Categories: Importing & exporting :

Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals.

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Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. Linkowich 5/19/09 4:24 AM
When subscribing to calendars with "floating time" (i.e does not supply specific time zone data, like for instance Facebook events) Google Calendar seems to default to GMT, rather than the actual time zone chosen in settings.

This puts the events hours off time, depending on your actual time zone.

Could you fix this, please? Either have it default to the general time zone, rather than GMT - OR supply an overriding time zone dropdown selector for each subscribed calendar.

Regards,
/Linkowich
X-WR-TIMEZONE:Europe/Stockholm ;-)
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. sfuseau 6/20/09 1:14 PM
Yeah, for instance, you've got a workout schedule at say 7 PM regardless of your time zone: in Mac OS X iCal, you select 'Floating' event in the time zone selection, this keeps this event set at 7 PM whichever time zone you set your calendar in.
As Linkowich mentions, Google calendar when set to sync with Mac OS X iCal overrides that setting and gives the event the GMT time-zone tag.

Maybe the WebDAV calendering doesn't allow this? 
It would need to be corrected though.

Best regard, 
iPhone/Mac OS X calendar syncing is a killer!
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. Jeff Lake 7/18/09 1:37 PM
Yeah, I need this too.  I'm trying to subscribe to my Facebook event feed, but they use floating time.  Facebook doesn't seem like they're going to offer a fix, so if I could just override a feed's time zone or make it default to my time zone it would work.

Default to the GMT is great for people in Greenwich but useless for me.   ;)
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. Andy Schlaikjer 9/3/09 3:24 PM
I just ran into the same problem, also trying to get my Facebook Event iCal feed into GCal.

I've sent Facebook a note about use of the X-WR-TIMEZONE field which seems to be supported by GCal. It seems as though it'd be straightforward for FB to include this field for every iCal event entry in its output feed, set to the timezone of respective event's creator. Could the GCal team confirm that addition of this field in iCal entries would fix the issue?

I also tried creating a Yahoo! Pipe which updates a Facebook Events iCal feed with X-WR-TIMEZONE fields (using a hardcoded timezone code), but unfortunately Y! Pipe's iCal output format strips custom fields. We'll see if the Pipes team is responsive on this..
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. rsprik 9/10/09 9:23 PM
Please add me to this list. It's very critical to our school. Our calendar feeds (outsourced, no control over their programming) are published without TZ reference, as a floating calendar. The spec clearly defines and allows for floating events, so it really seems Google is not interpreting the RFC correctly by interpreting a floating event as GMT. I got Yahoo Pipes to successfully add 7 hours to offset for our PST zone, but then after Nov 1 Gapps shifts it on it's own an hour back... so now I have to see if I can figure out a pipe to account for DST.

... I'm spending hours trying to work around this for our athletic dept. Please address and conform to RFC2445 Section 4.3.5
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. progkeys 9/14/09 7:00 AM
I've read over the ical docs.  They are actually a little ambiguous on the semantic meaning of "floating" events, and I'm not sure that developers should be using them.  I'm not sure they have any meaning in the real world (maybe a calendar of when the sun sets at a given latitude).

However, regardless of the semantics, it's absolutely clear that google calendar is not handling the "floating time" case correctly.  When the timezone is not specified in the feed, the ical client should assume localtime, rather than UTC.  Please fix, Google!  You're causing developers and users a lot of grief.  Relevant section of the RFC is below:

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2445#section-4.3.5

Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. candaminoru 11/22/09 10:22 AM
I use Palm PDA with DateBk6. DateBk6 has a All Timezone event and it is for floating time of RFC2445. I made the script to convert Palm DateBook.pdb to ics file with using DateBk6 Timezone informations. Google calendar seems to apply the floating time events to the first timezone listed in the imported file. I want google calendar to fix importing floating timezone events as floating timezone events.
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. rw92037 3/5/10 3:13 PM
Check the discussion at
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Calendar/thread?tid=17dfdf86cc1cce0c&hl=en&fid=17dfdf86cc1cce0c00048115d813549d
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. jkatz 4/4/10 7:24 PM
Time zones in Google calendar are an unmitigated disaster.  They cause nothing but problems and headaches which no good solutions.  It's a problem when importing events as described here, and also when scheduling events in different time zones than your current time zone.  Why Google insists on try to automatically change the times of events I don't know, because for me, it has never ever done it correctly.  It drives me crazy!
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. ltcomdata 4/9/10 12:58 PM
I am having the same problem.  Here is a message I sent to the originator of the calendar I was trying to subscribe, with their response...  I thought Google was all about standards...  But here, it seems to be failing.  E-mail follows:


I've looked into this, and I'm afraid it's a bug in Google Calendar, which doesn't handle the "floating time" format of the iCalendar standard (RFC2445, para 4.3.5) correctly. There isn't any practical way round it from our end.


