Friday, August 22, 2008

Dreaming on: Chandler 1.0 released

You might not have noticed, but on August 8th, 2008 at 1:47 pm, Chandler, the ' "Note-to-Self Organizer", designed for personal and small-group task management and calendaring' finally came to release 1.0 ! Now Chandler is an Open Source project, and 80% of these projects probably never reaches this stage at all, but Chandler is a special case. It is created by the Open Source Application Foundation which was founded and and is sponsored by Mitch Kapor. The Chandler project is a unique example of where a project that has no deadline and an unlimited funding can lead to: unlimited development.
And no matter what finally comes out of it, the first three years of the project already gave us the magnificent novel by Scot Rosenberg : Dreaming in Code. A great book that may well outlive the software itself. It describes the development process from the initial idea upto version 0.7. Three years have passed then and Rosenberg realises he just has to draw the line himself and publish the book before the project is finished. And he was right. The book was written by the end of 2005 and so it has taken roughly two and a half years before they they finally came to version 1.0 . I'm glad he didn't wait for that, since by now I already read the book twice. I really recommend it to any developer, manager or just anybody using software (Yep, that's you by default, or you would not be reading this..).
Apart from it being really fun to read, it's description of ever shifting deadlines, continuously changing specifications and numerous code re-writes is so recognizable to me as a developer. Just check out Joel Spolsky's review to see what I mean.
And what about the software itself ? Well, I haven't tried it yet but the concept is great, though not as revolutionary as it might has seemed in 2002. As already mentioned in the book, 37Signals already provides most of the functionality as a web application. With all the benefits: no server maintenance, available everywhere through every browser and automatic upgrades.
But the Outlook / Exchange combination is still used in many corporate environments. And since Chandler is aimed at replacing that, they might still have a chance.

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