Alec Flett pointed us to an interesting article about breaking down artifical barriers between file types and instead managing information around the notion of Content Types:
On Nov 16, 2005, at 9:09 AM, Alec Flett wrote:
A geeky view (even found it on slashdot today) on viewing data rather than files. Seems like, given this guy's definition, Chandler is supposed to be the ultimate "Type Manager"
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Open Source Applications Foundation "Design" mailing list
What does this mean for Chandler?
Interesting perspective on the issue Alec.
I think Chandler is actually proposing to go one step further. We're not only getting rid of the notion of "file types":
- song.wav file versus
- song.mp3 file versus
- song.aiff file...
All of which are simply different formats of the same "Content type: Music"...which is what you're really interested in as an user.
We also want the user to be able to define what the specific piece of content means to them...by defining them in terms of Chandler Kinds, which are based on human semantics rather than content types per se.
While there is some overlap between "Content type" as defined in this article (if I am interpreting it correctly) and Chandler Kinds, I think the two concepts are still essentially orthogonal to one another.
So for a Musician, some items of the "Content type: Music" might actually be of the Chandler Kind: Resources (music I create and work on) in the same way Word documents are Resources for a Lawyer or a Writer. While other music items will just be of the Chandler Kind: Media (music I listen to for fun), the way it is for most people.
Similarly, for a Photographer, some items of the "Content type: Photo" will be of the Chandler Kind: Resources (photos for the Nestle ad campaign) whereas other items of the "Content type: Photo" will be of the Chandler Kind: Media (pictures from my birthday party).
In Chandler, Content type is still secondary to the human-centered Kind semantics of the Item.
This is especially true of Email, Email is a "Content type", but it isn't really semantically meaningful in and of itself. Email is simply a transport mechanism for lots of different Kinds of content. A draft of a complaint letter. Someone's contact information. A meeting invitation. A task request. A list of restaurant recommendations etc...Ergo, stamping :o)
Semantically meaningful ways to characterize email is to instead break it down into different Kinds of Communication:
- 1-off messages
- Multi-way discussions
- Agendas for meetings with people, et cetera.