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Reading/Parsing an iCalendar File (.ics)

8 New Member
Hello,
I'm looking for some C# code that loads a iCalendar file from a wesbite, loops through the .ics file and extracts the event details from each event in the file. I don't want to use aspose.icalenda r or another one of the popular packages.

My ultimate goal is take the iCal data and import into a SQL Server database. I can handle the import to the database but I'm having trouble reading the iCalendar files from external website.

I've been able to load rss files in the past and pull the data within those files into a database. I don't see how loading a structured ical file would be that different.

Is my reasoning off?

Thanks.
Jun 11 '08 #1
17 28088
Plater
7,872 Recognized Expert Expert
I suppose if you can follow the RFC for it, parsing an .ics file should not be a problem. It seems reasonable to do.
I'm sure google probably does it, maybe they release some API on the matter?

What do you mean by reading the file from a website?
Like you want your application to go to some http:// address and get a file to parse?
Jun 11 '08 #2
csharpusr
8 New Member
I suppose if you can follow the RFC for it, parsing an .ics file should not be a problem. It seems reasonable to do.
I'm sure google probably does it, maybe they release some API on the matter?

What do you mean by reading the file from a website?
Like you want your application to go to some http:// address and get a file to parse?
Basically yes. I want to load an external icalendar file from a website and then take the data in the icalendar file and import it into a SQL server database.

I'm having issues trying to parse the ical file.
Jun 11 '08 #3
Plater
7,872 Recognized Expert Expert
Well you can use HttpWebRequest on the serverside code to try and grab the iCal file from the internet address.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICalendar

Looks pretty much like it is just name : value pairs?
Jun 11 '08 #4
csharpusr
8 New Member
Thanks for putting me on the right path. I'm grabbing the iCalendar file properly but I'm not sure how to get each event out of the file. I've read that regex could help but I've never used them before. ANy suggestions aor help?

Thanks.

Here's my code thusfar:

HttpWebRequest myRequest = (HttpWebRequest )WebRequest.Cre ate("http://sports.yahoo.co m/nfl/teams/cin/ical.ics");
myRequest.Metho d = "GET";
WebResponse myResponse = myRequest.GetRe sponse();
StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(my Response.GetRes ponseStream(), System.Text.Enc oding.UTF8);
string result = sr.ReadToEnd();
sr.Close();
myResponse.Clos e();
Console.WriteLi ne(result);
Jun 12 '08 #5
Plater
7,872 Recognized Expert Expert
Well it should be in the format of
Expand|Select|Wrap|Line Numbers
  1. name1:value1
  2. name2:value2
  3. name3:value3
  4. name4:value4
  5. name5:value5
  6. name6:value6
  7.  
Just need to know how many to read for one "Event"
Jun 12 '08 #6
csharpusr
8 New Member
Here's a sample iCal file. The information between the BEGIN:VEVENT and END:VEVENT represents a single event. I need to grab all of the events in the file. Thanks so much for your help.

