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Index > Scribe > Palm Desktop and i.Scribe

Author/Date Palm Desktop and i.Scribe
Keith
03/09/2002 1:44pm
Is anyone using Palm Desktop as their PIM and i.Scribe as their e-mail client?

I'm like to stop using Outlook (and MS Office) altogether, and am looking for a lightweight e-mail client the will work with my Palm Desktop application. I've yet to find an app that will use or access the Palm Desktop addressbook.
fReT
03/09/2002 8:17pm
One of my friends is upgrading his palm sometime and he's going to lend/give his old one to me. Then maybe I can write some intergration software for Scribe.

But until I have a palm to test with...
Toby
03/09/2002 8:53pm
You could always register with Palm as a hobbyist developer and be able to download the PalmOS emulator (POSE) in the mean time.
Keith
04/09/2002 1:30am
Actually, you don't need a Palm device to test integration of i.Scribe with Palm Desktop. You can download a copy of the latest version of Palm Desktop, version 4.1, at http://www.palm.com/support/downloads/win_desktop.html. The developer page, with SDK and API information, is available at http://www.palmos.com/dev/tools/desktop/

All I'm looking for really is an e-mail client that Palm Desktop can call, and that will use Palm Desktop as its PIM, so to speak. The only thing that Palm Desktop is missing in all truth is e-mail.

Palm Desktop will already call the default mail client on a Windows machine. If you right-click on selected contacts and choose "E-mail...", the default mail client opens a new message addressed to those contacts. What I wouldn't mind seeing, conversely, is the ability to click on a "to:", "cc:" or "bcc:" button in the mail client and have access to the Palm Desktop addressbook.

I believe that the SDK, available at the second link above, has both C and VB code for accessing all of the data housed in Palm Desktop. That is, contacts' information, as well as datebook and to-do list information.
Keith
04/09/2002 1:13pm
One of the features available is the ability to sync the PDA's mail application with a desktop mail client. This can be almost anything from send-only to full synchronisation. An FAQ on Palm Mail at http://www.palm.com/support/faq/csemailfaq.html indicates the following:

======================
"Which e-mail clients are supported?

Palm Mail works with MAPI (Microsoft) and VIM (Lotus) e-mail clients that run on Windows 3.1, 95 and NT.

Below is a list of e-mail clients known to be compatible with Palm Mail. This is not a definitive list of MAPI and VIM e-mail clients. Any MAPI and VIM compliant packages should work fine with Palm Mail, however, there may be slight differences in manufacturer implementations of these standards and because of the number of e-mail client software available, we are not able to thoroughly test all clients which claim to support MAPI or VIM. If you are not sure whether your particular e-mail application is MAPI or VIM compliant, check with your system administrator or the manufacturer of the product.

Supported Clients:

* Lotus cc:Mail 6.0 or higher
* Microsoft Exchange 5.0 or higher
* Microsoft Outlook 97 or higher
* Microsoft Outlook Express (ships with Internet Explorer 4.0)*
* QUALCOMM Eudora Pro 3.0.1 or higher

*Note: the version of Outlook Express that was packaged with the IE 4 beta release does not support Palm Mail."
======================

I'll test this myself, probably over the weekend, when I have time to concentrate on it.
Ralph Malph
04/09/2002 6:59pm
Checked the Palm d/l, it's 9MB! Not exactly eligible for TinyApps.org.

My Sharp Wizard came with Day-Timer Organizer (Sharp Ed.) as the desktop software, and if it weren't for the fact that it integrates with the Wizard device, I wouldn't use it. IMO, Scribe itself is enough of a PIM for me. It has a Calendar and Contacts. Only problem is the only integration with the Wizard's software is via a plain text file.

I wouldn't expect Fret to program anything special for integration with any such software (because things change too quickly and because there are too many variations), but instead, program to meet appropriate standards, and let the handheld-desktop-software developers do the same. There is a long history of Address Book applications' data files not being interchangeable. I started with Cardfile in Win 3.0, then Exchange's Pers. Addr. Bk. in early Win95, then IM&N/OE's Windows Addr. Bk. Now use none of those, but do have addresses entered manually in about 4 different applications. So, I have to ask, is this really where a developer of a lightweight email client should devote his time?

fReT
04/09/2002 9:43pm
My take on contacts and calendering information is that I will actively support what I see as being the standards in the domain. And that is vCal/iCal and vCard, which I've been working hard on to create import and export code. The current unstable build has these formats supported at a base level, you can drag a contact to the desktop and it turns into a vCard file. Likewise, drop a vCard file onto a Contacts folder and you get a Scribe contact.

