iTip

Since version 3.3, vObject has support for parsing and generating iTip messages. Currently only VEVENT is supported.

What is an iTip message?

iTip is defined in rfc5546. iTip messages are a type of iCalendar messages, that are typically used for scheduling (invites and replies and such).

You can recognize an iTip message from a standard iCalendar message by the fact that it will have a METHOD property. Here's a minimal example of an invite:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:REQUEST
BEGIN:VEVENT
UID:foobar
ORGANIZER:organizer@example.org
ATTENDEE:attendee@example.org
SEQUENCE:1
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

Here's an example of a response to that invite:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:REPLY
BEGIN:VEVENT
UID:foobar
ORGANIZER:organizer@example.org
ATTENDEE;PARTSTAT=ACCEPTED:attendee@example.org
SEQUENCE:1
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

These types of messages are often sent over email. This is called iMip. CalDAV servers also deal with iTip, this is defined in rfc6638.

There are very strictly defined semantics on how Calendar agents are supposed to generate and process these. VObject provides some help with this.

Generating iTip messages

Generating iTip messages works based on the following three scenarios:

  1. A user creates an event,
  2. A user updates an event,
  3. A user deletes an event.

For each of those scenarios, we need to figure out:

  1. Is the user an attendee or organizer for that event?
  2. If the user is an attendee, did the attendee update their participation status?
  3. If the user is an organizer, do the attendees need to know about any updates?
  4. And so on.

There's quite a few possible scenarios, including organizers adding or removing attendees, resulting into various requests, cancellations and replies.

Here's an example to generate these messages:

$broker = new Sabre\VObject\ITip\Broker();
$messages = $broker->parseEvent(
    $newCalendar,
    'organizer@example.org',
    $oldCalendar
);

Both $newCalendar and $oldCalendar should either be a VCALENDAR object, or a null.

If $oldCalendar is null, it will be treated as a new object, if $newCalendar is null, it will be treated as if the user deleted the object.

The returned value ($messages) is an array of Sabre\VObject\ITip\Message objects. Each object carries all the relevant information to deliver the object using email or otherwise.

Parsing iTip messages

The broker can also parse incoming iTip messages. This happens for example when:

  1. You receive an invite,
  2. You get an update for an invite,
  3. You send a reply to an invite,
  4. You receive a cancellation for an invite.

The broker can parse these incoming messages, and update an existing calendar object (or create a new one).

To do this, you will need a fully populated Sabre\VObject\ITip\Message object, and some existing calendar object (or not at all if it's an invite to a new event).

Example:

$broker = new Sabre\VObject\ITip\Broker();
$broker->processMessage(
    $message,
    $oldCalendar
);

This will update $oldCalendar in-place.


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