What would I like?
In my previous blogs, I talked about my concerns over the neglect of employees productivity and my personal productivity challenges. In this blog I talk about some of the simple things I would like. Its interesting that lots of them sound quite easy to achieve, and some of them work right now if only the systems were configured that way.
- A single inbox, that works all of my email services and with the appropriate directories I need to access
- A single calendar, that aggregates and synchronises calendar information from different sources and allows me to interact with different resource reservation and freebusy services
- A single task list, that aggregates tasks from different sources and responds to the source with task progress and completion information
- A single contact database, that synchronises with the server side record if there was one
- A single presence/IM environment, that integrates with my contact database
- A single way to get subscriptions, RSS seems the likely candidate, whether its subscriptions to company announcements, or WSS lists, or search results, or changed web sites
- Then a place to make notes, link stuff together, annotate
- a way to record everything I have touched in any way, has written by me, read by me, been pushed to me, subscribed to by me, and store it in a way that makes it easy to find again and easy to backup, perhaps peer to peer, ie to another machine in my home, rather than just to that expensive server infrastructure in my company.
- an easy way to share subsets of the above with my peers
- Then a UI for it all like the Avalon/WinFS stuff people are showing that allows me to search across all of this, group/visualise it in anyway I can imagine etc.
All of the above need to be integrated, so tasks can be converted to email, emails into tasks etc and other applications need to interact with them. This sounds fairly easy. Web Services standards for handling tasks, calendar items, emails etc. A standard client side representation like that in WinFS, standard UI components that all spps can leverage client side. Standard ways to deliver subscriptions, but more extensible than RSS, because I need more metadata associated with the items in the subscription.
Then I need something similar for files, probably a lot like WebDAV on the server side, but with support for pulling down all that rich meta data that’s on the server, remembering which server the files came from, understanding how to work offline/synchronise, version control etc.
Finally I want my devices to be in sync, without having to think about it, and if I get a new device I just want to be able to tell it who I am, and it rebuilds all of the above from some peer to peer replica.
This sounds a lot to me like Longhorn, but probably not explained as neatly and tidy. However I don’t see the Longhorn value proposition being communicated in these terms, they are still trying to sell to the corporate audience, not to the individual. Maybe that comes later.