So if I could somehow allow external programs to "script" Scribe or Scribe could use this IO cabability to replicate to a directory then that'd be great. I have written a DOM for Scribe that would allow scripts to retrieve various values form Scribe objects (e.g. 'contact.email') so I'm ready to script, although I don't know what interface to export.

I also havn't read up on any of the links posted here yet but I'll get around to it next week. Right now I just rewrote the whole charset support of LGI so that almost everything is Utf-8 internally, except when I pass to windows and it gets converted to ucs-2 (utf-16). And I prolly broke a bazillion things :{ But it's the "Right Thing (TM)" in the long term.
Keith
04/09/2002 9:51pm
Honestly, all I can do is ask, because I can't do it myself. I'm impressed with the quality of i.Scribe, and by extension, Inscribe. All I'm asking, if I understand the plug-in capabilities of Scribe, is for some plug-in that allows Scribe to use the Palm Desktop addressbook data. It doesn't have to write to it, just read it.

I'm not asking for full fancy integration. I'm just looking for Scribe's ability to see some information and use it.

As I said, all I can do is ask. But believe me, I think that more than a few Palm users, and I mean users of Palm, Handspring, Sony, etc. branded devices, would be grateful to hear of a development like this. I would certainly plunk down my 20 bucks for a clean and simple mail client.
Keith
04/09/2002 9:54pm
fRet, I guess I was replying to Ralph while you were typing. Thanks for looking at this.
fReT
05/09/2002 3:12am
Read Only access to an external contact database is dead easy to add as a plugin through the existing (and tested) contact directory API. The ldap client does this already, so making a Palm Desktop plugin for that would be a walk in the park.

All the API's are COM which I can am comfortable with. I'll see what I can do when I've finished some other more important tasks (Getting the unicode porting settled and maybe getting the Linux alpha out).

As for the date book, that might come later. It would need a new API and new types of functionality.
Keith
05/09/2002 9:34pm
I await the Palm Contact List Plugin with bated breath, and stand ready to test it to the max.
GillesR
16/09/2002 3:45pm
Palm Desktop 4.0(for Windows) supports vCard and vCal formats
As for vCard, it can export and import vCards (format 3.0), putting all the selected adresses in one vCard file i.e. you can save ALL your contacts in on (big) vCard file.
This is handled nicely by OutlookExpress, ecxcept for the fact that you have to confirm one by one each addition to the Contacts.

As for i-Scribe it apparently doesn't support vCard 3.0 but a hand edited vCard (merely replacing 3.0 by 2.1 in the text does the trick).

Regarding vCal, it seems Palm Desktop can only export to that format.

More later
fReT
16/09/2002 7:48pm
Maybe Scribe should have a version option somewhere for what version to output various formats in.

Mind you I'm so not impressed with software that doesn't try to import something because the version is not what it expected. How much of the standard changed between 2.1 and 3.0? Not much I suspect, at least you could try importing it. Well thats what I do, just ignore the version and import away.
Keith
18/09/2002 10:44pm
I don't think that duplicating the Palm Desktop information would be the solution here, if that is what is being suggested - exporting from Palm Desktop for importation to Scribe.

You'd just have the same information twice, with no real way of synchronising it. It's the same as re-entering all your addressbook data in Scribe, and then having to do manual updates in two separate applications.
fReT
18/09/2002 11:30pm
There are stages to the building of support.

a) Make all information available in read only form through plugins.
b) Then make that information writable as well, through say an "export" like function.

The first stage would probably use the import/export code to bring the data from the Palm Desktop over to a format that Scribe understands. That doesn't mean the data is then stored locally in Scribe, it's still permanently stored in the desktop.

What this means is that Scribe has to move forward to a architecture that supports objects being displayed and used in the UI but is not stored in Scribe's native folders. I'm playing with this idea in some unreleased features, it's what I'm calling "v2.x" archiecture. Although snippits of it may appear in v1.x releases.

Don't worry I don't want people having to replicate by hand, thats just horrible.
Keith
05/12/2002 12:23am
Is this still being considered?
fReT
05/12/2002 1:44am
I tried writing the plugin, and the API that the Palm Desktop documentation talks about is internal to registered extensions within the Palm Desktop.

So at initial glance I can't just create a palm desktop COM object and start pulling the data out of it. Which is what I wanted to do.

To go furthur I have to "become a Desktop entension"... which is really a lot of work and I'm a bit dis-illusioned with their API now. So I might have a few more cracks at it but it's no longer "simple".
Jeremy E Cath
02/11/2003 2:54am
might be worth talking to the folksa t Iambic to get them to licence i.Scribe as the email engine for their Agendus for Windows product... with would provide a ready-made extended calendar/contact functionality and Palm integration.... but we'd proably end up with a 10GB product unlike the current amazing footprint of Scribe... but I need to be able to keep in sync with my Palm....
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