A Quick Look at Chandler

Someone on the Seattle Linux List asked about Groupware and the usual suspects were suggested. One, however, I didn't know anything about. It is called Chandler. I figured it was worth looking at.

The main thing that makes it different is its approach. One clue is the subtitle on the web page is A notebook you can organize, back up and share!. The traditional way that groupware suites work is that they are one place where you put a whole bunch of different things but each type of thing (appointment, to-do, ...) has a separate cubbyhole. That means you first think about what you have and then put it in the appropriate place.

Chandler encourages you to think about your things first, get them scribbled down and then organize them. To make this effective, of course, the organizational step needs to be logical and easy. Well, it is. They is no problem, for example, putting an existing note into multiple lists and/or multiple types of lists.

Sharing is also easy and can be done after the fact. The obvious question, of course, is what if the people I want to share things with don't run/don't want to run Chandler? Well, no problem. You get a couple of URLs for things you share. One is for read-only access and the other for read/write. Thus, you can share with anyone who has a web browser.

If this sounds interesting, I suggest you just download it and try it. It is a GUI client written in Python that seems to just work. As for sharing, there is a free to use share server (which also acts as a backup system for you) that only requires you to create a login. But, if that scares you, you can also set up your own server.

Am I convinced it is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Not yet but I might be. To me the competition is the amazing collection of tools that Google is offering. Today, Chandler does more but it is hard to say whether a year from now, Google will also do it all.


Phil Hughes


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Can't remember

Dherman's picture

I've been following chandler for awhile. About a year ago I ran across a book detailing the challenges and miss-steps that were met during the development of Chandler.

If I remember right the book left off at the release of version 0.6 or 0.7.

Title Dreaming in Code

Quite an interesting book for anyone interested in software development. It also did a nice job of telling the personel stories of those working within the team.

Glad to see they made a 1.0 release, it's an ambitious project.


Phil Hughes's picture

As I continue to use Chandler I have one problem. I am trying to organize all too many things. While creating collections is clearly the first step, I am finding that I want hierarchical collections.

Specifically, I am trying to organize what I need to do and what "we" need to do for the CoolTop project. I am not trying to organize the normal sub-projects, I am doing that with TaskJuggler. But, for example, I personally am working on the pressure water system and the VSAT system (and those are just two of about 10 things).

The pressure water system has electrical stuff first to buy and then to do, a cement pad needs to be made to mount the pump, holes made in a brick wall, pipes run, ... The VSAT stuff includes getting an account problem fixed, deciding where to locate the receiver (which probably means building an enclosure), deciding where to put the wireless LAN radio, installing an antenna, getting power to the location, ... .

If I create new collections for each project I will quickly lose the ability to see the big picture. But, if I just descibe these sub-tasks within one entry for each task then I will miss the "these are all buying things in town" items even though they might be in different tasks.

This problem is not unique to Chandler--it is actually something I have been trying to solve with an assortment of tools for a long time. Chandler is not any worse at this than anything else I have tried. Maybe I am missing an obvious solution with Chandler or with something else.

Phil Hughes

dreaming in code

Anonymous's picture

You should check out this book about the Chandler project.