At 02:25 03/04/2010 +0100, you wrote:
>There is a bug with the Google calendar download.  I choose my local time zone, and the website acknowledges it (I get links with a -500 section).  However, when I download the Google calendar, I get the Google calendar (with the appropriate "local" correction) without the timezone correction.  Thus the Google calendar already thinks it is tomorrow, even though it is still 8:23PM today.  I don't see how to fix this from the Google calendar settings.
>
>Any help?
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. PatentLawNY 12/30/10 6:41 AM
I couldn't find any real helpful answers on their forums, but I figured out that if I modify the ical file to include time zone information for each event, Google Calendar imports it properly.  So... I wrote a simple PHP script that modifies it.  You'll need a web server to do this though.

Another problem I was having was that ical events which repeat daily for a number of days would show up multiple times each day.  So I changed them to repeating yearly, but you might not need that line...

I made a file called index.php and put it in a new directory on my webserver.  Change the stuff I put in brackets, obviously...  here's the file:

<? $file = "[URL of the ical file]"; 
$contents = file_get_contents($file); 
$newcontents = str_replace("FREQ=DAILY", "FREQ=YEARLY", $contents); 
$newcontents = str_replace("[current tile of the ical file]", "[same or another title here]

BEGIN:VTIMEZONE
TZID:Eastern
BEGIN:STANDARD
DTSTART:16011104T020000
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY;BYDAY=1SU;BYMONTH=11
TZOFFSETFROM:-0400
TZOFFSETTO:-0500
END:STANDARD
BEGIN:DAYLIGHT
DTSTART:16010311T020000
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY;BYDAY=2SU;BYMONTH=3
TZOFFSETFROM:-0500
TZOFFSETTO:-0400
END:DAYLIGHT
END:VTIMEZONE", $newcontents);

$newcontents = str_replace("DTSTART","DTSTART;TZID=Eastern",$newcontents);
$newcontents = str_replace("DTEND","DTEND;TZID=Eastern",$newcontents);


echo $newcontents; 
?>
----

Change the time data accordingly for other time zones.  What this is doing is searching for the title in the ical file, then replacing it with another (or same) title and adding time zone information in the appropriate place in the ical file (right after the title).  Other strings in the file could be replaced instead.

Also, in PHP 5, importing data from other websites is disabled by default.  The easiest way to get around this is to create a ".htaccess" file in the directory where you put the above file on your web server.  Put this line in it:

php_flag allow_url_fopen on


... that's it!  Now import the URL of your PHP script into Google Calendar and should work properly!  Let me know if this helped people.

- Michael Feigin
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. jboesch 6/29/11 1:07 PM
Still anxiously awaiting floating events in Google Calendar... If I don't specify a timezone in my ics file (when I import), it should just use my default timezone settings. C'mon Google!
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. dbgerhard 7/12/11 10:58 PM
Is there any traction on this issue?  I know some folk believe that all events should have time zones, but from a usability perspective it doesn't make sense.  if I schedule an event for 10:00 am, I want that event to occur at 10:00 am regardless of the time zone I might be in when I make the event, or the time zone I am in when the event occurs.  

The ONLY scenario when time zones for events are useful at all is for teleconferencing, when two parties in different time zones might be attending the same event.

If I am in new york and planning to attend an event in London, the new york time of the event is completely irrelevant and should not enter the picture.  If the event is at 10:00 am in london, I should be able to enter "10:00 am" in my calendar. But google silently and destructively changes the time to 3:00 pm when I land. 

Every time I travel I am constantly checking and double checking the time of every event, including my airplane flights.  I've taken to writing things on paper, for pete's sake just to make sure the times are correct.

Airlines figured this out years ago.  What's up, google?

This must be fixed!!!!!!!
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. Goose720 8/28/11 1:59 AM
same problem here.  for those with a global life, makes it difficult to use gcal
Re: Time zone problem on subscribing to "floating time" iCals. rihallix 12/5/11 2:06 AM
PatentLaw's solution may work but it adds an immense burden to many web apps sending files to Google. Is there really no way to import a calendar file with "floating time" like Apple iCal handles (no 'Z' or 'TZID' settings). 

Otherwise this is a major pain:
1) My app has to prompt users what timezone they are in, if they don't populate this times all appear incorrectly

2) My app has to auto detect the user's PC timezone (can be done with Javascript but I'd prefer not to do this).

I'm hoping someone out there has come up with solving the floating timezone issue so times in ics files can be entirely loca, I'm hoping Google has solved this.