Palm Calendar File Format

I’ve been a Palm user for many years now and this is the only PDA I’ve used
(too young for Psion or Newton, too Sunnish for any PocketPC device). I don’t
quite see how I could go back to paper now.

As any good corporate citizen, I share my calendar on-line with my
colleagues using some synchronization software. At least I did until I
needed to reinstall my Palm Desktop software. So I went and downloaded
the latest 4.1.4 Palm Desktop version. Bad idea. The synchronization is
now broken. Why? Most likely because palmsource decided to change their
internal calendar format and my synchronization tool relies (maybe via
reverse-engineering) on the older format.

So what do I do now? Well, how about exporting from the Palm Desktop
(which is my real read/write environment when the shared on-line and
palm device are really read-mostly) and importing back into my
corporate calendar software? No luck there. How about doing my own HTML
export for people at least to see my calendar (I don’t like too much
people changing it anyhow…)? This is the kind of things I do to keep
calling myself a developer, but I need to have some info on the data

So which file format does palmsource use for its calendar data (datebook.dat, export.dba)? AFAIK, it’s proprietary, undocumented (palmsource devzone is not answering which isn’t a surprise given how sluggish all palm sites are) and hard to reverse-engineer (not even XML-based).

Come on palmsource, this is such a  microsoftish approach!

Update: this is meant to be a post asking for help, not Palm bashing ;-). So suggestions are welcome!

Author: alexismp

Google Developer Relations in Paris.

7 thoughts on “Palm Calendar File Format”

  1. Did you ever find a solution to your problem with the palm datebook. I have the same issues as you do and palm is not being very supportive. I really just dont think that they care.

  2. Actually, here’s a proof of concept:

    I wrote ConvertMe to migrate Palm Desktop 4.1, 4.1 SP3 and 4.1.4 data to Microsoft Outlook 2000 through 2003 SP2.

    Note to the boys at Chapura: ConvertMe (didn’t pick the name) wasn’t design to compete with PocketCopy. It was more of a ‘I need to figure out how to get data out of the Palm Desktop data files, so I can help folks migrate from Palm to PocketPC / Windows Mobile devices’ sort of deal. Hence, that’s why ConvertMe is free.

    Anyone interested in sponsoring ConvertMe? Dell seems to recommend it to their users a lot, but is hesitant on sponsoring it.

  3. It’s kind of a pain, but you can export your palm calendar as a dat book archive (make sure calendar archive is NOT selected.) Then import into yahoo. Then export from yahoo to outlook. Gcalendar can read the export without any problems. Wish there was any easier way, but I haven’t found one yet.

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