State of the Pooch


It's been a while since we sent out an email detailing what we're doing,
what our plans are, what all this means, so I thought now would be a
good time to fill you in.

The big stuff:

* Removal of D-BUS from Beagle
        If you've been hanging around on IRC lately you've probably seen
        Jon or I talk about this.  We are completely removing D-BUS from
        Beagle because it is by far the #1 barrier to entry for our
        users.  Also, over the course of Beagle's development the way it
        uses IPC has changed and D-BUS really doesn't make a whole lot
        of sense for our needs.
        So what we've done is use the very nice XmlSerialization
        framework in the .Net platform to construct simple messages that
        we're sending over Unix domain sockets for both client-daemon
        and daemon-helper communication.  This work is nearly complete
        and in the beagle-no-dbus-branch branch in CVS.  I am hoping we
        can work out the remaining kinks and get that merged into HEAD
        this weekend or early next week and get a 0.0.10 release out
        late next week.
* New wiki

        The wiki is a great resource, but it's not a pretty web page,
        and a lot of the content is inconsistent and some plainly
        outdated.  We've set up a MediaWiki on some Novell hardware here
        and I've started migrating a lot of the content over to the new
        The plan is that this new Wiki will replace both the Beagle home
        page ( and the existing Wiki
        ( and be the central home page that the
        community can help edit.
        You can check out the work-in-progress new wiki here:
        Please do not edit it yet or advertise the site.  I don't want
        to take it "live" until a core amount of the content has been
        migrated, like all of the pages linked off the front page and
        the installation instructions.  If you want to help with that,
        please let me know.

* New Best UI

        This one hasn't been started yet, but our plan is to experiment
        a bit with the Best UI to see what works well and what doesn't.
        Obviously we'll be studying existing UIs like Google and Apple's
        Spotlight.  Novell is setting up a permanent usability testing
        lab here in Boston and we plan to make use of it on a continual
        basis as we make UI changes.
* New filter architecture

        The current filtering architecture is a little limiting in that
        for each "Indexable" object there is only one possible filtering
        method.  This is fine for the majority of content, but in cases
        where multiple pieces of data are contained in a single object
        (think an email with multiple attachments, or a tarball) we end
        up doing pretty much nothing at all with this data.  Jon has
        already committed a good cleanup of much of the code as a
        side-effect of his work on porting the index helper on the
        beagle-no-dbus-branch.  Unless you're following the day-to-day
        development of Beagle this probably won't interest you a whole
        lot, but it will mean that things like PDFs in emails will be
        indexed, and point you back at the email when you do a search.
        Pretty neat.
* Improving search results

        Beagle currently ranks results by relevancy.  Unfortunately this
        relevancy hasn't been tuned.  At all.  So a large part of what
        we'll be doing is improving the quality of the search results.
        We'll also be adding other ways to search and sort, such as by
        date and by type.
That's the bulk of it.  These tasks are going to be carrying us through
the summer.  It's still too early to tell whether we'll be at a "1.0"
release by then, but either way Beagle will be better than ever.


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