Publish GroupWise Appointments on your iPhone!

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Can’t wait till iPhone firmware 2.0 to get your corporate calendar on your iPhone? Here is a great trick to get your enterprise appointments onto you’re your iPhone.

What you will need:

  • Novell GroupWise (tested, though should work with other mail applications)
  • A Google Account with:
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar

For the bonuses, you will need:

google-calendar-iphone.jpg

Ever since I purchased the iPhone I have longed for a way to get my GroupWise calendar onto my iPhone. I use a PC at work and an iMac/PowerBook G4 at home. I sync my iPhone with my iMac. Since I don’t actually sync with my PC, how can I get the calendar on my iPhone? The answer: Google… to the rescue!

What you can do is configure a rule in GroupWise to delegate (forward) a meeting to your Gmail account. When Gmail receives, this, Google automatically adds it the Google Calendar on your account. You can then subscribe to the Google Calendar Feed in iCal. Then, sync your iPhone! You instantly have all of the calendars you are currently syncing with but now you have your “work” appointments too! There is a downside; you can’t add appointments to the read-only calendar from Google. However, this has not proved to be a huge roadblock for me. Also, if you want to take full advantage of this, don’t use Posted Appointments, only Appointments. This way you will have all of the appointments you make delegated (more on this later).

There are added benefits too. I have Google send me a daily agenda and SMS reminders. These items are based off of the appointments delegated to my Google Calendar, so I am always in touch with what is going on for the day.

Now, let’s discuss how to set this up in more detail…

Step 1:

From GroupWise, create a rule like this:
"When event is Filed to Calendar folder and if condition is Appointment, Add Action to Delegate to: name@gmail.com Comments to recepient:GWDelgate"

Step 2:

From Gmail, create a filter where the search criteria is from your GroupWise email address, name@source.domain, and has the words GWDelegate.

Step 3:

Set the action to "Delete it".

Step 4:

On the computer that can subscribe to .ics files (preferably the computer you sync your iPhone with, for this example, iCal on a Mac) open Google Calendar and click on the options for your “work” calendar.

Step 5:

Find the iCal icon and click on it, this should open iCal for you to subscribe.

Step 6:

Accept the settings in iCal, but make sure you set the calendar to refresh on an interval you find acceptable.

Step 7:

Make sure that you configure the reminders and email options in your “work” Google Calendar to the criteria you want. I have it set to email me a daily agenda at 5:30 AM and send me an SMS reminder 30 minutes prior to a meeting. I then added the text number from Google to my Address Book and I now have an SMS thread called “Google Calendar”.

That is it! You are done! Place your iPhone in the cradle and sync. Of course, you may have to manually add the calendar in iTunes for syncing with your iPhone.

For an extra cool tip, if you have an Apple .Mac account or if you have your own FTP server, AND if you publish your personal calendar from iCal, you can subscribe to it in Google Calendar and have all of your calendars online! This works great for me and comes in very handy; I can access all of my appointments on ANY web browser. Keep in mind that this does only sync Appointments and Meeting Requests; tasks and notes are not included. We will have to wait for Apple to add note and to-do syncing functionality to Mail and the iPhone for that.

Your mileage may vary based on the Enterprise mail/server client and configurations you are using. There is already an Outlook sync tool from Google, but it does not sync Meetings, bummer. So, this solution is currently more useful. Post your comments if this works for you, or you got it working on another client other then GroupWise!

Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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There are 52 comments. Add yours.

Jimmy V says:

Can you elaborate on Step 7?
You state:
I then added the text number from Google to my Address Book and I now have an SMS thread called “Google Calendar”.
How do you do this and what benefit does it provide?

Chad Garrett says:

In Google Calendar you can set up an SMS reminder at an interval you prefer. This message comes into my inbox as "Message from 483-68". I added this number to my address book with the contact name of "Google Calendar". This way, when it appears in SMS, I get a text from Google Calendar. Does this make sense?
I forgot to add why I would do this; it then texts me 15, 30 minutes, whatever I designate before a meeting. Very handy!

Mark Harvey says:

OH MY! This is incredible. You can't imagine what I did before. I would sync my Treo 650 with GW on my windows side, then syne treo with missingsync, THEN sync iPhone. I am getting rid of the Treo tonight. I wish I was that smart....

