Documentation: caldav 0.8.1

Project home

The project currently lives on github, https://github.com/python-caldav/caldav - if you have problems using the library (including problems understanding the documentation), please feel free to report it on the issue tracker there.

Objective and scope

The python caldav library should make interactions with calendar servers simple and easy. Simple operations (like find a list of all calendars owned, inserting an icalendar object into a calendar, do a simple date search, etc) should be trivial to accomplish even if the end-user of the library has no or very little knowledge of the caldav, webdav or icalendar standards. The library should be agile enough to allow “power users” to do more advanced stuff.

RFC 4791, 2518, 5545, 6638 et al

RFC 4791 (CalDAV) outlines the standard way of communicating with a calendar server. RFC 4791 is an extension of RFC 4918 (WebDAV). The scope of this library is basically to cover RFC 4791/4918, the actual communication with the caldav server. (The WebDAV standard also has quite some extensions, this library supports some of the relevant extensions as well).

There exists another library webdavclient3 for handling RFC 4918 (WebDAV), ideally we should be depending on it rather than overlap it.

RFC 6638/RFC 6047 is extending the CalDAV and iCalendar protocols for scheduling purposes, work is in progress to support RFC 6638. Support for RFC 6047 is considered mostly outside the scope of this library, though for convenience this library may contain methods like accept() on a calendar invite (which involves fetching the invite from the server, editing the calendar data and putting it to the server).

This library should make it trivial to fetch an event, modify the date and save it back to the server - but to do that it’s also needed to support RFC 5545 (icalendar). It’s outside the scope of this library to implement logic for parsing and modifying RFC 5545, instead we depend on another library for that.

There exists two libraries supporting RFC 5545, vobject and icalendar. The icalendar library seems to be more popular. Version 0.x depends on vobject, version 1.x will depend on icalendar. Version 0.7 and higher supports both, but the “alternative” library will only be loaded when/if needed, and the vobject support may be deprecated in the future.

Misbehaving server implementations

Some server implementations may have some “caldav”-support that either doesn’t implement all of RFC 4791, breaks the standard a bit, or has extra features. As long as it doesn’t add too much complexity to the code, hacks and workarounds for “badly behaving caldav servers” are considered to be within the scope. Ideally, users of the caldav library should be able to download all the data from one calendar server or cloud provider, upload it to another server type or cloud provider, and continue using the library without noticing any differences. To get there, it may be needed to add tweaks in the library covering the things the servers are doing wrong.

There exists an extention to the standard covering calendar color and calendar order, allegedly with an xml namespace http://apple.com/ns/ical/. That URL gives (301 https and then) 404. I’ve so far found no documentation at all on this extension - however, it seems to be supported by several caldav libraries, clients and servers. As of 0.7, calendar colors and order is available for “power users”.

Quickstart

All code examples below are snippets from the basic_usage_examples.py.

Setting up a caldav client object and a principal object:

client = caldav.DAVClient(url=url, username=username, password=password)
my_principal = client.principal()

Fetching calendars:

calendars = my_principal.calendars()

Creating a calendar:

my_new_calendar = my_principal.make_calendar(name="Test calendar")

Adding an event to the calendar:

my_event = my_new_calendar.save_event("""BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:-//Example Corp.//CalDAV Client//EN
BEGIN:VEVENT
UID:20200516T060000Z-123401@example.com
DTSTAMP:20200516T060000Z
DTSTART:20200517T060000Z
DTEND:20200517T230000Z
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY
SUMMARY:Do the needful
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR
""")

Do a date search in a calendar:

events_fetched = my_new_calendar.date_search(
    start=datetime(2021, 1, 1), end=datetime(2024, 1, 1), expand=True)

To modify an event:

event.vobject_instance.vevent.summary.value = ‘Norwegian national day celebrations’ event.save()
event.icalendar_instance

is also supported.

Find a calendar with a known URL without going through the Principal-object:

the_same_calendar = client.calendar(url=my_new_calendar.url)

Get all events from a calendar:

all_events = the_same_calendar.events()

Deleting a calendar (or, basically, any object):

my_new_calendar.delete()

Create a task list:

my_new_tasklist = my_principal.make_calendar(
            name="Test tasklist", supported_calendar_component_set=['VTODO'])

Adding a task to a task list:

my_new_tasklist.add_todo("""BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:-//Example Corp.//CalDAV Client//EN
BEGIN:VTODO
UID:20070313T123432Z-456553@example.com
DTSTAMP:20070313T123432Z
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20200401
DUE;VALUE=DATE:20200501
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY
SUMMARY:Deliver some data to the Tax authorities
CATEGORIES:FAMILY,FINANCE
STATUS:NEEDS-ACTION
END:VTODO
END:VCALENDAR""")

Fetching tasks:

todos = my_new_tasklist.todos()

Date_search also works on task lists, but one has to be explicit to get the tasks:

todos = my_new_calendar.date_search(
    start=datetime(2021, 1, 1), end=datetime(2024, 1, 1),
    compfilter='VTODO', expand=True)

Mark a task as completed:

todos[0].complete()

More examples

Check the examples folder, particularly basic examples. There is also a scheduling examples for sending, receiving and replying to invites, though this is not very well-tested so far. The test code also covers lots of stuff, though it’s not much optimized for readability (at least not as of 2020-05). Tobias Brox is also working on a command line interface built around the caldav library.

