Mozilla Calendar Project Lead Mike Potter Retires, Mostafa Hosseini Named as New Head
Friday July 4th, 2003
Yesterday, Mike Potter retired as the lead of the Mozilla Calendar project. Mostafa Hosseini has now taken over Mike's duties, which include reviewing patches, checking in code, creating new builds and updating the project website. Like Mike, Mostafa works for OEone (the company that launched the Calendar project) and has already written substantial portions of the component's code.
The current plan is to work towards making Calendar into a standalone application, along the lines of Mozilla Firebird and Mozilla Thunderbird. Though the team did discuss moving Calendar to mozdev, they have decided to remain a part of the Mozilla project for now. Encouragingly, there has been interest in Calendar from companies such as Sun Microsystems and Lindows.com.
#1 Interest? What kind of interest?
Saturday July 5th, 2003 12:19 AM
I'm one of the people working on bug 188660 which is tring to get calendar to hook into calendar servers. Our first attempt is with a Sun CDE Calendar Server (mainly because we had one available at school).
What I'd like to know is just what kind of interest Sun has in the calendar? And why no one mentions these things earlier? We would have loved some help with their Calendar interface. :-)
Yeah, I know we can't release inside information about orgs using/developing mozilla, its just weird to see the big companies magically appear without letting the community know of their plans.
On a different note, Thanks Mike for all the hard work. I'm sure the Calendar will be a working standalone app soon, and I know mostafa can keep it going.
#2 Why the obsession about standalone apps?
Saturday July 5th, 2003 1:12 AM
This is really beyond me. I think splitting up the different parts of Mozilla technically is a good idea, but it is NOT a good idea from a design and usability POV. We already have loads of standalone apps that each one does their thing - one for browsing the web, one for doing email, one for PIM, one for ... but what most users who do serious work on a computer face every day is: you have to do everything several times - you have to think about how to organize bookmarks, email folders, document folders according to your tasks in different programs etc. And you cannot do what you want: you cannot mark a message as "todo until ...", you cannot associate a bunch of URLs to an email, and so on. I have said it before and I repeat it: providing standalone apps like FB, TB, Cal just adds another program to a long list of existing similar programs, but is not innovative from a usability POV. To give users what they need for their work, analyze how the different kinds of information - email, web, todos, etc. - are used and integrate this into an app that finally lets users do what they want, and not, what was easy to program. Users don't care how you implement that technically - if splitting up into modules is reasonable, fine. But users DO care about how easy it is to manage to overwhelming amount of information they are confronted with. Users doing real work dont care about theming that much, but they would love to have more flexible ways to organize their 5000 emails, for example ...
#3 Re: Why the obsession about standalone apps?
Saturday July 5th, 2003 6:45 AM
That sounds like an excellent idea, but somewhat tangential to the issue of seperate applications.
If I understand what you are suggesting correctly, the system you are looking for would be able to construct arbitary assosiations between different resources. For example, you might set up relationships saying these webpages are related to this email which is part of this project, or that this document needs to be edited in the next five days, before this scheduled meeting using information in these three other documents, this folder of email and the sections that I annotated on this web page. Correct? If so, the Mozilla framework is probably an excellent place to implement such an application, since (as far as I can tell), it would be an ideal use of RDF which is well supported inside Mozilla. The application could create it's own RDF file contatining relationships between pieces of data and whatever metadata is required, whilst the data itself would be held in the files belonging to whatever external application created them.
As far as I can tell, quite a lot of the framework for this already exists within Mozilla. Some of the links from <http://www.mozilla.org/rdf/doc/> describe quite similar ideas.
The neat thing about having this in a setting where everything is componentised is the extra flexibility that is avaliable. For example, it is probably true that a web browser can be totally seperate from such a proposed information managment application. On the other hand, it might be beneficial to integrate some email functionality directly into the application - the ability to retreive new mail and apply the adaptive or keyword filters that are avaliable in thunderbird. Composing a message on the other hand will always need a new window and so it doesn't matter if that is part of a seperate application. It's a similar situation with calendar (or any other scheduling app that integrates with the application) - if the calendar window itself is a seperate application, it doesn't matter, so long as the data from calendar is avaliable for use. It also means that people who don't need this functionality (like most home users, public internet access points, etc.)aren't burdened with an interface desigened around it.
As an aside, if anyone knows of a really good resource for learning about RDF, I'd really like to know about it.
For me as an IT consultant to small businesses, the Calendar is the missing piece of the puzzle. I have one client ready to switch from IE/Outlook to completely Mozilla based, but first the calendar needs to be complete. And as far as the standalone app issue goes, we need a development group which packages all the different apps. Offices want an Outlook-esque component (Email + Calendar) and a Browser. Developers want email, a browser, and all the tools that make Mozilla a God-send to work with. Anyway, who am I to talk? I'm just another one of those people who whine and complain and never have the time to donate to the project itself!