For more than a decade I've followed the genealogy of the personal-info manager now known as "Chandler." A little while ago I got a message saying that it had (finally!!!) been released.
- Some of the earliest Paleolithic rumblings here, in the second half of an Atlantic article written in early 1996. The first half of the article describes the wacky new concept behind a approach to software called "Java," and gives quotes on that subject from a promising engineer at Sun named Eric Schmidt.
- Another installment here, from eleven years ago, which gave the tragic history of Lotus's too-innovative Agenda program -- and the still-live ambitions of its sponsor, Mitch Kapor, to create the info-management program of everyone's dreams.
- Two years ago, this update on how Kapor was faring now that he had named this dream program "Chandler" and moved its development to the Open Source Application Foundation, which he initially funded. And late last year, this interim report on how an early version of Chandler looked and worked. And let's not forget Scott Rosenberg's very good book about the whole Chandler project, Dreaming in Code.
Now version 1.0 is ready for release. I am downloading it, in Windows version on one machine and Mac on the others, as I type. Linux is available too, and all are free.
We'll see whether in practical terms it's interesting and powerful enough to be worth the effort of shifting email and to-do items there. At a minimum, I am sure it will be interesting. For the curious, these resources:
- Main intro page here and download page (all versions) here.
- Three-minute explanatory how-to video here and in YouTube version here.
- One fairly nerdy testimonial here.
- Another testimonial here, with this payoff point: ""The single greatest thing about [Chandler] is the core idea of the confluence of tasks, emails, and appointments as simple items which can interact and be managed with one other. It is SO TRUE that separating these items into hard categories with totally different interfaces makes organization more, not less, difficult. Allowing them to be listed and managed together is a huge leap forward."
I'm not promising that anyone will love this product. As I say, not sure I will end up using it myself. But this is a milestone on a long journey and deserves to be recognized. And, seriously, if you're interested in this general field how can you resist checking it out?