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It's easy to forget, but we most often leave some of our most important data management to an email app, which is designed mainly to keep our email messages synced. Most email services also include a calendar and contact sync, along with possibly notes and to-dos. Since they're automatically setup on our devices when we add an email account, it's easy to use them without thinking about it.
That's fine until you use an app or device that doesn't sync with your email provider's contacts and calendar—or if you switch to an email service like Fastmail that doesn't include these services. It's also far from idea if you'd like to share your calendar, tasks, and contacts with your work team for collaboration.
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use Fruux, an alternative tool to sync your PIM data and even share it with your team, so you'll never have to worry about whether your contacts, calendars, and tasks are synced.
Getting Started With Fruux
Fruux is the one service that syncs all your PIM data—contacts, calendars, and tasks—without having an email services. Built by the team behind behind SabreDAV—an open source CardDAV, CalDAV and WebDAV framework—its services will work on almost any device, and you'll never have to worry about your other data when switching email services. It also sync your data with a team, so you can share your PIM data and simplify collaboration.
Fruux works with your devices just as you'd expect—just the way Google Contacts and Calendar already sync with them. To take a look at how Fruux works, we’ll start by setting up a new device and to do this click the Sync tab and in the next screen add your new device.
Fruux features a really nice and simple to use wizard to help you set up all your devices to sync with each other. At first glance, the number of options may seem intimidating to you but don’t worry, the setup process is not that difficult. The only thing you have to do is to carefully select the device and operating system you use most of the time.
For this tutorial and demonstration purpose, I’m going to set up Fruux on my Mac's Thunderbird email client, and on my Android device's native apps.
The first step is to choose the username for that particular device. Then Fruux will generate a device specific username and password (you must take a note of it for every device you setup), so that if you ever lost/broken your device, you’ll be able to delete the information from dashboard and make sure it’s no longer able to sync with your data. Additionally, you won’t have to change the configuration of the device if your email address changes or you change the password of your fruux account.
To set up Contacts, open System Preference on your Mac, then click on Internet Accounts. Scroll the right list to bottom and click “Add Other Account.” Choose “Add a CardDAV account” from the options presented in the menu and add User Name, Password, Server Address (dav.fruux.com). Now launch the Contacts app and go to Preferences, in the General option change your “Default Account” to fruux.
To setup Calendar follow all the above steps, choose “Add a CalDAV account” and select Manual from the “Account Type”. Add the User Name, Password, Server Address (dav.fruux.com). Now launch the Calendar app and go to Preferences. In the General option change your “Default Account” to fruux, this will ensure that any newly created events from different applications such as Mail are added here. You can also choose the “Selected calendar” if you like. In case of Reminders click on Reminders → Default List in the menu bar and select the default fruux list.
That's all you'll need to do to sync Fruux with your Mac's default Calendar and Contacts apps, but if you are using Thunderbird you can also integrate Fruux with your email client. First there are two essential extensions to make this setup work properly: the Lightning add-on from Thunderbird add-on’s repository and the SOGO connector plugin to bring native support for CardDAV. Install both the extensions via the add-on menu in Thunderbird and restart the application.
Open the address book of Thunderbird and click File → New → Remote Address Book. Enter “fruux” as the name of your address book and enter the URL of address book displayed on your screen, then right click on the new “fruux” address book and click Synchronize. Now enter the user name and password to confirm the authentication.
Similarly for calendar integration, click File → New → Calendar, you will be asked to select the location from where your calendar can be accessed, select “On the Network” and click Continue. Enter the URL of your remote calendar displayed on your screen and type your display name for that particular calendar. Now enter the user name and password to confirm the authentication.
If you are using an Android smartphone, making Fruux work requires a single step: just download the app from Google Play Store and enter the username and password. Your setup is completed and if you have followed the steps correctly then your information will sync with all the devices and operating system as expected. On iOS or Windows Phone, the steps are the same as you'd take to add a normal email account, only this time it's just to sync your PIM data.
It does take time to setup all your devices but the benefits are multiple. Not only you are saved from the hassles of integrating and troubleshooting your personal information in between the various services but you can view your neatly organized information on the web and can export your data anytime, effortlessly.
Working With Contacts, Calendar and Todo Lists
Making sure that you can access every address in your address book on all your devices is a top priority for contact management. Syncing contacts is a pretty big deal because it can solve many of your problems including duplicates, file and format incompatibility and especially if you switch between different devices for your work and personal use. To make switching indispensable, download Super Backup from Google Play and export all your contacts as vCard format (.vcf) file. Save that file in your computer and import .vcf in Fruux web app. Now “Add a CardDAV account” on your iPhone and enter all the required details such as username, password and server address. Now you can use both your devices freely without worrying about contacts.
Open the Contacts web app and you’ll notice a sharp delineation between the interface. On the left top you can see all the address book, be it personal, work or teams and on the left bottom you can add New address book with different style, description and if you want to sync your pre-existing contacts you can do that via Import. On the right you can add and edit contact information, it includes options to add practically everything you could think of to your contact information, including IM names, social media profiles, anniversary dates and notes.
With Fruux Tasks web app you can manage your todo list in your browser and share them with friends, partner or your team. The tasks are automatically backed up and is synced to all your devices. Adding task is easy, just click the “+” button and add your task with priority, due date and notes if any. As of now, the Calendar web app is still a work in progress, while you can add or edit events in Fruux app available for different devices, you can only view them on the web.
Share Your PIM Data With Others
Sharing contact info with colleagues is an integral part of professional communications—and even for personal life, where keeping a shared calendar with your significant other is very handy—and yet in this age of connected world and multiple services sharing is still inflexible and difficult. It's possible with most services, it's hardly simple.
With Fruux, you can share each of your address books, calendars, and todo lists easily. Go to Settings and enter the email address of the partner you want to invite. Fruux will send them an email containing a special signup link to give you and your partner a free share. After that click the gear button in the Contacts web app and in the next screen enter the email address and set the permissions according to your need, be it read-only or read and edit. Similarly, you can perform these steps for calendars and tasks easily.
With its simplicity and range of features, Fruux might just be one of the most useful web-based tools out there for syncing PIM data. It works seamlessly with every device and operating system, and makes sharing such info simple. This should be enough to get you started with Fruux, but if you have any trouble getting started, or have any unique methods you want to share, be sure to let us know in the comments below.
If you're new to Fruux, we have a special coupon for our readers as well. Just signup for a new trial Fruux account, then when you're ready to pay go to https://fruux.com/coupons and enter the coupon code FRUUX-TUTSPLUS to get 50% off an annual account. Enjoy!