Mozilla Calendar in Firefox continues to be rubbish

Mozilla Calendar in Firefox continues to be rubbish. I’ve been (reasonably) happily using Firefox quite some time now, and have been generally happy with it. I’ve also been using the Mozilla Calendar plugin for quite a while to keep track of my day to day activities. It’s almost usable. Sure, the rendering is pig ugly, and sure, it’s unresponsively slow, and sure, there’s no easy way to change which calendar file an event lives in (cut-and-paste seems to be the way to go, except when it decides not to work). But hey, it’s free, it’s early days and I guess I could live with those peccadillos.

Lately, however, I’ve wanted to share calendars with Bash, who joyously delights in the smooth love that is iCal under OS X every day. Cue research into setting up a WebDAV server and setting up remote calendars. It is, of course, easy to do in iCal and just works. It is, of course, a complete pain in the arse to do in Firefox and (so far) just doesn’t work.

There are pages online which tell you what to do. Their instructions don’t work, and in fact don’t match my experienced reality. Some of them tell you the subscription URL should start with “http://” not “webdav://” – wtf? Most of them tell you you’ll need to enter a username and password, but I never get prompted for one – wtf?

But the cardinal sin, the Unforgivable that is committed by Firefox’s Mozilla Calendar plugin, is this: it fails silently.

Here ye, students of code: failure must never be silent.

It is stupid and baffling that my experience is as follows: a) tell Firefox I want to subscribe to a remote calendar; b) give it a name and type in the URL of the calendar (eg webdav://server.example.com:portno/path/foo.ics); c) click OK; d) there is no further feedback, but I get a new calendar in my list – a calendar which contains no data; e) if I open that calendar’s settings, the remote URL is blank. In the words of “Jerry Springer: The Opera”, WTF? WTF? WTFFF?

OK, so I just upgraded both Firefox and the Calendar plugin to the latest version. The only change I see is that everything’s running even slower.

Why is it the fate of web browsers to bloat until useless? I thought Firefox was supposed to be lightweight? What reason is there for its terrible performance? How is it supposed to take over the world on that basis?

If anyone can tell me what I’m doing wrong, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, I’m going to give the ludicrously pre-alpha Sunbird a try, but I don’t hold out much hope that it will be better, or indeed any different at all. :-/

7 Responses to “Mozilla Calendar in Firefox continues to be rubbish”

  1. February 2nd, 2005 | 7:51 pm

    PearPC it is then ;)Good luck with Sunbird. My limited experience was frustrating, and the following quote from the page you linked to isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.”Mozilla Sunbird and Mozilla Calendar use the same base code so their functionality is virtually the same and they share the same bugs and bug fixes.”Oh, yay.

  2. Krag
    February 3rd, 2005 | 12:34 am

    Mozilla Calendar plugin for firefox doesn’t seem too slow on my box, but then I guess I don’t have such a busy schedule as you gimbo – my only task being “Get out of bed in time for neighbours”. Just kidding :)

    You running on Firefox on windows or linux?

  3. February 3rd, 2005 | 1:07 am

    PS – The ‘preview comment’ bit doesn’t treat newlines and elements the same way as the final result.

  4. February 3rd, 2005 | 10:30 am

    DaveA: Yeah, I subsequently realised that so I haven’t bothered (gentoo makes you jump through hoops to install Sunbird anyway because it’s so young – not a good sign). As for the preview thing, I hadn’t noticed, but I guess it’s a MovableType thing. I always format my comments using <p> … </p> blocks though. :)

    Krag: Nice to hear from you, mate! I’m running it on Linux (and Windows at home), it’s the Linux one that seems slow, but maybe I need a new box… I do have 8 calendars for various different aspects of my existence, and I’d want that number to grow when sharing with Bash, and some have quite a lot of events, and quite a lot of odd recurrences… For example, tutorials and lectures take place at certain slots every week between this date and this date but with the following exceptions because it’s the Easter break… etc. But I don’t know, it’s not that much data really and my feeling is the lag is mainly caused by an over-heavyweight UI framework. I may be wrong, of course.

    Which makes me realise… What I really want is a text-based iCalendar-compatible app. Or an emacs mode… ;-)

  5. Rob
    March 4th, 2005 | 12:23 pm

    When creating that ‘My Calendar’ entry, delete the current calendar and re-create it overwriting your current caledar file on disk. It will then keep the url in the properties section.

  6. Sandy
    March 19th, 2005 | 12:22 am

    Ran in to the same BS silent errors hapenning with the URL in the remote set up. Bad coding, and I have loaded a couple of calendars (a us holiday, and a larger work related one) and it hammers the CPU at 100% until a popup asking if I want to terminate the script that is taking all the cpu. So far the Cal is a pig and pretty much not useful for anything. This is the version that is in Mozilla, and running on win2k. I don’t think it will interface to the Sun Java System Calendar (not my choice) but that is what I have to work with. My 2 cents
    Sandy

  7. BeaverHyde
    May 10th, 2005 | 6:16 pm

    I have spent days trying to migrate from Outlook to Mozilla (via Outlook2VCal or Outport) and to no avail. Not only does Mozilla’s Calendar:
    not handle large numbers of appointments,
    not interact well with calendar publishing servers,
    fail silently (like mentioned above), and
    keep losing appointments and tasks I put in,
    but now
    it’s on the chopping block and barely being touched (latest release is Jan 2005).
    http://www.mozillazine.org/articles/article2988.html

    I’m bailing… not worth another single moment of my time. Now I’ll need to keep looking for a stable, open-standard Calendar/Planner/Organizer that is able to import thousands of appointments from Outlook 2003. @#$%!