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goon's Journal: chandler: Is it dead in the water?

Journal by goon

The promise
I remember when Chandler was first mooted. Finally an open souce project that has a vision of how to store and communicate small bits of information. Traditionally these types of applications have been lumped together with *ugly* (but accurate) acronymn, PIM.

Free the data
This is an important step in applications. Historically data is trapped or obfusticated into applications. Once you enter the data in it you can only get at it by jumping through the fire breathing coding hoops. Ocassionally its open souce (mozilla mork) but commercial applications take this to a new level - (think MS Outlook Express).

Updated Agenda?
For the younger /.'s this is not the first crack Mitch has had at this market. In '88 Mitch Kapor (father of Lotus 123, Notes) Agenda was released into the PIM market to some success. The runs are on the board. Could Chandler be the answer?

  • ... A major lesson learnt from the last two years, is that we took on too much, and had too high an ambition level for the near-term. This "great leap forward" strategy didn't pan out. Instead, we have primarily switched to a "dog food" strategy to quickly develop a first release that is minimally usable, on a day-to-day basis, for us within OSAF and for our info-intensive, techno-savvy early adopters. ...

Release early and often
Well after 0.4 release I dont see anything compelling. It has trouble working on Windows, it's monolithic and appears to be *weighed* down in specifications of how to do things rather than results. Chandler looks good on paper but in clumping email, calandering, PIM and other messaging it has lost for me its original appeal. I want it usable now. Even if it is a little bit at a time. For me like its name sake (Raymond) I'm still searching for a usable application.

Alternative
So there you have it I've trashed a computer industry veteran who has runs on the board but has failed to deliver. Whats an alternative. Well one example is a Gnome app called Tomboy. Its a simple mono, GTK based note taking applet that is searchable. It allows you to click on links according to mime types and load an application. It has spell checking (along with references to various IBM patents). But the single kicker that has moved Tomboy into my sights is the integration of Tomboy with Evolution (unix version that mirrors crappy Outlook in too may ways) and Beagle The Gnome desktop is now using Tomboy as the *PIM* input and building a plugin to Evolution (email, calander), Beagle (searching). So bit by bit it's making Chandler less attractive to me.

lessons
It helps to have access to an open souce platform. Release often and early. Build an application (especially a first version) to do one thing and do it well. Get a result. Dont bloat a product with features if it is not vital and work out how can you work with other applications. Tomboy may only have a short shelf life or morph into something else in as it develops but it works right now and does the job.

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chandler: Is it dead in the water?

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