iCal sucks hugely: Tim Bray

Over at his blog ongoing, Tim Bray describes an encounter with iCal which nearly ended in disaster.
Today for some reason my PowerBook locked up (no big gripe, this hardly ever happens) and when it came back up, iCal showed a little red splodge next to my calendar which when clicked said “iCal was unable to load the calendar. The file might be corrupted or temporarly (sic) unreadable. you can try again later or reset this calendar. Resetting the calendar will remove all calendar content.” There are not words to express how much this sucks.
He's certainly right on that last point—I can't think of any words either.

iCal was one of the first applications I put to the test after taking the Mac plunge. Indeed, I recall being pretty excited about the potential for desktop-PDA-phone syncing. I still use iCal to much the same extent as described in that post from last year, and I've recently started testing out Google Calendar as a potential method for archiving and sharing calendar data. With 12 months of iCal use under my belt, then, I find that I agree with all of Tim's criticisms.
Of course, in a sane world iCal would store a calendar named “Tim” in Library/Calendars/Tim, but they’re off in Library/Application Support/iCal/Sources/. And mine contained eight hundred thousand null bytes.
iCal's data storage is obfuscated. I, too, would prefer that my data was stored somewhere sensible.
I don’t want to be rude. But a personal-productivity application that updates crucial high-value information files in place is Broken As Designed, and evidence of an extreme lack of professionalism.
Roger that.
While [iCal's] UI is good, it’s still kind of sluggish.
It takes nigh on 3.5 seconds on my PowerBook G4 to duplicate an appointment in place.

iCal does look nice, but when you get down and use it, it seems like a beta release of some kind. Come to think of it, so does Address Book—is it just me, or is the whole cursor-just-randomly-jumps-between-fields phenomenon widespread in that application?


  1. I couldn't agree more with that sentence. iCal definitely sucks hugely. In my case, it seems somehow trickily weird how such a great OS like Snow Leopard can co-exist with iCal, on my MacBook Pro. iCal crashes everytime I try to use it for more than 30 seconds.
    Fortunately, I realised that problem before I began using it for real. Now the problem is to find out what app could replace it – annoyance-free.


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