[CalendarServer-users] Questions regarding CardDAV server VCard "Categories" and OSX Contacts "Groups"

tewarfel tom at thewarfels.net
Fri May 2 07:32:15 PDT 2014

I've been experimenting with setting up a home instance of Calendar Server to
sync Contacts and Calendar data across our devices, trying both the 5.1 and
5.2 builds running under OSX 10.8.5, and built using Homebrew'ed Python
2.7.6 --with-brewed-OpenSSL.   I'm using the XML File Directory Service +
accounts.xml to create a single user for now.  I'm trying to get multiple
devices to all use a shared common set of calendars and contacts.

The Calendar Server component works as expected - I can create multiple
different calendars on one device, and they all show up (as expected) on the
other devices as distinct named calendars on teh other devices.

Contacts are NOT working as expected, and I'm not sure if I have a faulty
understanding of how they are supposed to work (or if I'm less clever than I
thought I was as far as getting this to build and run). 

Using Contacts.app from OSX 10.8.5 on a Macbook, I can add an account for
the CardDAV server (separately from the CalDAV server), and can set that
server account to be my primary account within Contacts.  In addition, I
deleted all the local contacts off the laptop to minimize confusion.  I
close and restart Contacts, and see the server listed without any contacts. 
I can then create "groups" under that server within Contacts (by selecting
File -> New Group), but when I try to import a CardDAV file, everything just
goes into the "All Contacts" heading on the server.

No matter.  I select "Last Import", "Select All", and drag the entries to my
newly-created Contacts group ("group" within Contacts, "Category" in Vcard
parlance).  I repeat this until I've built up 3-4 different contact groups
in Contacts and they seem to work correctly on the laptop.

Now the confusing part....

I take a second OSX machine (tried with both OSX 10.8 and 10.9) and point it
at the same server with the same account.  All I get is one "All Contacts"
heading for the server.  All of the contact entries are in there, but there
is no separation by the different Categories (Contact groups). 

Same if I point an iOS 6.1 handheld device at the server.  And if I just
point my web browser at the server (and authenticate with the info in
accounts.xml), I see all my vcard entries in{insert-username-here}/addressbook/
but there are no other address books other than "addressbook" listed.

I reboot the original laptop and restart contacts... and the group
separations are still present.  

I delete the CardDAV account settings on the laptop, restart Contacts, and
(as expected) everything is gone.  Re-add the account settings, and <poof>
all the Contacts are back AND they are still in the original separate groups
I had created.  (I'm assuming the group separation metadata somehow
persisted across the account deletion and recreation).  

Separate computer, same OS, all one blob with no groups.  Same computer, but
delete account settings and then re-add them -> the separate groups
(Categories) are still there.

Unlike the multiple Calendars (where they are kept separate and imported
separately) the Contact separation into groups appears confined to the
original laptop - all other machines connecting to the CardDAV server just
see the big blob of All Contacts.

Is my expectation of multiple Contacts Groups, once created by one laptop
using the CardDAV server being available on other laptops (just like
multiple calendars are) incorrect, or is this a (hopefully well-known) 
(mis)configuration error?

Or, do I need to do something to explicitly pre-create the contact groups in
PostgreSQL (to represent the VCard categories) prior to importing the actual
contact data to them on the laptop?

Comments / suggestions / redirections appreciated.


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