Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Chandler 1.0!

Somehow I missed this last week, but OSAF's Chandler super-PIM just went 1.0. It's been a long time in coming, and the result isn't what I had at all expected. Instead of being an "email client++", Chandler 1.0 is a calendar and task management tool that happens to be super-savvy about talking to your existing IMAP folders and lets you share and coordinate via CalDAV. This is fundamentally different from Things in that it also has enough of the "guts" of a real PIM to allow scheduling and coordination on tasks to be an integral part of the experience. Fundamentally it's "us" oriented and not "me" oriented and I'm excited to see what organizations use it for and what kinds of organizations discover its value.

The Chandler Hub also strikes me as a gem hidden in plain sight. Not only is it a great way to share parts of your schedule with others, it's an amazingly complete Dojo-based, Open Source UI for getting it all done, too. You can run your own Cosmo server (the code that runs Chandler Hub) inside of your department or organization but more than that, you can get the source. If you know Java (or employ someone that does), the Cosmo server is perhaps the easiest-to-hack-on option for an organization needing a flexible, lightweight task and team management option. Given that every organization I've ever worked for has struggled with exactly this type of coordination, the availability of source code here is probably going to beget some amazing integrations with bug trackers and the other project and task management systems already rely on. In some ways, despite being almost completely different in scope, Chandler Hub and Plaxo's kick-butt online features are both brining a level of visibility to different types of activities that cry out for better and deeper integrations with the tools that get used every day to "do the work" or track it in other ways. A few lightweight bridges to MS Project and/or Trac/Redmine would make Cosmo jet fuel for team visibility. I can't wait.

The Chandler team also told me last week that they're hard at work on a re-architecture of their python-based desktop client in order improve the performance and startup time and to make the whole system more hackable. Given that the desktop and web clients can speak to the same Cosmo server back-end (which can federate data out to lots of other places to boot), this seems like a promising path forward as the team completes a transition to a more traditional OSS distributed-development approach. Truth be told, I probably won't give up Thinks for Chandler desktop until performance does improve, but I'm sure gonna be tying my calendars together with Jennifer's via Chandler Hub ASAP.

Congrats again to the Chandler (and Cosmo and Hub) team(s)!