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Old 15 Mar 2017, 02:15 AM   #1
SaintGermain
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Contact category

In my CardDAV address book, I wanted to use the Category field of a contact but it seems that Fastmail doesn't support it (it only supports Groups).

If i understand correctly the Category field of a contact is specific to vCard v4 and is not present in vCard v3 which Fastmail implements ?

This CardDAV Group/Category is a bit confusing.
It seems that the iPhone only indirectly support CardDAV Groups (you need a third-party app) and on Android, Groups are natively supported but only through a Google Address Book.

iPhone and Android don't support Category though. On Thunderbird with Cardbook, Category is well supported.

It's a bit of a mess then, to properly separate private contacts from work contacts...
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 02:21 AM   #2
SaintGermain
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Ah no, contact CATEGORIES are supported by v2.1, v3 and v4 :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard

It's just that Fastmail doesn't display/use it.
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 06:16 PM   #3
rnkn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintGermain View Post
It seems that the iPhone only indirectly support CardDAV Groups (you need a third-party app) and on Android, Groups are natively supported but only through a Google Address Book.
iOS supports CardDAV groups natively. Just tap "Groups" in the upper left.
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 06:58 PM   #4
SaintGermain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnkn View Post
iOS supports CardDAV groups natively. Just tap "Groups" in the upper left.
Really ? Can you explain how to create/edit Groups on iOS then ?

Thanks
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 09:31 PM   #5
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintGermain View Post
Really ? Can you explain how to create/edit Groups on iOS then
While I suspect that was sarcasm, just to be clear, you can't do much with groups on iOS other than view them.

However, it's unfair to say that iOS only indirectly supports groups by using a third-party app. Probably more accurate to say that it's support for groups is incomplete. For some users, being able to view their groups is really more than sufficient.

Also, while you can't move contacts between groups on iOS, nor can you create, rename, or edit the groups themselves, you can create a new contact only in one or more specific groups by ensuring that only those groups are selected before creating the contact. IMHO it's cumbersome and half-baked, but at least it's something
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 09:37 PM   #6
SaintGermain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhollington View Post
While I suspect that was sarcasm, just to be clear, you can't do much with groups on iOS other than view them.

However, it's unfair to say that iOS only indirectly supports groups by using a third-party app. Probably more accurate to say that it's support for groups is incomplete. For some users, being able to view their groups is really more than sufficient.

Also, while you can't move contacts between groups on iOS, nor can you create, rename, or edit the groups themselves, you can create a new contact only in one or more specific groups by ensuring that only those groups are selected before creating the contact. IMHO it's cumbersome and half-baked, but at least it's something
Fair enough, Groups support on iOS is really incomplete and cumbersome.
To even use the solution you propose to create a Contact in a Group, you need to create a Group in the first place. But it is not possible to create a Group without a third-party Apps or without iTunes/iCloud.

Anyway what I would really want is to separate Contacts in different Categories. We can use some workaround by using Groups, but Groups is not really meant to be used as Categories.
I can try to create different Address Books, but it is not supported by Fastmail.

If someone has a better idea how to properly separate private from work contacts, I'm all ears.

Thanks
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 10:25 PM   #7
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintGermain View Post
Fair enough, Groups support on iOS is really incomplete and cumbersome.
To even use the solution you propose to create a Contact in a Group, you need to create a Group in the first place. But it is not possible to create a Group without a third-party Apps or without iTunes/iCloud.
Or any CardDAV server, like FastMail

At any rate, I don't disagree at all that it's cumbersome, but to be fair it's enough for many users who are happy to manage their groups on their desktop and only need to view them on their iOS devices.

Quote:
Anyway what I would really want is to separate Contacts in different Categories. We can use some workaround by using Groups, but Groups is not really meant to be used as Categories.
I can try to create different Address Books, but it is not supported by Fastmail.
Yeah, unless you have an older business/family account (which includes an extra shared address book for the entire group), there's really no way to*have more multiple address books. However, I also don't think that having multiple address books is really the panacea that you might think it is.

I surmise that what you're looking for is a complete separation of contacts into separate address books, but how well that works is really going to depend on what clients you're using to access CardDAV. As you've noted, proper CardDAV support is far from standard across all client platforms, and support for separate address books can be even messier than support for multiple groups for instance, while some CardDAV clients (iOS and Android, for instance) understand multiple address books in a single CardDAV account, others like Thunderbird require that you set up multiple, separate CardDAV accounts, one for each address book.

Further, the UI in many clients won't necessarily improve as much as you'd think. For instance, on iOS having separate address books doesn't really change much you can still only filter and work with it all in much the same way as if you were only using groups, and now you'll have to designate a default address book where new contacts will be created, with no ability to move them between address books if you forget to select the other address book before adding a new contact. Further, if you end up with the same contact in both address books you'll suddenly be dealing with "unified" contact records that try to bring the information from both across in a way that doesn't always make logical sense. IMHO, having multiple address books on iOS can make things more cumbersome, not less, with the only advantage being that you'd be able to have distinct groups within each address book. The only real advantage to this is that you can have separate sets of groups in each one, but I'm not entirely convinced that this one benefit is worth the extra complexity on the iOS side.

While assigning users to groups in FastMail can be a bit cumbersome since groups work more like "tags" than "folders"* it's still not too complicated to do this through the web interface, particularly since FastMail nicely provides a "No Group" smart group that shows you any contacts that haven't been assigned to ANY group. So you could create separate groups for "Personal" and "Business" and then just go into the "No Group" and assign them from there until "No Group" is completely empty. If you wanted additional "Personal" and "Business" sub-groups, you could still do this just by prefixing them so they'd sort accordingly, although I'll be the first to admit it's not nearly as clean and simple as having entirely separate address books in this particular case.

However, when it comes right down to it, I think the real issue is that CardDAV isn't as much of a "standard" as any of us would like it to be across all platforms, so at the end of the day, whether we're using groups or separate address books, it's all still very kludgy.
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Old 15 Mar 2017, 10:58 PM   #8
SaintGermain
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I pretty much agree with everything you said.

I gave up on different address books as it is a nightmare to manage.

However I am undecided between Groups and Categories.

Categories are well supported by Thunderbird, and it is easy to filter the Address Book by Category.
If you are using the Thunderbird CardBook plugin, I've asked the author to look into associating an Address Book + Category to an identity. This way when you select an identity, the relevant contacts are automatically filtered. He said that he is interested and that he will look into it...

Groups on the other hand, are not meant to be used to classify contacts in Thunderbird. So it is not easy to filter contacts based on Groups.

So Thunderbird is much easier with Categories.
But Fastmail and iOS/Android can only work with Groups.
And I'm wrinting 80% of my email in Thunderbird.

I wish I could teleport in 2030, when all this mess will be resolved... ;-)

Thanks for your input
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Old 16 Mar 2017, 02:26 AM   #9
BritTim
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It is interesting to speculate how Address Book support might evolve if the JMAP standard (http://jmap.io/spec-contacts.html) gets traction. The filter support would make dynamic Contact Lists easy to support, and could easily encompass things like Categories.
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