Two-way update and sync between your desktop and the web is the ultimate golden ticket; it gives you offline access, local backup and the rich desktop experience while dealing with data stored in the cloud. With GCalDaemon running, you can view and update your Google Calendar from any desktop calendar program - even if you're offline. Additionally, you can access your Gmail contacts list in a desktop email program or address book like Thunderbird or Outlook Express.
Get the lowdown on how to set up GCalDaemon after the jump.
Installing GCalDaemonGCalDaemon is a cross-platform, Java-based server that syncs your Google Calendar data locally and makes it available to applications like Sunbird, Lightening and Rainlendar.
But GCalDaemon is a command line application, and like most good open source, cross-platform apps, the secret sauce to getting it set up lies in editing its text configuration file. Let's get started.
- Download and install GCalDaemon. If you don't have it already, you'll need the free Java runtime environment installed for GCalDaemon to work. To see whether or not you do, type
java -versionat the command line. No Java? Download it from here and install it. Then grab GCalDaemon and run its installer.
- Let GCalDaemon through your firewall. The Windows installer will offer the option to start up GCalDaemon when it completes. When you do so, if you've got Windows Firewall (or any other software firewall going on), you'll get a notification like this:
Like I said, GCalDaemon's a server, so be sure to Unblock it from your outgoing firewall.
When GCalDaemon initially starts up, it's not configured to do anything for you. You can stop it (in Windows) by hitting Ctrl+C in the command window. GCalDaemon can do a lot for you, but the services it offers has everything to do with how it's configured. So open up its configuration file in your favorite text editor. On Windows, that file is located in
C:\Program Files\GCalDaemon\conf\gcal-daemon.cfgby default.
The trickiest part of configuring GCalDaemon is dealing with your password.
- Encrypt your password. GCalDaemon needs your Google Account password to do its thing in the background without prompting you for it every time. However, storing it as plain text in a configuration file isn't very secure. So, GCalDaemon comes with a command line password encoder utility that you'll use to get the encoded version of your password for the configuration file. Here's how to run it, with sample results:
Copy and paste the encoded version of your password into a temporary text file for use later on, while you're setting up GCalDaemon syncing options in the configuration file.
- Two-way sync Google Calendar with Sunbird. These instructions worked for me using Thunderbird with the Lightning extension, too.
- Two-way sync Google Calendar with Mac's iCal.
- Two way sync Google Calendar with Rainlendar for Windows/Linux.
Note that when I say "two-way sync," I mean you can update your calendar in Rainlendar/iCal/Sunbird and the changes get reflected online in Google Calendar within 10 minutes tops. Also, you can set up GCalDaemon to work in "sometimes-offline" mode for laptops that aren't permanently connected to the internets. Your data is available when you're offline, but you can still make changes that will sync when you get back on. Also, you can sync multiple calendars at once with GCalDaemon.
Wait...That's not all GCalDaemon can do.
Get your Gmail Contacts list with a desktop address book
For those of you who POP your mail into Thunderbird, Outlook Express, or any other desktop mail client, you can access your Gmail Contact list within those programs' address books, too. GCalDaemon runs a local LDAP server (central contact store) which most modern address book apps can subscribe to (similar to IMAP for email messages.)Again, GCalDaemon's own detailed, screenshot-laden documentation for setting up LDAP is available.
But wait! That's not all!
GCalDaemon has more extra-crazy features up its sleeve which are beyond the scope of this article, like remote-controlling your computer via Gmail and converting RSS feeds into iCal so you can read your news in your calendar application. Neat!