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vCard and iCalendar are now UK government open standards

Whilst the present government’s record may be regarded by some as controversial, to say the least, there’s one area where some real progress has been made; and that’s the adoption of open standards by central government.

In July this year, there was the adoption of Open Document Format (ODF), PDF and PDF/A and HTML (news passim), with ODF for collaborating on and sharing government documents and the other 3 standards for viewing government documents.

Yesterday, the Open Standards Board announced that RFC 5545 (iCalendar) and RFC 6350 (vCard) have now been adopted as open standards for government for exchanging calendar events and contact details respectively.

This means both vCard and iCalendar are now in the implementation phase and Sir Humphrey and his colleagues are encouraged to report problems with adopted standards on the Standards Hub.

The vCard and iCalendar formats have both been in widespread use for more than 10 years. The versions selected by the Board are specified and maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force who ratify a number of commonly used extensions. The versions are largely backwards compatible with previous versions produced and consumed by a very wide range of applications.

Well done Whitehall. When is this adoption of open standards and formats going to start spreading to the UK’s town halls. If it already has, tell us in the comments below.