July 24th, 2010
Group calendars in Apples Wiki Server has been an uncomfortable conversation piece among 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6 Apple Systems Administrators. Ever since Apple has given us the ability to use web based group calendars its been a cat and mouse game to get some level of support in iCal. In 10.4 when these calendars first came out it was a very cool idea give users their own calendars and give them a web interface to use it. Allow them to subscribe to their calendars in iCal which allowed the user read only access to their calendar.
When 10.5 server came out not only were there personal calendars but group calendars. The difference was that the personal calendars allowed the user to fully manage their calendar both on the web and in iCal however Apple still maintained that group calendars would be only subscribe-able in iCal. The difference here was that many users found workarounds that allowed the fully managed solution of group calendars in iCal by using the following methods.
Method A: Creating a user account and changing the server path with the “groups” variable. (Solution)
Method B: Creating a user account and changing the server path with the “wikis” variable. (Solution)
This worked but much needed security updates broke both of these solutions causing unnecessary stress on the Apple user and the Apple systems administrator. The most recant update to 10.6.4 caused the group calendars in iCal to stop working entirely and cause an almost never-ending string
of login failed errors on the users computer. This made it very frustrating for Administrators who are trying to sell the idea of a wiki server as being a great web based and iCal based interface for users. In Apples defense they never officially claimed to support group calendaring in iCal.
One of the reasons for this was probably because of the volatile nature of the group account. In 10.5 server group calendars were maintained and created using workgroup manager in 10.6 server they were separated entirely and now the administration of group wikis is all done through their web interface. Due to the separation groups that once had a unique UID, username and password were demoted to the basic functionality of a web folder and directory for the purpose of internet data organization.
With this in mind I was very pleased when Apple released its 10.6.4 Wiki Server update. The thing that really made me happy was the fact that now they have officially come out and are supporting group calendars in iCal. This is awesome finally what we have been waiting for. The best thing is that in true Apple fashion their update offers an elegant and much faster solution.