chris blogs

February 2005

17feb2005 · On Groupware

With the announcement of Hula and JWZ’s writing about it, it seems to get modern again to blog about “groupware”.

I think, the way web-based groupware like Hula (which really is webmail and a calendar turn-key ready) and, for example, PHProjekt (just taking that because I already tried it) work is wrong. To make groupware usable to programmers, it must be accessible by other means than the WWW.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly like a WWW interface for access from some other box, but on my main computers, I want a more convenient and better-integrated environment.

Also, and this requirement is impossible to do with mainly web-based solutions is the ability to work offline. Not having access to your calendar or mail (in case of IMAP) when commuting in a train can be very limiting.

My ideal “groupware” would quite be like darcs, in that you pull other’s data now and then do update your local information database. (You also should be able to push your stuff onto a webserver for the nice frontend.) Then, you write some scripts (or adapt existing ones) to manage dates, merge address entries etc.

JWZ is right that groupware should be for people, not for suits. But programmers have different needs than Aunt Tillie or J. Random Worker, and Hula doesn’t reflect that (yet).

(I actually wanted to write a rant about Chandler a week ago, but I saved my energy. If you want to try it, go ahead and be astonished.)

NP: Dan Bern—Lightning Jazz

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