Don't get me wrong, Entourage still sucks. But it does have its redeeming qualities.

We use MS Exchange. So it's pretty much a requirement to have all of my calendar events in Exchange. Since iCal doesn't integrate with Exchange that leaves me with few options for this:

  • Entourage
  • Outlook Web Access
  • GroupCal
  • Outlook in Parallels
  • Program my own interface
  • Be a Lone Ranger

I don't exactly have the luxury of being a lone ranger and OWA just plain sucks butt. Programming my own doesn't seem that hard. Exchange is (from my perspective) just an IMAP4 server that stores its calendar objects as mail messages with attached ics files. It should be easy to write a converter in Ruby that will make those ics files actually usable by iCal. Then a simple Cocoa Input Manager that watches for changes in iCal or the IMAP folder and populates those objects onto the other. Unfortunately, that's not something I have time for. I barely have time to update my blog, much less code an undertaking like this.

GroupCal seems like it solves all of the problems except that it actually doesn't. GroupCal makes lots of promises but in fact crashes, fails syncing, corrupts iCal and generally makes things much worse than switching to Windows and adopting Outlook. Speaking of which, Parallels is kind of heavy just for running my calendar. So, Entourage it is.

But the situation isn't as hopeless as it seems. With the most recent version of Entourage (11.3.3) there's a new Sync Services option. And it actually works. Microsoft has gone a long way here in my opinion. For an iCal user like me, this is truly the best of both worlds. With iCal syncing enabled in Entourage all I have to do is leave Entourage running and hidden. Then I work only in iCal, and everything Just Works. Isn't that how it should be?

Whoever it was that got this feature pushed through at Microsoft, thank you.

UPDATE: It still sucks as much as you think it does. This feature has the handy dandy added benefit of nuking your iCal database every so often. Thanks Entourage.