Science and technology

Maintain your calendar with Git

Git is a type of uncommon purposes that has managed to encapsulate a lot of contemporary computing into one program that it finally ends up serving because the computational engine for a lot of different purposes. While it is best-known for monitoring supply code modifications in software program improvement, it has many different makes use of that may make your life simpler and extra organized. In this sequence main as much as Git’s 14th anniversary on April 7, we’ll share seven little-known methods to make use of Git. Today, we’ll take a look at utilizing Git to maintain monitor of your calendar.

Keep monitor of your schedule with Git

What if time itself was however supply code that may very well be managed and model managed? While proving or disproving such a principle might be past the scope of this text, it occurs which you could deal with time like supply code and handle your every day schedule with the assistance of Git.

The reigning champion for calendaring is the CalDAV protocol, which drives common open supply calendaring purposes like NextCloud in addition to common closed supply ones. There’s nothing improper with CalDAV (commenters, take heed). But it is not for everybody, and in addition to there’s nothing much less inspiring than a mono-culture.

Because I’ve no real interest in changing into invested in largely GUI-dependent CalDAV purchasers (though for those who’re searching for an excellent terminal CalDAV viewer, see khal), I began investigating text-based options. Text-based calendaring has all the same old advantages of working in plaintext. It’s light-weight, it is extremely moveable, and so long as it is structured, it is easy to parse and beautify (no matter magnificence means to you).

And better of all, it is precisely what Git was designed to handle.

Org mode not in a scary means

If you do not impose construction in your plaintext, it rapidly falls right into a pandemonium of off-the-cuff ideas and devil-may-care notation. Luckily, a markup syntax exists for calendaring, and it is contained within the venerable productiveness Emacs mode, Org mode (which, admit it, you’ve got been that means to begin utilizing anyway).

The superb factor about Org mode that many individuals do not understand is you don’t need to know or even use Emacs to benefit from conventions established by Org mode. You get numerous nice options for those who do use Emacs, but when Emacs intimidates you, then you’ll be able to implement a Git-based Org-mode calendaring system with out a lot as putting in Emacs.

The solely a part of Org mode that it’s essential to know is its syntax. Org-mode syntax is low-maintenance and pretty intuitive. The greatest distinction in calendaring with Org mode as an alternative of a GUI calendaring app is the workflow: as an alternative of going to a calendar and discovering the day you need to schedule a activity, you create a listing of duties after which assign every one a day and time.

Lists in Org mode use asterisks Git as bullets. Here’s my gaming activity record:

* Gaming
** Build Stardrifter character
** Read Stardrifter guidelines
** Stardrifter playtest

** Blue Planet @ Mike's

** Run Rappan Athuk
*** Purchase laborious copy
*** Skim Rappan Athuk
*** Build Rappan Athuk maps in maptool
*** Sort Rappan Athuk tokens

If you are aware of CommonMark or Markdown, you may discover that as an alternative of utilizing whitespace to create a subtask, Org mode favors the extra express use of further bullets. Whatever your background with lists, that is an intuitive and simple method to construct a listing, and it clearly shouldn’t be inherently tied to Emacs (though utilizing Emacs supplies you with shortcuts so you’ll be able to rearrange your record rapidly).

To flip your record into scheduled duties or occasions in a calendar, return via and add the key phrases SCHEDULED and, optionally, :CATEGORY:.

* Gaming
:CATEGORY: Game
** Build Stardrifter character
   SCHEDULED:
** Read Stardrifter guidelines
   SCHEDULED:
** Stardrifter playtest
   SCHEDULED:
** Blue Planet @ Mike's
   SCHEDULED:

and so forth...

The SCHEDULED key phrase marks the entry as an occasion that you simply count on to be notified about and the non-obligatory :CATEGORY: key phrase is an arbitrary tagging system in your personal use (and in Emacs, you’ll be able to color-code entries based on class).

For a repeating occasion, you should use notation corresponding to +1w to create a weekly occasion or +2w for a fortnightly occasion, and so forth.

All the flowery markup accessible for Org mode is documented, so do not hesitate to seek out extra methods to assist it suit your wants.

Put it into Git

Without Git, your Org-mode appointments are only a file in your native machine. It’s the 21st century, although, so that you at the least want your calendar in your cell phone, if not on your whole private computer systems. You can use Git to publish your calendar for your self and others.

First, create a listing in your .org information. I retailer mine in ~/cal.

$ mkdir ~/cal

Change into your listing and make it a Git repository:


Move your .org file to your native Git repo. In apply, I preserve one .org file per class.

$ mv ~/*.org ~/cal
$ ls
Game.org  Meal.org  Seth.org  Work.org

Stage and commit your information:

$ git add *.org
$ git commit -m 'cal init'

Create a Git distant

To make your calendar accessible from anyplace, you need to have a Git repository on the web. Your calendar is plaintext, so any Git repository will do. You can put your calendar on GitLab or every other public Git internet hosting service (even proprietary ones), and so long as your host permits it, you’ll be able to even mark the repository as non-public. If you do not need to put up your calendar to a server you do not management, it is easy to host a Git repository your self, both utilizing a naked repository for a single person or utilizing a frontend service like Gitolite or Gitea.

