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Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 Release Notes

On 4 November 2005, the Sunbird/Calendar project released Sunbird 0.3 alpha1. This marks the first official release Sunbird since the lengthy task of rewriting the backend code was undertaken. Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 marks the first milestone on the roadmap towards a final Sunbird 0.3. These release notes are intended to provide a clear picture of what users should and should not expect in this version.

Goals of the 0.3 alpha1 Release

Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 is not intended to be a production-quality release. (See "Limitations and Known Bugs". Instead, it is being released largely in order to showcase/test the new backend code. This includes:

  • Better calculation of recurring events.
  • Better storage capabilities for local calendars via embedded SQLite. (
    This means basically that Sunbird no longer stores its local data in .ics files but in a SQL database. Users who want to backup their calendar data should look for the storage.sdb file in their profile folder.
  • Better support for normal remote calendaring via WebDAV. (
  • Improved import/export functionality.

It is hoped that the release of Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 will draw a wider audience of testers that can more fully identify any bugs or problems in this backend code. Those wishing to perform more rigorous testing can use the Calendar:Tests page as a guide. Other goals of the release include:

  • Gain user feedback on several new UI elements
    • 'New Calendar' wizard
    • Connection/Proxy configuration
    • Category color preferences
  • Release a version of Sunbird that fully supports Extensions/Themes

Limitations and Known Bugs

Before using Sunbird 0.3 alpha1, it is strongly encouraged that you read the following limitations that the release possesses. The goal was to provide a similar set of abilities that Sunbird 0.2 provided, but based on the new backend code.

  • Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 will not automatically migrate your old calendar files from Sunbird 0.2. You will have to manually import them from your profile folder or resubscribe to your remote calendar files.
  • Windows versions of Sunbird 0.3 alpha1 will crash for dates after 2037 and before 1970. (bug 278236)
  • Drag and drop support is severely limited from 0.2 abilities
  • Switching from Task to Event in the Event dialog fails
  • Attachments cannot be added to events (bug 168680)
  • Printing support is very limited
  • 'Tasks in view' options does not work. (bug 308831
  • Alarms can only be snoozed for 5 minutes
  • Alarms missed while Sunbird was closed will not be fired
  • Email alarms do not work in Sunbird
  • Publishing errors will be reported poorly
  • The timezone preference does nothing
  • Unchecking a calendar may cause a Javascript error

WebDAV Calendar Backup System

To reiterate, using 0.3 alpha1 does pose a possible risk of dataloss. In order to mitigate this risk as much as possible, this release also incorporates a data-backup system for WebDAV calendars. Prior to uploading new changes to a webdav calendar, Sunbird will create a backup copy of the current state of the file called

calBackupData_|some number|_edit1.ics

The previous backup will become

calBackupData_|some number|_edit2.ics

and so forth. Another set of 3 backup copies is updated once every 24 hours and end in "day1.ics", etc. All of these backup files can be found in the "Backup Data" folder, within your profile folder (See These files should be able to be directly uploaded to restore your calendar to the previous state. If this happens, please follow the standard bug-reporting procedure to alert the developers of the problem.

The Next Step

The next step in the development process of Sunbird/Calendar is to implement many of the new UI elements that have been created for Lightning and to further improve the backend. This includes:

  • New calendar views which support inline-editing, full drag-and-drop, and improved visibility
  • A new, more user-friendly 'Create Event' dialog
  • Improved publishing/import dialogs, and more.
  • Better support for the CalDAV ( protocol.

Users wishing to follow the implementations of these features should feel free to download nightly builds. As always, testing and good bug reports are greatly appreciated.