Posts Tagged ‘ calendar ’

Mozilla Sunbird + Google Calendar = Harmony

There are many times during the year where you may be under a lot of stress because you suddenly get hammered with family meetings, work projects, and anything else you may need to do, such as grocery shopping or paying bills. During these times you have a high need to stay organized, and there are some great free tools to help you achieve that, no matter where you go.

Sunbird is a great, free, and open source application developed by Mozilla, aimed to help you organized. It’s based on the Lightning add-on project, and made into a standalone. However, although that might sound simple, it’s a great tool to have, and I’ll tell you why.

Calendars seem to be very boring ways to keep track of your time. At least, most of the time it is. Having to write all your daily activities into that tiny, little box isn’t very fun, and neither is looking at the calendar every few hours to see what’s going on. Thankfully, technology can make this process a lot easier. Sunbird does an excellent job because it has a number of features that may attract you to it. It can include:

  • A number of views, such as Day, Week, Multiweek, and Month.
  • Supports multiple calendars, which can also be shown together at the same time in one “combined” calendar.
  • Supports network and online calendars that use the iCalendar format, CalDAV, WCAP, and Google Calendar (more information below).
  • Differentiating colors to keep track of what events are on what calendar.
  • Timely reminders so you don’t have to worry about missing an event.
  • Useful repeat functions allow a “set-it-and-forget-it” environment for events that continuously repeat.
  • Available on all major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.
  • It’s open source.

If all of the things in the list didn’t make any sense to you, it basically means this: More power and flexibility means less work for you to manage your time. Sunbird is definitely a program worth trying out no matter how you plan to use it.

However, this blog isn’t about all the great features of Sunbird. Yeah, it’s a great and useful program, and we’ve already given an overview of Sunbird, but that’s all we’ll do. This is about Sunbird working hand in hand with Google Calendar. So let’s meet our other half of this friendship.

Google Calendars is a service provided by Google that is supposed to keep your life organized in an easy-to-use system that also incorporated your Gmail and Google Contacts, as well as other Google services. It also has a lot of stunning features, and is just as worthy to be tried out as Sunbird is. You can do virtually the same things. The only problem with it is that things will be a bit slower as every part of it is made up of web pages. Also, the interface of both Google Calendar and Sunbird are well made, but Sunbird has an advantage. However, this doesn’t mean that Sunbird should be used completely over Google Calendar, in fact, let’s put them together.

First of all, you may be asking, why put Sunbird and Google Calendar together? Well, to put it simply, it offers even more flexibility than what even Sunbird and Google Calendars offer by themselves. To put these two together, we’ll be using Sunbird mainly as our interface and Google Calendar as our “database”, or storage of where the events are actually saved. Note that the only requirement for this is to have an internet connection whenever you wish to access your calendar, but that would not place any new limits if you were using Google Calendar by itself. This combined setup is extremely useful for a number of reasons. If you have more than one computer, such as a desktop and a laptop, and have your Google Calendar configured in Sunbird on both machines, you’ll have completely synced events on both computers without even touching any sort of button with a “Sync” label on it. Another example would be when you are traveling and happen to be away from your computer. You can get on another computer, such as at an internet cafe, and look through your calendar using Google Calendar, where you can edit, add, delete, and do other things with events. When you are finished, and come back home to your computer, those changes made at the internet cafe will automatically update itself in Sunbird, saving you lots of time trying to keep the different copies synchronized.

Now that we know why we want to put Sunbird and Google Calendar together, it’s time to actually take the few seconds time to make it happen. First, be sure and have a Google account where you can then access your personal calendar.

Go ahead and fire up Sunbird on your machine. Once loaded, be sure to choose the Calendars tab on the left side, then click into the white space and click on New Calendar. Next, you will be asked where the calendar is located. Click on “On the network”, then click on Next. In order to configure Sunbird to use your Google Calendar, we will be using CalDAV, so go ahead and choose that. In the location box, type in the following: email address here]/events and replace [your email address here] with your actual email address. An example would look like When it asks for a username and password, type in your complete email address into the username box and your Google password into the password box, then click OK. Now, choose a name for the calendar, a color (or leave the color how it is), then click Next and Finish. If you typed everything correctly, you should now have access to your Google Calendar!

You can repeat this process with other calendars or on other machines. You can even add custom calendars, such as separately made calendars or Google’s “Interesting Calendars”. However, I’ll leave that to be added later or for a different tutorial.

A general view of Sunbird

Adding an event to Sunbird

Adding a New Network/Google Calendar

Main view of Google Calendar

Accessing the calendar settings menu

Finding the Calendar ID

If you have any questions concerning this blog, don’t hesitate to leave a comment! I’ll be happy to answer you.