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:PUBLISH
X-WR-CALNAME:Baltimo re Ravens Calendar (NFL)
PRODID:-//sports.yahoo.co m//Baltimore Ravens Calendar (NFL)//EN
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART;TZID=US/Pacific:2008090 7T100000
DTEND;TZID=US/Pacific:2008090 7T130000
SUMMARY:Cincinn ati at Baltimore
UID:Baltimore Ravens Calendar (NFL)2008090703 3@sports.yahoo. com
SEQUENCE:0
COMMENT:Copyrig ht 2006 (c) Yahoo!, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DESCRIPTION:TV: CBS
DURATION:PT3H0M
DTSTAMP:2008061 2T112611
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART;TZID=US/Pacific:2008110 2T100000
DTEND;TZID=US/Pacific:2008110 2T130000
SUMMARY:Baltimo re at Cleveland
UID:Baltimore Ravens Calendar (NFL)2008110200 5@sports.yahoo. com
SEQUENCE:0
COMMENT:Copyrig ht 2006 (c) Yahoo!, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DESCRIPTION:TV: CBS
DURATION:PT3H0M
DTSTAMP:2008061 2T112611
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART;TZID=US/Pacific:2008113 0T100000
DTEND;TZID=US/Pacific:2008113 0T130000
SUMMARY:Baltimo re at Cincinnati
UID:Baltimore Ravens Calendar (NFL)2008113000 4@sports.yahoo. com
SEQUENCE:0
COMMENT:Copyrig ht 2006 (c) Yahoo!, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DESCRIPTION:TV: CBS
DURATION:PT3H0M
DTSTAMP:2008061 2T112611
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR
Jun 12 '08 #7
Curtis Rutland
3,256 Recognized Expert Specialist
I'd parse it around newline characters for starters. Then you should have an array of each line. Then I'd loop through that array until I find a line that says: "BEGIN:VEVE NT". Then, I'd grab the next 9 lines, splitting each around ":", and only keep the 2nd half. Do your insert and repeat.

This is how I'd do it, if I already had a text file. Just use your "result" string in place of my "ical" string.
Expand|Select|Wrap|Line Numbers
  1. FileStream fs = new FileStream(@"c:\dev\ical.txt", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
  2. StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(fs);
  3. string ical = sr.ReadToEnd();
  4. char[] delim = { '\n' };
  5. string[] lines = ical.Split(delim);
  6. delim[0] = ':';
  7. for (int i = 0; i < lines.Length; i++)
  8. {
  9.     if (lines[i].Contains("BEGIN:VEVENT"))
  10.     {
  11.         string[] eventData = new string[9];
  12.         for (int j = 0; j < 9; j++)
  13.             eventData[j] = lines[i + j + 1].Split(delim)[1];
  14.         ///////////////////////////
  15.         //Do your SQL INSERT here//
  16.         ///////////////////////////
  17.         i += 10;
  18.     }
  19. }
  20. sr.Close();
  21.  
This assumes that there are always nine fields associated with each event though. If there can be less, then this would fail. In that case you would have to check to see if each one is what it should be.
Jun 12 '08 #8
csharpusr
8 New Member
Awesome thanks for the posting. I'm able to download and parse the calendar data. One question - some iCalendar files have more or less than 9 values for each calendar event. How would go about just getting all of the information between the
BEGIN:VEVENT
END:VEVENT

One other question. This line grabs the data after the ":'.
eventData[j] = lines[i + j + 1].Split(delim)[1];

I also need to test on the filed names. When I declare a new string and do this:
eventDataHeader[j] = lines[i + j + 1].Split(delim)[0];

I'm getting this error: "The name "j" does not exist in the current context". I don;t understand why I'm getting this error.

Thank you guys so much for your help.
Jun 17 '08 #9
Curtis Rutland
3,256 Recognized Expert Specialist
1st question: Change the 2nd for loop to a while loop, and check each value to see if it is a END:VEVENT before splitting it and saving it. If it is, execute your sql with what you've got. You could also change eventData to an ArrayList, so you can dynamically change the size.

2nd question: Yes, that line does grab the data after the :. I don't really see a question here.

3rd question: j only exists inside the for loop that created it. It's called "scope." If you need to retain the value of j, you must declare it at the level you need to use it at.

Awesome thanks for the posting. I'm able to download and parse the calendar data. One question - some iCalendar files have more or less than 9 values for each calendar event. How would go about just getting all of the information between the
BEGIN:VEVENT
END:VEVENT

One other question. This line grabs the data after the ":'.
eventData[j] = lines[i + j + 1].Split(delim)[1];

I also need to test on the filed names. When I declare a new string and do this:
eventDataHeader[j] = lines[i + j + 1].Split(delim)[0];

I'm getting this error: "The name "j" does not exist in the current context". I don;t understand why I'm getting this error.

Thank you guys so much for your help.
Jun 17 '08 #10

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