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Sends email reminders for events in an iCalendar file

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Status - February 9th, 2013

This project is not under active development. If you have changes, please submit a pull request (preferably with tests) and I’ll merge it in.


phil is a command line utility that sends reminder emails about meetings as defined in an iCalendar file.

It solves this use case:

Will works on a project that has meetings every saturday. Will wants an automated way to send a reminder email to everyone about the meeting with the details of when the meeting is, how to attend, and where the notes for the meeting will be.

Will installs and configures phil to send emails to the project list before the saturday meetings. Will sets up a cron job to kick phil off every morning to check for reminders it needs to send and send them.


  • has a configuration file in config.ini format

  • parses iCalendar files, calculates the next valid meeting date, and sends reminder email x days before the meeting

  • tries not to remind you about the same meeting twice!

  • has a --debug mode allowing you to test things without actually sending email

  • has a --quiet mode that will only print errors

  • correctly prints errors to stderr and output to stdout; also returns error code 1 if it failed

  • show the next 6 dates for an event with the next6 command


I work on a bunch of projects some of which have regular meetings. One day I realized that it would help a lot if I had some automated way to send out meeting reminders to everyone with some text that specified when the meeting was, how to attend the meeting, and where to look for details on what the meeting will cover.

I work on a bunch of projects and have a hell of a time coming up with good names for them all. I don’t really remember the names of libraries and things I use, so I figure arbitrary names are fine so long as there is sufficient documentation that allows search engines to find the project given search criteria. Given that, I decided to name all my projects going forward with names like phil.

Thus phil was born.

License, etc

phil Copyright(C) 2011, 2012, 2013 Will Kahn-Greene

This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions. See the Terms and Conditions section of LICENSE for details.


If you want a released version of phil, do this:

$ pip install phil

If you want a bleeding edge version of phil, do this:

$ git clone git://
$ cd phil
$ python install


phil requires a configuration file. To generate a sample configuration file run phil this way:

phil-cmd createfile <configfile>

The config file is self-documenting. Go through it to configure phil.


For list of subcommands, arguments and other help, do this:

phil-cmd --help

To email reminders for meetings, do this:

phil-cmd run <configfile>

This runs phil with the given config file.

phil has a quiet mode which only prints errors:

phil-cmd --quiet ...

phil has a debug mode which does everything except actually send email:

phil-cmd --debug ...

phil keeps track of the last meeting date/time that it reminded you about. If you run phil twice, it’ll only remind you about a meeting once.


phil comes with unit tests. Unit tests are executed using nose and use fudge as a mocking framework. If you don’t already have nose and fudge installed, then install them with:

pip install nose fudge

I like to use nose-progressive, too, because it’s awesome. To install that:

pip install nose-progressive

To run the unit tests from a git clone or the source tarball, do this from the project directory:


With nose-progressive and fail-fast:

nosetests -x --with-progressive

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