A Quick Look at Chandler

by Phil Hughes

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.

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