KDE 4.4 Address Book to use Akonadi

Oct 01, 2009

Akonadi is the magic word for data storage for the KDE 4 desktop. Unfortunately none of the KDE 4 apps really use it. The KDE address book, KAddressBook, should become the first to do so.

Akonadi was introduced in KDE 4 as the data storage service that will ultimately integrate the PIM programs KMail, KOrganizer and others. So far not much has been in evidence. However, the KAddressBook PIM application should make a start at it in KDE 4.4, as KDE developer Tobias König announced in his blog. The other PIM apps should follow in KDE 4.5. The reason for the partitioning is the short timeframe for the KDE 4.4 release and the "different complexity of code base" for the individual PIM apps.

König's blog entry includes the first screenshots of the new KAddressBook. The toolbar was cleaned up and the entire interface was made "as simple as possible." The result is a three-pane window similar to that of the MAC OS X address book. The left pane has the list of address books, with the contacts contained therein listed in the middle pane. The right pane has the details for the selected address. Thanks to Akonadi, the middle pane also includes contact groups (formerly known as distribution lists). Address books can be further split into subfolders. The virtual folders supported by Akonadi whereby you can group folders by arbitrary search criteria will appear in a later KAddressBook version.

 

Users displeased with the three-pane window can switch to Simple UI Mode consisting of a single search list and the details for the contact returned. Two subsequent panels are for searching or paging through contacts.

The likewise reworked entry window for contacts will also be available to all Akonadi supported applications. Apart from registering business addresses and personal data (birth dates, etc.), the address coordinates appear on a world map, especially useful in locating international contacts. In future versions the entry window should be extendable through plugins so that other apps can store their data in the address book.

Beside changes to the interface, the storage format was enhanced. KAddressBuch now stores each contact and contact group in a separate file.

König praised the Akonadi architecture in his blog. He thus "had the chance to throw away all the ugly, historically grown code and restart from scratch." The source code became smaller, clearer and better structured. One caveat from König, however: "Don't expect the current KAddressBook to be as feature rich as its previous version. This has been a complete rewrite and I integrated only the features that made really sense IMHO."

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  • There is a long way to go...

    I have recently moved from WinXP to KDE, and just days ago I moved from my ol'good Palm Trēo650 (Palm OS) to wholly new Palm Prē (webOS).

    Migration of data was a nightmare, but now I think I could have done it a lot easier, if I'd properly used akonadi concept and abilities.

    What I do not get from akonadi conceptual documents and practical experience: is it meant to (A) allow different agents to store data in one repository, _OR_ (B) let different agents access _same_ data (or subsets of same data, which are explicitly pulished to be accessible to this agent)?

    In case of (A) - it works already +/- fine, although I do not see real benefit for me as a smart-phone user as long as (B) is not achieved.
  • Sticking with Slax 6.1.2

    Anakondi is "the biggest disaster you can imagine"

    I don't know, that seems a little hyperbolic, I still remember 9/11, and NO WAY is it worse than that.. But I tried Slackware 13, and that was just about the last straw for me. I've been building my own Slax live CD, archiving all the software I could possibly need, and I'm prepared to run it forever, if necessary. I've tried every release, and I know KDE4.3 is a lot better than KDE 4.0. It's NOT better than KDE 3.5. KDE4 is a great project, but it's not mature, and it's insanity that nearly every distro has abanoned mature software in favor of immature software. The hype and misinformation is insane. How long as it been since someone told you that "KDE4 uses 40 cent less resources?" For me it was last week. I finally did a google search for "KDE4 uses less resources than KDE3". Try it sometime. It all comes from one study in late 2007 that was quicky disproven (to their credit, KDE developerws were instrumental in disproving it) but the hype got way way more play on the web than the retraction, and it persists to this day.

    Next time we need more supporters and more critics, and less fanboys and less haters. And more live CDs all around.
  • O, No, no, NO!

    @ Frank

    Do you realize that a desktop system without the capabilities to sync addressbook and calendar with a PDA or cellphone is seriously crippled regardless its other qualities? I tried reverting to the old kdepim, but ran into a lot of difficulties. Alpha software is all very well, but the default should be something that WORKS! I have been watching Akonadi for almost a year now, and there are no signs that it will be usable in the near future. Whereas I appreciate the efforts of all developers of the Linux community, I think that we should have the right to point out things that do not work, especially if there seems to be no progress at all.

    Linux is extremely weak in PDA syncing. Actually, the only PDA that you can trust to work, are the old Palm OS types. I feel very strongly that this shortcoming should be brought under the attention of the developers of all desktop suites. (and yes, I sent in bug reports and exchanged dozens of emails with the developers of kpilot...).
  • I want sqlite instead of mysql

    I hardly wait to see akonadi work well with sqlite instead of mysql. I really do not see the need for mysql in a desktop system.
  • Akonadi -- put it in a dark room, and let it age!

    Not sure what's planned, but I wasted more time than I like trying figure out what was making KDE in Slackware 13 was so slo-o-w.

    The main answer? Akonadi!

    Killed that sucker, and will continue to do so till that seriously *alpha* software package is much, much more mature! (What were they thinking, putting a *currently useless* resource hog inside a working GUI? Shades of MS Aero!)

    GaHillBilly
  • RE: O No

    @hans

    Do you realize what you just said. You just compared Kontact 3.5, without a central information repository, to Kaddressbook 4.4. I know I'm not the smartest person in the world but it seems to me that you have already made up your mind about the whole KDE4 PIM suite without giving it time to mature.
    Good luck with all your assumptions.
  • Hardly a disaster...

    Akonadi is hardly a disaster! The real first interface that I've made use of for Akonadi is synchronizing my addresses and calender with my PDA. In fact, its abstraction is a bonus. Now, for once, I can have one repository servicing many devices or apps. It has its rough edges (actually from a client interface's perspective) but from 4 to 4.3, the improvements are noticeable.
  • O, no!

    Akonadi is the biggest disaster that you can imagine. It adds a totally opaque and cryptic layer to the installation of your PIM applications, and it is the reason that I ran away from KDE's kontact and went to try evolution.

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