JC says:

Does this only work with groupwise 7? I'm trying it from 6 and nothing shows up on my google calendar.

Clement says:

I have done exactly the same thing as well but the appointment does not show up in my google calendar.
I am on GroupWise 7.
In gmail if I open the email, I do get the "Add to Calendar" option on the right hand side...

Allissey says:
"When Gmail receives, this, Google automatically adds it the Google Calendar on your account."<<

Unfortunately, my gmail does not do that... It is just an e-mail and not a calender item. What do I overlook?

  • Allissey
Jennifer says:

I have the same problem as Allissey--I have to open the message and say I'll be attending before it gets added to the calendar, which kind of defeats the purpose for me. I can't find a gmail setting anywhere that automatically accepts appointments, either.

Chad Garrett says:

Have you guys logged into Google Calendar and created a calendar? This is all I did, and it worked fine for me. There is nothing to "turn on", it just works.

Allissey says:

Well, Chad,
Your last suggestion did the trick.
Standard, Google supplies you with a calender linked to your Google account. Sofar I only examined this one.
I quickly created another one, in the same account, and: appointments from Groupwise are actually popping up in this calender!
Now I can swiftly go on configuring my iPhone G3 ~ thanks a bunch for thinking with us, Chad.

  • Allissey
Marcelo says:

For those of you that have the event is not showing up, you have to set up the option "Automatically add invitations to my calendar:" to yes.
This setting is in the general settings tab of Google Calendar.
Hope it helps...
M

DustinK says:

I added the ability to sync my google cal directly with the iPhone "over the air" with the help of a company called nuevasync.com . It's free and it takes your google cal and converts it to an exchange format. This way it's directly imported into your iPhone. And it's free! check it out.

Hy Levitsky says:

I am afraid I am stuck after step 4 (i.e. syncing GW with GMail). On GMail, after setting the search filter, there is a "test search". When I try it, it says there are no items found. I tried adding a new appointment to my GW calendar and seeing if it picked it up on the Google calendar...but no luck. Suggestions?

Chad Garrett says:

Did the GW appointment delegate even show up in Gmail?

graeme says:

I am stuck also. I went through everything, including creating a new calendar. It picks up everything that is already in my calendar, but not new events. very strange. The rule works fine and says it is automatically adding as a calendar item. Also, where do I tell it how often to synch - this may be the issue

Chad Garrett says:

I am not sure what your specific issue is graeme. There is no "sync" in Google, it does it automatically.

Allissey says:

Chad & Others,
Earlier I stated that my problems to forward my groupwise appointments to Google Agenda had been solved. lately the problem returned. I didn't want to bother you. Now I found the definite solution:
You should have your Groupwise and Gmail system settings in the same language.
Why? Gmail recognizes appointments automatically by scanning header text. When GW & Gmail are not set to the same language Gmail will not recognize your forwarded appointment. Then, it does not show all the functionality that Chad describes. E.g.: I had many appointments already forwarded. When I turned Gmail from dutch (yes I am) to english language Gmail showed all possibilities with the appointment. My GW server is in english.
I already informed Google (which were very helpfull) about this issue (if you consider it one, actually it's quite logical behaviour).

Allissey says:

In addition: it's a pitty that whenever in GW an appointment is changed, the original appointment will NOT be deleted in Google Agenda. Quite logical, but annoying since you'll have to keep your agenda up to date manually for changed events.

John Balfour-Lynn says:

I have recently started using a solution called NotifyLink which syncs my email, calendar and contacts over the air with my Groupwise. We also have Blackberrys, Palm Treo and Windows Mobiles working on it and it works well with all of them. We are looking at moving to Google Apps and NotifyLink will work with that as well.
You can get it in the UK from a company called London Web.
John

Adam says:

Stuck on step 4 and 5 -- I don't see an iCal icon. Under "settings?"

Adam says:

Found it! Nevermind!

