Sabre VObject 3 released

I just released version 3 of the sabre/vobject library. The ultimate library for parsing and manipulating vCard and iCalendar files in PHP (I hope!).

The library started off as component of SabreDAV, but it’s actually become more popular than it’s parent project.

It’s been an interesting project for me. SabreDAV is my main other open source project at fruux, and that project has a really strong focus on a proper OOP design and structure.

With vobject, the focus has been on providing as convenient API as possible and follows the “api over implementation” mantra. For me this means that the experience for the user is the most important, but if you pop open the hood it can turn out to be a bit messy.

This is especially true because I’m supporting:

  • iCalendar 2.0
  • vCard 2.1
  • vCard 3.0
  • vCard 4.0
  • jCard
  • jCal

And while each of those formats look quite similar on the surface, each has their own set of rules for encoding, and a lot of edge-cases.

I admit to not having dug into that enough when I originally created the library, and I was required to rewrite huge portions of it and break BC just to properly support everything. Hence: 3.0.

A mini tutorial

Reading a vCard:


use Sabre\VObject\Reader;

$card = Reader::read('contact.vcf');
echo (string)$card->FN;


Creating an iCalendar object:


use Sabre\VObject\Component\VCalendar;

$cal = new VCalendar();

$cal->add('VEVENT', [
    'summary' => 'Birthday party',
    'dtstart' => new DateTime('2014-07-04 22:00:00'),
    'categories' => ['party!', 'byob'],

echo $cal->serialize();


This will output something like:

PRODID:-//Sabre//Sabre VObject 3.0.0//EN
SUMMARY:Birthday party

Check out the documentation for everything else, there’s quite a bit :).

What’s new?

  1. We’re now following all the escaping rules from vCard 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, iCalendar 2.0 and rfc6868.
  2. Support for exporting jCal and jCard formats, which are json representations of this format, and soon to be official RFC’s.
  3. Easily create multi-valued properties using arrays.
  4. Great vCard 2.1 support, including the broken vCards microsoft generates.
  5. It’s much easier to create components such as VEVENT, VTODO.
  6. Stream-based parser.
  7. Almost every property type got specialized API’s to easily deal with them. For instance, you can now simply create date-time-related properties by just setting a native PHP DateTime object.
  8. Added a remove() method to components.
  9. iCalendar and vCard objects are automatically initialized with common default properties.

Some BC breaks were required, read the migration document to find out how to upgrade.

Information for SabreDAV users

VObject 3.0 will be included in the next major release of SabreDAV. SabreDAV 1.7.x and 1.8.x will continue to ship with vObject 2 to avoid BC breaks.

However, both those branches have been modified so they can run with either vObject 2 or 3. So if you do need the new features and improvements, you can just drop it in.

Special thanks!

A few people have been especially helpful in testing, criticising and thinking along:

Thanks guys! You rock.

Web mentions


  • Ben Harold

    Awesome! Is there a list of BC breaking changes available?

  • tanghus

    Great! I hope to use it already in ownCloud6

  • tholder

    This is great. The post states that it will drop in to SabreDAV 1.8.x - how can you do this with composer though? Any documentation anywhere? I've struggled to find it, composer complains that multiple copies o vobject are being installed.

    • Evert


      Hi tholder,

      Using this syntax you can trick composer to install 3.1 instead of 2.1. Note that you must specify an exact version here, and keep an eye on updates yourself:

      "require" : {
      "sabre/dav" : "~1.8.6",
      "sabre/vobject" : "3.1.2 as 2.1"

      • tholder

        That seems to work brilliantly, thanks. Never would have guess that. Is 1.9 due out soon with build in support for 3.1.x?