[ietf-calsify] iCalendar VTODOs for Human Task Management

Adrian Apthorp adrian at apthorpia.com
Thu May 21 05:43:59 PDT 2009

I've been exploring the potential of using iCalendar VTODOs and calendar
user agents as a means of communicating BPM orchestrated tasks to process


This seems to be a natural application of the VTODO component but I don't
see much if any activity in this area - hence I'm wondering if this is a
dead-end...? But why create something new as in the WS-HumanTask
co-ordination protocol when an existing standard could be put to use?

I'm writing to this list to get a view on this use of iCalendar and on some
of the gaps / questions I've identified:

1) Reason codes - adding a task reason code to a change in status adds the
possibility of determining whether a task completed successfully, failed or
some other condition.

2) Comment parameters - RFC 2445 on allows for basic parameters against a
comment. If user wants to add a comment against a VTODO it's necessary to
record date/time and user id....or is a VJOURNAL the right way to go?

3) CATEGORIES to identify the task or process.

4) Task specific input and output data and rendering - the ATTACH property
seems the obvious way to communicate this, but need a standard format like
XForms to handle task data so the rendering can be done locally. Also, the
ATTACH property can only be updated by the organiser.

Is there an opportunity here to make VTODOs a more widely used standard or
have I misunderstood something?

Adrian Apthorp
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