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Chandler Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Chandler Product Questions

What is Chandler?

Chandler is a next-generation Personal Information Manager (PIM), integrating calendar, email, contact management, task management, notes, and instant messaging functions. So far, in Chandler 0.6, we have the calendar functions experimentally usable but none of the others to the same level yet.

Does Chandler do Project Management?

Release 0.6 does not even do task management yet, and though we plan some task management features for 0.7, the core OSAF team will be focusing on personal task management. We'd love to see parcels (Chandler extensions) that do task management.

What types of innovative features do you expect to create in Chandler?

  • Information Management. We want to allow users to organize information the way regular people think about and act on such information, not according to arbitrary application limitations. For example, we want to allow users to create attributes on their items in an ad-hoc fashion, allowing information to be structured and unstructured at the same time.

  • Sharing and Collaboration. Many tasks today involve both information management and collaboration at the same time. What information should you share with your collaborators to get the job done? Chandler endeavors to provide the framework for such information sharing and collaboration.

  • High-Volume Power User features. Our initial target user will have a high volume of information transactions. We want to provide the tools to process such transactions as efficiently and effectively as possible. This includes dramatically faster and more flexible searches and planned features such as a one-click disposition of email messages.

  • Extensibility. We want developers and end-users to be able to customize Chandler and use third-party Chandler extensions. At the minimum, this entails allowing sophisticated filters on views, and allowing queries on views to be persistent. We want to provide for end-user scripting to redesign Chandler to one's liking and to allow for hooks into the Chandler event model. We believe that many possible extensions can be shared for widespread usage.

How will Chandler benefit consumers?

  • Since OSAF can experiment with radically different user interfaces in ways that other PIM vendors with established user bases and short-term responsibilities to shareholders cannot, we believe that Chandler will give a qualitatively better user experience.

  • As an open source product, the base Chandler distribution will always be free of cost.

  • We expect that other companies will use Chandler's open source, rapid development platform to build novel applications. Some developers will give their applications away and some will charge. Regardless, consumers will benefit from more choice and variety in applications.

  • Chandler will benefit consumers indirectly by providing a proving ground for new PIM interaction techniques. We expect that useful features in Chandler will work their way into other PIMs in time.

  • Over time, we hope to encourage and nurture a thriving ecology for the Chandler platform. This will include many third parties that will, hopefully, customize Chandler and provide the infrastructure, support, sales and marketing required by the many different industry verticals and other market niches.

Is Chandler free? Will OSAF make money from Chandler?

Chandler is open source, meaning that it is not only free but that the source code -- essentially the "recipe" of the program -- will be freely available.

OSAF's mission is to create and gain wide adoption for software applications of uncompromising quality using open-source methods. This implies that first and foremost we will make our software available free-of-charge under free / open source licenses for those operating exclusively in those worlds.

We also believe that our software may be of interest to commercial entities that will want to combine Chandler code with other software, which may be either open source or proprietary software. We want to encourage commercial use and distribution of Chandler since these activities may provide a wider market, additional functionality, more choices, and broader benefit for end users.

For other sources of income, we hope to receive donations and foundation grants like the grants we received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the 25 universities members of the Common Solutions Group to extend Chandler into higher education.

When will OSAF ship Chandler?

OSAF made its initial source code available starting in April of 2003. The 1.0 feature list and schedule is under active development. (For the most current plan see the Product Development Timeline page.)

"What drives us more and more is the goal of creating a version of Chandler which is actually useable on a day-to-day basis. We'll be our own first early adopter, bleeding edge customer at OSAF and it will be the calendar which is the first targeted area of functionality. Call it eating our own dog food or whatever you like, the idea is taking hold.

The calendar is experimentally usable with basic features in the 0.6 release. That means don't trust your data to it, but start to play with it. From there, make it more robust so you can trust your data, add more features, and focus on doing whatever is necessary to make it useable on a sustained basis.

A couple more imperatives: Focus more on basic features across the sweep of the product, deferring anything not critically necessary. Create a plan for a "dog food" version of Chandler for mid-2005. -- Mitch Kapor weblog June 28, 2004

Who are Chandler's main competitors?

