When Apple removed local contact and calendar syncing between a Mac and iOS devices in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, many users were irate, since they didn’t want to sync via iCloud. One of the possible workarounds was to use OS X Server’s Contacts and Calendar services, which are full-fledged CardDAV and CalDAV servers. Although Apple did bring back local contact and calendar syncing after six months (see “Local Contact/Calendar Syncing Returns in iTunes 11.2,” 15 May 2014), there’s still some attraction to being able to run these syncing services, along with a third collaboration service, Messages, on your own. Note that I say “some attraction” because, honestly, if you’re not philosophically bothered by iCloud, it is notably easier than doing it yourself.
Contacts, Calendar, and Messages are where Charles Edge turns his attention this week in the streaming “Take Control of OS X Server.” Bundling them together in Chapter 7, “Collaboration Services,” Charles explains the primary reasons to turn these services on, gives instructions for doing so, and walks you through configuring Apple’s associated Contacts, Calendar, and Messages apps to access your server.
He’s also up front about the notable caveats to running these services. For instance, if you were hoping the Contacts service would enable you to create a repository of contacts that you could share with a group (as opposed to among your own personal devices), you’ll be disappointed. The only feasible solution to that is the hack of everyone in the group sharing a particular account, and Charles notes that every time he has set this up for consulting clients, they’ve been unhappy when someone in the group modifies or deletes contacts inadvertently.
Note that Tonya and I will be away for a few weeks, so there won’t be another streamed chapter until we’re back and have managed to catch up enough to edit Charles’s next chapter. In the meantime…
We encourage everyone to read Chapter 1, “Introducing OS X Server” and Chapter 2, “Choosing Server Hardware,” to see where the book will be going, but Chapter 3, “Preparation and Installation,” Chapter 4, “Directory Services,” Chapter 5, “DNS Service,” and Chapter 6, “File Sharing,” are available only to TidBITS members. If you have already joined the TidBITS membership program, log in to the TidBITS site using the email address from which you joined. The full ebook of “Take Control of OS X Server” will be available for purchase by everyone in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats once it’s complete.
Publishing this book in its entirety for TidBITS members as it’s being written is just one of the ways we thank TidBITS members for their support. We hope it encourages those of you who have been reading TidBITS for free for years to help us continue to bring you more of the professionally written and edited articles you’ve become accustomed to each week. For more details on what the membership program means to us, see “Support TidBITS in 2014 via the TidBITS Membership Program” (9 December 2013).