Carlito says:

I set up a rule in my GroupWise to delegate appointments to my gmail and google calendar. Everything was working fine and I was able to sync my GroupWise calendar to my iPhone, then all of a sudden it stopped working. GroupWise is still sending the appointments to gmail and gmail is receiving the appointments but not posting them to google calendar. Any suggestions/ideas?
Btw. I tried posting an appointment directly on my google calendar and that synced to my iCal. So it doesn't seem there is a problem with my google calendar and iCal

Carlito says:

Sorry to clarify again but wasn't sure if I made sense up there. GroupWise was sending meetings to my gmail and they were being posted on my google calendar and I was able so sync my google calendar with my iPhone. Then all of a sudden, google calendar is not displaying any meetings even though gmail is receiving the appointments.
I also have the setting checked to automatically add invitations to calendar.
Any suggestions/ideas???

Paul says:

Not having much luck with this... great idea and one that would benefit me but I just cannot get it to work!!
I have created a new calendar called 'new work' and have set up a rule in GroupWise 7 to delegate appointments to my gmail address, which it does. However Gmail won't automatically accept the appointment??
I have changed all the language settings to read the same which is ENGLISH (US) but still no joy.
Please can someone help!!!

Paul says:

Any ideas people?? I would really like to get this set up!!

Ben says:

This is pretty good. I'm just doing the part to delegate to Google calendar. It works for meeting requests, but doesn't work for posted appointments - the rule doesn't seem to kick in for them. I'm guessing that posted appointments can't be delegated.
Never mind, I'll just send myself a meeting request rather than posting an appointment.
Any ideas of how to apply it retrospectively to existing meetings?

Mark says:

Has anyone found a solution yet?
I'm having a similar problem - I can get GW to export the event to gmail. The mail arrives as an appointment, but it does not get added to the google calender. Also - while looking at the e-mail in gmail I do not see an option to add the appointment to the calender as someone said in an earlier post.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks,
Mark

Terri says:

Has anyone confirmed that this fix only works with GW7? Any chance Chad could publish detailed screen shots of the execute? The GW/Iphone world would love you! Thx. Terri

Paul says:

I've still got the same problem as Mark... Although I can physically accept the appointments by heading into the forwarded email from Groupwise (in Gmail) and accept it but that defies the point!!
Please can someone help us out here... what are we doing wrong!? I've followed the instructions to a tee

Chad Garrett says:

@Ben: I would just do a manual delegation to your gmail address, it works for me.
@Paul & Mark: Have you guys tried enabling this option in Google Calendar?
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NBmk4C70TBRPM_0RRpWJ6A

Justin says:

I can manually delegate the appointments with 100% success.
...But when the rule delegates them, Gmail never receives it in either email or calendar form. I've tried this with Hotmail, and it shows up as a pretty little appointment when the rule kicks in and delegates... but Gmail never gets it.
Any suggestions? This is really weird.

Justin says:

Well now it's suddenly working. I changed my email address from first.last@gmail.com to firstlast@gmail.com in the GroupWise rule. Which doesn't make sense, since it was sending out just fine with manual delegation to the first.last address.
It's too bad that it doesn't list all recipients, but at least it tells me (barely!) who it's from in the body. This is nice! Thanks guys!

Paul says:

Chad... Already set to YES. The appointments just sit in my Gmail inbox!! Its so annoying, if this could work it would be magic!!
Has anyone any other ideas?? Was going to try what Justin had written down but there is no '.' in my gmail address!!!
Help please!!

Brian says:

Mine is working great but it publishes everything on my gmail calendar twice. Any thoughts?

Nish says:

Thanks for a great solution Chad. This is exactly what I have been looking for ever since I bought iPhone. Now only if I can get it to work properly!!!
I am on Australian Eastern daylight time. When I delegate an appointment to my google account the appointment time gets all messed up.
I got an appointment today for 11AM Aus EDT but when it got accepted in google calender it was put at 10 PM!!!!!!! Both my GW & Google Calender are set to Aus EDT but somehow when appointment comes in from GW google seems to be taking it as at GMT and then posts it 11 hours later!!!!!
Is there any way I can get google calender to recognise that GW appointment is coming from same time zone??? I dont want to change time zone on my google calender as then all my personal calender items (which are already syncing fine with my home Outlook, same time zone settings) would get all messed up.
Any help/advice would be highly appreciated.
Cheers

Nish says:

forgot to mention that there is no way I can change my GW time zone at work as it's as up by IT admin guys and they, as usual, have no idea why the above might be happening.