Notable classes and workflow

  • You’d always start by initiating a caldav.davclient.DAVClient object, this object holds the authentication details for the server.
  • From the client object one can get hold of a caldav.objects.Principal object representing the logged-in principal.
  • From the principal object one can fetch / generate caldav.objects.Calendar objects.
  • From the calendar object one can fetch / generate caldav.objects.Event objects and caldav.objects.Todo objects (as well as caldav.objects.Journal objects - does anyone use Journal objects?). Eventually the library may also spew out objects of the base class (caldav.objects.CalendarObjectResource) if the object type is unknown when the object is instantiated.
  • If one happens to know the URLs, objects like calendars, principals and events can be instantiated without going through the Principal-object of the logged-in user. A path, relative URL or full URL should work, but the URL should be without authentication details.

For convenience, the classes above are also available as caldav.DAVClient, caldav.Principal, caldav.Calendar, caldav.Event, caldav.Todo etc.

Compatibility

(This will probably never be completely up-to-date. CalDAV-servers tend to be a moving target, and I rarely recheck if things works in newer versions of the software after I find an incompatibility)

The test suite is regularly run against several calendar servers, see https://github.com/python-caldav/caldav/issues/45 for the latest updates. See tests/compatibility_issues.py for the most up-to-date list of compatibility issues. In early versions of this library test breakages was often an indication that the library did not conform well enough to the standards, but as of today it mostly indicates that the servers does not support the standard well enough. It may be an option to add tweaks to the library code to cover some of the missing functionality.

Here are some known issues:

  • iCloud, Google and Zimbra are notoriously bad on their CalDAV-support.
  • You may want to avoid non-ASCII characters in the calendar name, or some servers (at least Zimbra) may behave a bit unexpectedly.
  • It’s non-trivial to fix proper support for recurring events and tasks on the server side. DAViCal and Baikal are the only one I know of that does it right, all other calendar implementations that I’ve tested fails (but in different ways) on the tests covering recurrent events and tasks. Xandikos developer claims that it should work, I should probably revisit it again.
  • Baikal does not support date search for todo tasks. DAViCal has slightly broken support for such date search.
  • There are some special hacks both in the code and the tests to work around compatibility issues in Zimbra (this should be solved differently)
  • Not all servers supports task lists, not all servers supports freebusy, and not all servers supports journals. Xandikos and Baikal seems to support them all.
  • Calendar creation is actually not a mandatory feature according to the RFC, but the tests depends on it. The google calendar does support creating calendars, but not through their CalDAV adapter.
  • iCloud may be a bit tricky, this is tracked in issue https://github.com/python-caldav/caldav/issues/3 - the list of incompatibilities found includes:
    • No support for freebusy-requests, tasks or journals (only support for basic events).
    • Broken (or no) support for recurring events
    • We’ve observed information reappearing even if it has been deleted (i.e. recreating a calendar with the same name as a deleted calendar, and finding that the old events are still there)
    • Seems impossible to have the same event on two calendars
    • Some problems observed with the propfind method
    • object_by_uid does not work (and my object_by_uid follows the example in the RFC)
  • Google seems to be the new Microsoft, according to the issue tracker it seems like their CalDAV-support is rather lacking. At least they have a list … https://developers.google.com/calendar/caldav/v2/guide
  • radicale will auto-create a calendar if one tries to access a calendar that does not exist. The normal method of accessing a list of the calendars owned by the user seems to fail.

Some notes on Caldav URLs

CalDAV URLs can be quite confusing, some software requires the URL to the calendar, other requires the URL to the principal. The Python CalDAV library does support accessing calendars and principals using such URLs, but the recommended practice is to configure up the CalDAV root URL and tell the library to find the principal and calendars from that. Typical examples of CalDAV URLs:

  • iCloud: https://caldav.icloud.com/. Note that there is no template for finding the calendar URL and principal URL for iCloud - such URLs contains some ID numbers, by simply sticking to the recommended practice the caldav library will find those URLs. A typical icloud calendar URL looks like https://p12-caldav.icloud.com/12345/calendars/CALNAME.
  • Google: https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/ - but this is a legacy URL, before using the officially supported URL https://github.com/python-caldav/caldav/issues/119 has to be resolved. There are some details on the new CalDAV endpoints at https://developers.google.com/calendar/caldav/v2/guide. The legacy calendar URL for the primary personal calendar seems to be of the format https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/donald%40gmail.com/events. When creating new calendars, they seem to end up under a global namespace.
  • DAViCal: The caldav URL typically seems to be on the format https://your.server.example.com/caldav.php/, though it depends on how the web server is configured. The primary calendars have URLs like https://your.server.example.com/caldav.php/donald/calendar and other calendars have names like https://your.server.example.com/caldav.php/donald/golfing_calendar.
  • Zimbra: The caldav URL is typically on the format https://mail.example.com/dav/, calendar URLs can be on the format https://mail.example.com/dav/donald@example.com/My%20Golfing%20Calendar. Display name always matches the last part of the URL.

Unit testing

To start the tests code, install everything from the setup.tests_requires list and run:

$ python setup.py nosetests

(tox should also work, but it may be needed to look more into it)

It will run some unit tests and some functional tests. You may want to add your own private servers into tests/conf_private.py, see tests/conf_private.py.EXAMPLE

Documentation

To build the documentation, install sphinx and run:

$ python setup.py build_sphinx

License

Caldav is dual-licensed under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3 and the Apache License 2.0.

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