Bedework History


Bedework traces its roots back to a collaboration in 2003 between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the University of Washington. Bedework was announced as a new, independent project in September 2005.

Bedework (pronounced "beadwork") takes its name from The Venerable Bede (AD 673-735), a Benedictine monk best known for his eighth century work, "Ecclesiastical History of the English People," one of the most important references in Anglo-Saxon history. Bede also produced significant scientific works, including "On the Reckoning of Time", which, among other topics, discusses the Anglo-Saxon calendar and calculations related to the calendar.

In 2003, the programming staff of RPI’s Communications and Middleware Technologies took a look at the University of Washington’s UWCalendar, whose mission statement, said, in part, "UW Calendar will be a total calendaring and events system for institutions of higher learning. …UW Calendar will be open source and platform independent. It will use existing open standards. It will support integration with other systems and middleware, such as uPortal and Shibboleth. It will be modular... and extensible..."

At that time, RPI was looking for an open source calendar for public events, used and developed by multiple universities, and capable of integrating with Outlook and "PDA's".  The University of Washington developed UWCalendar, an enterprise calendar, as an open source project.  As the University of Washington's goals were consonant with RPI's, RPI joined the UWCalendar development team in June 2003. RPI's initial motivation was to deliver value locally to the RPI community, while at the same time making UWCalendar attractive enough to other universities that they would adopt the software and contribute to its development. At that time, many universities had developed institutional calendars, but virtually all of them were only in use at their own institutions. RPI had hoped that UWCalendar would eventually have a substantial user and developer community within higher education.  Rensselaer's Institutional Calendar of Events (RICE), a UWCalendar implementation, was released in December 2003.

Bedework becomes Bedework

In late 2005, the RPI developers became convinced that UWCalendar would not achieve its ambitious goals, and began development of a next generation, re-architected and re-implemented, hibernate-based successor, which was released as Bedework 3.0 in March 2006.

Bedework was conceived as "a calendar system for higher education", albeit not exclusively so.  Some of the Higher Education considerations for Bedework include:

  1. Support for public calendaring
  2. Low "buy-in" cost
  3. Integration with extant campus directories and authentication
  4. No license or usage fees
  5. Distributed administration
  6. Easily "skinnable" and customized
  7. Available under an open source license

Perhaps most importantly, Bedework's preoccupation with standards and interoperability is in large part recognition that Bedework is unlikely to be the only calendaring product in an enterprise.

As a consequence of Bedework's commitment to calendaring standards, RPI joined CalConnect, the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, and have contributed in organizational and technical leadership positions, and have edited or contributed to calendaring standards and RFCs such as  CalDAV, icalendar revisions, XML representations of icalendar, web services, time zones, and cardDAV.

Bedework was among the 10 initial recipients of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Technology Collaboration (MATC) Award for leadership in the collaborative development of open source software tools with particular application to higher education and not-for-profit activities.  The project was recognized by the Mellon Foundation for "its adoption of a languishing open source event calendar project, which it re-architected, re-wrote, and brought to new levels of interoperability and open community support." The awards were presented at the 2006 Fall Task Force meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information by Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium and the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Bedework and Jasig

In 2008, the core Bedework development team recognized that the success of the project had outgrown the initial governance model, that of an independent, open source project. Since the first Bedework release in 2006, RPI's role had evolved from one of mostly software development to that of overall stewardship of a significant open source project and community. It was RPI's intention from the onset of the collaboration with the University of Washington to contribute to a sustainable project, one that would provide value to a reasonably large community over a reasonable period of time, and the leadership began exploring the notion of a foundation home for the Bedework project.

In April 2009, Bedework, applied for status as a Jasig "incubator" project.  Informal communication with Jasig actually predated Bedework's first release in March 2006.

Bedework 3.6 was made available in February 2010.  The revamped Bedework look and functionality in version 3.6 was based upon contributions from Duke University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, and the Public University of Navarra, among others.

Later that same month, February 2010, the University of California at Berkeley and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced a collaboration to enhance the Bedework personal calendaring client for deployment across the Berkeley campus.

In March 2010, Jasig Spring 2010 Conference - "Ten Years of Open Source Innovation", Bedework was announced as a Jasig sponsored project, and a project steering committee was assembled, presenting half a dozen institutions in North America and Europe.  Jasig sponsorship for Bedework allows Bedework to meet the requirement set forth in 2003 when the RPI developers joined the UWCalendar project, "to make a lasting contribution to open source and higher education."