Paul says:

At least you can get that far Nish!! Mine still won't automatically accept appointments to my calendar??
I would have thought in your case though Nish that if your Regional Settings on your PC match the Groupwise / Google settings then it should all be fine?? Unless your IT guys have installed groupwise with a different language setting?
Going back to the auto accept of google appointments, can anyone PLEASE help!!

Paul says:

Just on the above comment, I've actually just typed that at 1.11pm, not the 8.11am its showing on the screen!!
lol

Nish says:

hey paul, my GW, my PC at home, google as well as my iPhone are all set to Australian EST and with English as default language. I just cannot understand what could be going wrong

Johann says:

Hi Nish,
I have the same problem as you have with Central European Time (CET/GMT +0100): appointments set to 10 a.m. in Groupwise are set to 11 a.m. in GoogleCalender. It seems as if GoogleCalender thinks I'm GMT although it is definetely set to CET (as well as GroupWise and WindowsXP).
Does anybody has an idea how to fix this problem? I guess it might be a bug of GoogleCalender as the delegate email from GroupWise contains the proper .ics-attachment and if I manually import it to iCal everything works fine.

Nish says:

Hi Johann,
I today received an appointment request which posted it correctly. After that I created couple of test appointments and they are working fine. How this has happened I do not know as till yesterday they were not working and I had to go to my iPhone everytime and edit the time (else an afternoon appointment alarm would go off in middle of the night LOL). I have not changed any settings, in fact I have not even accessed anything as I had given up on it after getting no response here or on google cal help forums.
Though another thing that has happened is that google calender is now posting these appointments to my default google calender and not work calender that I had created earlier and where GW delegated appointments were being posted so far. This is an inconvenience that I am willing to live with as long as I get to automatically keep track of all my appointments, work or personal.
To me it seems like there was/is a bug in google cal which is responsible for all of this... ah well...

Sean says:

I am able to get all this working except having google calendar auto-accept my appts. This would be perfect otherwise. Ive made 3 new calendars and now luck. Any ideas? I also cant seem to accept appointments in my gmail account on iPhone

Chuck says:

set this up, but then I got the following email in my GW account: "Rule generated message not allowed" Any way around this?

Vince says:

I love being able to sync my GW appts to my Google calendar, which can now sync in the cloud with my iphone. But it is one-way only: GW to Google/iphone. Has anyone figured out a way to sync iphone to GW? or I guess my main problem is Google to GW, since my iphone and Google are already in sync. I'd like to use my native calendar on iphone to make appts.

LozBlanko says:

Have to agree with the last comment by Vince. Surely, the beauty of an electronic diary is that you update it on the mobile device as the master?
Accepting invites is great but it's the appointments created on the iPhone that I want to synchronise back the other way to my department.
Am I missing something here or is it not possible?

David says:

I followed these steps and it worked great. Moreover, since Google now has a feature allowing you to synch your Google calendar with iPhone, you do not have to go through synching the iPhone with iCal - the appointments go directly to the iPhone and iCal.

Steve says:

If you don't want to use Gmail to see your GW calendar (or to subscribe to it from iCal), you can alternately use this:
http://benzilla.galbraiths.org/2007/04/11/groupwise-exporter-10/
It directly exports your GW calendar to a mini webserver listening on a high port on your local machine that you can subscribe to from iCal. Drawbacks are that it is set to use West Coast time only and you will need a static IP on the machine that is exporting it. A good Java Programmer friend could easily modify it to your time zone (source code is available). Ideally the author might update his app with more features (encryption and time zones). You also have the problem of it being read only in iCal, but still - at least you can see your GW calendar in iCal!

Marian says:

Hi Chad,
Great article. I used it, set up my GW 7, I received the appointment emails, but there is nothing happening into my calendar. I've checked the Google Calendar's settings (make sure that 'Automatically add invitations to my calendar' is set to Yes, that the languages are the same in Google Calendar and GW.
When I display the email in GMail, I see, on the right, the "Add to Calendar' link, but it does not happen automatically. Any suggestions?
Thank you,
Marian

Guest says:

New GW Import app in the App Store imports appts into iOS cal.