Gran Canaria Desktop Summit: Akonadi for the Integrated Desktop

Jul 05, 2009

The Cross-Desktop Metadata track at this year's Gran Canaria Summit highlighted developer activity targeting central storage of contact data, email and other personal information.

Will Stephenson, responsible for Personal Information Management (PIM) software at Novell, introduced Akonadi, a service that centrally stores contacts, emails, IM entries and much more. Akonadi should replace the individual data storage of various applications, which were designed over the last 10 years to accommodate small, local data volumes, said Stephenson. Akonadi should provide one service with a unified API that scales well and is extensible to new data types as they emerge.

The large KMail and KOrganizer applications are currently undergoing refactoring to make them Akonadi-compliant. The Akregator RSS reader, the KPilot handheld tool and the KNode news reader are also in the works, reported Stephenson. KAddressBook will be reimplemented as codename KContactManager. At the conference, Stephenson invited developers to submit new interfaces for Akonadi.

To demonstrate just such an interface, Austrian KDE developer Kevin Krammer followed up in the next half-hour session by programming, partly with help from the audience, a simple Akonadi resource for read-only access.

Stephenson at Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
Will Stephenson presenting the Akonadi PIM integration system at Gran Canaria.

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  • Re: e-d-s

    You can think of Akonadi as a next generation implementation of the same idea.

    Both are services running in the user's session (as opposed to running once per machine) and provide a central point of access for data.
    Akonadi has been designed to work with all kinds of data, i.e. not restricted to contacts and calendar, but also e-mail, RSS feeds, bookmarks, news groups, etc.

    Another difference is that Akonadi's data providers or backends (called Akonadi resource agents or Resources) are running in separate processes, thus shielding the Akonadi service from failure on their parts. If one Resource crashes, none of the other Resources nor Akonadi nor any of the applications are affected.

    It basically also opens the way for implementing resources in any programming language or using any library stack because they don't have to be loaded into Akonadi as some kind of compatible plugin.
  • e-d-s

    How does Evolution-data-server compare to Akonadi?
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