Friday, October 31, 2008

Locale + Calendar Integration, Take 2

Carter from Locale team made a correction to the original post.

First of all, my apologies - I've had a tunnel vision attack and didn't see the calendar icon on the screenshot.

On the other hand, that might serve as a message that screenshots are insufficient, and they're not searchable. And that the documentation is an important part of your product - even if it is free. For now. And the front page of the project is still talking about Android release in the future tense.

But enough bickering, let me address the original point.

I guess I was thinking about Calendar integration for too long and didn't realize that what I implied too much in a cryptic message, so let me spell it out.

Let's see, yes, you can integrate a Calendar event into Locale. However, in order to do that, you need to:

  1. Get the phone in your hands;
  2. Open Locale;
  3. Fiddle with it for a sufficiently long period of time in order to create a situation;
  4. Go through the user interface that duplicates Calendar (I didn't look into technicalities, hope Calendar UI is a standard Android gadget);
  5. Select the event;
  6. Finish the situation.
That's a lot of work.

Now, what I actually meant was:

  1. Start creating your event (in the Calendar);
  2. Add a Calendar gadget that specifies notification preferences to your event;
  3. Have Locale (or suchlike application) analyze the events in background and apply settings that are already specified in the events.

And that's all.

The point is, don't do the job you don't have to. Lazy design is a good design.

Note, it doesn't matter whether the event is being created via Web interface on your computer, or your phone. Don't know about you, but I hate the small keyboards on smartphones, no matter how good they are - maybe it's all cool and peachy while you still have all your life ahead of you, but well, I have better things to do than explore the limits of G1's mechanical excellence (more about that in a different post) in my not-so-spare time.

Having said all that, let me repeat once more that yes, I realize that per-event calendar gadget may not even exist yet (last time I checked, it didn't), but that can be addressed, and I'm sure it's either there already, or is coming soon.

More about lazy design - ahem... Give me one good reason why do you have to have a separate "manage" tab, whereas you can do the same thing in the same tab by simply using a long press?

But again, I'm nitpicking. All in all, Locale is a very useful application, and if the design team plays along with Google's way of doing things (release early, release often, improve evolutionarily) - I'm sure it'll keep being one of Android's crown jevels.

Good job, guys, and good luck.

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