[Synckolab] Multiuser setup with SyncKolab 1.0.4 and Kontact (bis)

ekolp ekolp at twirlix.net
Tue Mar 2 15:12:23 PST 2010


Hi Xavier,

Why not use Thunderbird, Lightning and SyncKolab on both Windows and Linux workstations? We use TB/Lightning and SyncKolab on Windows, Mac and Linux with no problems. In fact, since they're all running the same software revs, it makes life much simpler.

I will note that we're using them with a Citadel backend and not a plain vanilla IMAP server, although Citadel ends up functioning like one for us.

--Erin


On Feb 23, 2010, at 5:36 PM, Xavier Hourcade wrote:

> Good evening,
> 
> First, thank you very much for your efforts developing SyncKolab.
> 
> I sent the first version of this post over nntp, not sure if it did reach the list, hence using standard email here.
> New findings anyway, much updated ^^
> 
> 
> Context
> =======
> 
> We (five of us in a small company) are trying to achieve basic and stable collaboration features using FLOSS software. This is for production use and specific software prevent us to completely get rid of Window$. Mail clients are Thunderbird for a long time, alongside with Kontact on Ubuntu. Yesterday I tried again Kontact on Windows' stable/latest binaries, and it does not seem to be an option. We rent an IMAP server, more internal infrastructure will come, but not before a few months.
> 
> /If it is possible/, using SyncKolab and Kontact sharing features, over IMAP, would be just perfect: no need for any extra server.
> 
> So here are the clients and versions, as recommended for production as of today :
> - Thunderbird 2.0.0.23 (Lightning 0.9, SyncKolab 1.0.4) on Window$.
> - Kontact 4.3.2 (KAddressBook 4.3, Korganizer 4.3.2) on Ubuntu
> 
> Over the past two weeks, I've searched the web, and experimented a lot with SyncKolab already ^^ At this point, we seem to get correct exchange of contacts and events between clients but we get issues with tasks (see below).
> 
> 
> Constraints
> ===========
> 
> a) We try to get each user/group to access others' contacts, events and tasks:
> 5 specialised group/workshops, 1 global + 5 users for now (each participating
> to several workshops).
> 
> b) Contacts belongs to groups only, tasks and events belong to groups or users.
> 
> c) The only way I found to permit task assignment in Lightning 0.9, is using
> distinct calendars (which also permit to filter/hide groups of tasks).
> 
> d) SyncKolab also recommends to keep event and tasks separated.
> That makes 3 objects per IMAP folders per group, plus 2 per user.
> 
> e) Kontact does not seem to permit collaborative features in more than
> one IMAP account, and is using fixed folder names. It is possible to
> create other folders however (eg. subfolders) at will for each type.
> 
> f) Configuration must be deployable
> 
> So we'd end up sync'ing one common IMAP folder tree on all clients:
> 
> - INBOX
> - Contacts (global)
> - group1
> - group2
> - ..
> - Calendar (global)
> - group1
> - group2
> - ...
> - user1
> - user2
> - ...
> - Tasks (global)
> - group1
> - group2
> - ...
> - user1
> - user2
> - ...
> 
> Should we do differently, can we simplify this ?
> 
> 
> Issues
> ======
> 
> 
> 1. Configuration Import
> =======================
> 
> I did not achieve to get SyncKolab's configuration import working. The export seems ok, besides a double semi colon ";" at the end of the configuration list. Basically, importing the .config file seems to import only part of the properties (since I could not find them in prefs.js afterwards). As a result, the configuration cannot be used "as-is" and launching the Wizard again is required to "complete" the configuration (folders are fine, syncing needs activation, etc.).
> 
> As a workaround, I can edit SyncKolab's config lines in prefs.js and it works just fine (yes, while Thunderbird is down).
> This can be heavy on a "big" setup across all clients, but if it's worth the effort... :)
> 
> 
> 2) Incoming Server Property
> ===========================
> 
> SyncKolab is using the "description" field to store the imap server(s) choice, eg :
> 
> SyncKolab.myconfigname.IncomingServer=my_imap_account
> or
> user_pref("SyncKolab.myconfigname.IncomingServer", "my_imap_account");
> 
> These descriptions appear in Thunderbird's folder pane, and are customizable by the user in Account Options, without restrictions (any character is allowed here).
> 
> SyncKolab's Wizard displays any description correctly, but if spaces or special characters are included, it does strip them out before storing the pref, without warning -- and SyncKolab won't work of course. Underscores seem permitted however.
> 
> The workaround is to rename these descriptions in Thunderbird before running SyncKolab's wizard.
> At this stage, a simple warning in the documentation would be welcome :)
> 
> 
> 3) Address Book Property
> ========================
> 
> SyncKolab is using the "filename" to store the address book(s) choice, eg :
> 
> SyncKolab.myconfigname.AddressBook=my_abook.mab
> or
> user_pref("SyncKolab.myconfigname.AddressBook", "my_abook.mab");
