. It worked great, was reliable, and took very little of my time (and no additional server load than doing it manually, same number of page loads, spaced out). I wrote and ran the program in easily 1/4 the time that it took me to do the import this year, and without any of the stress. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the same technique to work with the Web 2.0 approach this year.

The iCal "standard" is unpredictable and unreliable in itself. The great thing about iCal standards is there are so many implementations to choose from! So I can see why the programmers at CHQ may be feeling the same frustrations we are.

My suggestion: Have a separate import using a CHQ-defined CSV format. It should take next to nothing to create (and I'm not just saying that, I create CSV to database imports regularly as part of my job), would be completely reliable, and ~most~ wards / stakes have someone that could generate the file. A field for the time, date, title, description, and a 0 or 1 to specify whether it was an all day event. Then have a dropdown to choose the timezone when you import the file. Done.

A simple, reliable CSV import would have saved me easily 12 - 15 very frustrating hours.

That being said, I really like the new calendar and directory, am plenty happy to see the old one go away, and commend those working on it.

But I really, really hope this is fixed before next year. I'd hate to have to move away from a stake I love just to avoid what should be a simple calendar import. But the heart-attack / stroke risk of a repeat isn't fair to my family... They need their Dad. :)

mstauff
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Postby mstauff » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:15 am

The all day events being imported incorrectly was fixed in 2.0.6, unfortunately that was rolled back due to other issues. It should be resolved in the next release, whenever that happens.

BrianTAllen
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Postby BrianTAllen » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:20 am

mstauff wrote:The all day events being imported incorrectly was fixed in 2.0.6, unfortunately that was rolled back due to other issues. It should be resolved in the next release, whenever that happens.


Great to hear. Thanks for the update.

What would be helpful for next years import-fest would be a sample iCal file showing what format the software expects (because there are so many varying iCal formats and variations).

For many users it will either work or it won't, because they don't know what is under the hood, but others will be generating the import files (as in my case).

Thanks!

RobertCMartin
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Postby RobertCMartin » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:34 pm

Thanks for the reply and the support, Brian, and I agree with your suggestion for a CHQ import standard and a model ics file (or csv file). Worst case I could export either csv or ics from Outlook and then edit the file (or write a program to edit the file) to conform to the CHQ import standard.

I don't know enough about web programming to say, but would it also be possible to provide some sort of immediate feedback to let the user know whether his click on an event in the calendar is being processed? The same goes for clicks on the buttons to browse from one month to the next, and clicks on the small calendar in the left pane. And how about bypassing the intermediate dialog between the event and the edit dialog? The intermediate dialog rarely tells me anything that I don't already know from the event displayed in the calendar.

gxwheel
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Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Postby gxwheel » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:39 am

mstauff wrote:The all day events being imported incorrectly was fixed in 2.0.6, unfortunately that was rolled back due to other issues. It should be resolved in the next release, whenever that happens.


I tried this on Monday (12 March 2012) and still noticed the issue of All Day events turning into 2-Day events after the import. I have submitted this to the help desk, but wanted to ask here as well.

Any news on when a patch will be applied?

Cheers, Gardner


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