In the curiosity of simplicity, I will assume a self-hosted naked Git repository. You can create a naked distant repository on any server you could have SSH entry to with one Git command:

$ ssh -p 22122 seth@instance.com
[remote]$ mkdir cal.git
[remote]$ cd cal.git
[remote]$ git init --bare
[remote]$ exit

This naked repository can function your calendar’s house on the web.

Set it because the distant supply in your native (in your laptop, not your server) Git repository:

$ git distant add origin seth@instance.com:/house/seth/cal.git

And then push your calendar information to the server:

$ git push -u origin HEAD

With your calendar in a Git repository, it is accessible to you on any gadget operating Git. That means you may make updates and modifications to your schedule and push your modifications upstream so it updates in every single place.

I exploit this methodology to maintain my calendar in sync between my work laptop computer and my house workstation. Since I exploit Emacs daily for a lot of the day, with the ability to view and edit my calendar in Emacs is a significant comfort. The identical is true for most individuals with a cellular gadget, so the subsequent step is to arrange an Org-mode calendaring system on a cellular.

Mobile Git

Since your calendar information is in plaintext, strictly talking, you’ll be able to “use” it on any gadget that may learn a textual content file. That’s a part of the great thing about this technique; you are by no means with out, on the very least, your uncooked information. But to combine your calendar on a cellular gadget the way in which you’d count on a contemporary calendar to work, you want two elements: a cellular Git shopper and a cellular Org-mode viewer.

Git shopper for cellular

MGit is an effective Git shopper for Android. There are Git purchasers for iOS, as properly.

Once you’ve got put in MGit (or the same Git shopper), you need to clone your calendar repository so your telephone has a duplicate. To entry your server out of your cellular gadget, you need to arrange an SSH key for authentication. MGit can generate and retailer a key for you, which you need to add to your server’s ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file or to your SSH keys within the settings of your hosted Git account.

You should do that manually. MGit doesn’t have an interface to log into your server or hosted Git account. If you don’t do that, your cellular gadget can not entry your server to entry your calendar information.

I did it by copying the important thing file I generated in MGit to my laptop computer over KDE Connect (however you are able to do the identical over Bluetooth, or with an SD card reader, or a USB cable, relying in your most well-liked methodology of accessing information in your telephone). I copied the important thing (a file known as calkey to my server with this command:

$ cat calkey | ssh seth@instance.com "cat >> /home/seth/.ssh/authorized_keys"

You might have a distinct means of doing it, however for those who ever set your server up for passwordless login, that is precisely the identical course of. If you are utilizing a hosted Git service like GitLab, you need to copy and paste the contents of your key file into your person account’s SSH Key panel.

Once that is finished, your cellular gadget can authorize to your server, nevertheless it nonetheless must know the place to go to seek out your calendar information. Different apps might use completely different notation, however MGit makes use of plain outdated Git-over-SSH. That means for those who’re utilizing a non-standard SSH port, you need to specify the SSH port to make use of:

$ git clone ssh://seth@instance.com:22122//house/seth/git/cal.git

If you utilize a distinct app, it might use a distinct syntax that permits you to present a port in a particular subject or drop the ssh:// prefix. Refer to the app documentation for those who expertise points.

Clone the repository to your telephone.

Few Git apps are set to mechanically replace the repository. There are a couple of apps you should use to automate pulls, or you’ll be able to arrange Git hooks to push updates out of your server—however I will not get into that right here. For now, after you make an replace to your calendar, make sure to pull new modifications manually in MGit (or for those who change occasions in your telephone, push the modifications to your server).

Mobile calendar

There are a couple of completely different apps that present frontends for Org mode on a cellular gadget. Orgzly is a superb open supply Android app that gives an interface for Org mode’s biggest options, from the Agenda mode to the TODO lists. Install and launch it.

From the Main menu, select Setting Sync Repositories and choose the listing containing your calendar information (i.e., the Git repository you cloned out of your server).

Give Orgzly a second to import the info, then use Orgzly’s hamburger menu to pick out the Agenda view.

In Orgzly’s Settings Reminders menu, you’ll be able to select which occasion sorts set off a notification in your telephone. You can get notifications for SCHEDULED duties, DEADLINE duties, or something with an occasion time assigned to it. If you utilize your telephone as your taskmaster, you may by no means miss an occasion with Org mode and Orgzly.

Orgzly is not only a parser. You can edit and replace occasions, and even mark occasions DONE.

Designed for and by you

The essential factor to know about utilizing Org mode and Git is that each purposes are extremely versatile, and it is anticipated that you will customise how and what they accomplish that they may adapt to your wants. If one thing on this article is an affront to the way you arrange your life or handle your weekly schedule, however you want different elements of what this proposal affords, then throw out the half you do not like. You can use Org mode in Emacs if you’d like, or you’ll be able to simply use it as calendar markup. You can set your telephone to tug Git information proper off your laptop on the finish of the day as an alternative of a server on the web, or you’ll be able to configure your laptop to sync calendars at any time when your telephone is plugged in, or you’ll be able to handle it every day as you load up your telephone with all of the stuff you want for the workday. It’s as much as you, and that is essentially the most vital factor about Git, about Org mode, and about open supply.

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