Open Event Server – Export Event as an iCalendar File

FOSSASIA‘s Open Event Server is the REST API backend for the event management platform, Open Event. Here, the event organizers can create their events, add tickets for it and manage all aspects from the schedule to the speakers. Also, once he makes his event public, others can view it and buy tickets if interested.

To make event promotion easier, we also provide the event organizer to export his event as an iCalendar file. Going by the Wikipedia definition, iCalendar is a computer file format which allows Internet users to send meeting requests and tasks to other Internet users by sharing or sending files in this format through various methods. The files usually have an extension of .ics. With supporting software, such as an email reader or calendar application, recipients of an iCalendar data file can respond to the sender easily or counter propose another meeting date/time. The file format is specified in a proposed internet standard (RFC 5545) for calendar data exchange.

Server side – generating the iCal file

Here we will be using the icalendar package for Python as the file writer.

from icalendar import Calendar, vCalAddress, vText
  • We define a class ICalExporter which has a static method export(event_id).
  • Query the event using the event_id passed and start forming the calendar:
event = EventModel.query.get(event_id)

cal = Calendar()
cal.add('prodid', '-//fossasia//open-event//EN')
cal.add('version', '2.0')
cal.add('x-wr-caldesc', "Schedule for sessions at " +
  • We query for the accepted sessions of the event and store it in sessions.
sessions = Session.query \
   .filter_by(event_id=event_id) \
   .filter_by(state='accepted') \
   .filter(Session.deleted_at.is_(None)) \
  • We then iterate through all the sessions in sessions.
  • If it is a valid session, we instantiate an icalendar event and store required details.
event_component = icalendar.Event()
event_component.add('summary', session.title)
event_component.add('uid', str( + "-" + event.identifier)
event_component.add('geo', (event.latitude, event.longitude))
event_component.add('location', or '' + " " + event.location_name)
event_component.add('dtstart', tz.localize(session.starts_at))
event_component.add('dtend', tz.localize(session.ends_at))
event_component.add('description', session.short_abstract)
event_component.add('url', url_for('event_detail.display_event_detail_home',
                                  identifier=event.identifier, _external=True))
  • We then loop through all the speakers in that particular session and add it to the iCal Event object as well.
for speaker in session.speakers:
   # Ref:
   # can use below but privacy reasons
   attendee = vCalAddress('MAILTO:' + if else '[email protected]')
   attendee.params['cn'] = vText(
   event_component.add('attendee', attendee)
  • This event_component is then added to the cal object that we created in the beginning.
  • And finally, the cal.to_ical() is returned. This is the iCalendar file contents. This can be directly written to a file.
return cal.to_ical()

Obtaining the iCal file:

Firstly, we have an API endpoint which starts the task on the server.

GET - /v1/events/{event_identifier}/export/ical

Here, event_identifier is the unique ID of the event. This endpoint starts a celery task on the server to export the event as an iCal file. It returns the task of the URL to get the status of the export task. A sample response is as follows:

  "task_url": "/v1/tasks/b7ca7088-876e-4c29-a0ee-b8029a64849a"

The user can go to the above returned URL and check the status of his Celery task. If the task completed successfully he will get the download URL. The endpoint to check the status of the task is:

and the corresponding response from the server –

  "result": {
    "download_url": "/v1/events/1/exports/http://localhost/static/media/exports/1/zip/OGpMM0w2RH/"
  "state": "SUCCESS"

The file can be downloaded from the above mentioned URL.

Hence, now the event can be added to any scheduling app which recognizes the ics format.