Chandler: After Shifts in Focus, it's a Good Self-Organizing App

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 19, 2009

The story of the open source notebook and to-do manager application Chandler is a long and complicated one, as we covered here when it arrived in version 1.0. It was originally started as one of Mitch Kapor's projects, but Kapor (the founder of Lotus) left it, and it took on new life as a community-driven project for Windows, the Mac and Linux. Now available in version 1.0.2, it's a powerful mashup of to-do list tracking, tickler alarms, note tracking, calendaring and more. Collaborative workers can also use it together to brainstorm, share project, event and calendar items, and track milestones. Here's a look at how it works.

In the screenshot below, I've selected Chandler's Dashboard view, which, on the right, tracks notes, to-do items, deadlines and more. You can view these at the same time you view Chandler's calendar, and prioritize items according to whether you want to take care of them now, later, or classify them as Done. You'll also note that the toolbar up top provides a Sync option that I can use to share my Chandler information with people I collaborate with.

When I choose to track meetings, to-do items and other events in Chandler, I can specify start and end times, whether the event is recurring, whether I want an alarm to remind me, and more. Simple fields and pull-downs allow for this, as seen below:

I can also view an expanded calendar view, where I can drag-and-drop items to move them, and the corresponding items will automatically change in the other views that Chandler provides. I can view individual days alone, or many days together, as seen here:

To get a full sense of Chandler's capabilities, I recommend the three-minute tour found here. It's a useful application for staying organized and collaborating with others, and it's also getting a growing number of good plug-ins. If you want to use Chandler on a collaborative basis, get Chandler Server here. You can download the Windows, Mac and Linux desktop application here.

Google Calendar is also a good way to stay organized and share calendars with others, but Chandler does a uniquely good job of tracking to-do lists, milestones, and allowing for triage of upcoming tasks. Workgroups can definitely use it to manage entire projects, or it can just keep you organized.