> 
> SyncKolab's Wizard displays the address books' descriptions correctly, but the file name is stored in the background.
> 
> Currently, Thunderbird does not permit to choose these file names through the graphical interface.
> This prevents distributing easily the configurations across clients.
> 
> The workaround consists in editing Thunderbird setting in prefs.js, on each client, in order to give consistent file names to each shared address books, as well as renaming the files of course.
> 
> Again, a simple warning in the documentation would be welcome :)
> Wouldn't it be better to store the description instead, just like the server's ?
> 
> 
> 4) Tasks change detection
> =========================
> 
> Consecutive task syncing by SyncKolab keeps detecting changes on all tasks :
> - while it is the only client accessing the shared IMAP folders
> - while no change were made to any task in the mean time
> 
> The dialogue keep showing updates in all cases (either server or local), the task list is "blinking" indeed during the sync, while some tasks are being "updated" with identical copies, and others are announced to be "updated on server".
> 
> Not a big deal I guess, besides it is time consuming.
> 
> 
> 5) Tasks reverted or mixed up =============================
> 
> | These issues seem to occur only in Debug or Warning mode (?!?)
> | I choose "Only Errors" to see if the overall sync operations would get faster.
> | Well, it does not speed it much, but theses errors seem to be gone ^^
> | I also noticed the local cache folders now seem persistent (found it empty today) ^^
> | Does it make any sense, could the error level introduce bugs in the software ?
> 
> Sync also reverts latest changes in tasks, while Resolve is set to "ask" everywhere (but I get no dialogue).
> 
> Sometimes I make local changes to the tasks, in various calendars. Then when I sync, I get lots of dialogues asking me to confirm whether these changes should be copied to the server. To my understanding, this should not happen since these are *not* conflicts.
> 
> I often obtain duplicated tasks, which can appear in another calendar (?). I sync'ed again and again (and again) nothing changed. Then I rename a duplicate, adding the word "duplicate" in the task's title, and sync again and again - nothing changed. Then I delete the duplicate, and sync again: the other is deleted as well ! I saw the FAQ about duplicates, this would not be a big issue if both duplicate didn't "end up" being deleted ^^
> 
> Are these all known issues in 1.0.4 ? I didn't find any information, reports or bugs about this, so I am wondering if it could come from my setup here.
> 
> 
> 6) Special characters in tasks contents
> =======================================
> 
> | This issue also disappeared right after I chose the "Only Errors" mode.
> 
> During the task sync, using special characters such as the opening question mark "¿" seem to bring an error in Lightning calendar, after SyncKolab is overwriting the local event (by mistake, since that event has still not be changed !).
> 
> First, the console show the messages containing such event with "empty lines" -- typically, is this an encoding problem, i.e. Lighting storing UTF-8 and SyncKolab not supporting it at this point ?
> 
> As a result, Lightning catches the following exception while popping-up a "MODIFICATION_FAILED" dialogue, and marking the calendar as read-only.
> 
> "16 - operation calendar: status=2147500037 Op=2 Detail=old item mismatch in modifyItem"
> 
> "Warning: There has been an error reading data for calendar: meg_web. It has been placed in read-only mode, since changes to this calendar will likely result in data-loss.  You may change this setting by choosing 'Edit Calendar'. Error code: 0x80004005. Description: old item mismatch in modifyItem"
> 
> "Error: An error occurred when writing to the calendar meg_web!
> Error code: MODIFICATION_FAILED.
> Description: Source file:
> file:///D:/safe/profiles/thunderbird/vista/extensions/%7Be2fda1a4-762b-4020-b5ad-a41df1933103%7D/components/calItemModule.js -> file:///D:/safe/profiles/thunderbird/vista/extensions/%7Be2fda1a4-762b-4020-b5ad-a41df1933103%7D/js/calCalendarManager.js
> Line: 952"
> 
> 
> 7) Task format
> ==============
> 
> (not strictly a SyncKolab issue, has anyone faced the same ?)
> 
> Kontact saves task contents as an HTML fragment. SyncKontact then retrieves the code as plain text, which is then displayed as-is in Lightning's task form. Not really usable ^^
> 
> Is there any way/setting/add-on to get Gecko rendering this HTML in Lightning ?
> Or downgrade Kontact's format to plain text ?
> 
> 
> 
> Thanks & best regards.
> Xavier
> 
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> Synckolab at mozdev.org
> https://www.mozdev.org/mailman/listinfo/synckolab
> 

Sincerely,

Erin Kolp
Twirlix, Inc.
561.602.5654
ekolp at twirlix.net

"Welcome to a Brave GNU World. Since you value your freedom, you won’t regret it."



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