While there are many good products that can be used for e-mail, contacts, calendar, or notes, Chandler is focused on meeting the needs of the info-centric user in a mixed-vendor environment. Our target user has the desire to manage large volumes of information and the need to see, manipulate, and share that data across traditional application boundaries. To our knowledge, there is no current product with all of those capabilities.

What market or type of user are you targeting with Chandler?

Our current plan is to build a product that will be attractive to and useful for info-centric people. In the realm of PIM users, we define info-centric users as people who have high-volume transactions and/or large archives in two of the four domains of email, contacts, calendar events, and notes. Additionally these people would have a need to 'intertwingle' across these four domains, i.e. using a meeting event item to locate a spreadsheet that was included as an attachment in an email regarding that event. The operative principal is that one has so much information to sort through one needs a tool to improve the signal-to-noise-ratio in order to find useful information when it is needed.

What platforms does Chandler run on?

Chandler runs on Mac OS X, and Windows and Linux (currently supporting Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (aka Dapper)).

Chandler can often run on other platform variations but may require some build work. See GettingChandler for more information on current supported platforms, as well as for links to build information.

Does Chandler need Cosmo to run?

Chandler is an independent desktop client. You can keep all your data locally, or synchronize with a variety of WebDAV and CalDAV servers if you prefer. So, no, you don't need to use Cosmo to use Chandler. If you do choose to synchronize with a Cosmo server, you'll have access to a few nifty features like a task dashboard that mirrors that found in Chandler.

Can I access Chandler through the Web or PDA?

Cosmo is our sharing server that includes a WebUI, it is related to Chandler but not entirely driven by the same feature schedule and feature priorities. A PDA project is not yet in the works unless a volunteer picks this up.

Can I donate money/software/hardware/labor/furry animals to you?

Yes, for money donations please see donations page.

For other kinds of donations, it is best to get in touch with us on the various mailing lists first.

Where is the Chandler database stored on my system?

We call this location the profile directory. Instructions on how to find it and how to explicitly make Chandler use a profile directory are provided in ProfileDirectory.

What are the minimum/recommended requirements to run Chandler?

As for minimum, our ballpark is the mid-range setup that a consumer would have bought in 2003.

  • Windows and Linux: Pentium(R) 4, ~2 GHz, 512 RAM
  • Mac: G4, ~1GHz, 512 RAM

Recommended, well, the faster the better smile

Chandler Developer Questions

these questions should be moved into a different page when we have gathered more developer questions

What is the programming environment for Chandler?

Chandler is written in a popular rapid development language called python and the wxPython graphics toolkit. Applications (called parcels) can be easily plugged in to the Chandler framework.

Why did you choose Python instead of Java?

No one reason dominated the decision, but the list of reasons looks something like this:

  1. Python is true open source
  2. Python data more naturally maps to the quasi-structured nature of Chandler data
  3. At the time a language decision was made, client side java seemed to be a barrier to a good user experience. (Eclipse is a more recent counterexample)
  4. Python programs are both concise and readable, this makes it excellent for rapid development by a distributed team.
  5. It is easier to integrate non-python code into python than it is to integrate non-java code into java. For example, right now our UI code is the C++ Library wxWindows, and we are using a full text indexing system written in Java.
  6. Some test programming was done in python (the UI prototype andy H. did), and the experience from this test seemed to validate our choice.

I would like to use Chandler in a different language. Is that possible?

Our current 0.7alpha4 release supports internationalization and has downloadable experimental translations for French and Finnish.

If you are interested in contributing new translations, you're welcome to contact us (best is to subscribe to our chandler-dev list). Be aware though that with a rapidly changing user interface as it will be till 0.7 is final, this is somewhat of a thankless job...

If you are interested by the Internationalization coding aspects, the OSAF team developed a set of specific tools for this (PyICU, EggTranslation) that are available for any Python application. More on this work can be found on our Internationalization page.

Why didn't you use zodb?

We grappled with this question here: Why not zodb?

How can I help code/test/document Chandler?

Your first step is to read our Developer Documentation.

Chandler Troubleshooting

My copy of Chandler doesn't install/launch or crashes/does something weird...

Please check out the Chandler trouble shooting page for answers to this and more troublesome questions.

How do I report a bug?

Your bug reports are highly appreciated. Please go to our Reporting Bugs? page for detailed instructions.
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