Is Lightning broken or am I a n00b?

I downloaded the latest nightly build of Lightning and a recent Thunderbird 2.0 alpha build, and I simply cannot get it to work with .ics files. Maybe I’m just stupid, because it isn’t even mentioned in the FAQ but there seems to be no way to add a web calendar.

You can click on the New button under the Calendar tab and select Remote, but that will present you with the confusing choice between WebDAV and CalDAV. I just want to add an .ics file! For example, this Swedish Holidays file listed on Mozilla’s Calendar website. To be sure, I tried both WebDAV and CalDAV, but nothing happens after adding the calendar. No events turn up in the calendar view, not even New Year’s Eve that I have already verified exists in the .ics file.

For crying out loud: what am I doing wrong here? The wiki even lists Calendar Subscriptions as “Complete”. I’ve tried other .ics files too, such as the Ubuntu Edgy Eft Release Schedule, which by the way works perfectly in Google Calendar.

Update: At work I have Thunderbird version 3 alpha 1 (20060808) running, and I just installed the latest Lightning xpi and in this build I can’t even add a calendar. Then I found out that just using a 3.0 build isn’t enough. You need to download a 3.0 build prepared to be used with Lightning. May I ask why?

Anyway, adding a .ics calendar seems to be working in the Thunderbird 3.0 (Calendar prepared) builds. I’ll try again with the 2.0 builds when I get home. I still think that the choice between WebDAV and CalDAV is confusing though. Just a hint of “.ics” in one of the options would help a lot for newbies. Also, I hear more about iCal format on the web than either one of WebDAV and CalDAV, which makes things even more confusing.

11 thoughts on “Is Lightning broken or am I a n00b?

  1. brother

    afaik it only loads remote calendars on load of TB/Lightning sÃ¥ you have to restart the app every once and a while to get the updates. That sucks, sunbird has the “reload remote calendars”, why lightning lacks it is a really good question.

  2. Martijn

    I just tried this with the latest nightly using TB Using the menu Calendar > Import I succeeded in adding your Swedish calendar-file.

    It asks me to select an ICS file. However, when I input a URL instead the file is downloaded and added to Lightning. But is this a feature of the operating system (Windows XP in my case) or of the software itself ? I guess this is an OS feature and Linux/Mac might handle this differently.

    Now I just gotta find a way to get rid of these Swedish holidays… Importing them worked fine, but should I now delete these added appointments one by one ?

    I deleted one of them, restarted Thunderbird, but it did not synchronise with the remote file. So this was a one time import. Still no answer on how to synchronize with a remote iCal-file.

  3. Martijn

    By the way: adding your Swedish Holidays file through the New Calender button now also succeeded here. It just recognizes it and it is added as a new calendar.

    When I try to remove some of the added events through this synchronisation Lightning however also tries to publish this change. Of course this does not succeed, so the file is placed in readonly mode and a warning message appears.
    Of course it does not make much sense to edit a remote calendar file from another source. When it cannot be published next time you’d synchronize the changes will be overwritten anyway.

  4. Simon Paquet

    I tested this on both a current Sunbird nightly and on Thunderbird and a Thunderbird 2.0a1 nightly both with Lightning and I cannot confirm this.

    If I create a new remote calendar (WebDAV) and copy the URL for the Swedish Holiday file into the URL field, the calendar is added without any problems and I can see all the Swedish holidays.

    The same goes for the Ubuntu release schedule.

    This could be a linux issue, although I doubt it.

    Can you verify that all calendars are shown as activated in the calendars tab beneath the minimonth.

  5. Gopalarathnam Venkatesan

    The “Import” tool is meant for importing a “.ics” file. This tool is found under the “Calendar” menu.
    I’m still using an older version of Lightning and yet to check out the CVS version, so it does not work for me yet.

  6. David Tenser

    Simon, I’m using Windows. Adding a calendar works using the special Tb 3.0 builds at work. I’ll try again with the 2.0 builds when I get home. Still, the choice between WebDAV and CalDAV is confusing. Where’s iCal? .ics?

  7. David Tenser

    Martijn, you’re right in that the http support in Windows XP’s OpenFile dialog is an OS feature. What it does is downloading the URL to a temporary location and pass that temporary file to Lightning. In other words, you get a local copy of the file, and you’re not actually subscribing to the online calendar.

  8. Pingback: djst’s nest » Blog Archive » MSN support in Gaim for Windows broken too

  9. Dave

    I think you can use the “remote calendar” with the ics file. You just need to add the calendar filename as “file:///C:/blahblah.ics”

    This method works for me, anyway, in the newest release Lightning & TB


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