A few days ago I discussed Remember the Milk (RTM), a todo/organiser online application with many good features. However, I wanted RTM to send tasks to Google Calendar, so I could see how the tasks looked on a time scale. There were problems loading lists into Google Calendar, and others have had difficulties as well. First, many people didn’t see a list appear on the Calendar. Second, once I managed to send a list to Calendar, but the dates were incorrect. So I decided to go with Mozilla Sunbird (SB) at home and at work, and this seems to be working fine for me.
Yesterday I tried Google Calendar (GC) again. It seems to be working now. There are a few comments I have about GC versus SB. Fisrt, RTM is organised into lists of tasks/events. Each task list in RTM has an iCalendar feed that is read by the calendar application. Because of this, changes at the calendar end do not feed back to RTM, so you have to make any changes from the RTM side; however, this is very easy to do. Second, while GC does not allow you to make any changes to an RTM task, you can copy it and edit the copy, and will then see the changes anywhere on the calendar, since it is an online application. SB does allow you to make changes, but remember that it is a desktop application, so changes don’t mirror themselves on other SBs on other machines. This just means that if you make changes in RTM, everything will come out right in the end, regardless of the calendar application. Third, SB updates immediately after you make a change in RTM, while GC seems to take a while, and the period is unpredictable. Third, RTM can send all your lists as a group, as either events (which work on calendars) or tasks (which work on todo lists). SB can accept both types, as well as individual lists, and since is resides on your machines others can’t see the calendar view, which might be desirable. GC will only accept individual lists, which you have to register one at a time; this might be desirable anyway, since you can tailor what others see. Finally, to make RTM list exportable to GC, they have to be made public, since GC doesn’t support authenticated iCalendar lists yet. SB supports authenticated iCalendar lists, so you can configure lists to be seen by certain contacts, and they can look at it on their SB.
It seems to me that there is some work to be done on Google Calendar, and on RTM interfacing with it. First, they should fix the deficiencies mentioned above. Second, they should set up two way feeds between the calendar application (whatever it is) and the RTM application, so that tasks can be modified from both ends.
Again, the question is whether or not Google will come up with a good stand-alone package before RTM is able to interface with it seamlessly. Until then , Sunbird seems to do what is needed cleanly and without fuss.