How to delete old data in Google Calendar

I use Google Calendar as a vital piece of milonga.be: me and some 20 other editors keep an up-to-date calendar of tango events in Belgium. We’ve been doing that for the last 3 years, so there was a lot of old, no-longer-relevant data in the agenda. The way I use the calendar on the site is that I download all the appointments as a .ICS (iCal/gCal) file and then format/display it with another program. But with all the old data still present, that ICS file had grown to more than 1MB, and this size slowed down the updates (I download the whole thing every 30 min). So I decided to delete all old data (2007 – 2009). Not that easy.

Google Calendar’s web interface doesn’t really allow you to bulk delete. There is no way to select several dozens of appointments and delete them in one go. But I found a way that works (suggested here):

  • Install Mozilla Thunderbird (desktop email client)
  • Install Mozilla Lightning (calendar plugin for Thunderbird)
  • Install Provider for Google Calendar (Gcal plugin for Lightning)
  • Look up the Google Calendar Private iCal URL of your calendar (something like http://www.google.com/calendar/ical/...%40group.calendar.google.com/private-.../basic.ics)
  • Add it to Thunderbird with FILE/NEW/CALENDAR/NETWORK/GOOGLE CALENDAR
  • You now have a read/write connection to your Google Calendar!

Select the appointments you want to delete, hit the ‘Del’ button and see them disappear one by one.

CalendarBurner: Feedburner for iCal calendars

I am currently using my experience with milonga.be to build a similar site for Tango in Bulgaria. One of the major components of the site is the tango calendar. In this case I have chosen not to use a special iCal visualisation tool (more on that later in a series posts on Tango2.0), but just the standard Google Calendar IFRAME-based widget.

It’s not a bad widget, but it’s too limited. You can only display “Day/Week/Month/Agenda” style, the colors and fonts are fixed and it does funny stuff for events that continue after 12:00AM (which tango events regularly do, believe me).

I’ve already talked about the fact that iCal is a sissy format and that Gcal needs some more features. I was just thinking that it would be nice if some company would jump on that and provide the whistles and bells for iCal/vCal feeds (like those of Google Calendar), just like Feedburner did with RSS/podcast feeds (and they got bought by Google, so maybe their idea wasn’t half bad). So I introduce the following concept: CalendarBurner (since the Calburner/iCalburner domains are taken).

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