Apple

Pro tip: Setting up Contacts and Calendar services in OS X Server

Jesus Vigo explains how to setup the Contacts and Calendar services on Apple's OS X Server.

OS X Server Calendar

The Contacts and Calendar services are part of the cornerstone of office productivity. When combined with file sharing and email, these four elements allow for interdepartmental exchanges of ideas, in addition to the planning, managing, and execution of projects.

Centralized management of shared services provides end-users with a common point to access contact information and event calendars. It also allows them to publish their own personal itineraries so that others may subscribe to them and interchange relevant data so that everyone's always up-to-date.

Setting up the Calendar and Contacts services

Here are the requirements for setting up the Calendar and Contacts services on OS X Server:

Follow these steps to setup the Calendar service on OS X Server:

  1. Launch Server.app and select the server you wish to manage.
  2. Login with administrative credentials.
  3. Select Calendar from the Services pane (Figure A).
    Figure A
    Figure A
  4. Next to Push Notifications, click the Edit... button. If push notifications are not yet enabled, a message will appear asking to enable them. Click the Enable Push Notifications button to continue (Figure B).
    Figure B
    Figure B
  5. Before enabling Push Notifications, you'll be prompted to enter an Apple ID to link to the server. Best practices dictate that this account should not be a personal one, but rather, one set up independently for server use only. Enter the credentials and click the Get Certificate button (Figure C).
    Figure C
    Figure C
  6. Once the certificate has been created, a confirmation page will appear (Figure D).
    Figure D
    Figure D
  7. Click OK to continue (Figure E).
    Figure E
    Figure E
  8. Calendar services works in conjunction with user accounts created on Open Directory. However, when requiring a calendar for locations or resources, such as laptops or projectors, these types of items may have calendars created for them to aid in reserving a particular item for a date & time. Click the plus sign [+] to create a new resource calendar.
  9. Select the type of resource a calendar is being created for (Figure F).
    Figure F
    Figure F
  10. Enter a unique name for it (Figure G).
    Figure G
    Figure G
  11. Optionally, automatic invitation processing or a delegate may be specified (Figure H). This allows for requests to be automatically accepted on a first come, first served basis or users may be chosen to manually allow (or disallow) requests.
    Figure H
    Figure H
  12. Press the Create button to complete the creation of a resource calendar.
  13. Repeat the process for each locale and/or resource being added. Move the slider to the ON position when you are ready to start the service (Figure I).
    Figure I
    Figure I
  14. An optional, though highly useful feature, is being able to send invitations by email. This feature is off by default. To turn the feature on, click the checkbox next to Enable invitations by email to begin the configuration process (Figure J).
    Figure J
    Figure J
  15. You can accept the default email address (Figure K).
    Figure K
    Figure K
  16. You can also accept the default settings (Figure L).
    Figure L
    Figure L
  17. Or you can modify the default email address and settings for your specific environment, clicking Next between setup screens (Figure M)
    Figure M
    Figure M
  18. At the Mail Account Summary screen, verify that all the information is correct for your company, and click Finish to complete the process (Figure N).
    Figure N
    Figure N

Follow these steps to configure the Contacts service on OS X Server:

  1. Launch Server.app and select the server you wish to manage.
  2. Login with administrative credentials.
  3. Select Calendar from the Services pane (Figure O).
    Figure O
    Figure O
  4. Move the slider to the ON position to start the service (Figure P).
    Figure P
    Figure P
  5. Optionally, to allow users to search the directory for contacts, check the box next to Allow users to search the directory using the Contacts application (Figure Q).
    Figure Q
    Figure Q

Once both services have been initially configured and started, populating calendar and contact information may be done directly from a user's account using the Calendar or Contacts app. Creating generic calendars is simply a matter of creating a new service account on the server and creating a calendar that will be shared out to users for subscription. As the calendar is updated on the server, these changes will propagate to each subscribed user's calendar.

Similarly, the Contacts app will now display a Directory Services pane, whereby users may search the Contacts database on the server for global entries. Best of all, both shared calendars and contacts may be synced with mobile devices, not just computers on the LAN. Since both services operate on standardized protocols for data manipulation over HTTP -- CalDAV (Calendar) and CardDAV (Contacts) respectively -- information will always be kept up-to-date across devices and platforms.

* This is optional, yet highly recommended. SSL is on by default for OS X communication services. On a LAN, self-signed certificates may be used for direct, client-to-server communications with little to no issues. However, if WAN or internet-facing access is required, a 3rd-party SSL certificate should be installed on the server to ensure communications are encrypted and to verify the identity of the host server.

What additional tips do you have for setting up Contacts and Calendar services in OS X Server? Please take a moments to share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 15 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...

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