Tracker - Part I (User stories and Problems of the current desktop)

With Codethink sponsoring the prize for the upcoming to be announced competition for the coolest app using Tracker and RDF, I took the liberty to sum up the "fuss" around Tracker in 2 blog posts.

  • Part I: User Stories and Problems of the current desktop.
  • Part II: Tracker To The Rescue and Providing New User Experience

So here we go with Part I:

User stories:

  • Tony is making some changes to a document. To clarify some issues, he wants to refer back to the email threads or IM conversations he's had about that document.
  • Jenna uploaded her vacation pictures from Brazil to her desktop. She would like to tag people in the picture with contacts in her address book. Later when she uploads the pictures to Flickr she expects to have the tags available there too.
  • John has to work on his Michael Jackson research. Since he worked using webapps such as "Google docs" and some local data, he needs to be able to globally search for all his data on the web and locally.
  • Rob is trying to land a contract with ACME Inc. he wants to get a list of all of his contacts who have a relationship to ACME Inc.
  • Tony met a hot girl at a house party. He wants to search which of his freinds know her.
  • April is working on a project. She wants to make a 'folder' containing all the research materials she's using on the project. Her research materials include webpages, downloaded files, e-books, emails and IMs.

Problem:

  • Current information architectures store data in special, independent file formats. For example, e-mail messages in e-mail files (or an e-mail database), contact data in contact files, appointments to calendar files.
  • File formats differ between different applications and services, making an interpretation or even a combination of the data only possible via special software. In many cases, it is required to put use information from different sources together such an address book and a calendar.
  • The current desktop has no logic to understand its data, what they are about, who they are from or how they are related to other documents.
  • Current devices need to integrate with multiple online services, and there is no standard for doing this.
  • Data stored online is just as important local data, however there is no standard for handling both data sources simultaneously.