I just installed a site to do all my time – personal time 😉 – activities on. Put a todo and a calendar & wasn’t too disturbed by the fact they are all “resting” on the wordpress system they plugin to. Then it occured to me how forgetful I really can be, so added another plugin to the system – an email reminder.
Now things became a bit more interesting, I think. 3 different entities worked to produce 3 elements – calendar, todo, reminders. These rest upon another, larger entity, wordpress, which imagines itself as a system open for plugins. It is therefore self contained – system – that one can add bits to. Each bit needs to speak with the system – however, because of the system (neeed to be self contained), and its structure (both are interdependent?) – to make plugin “talk” to one another is a bit of a fiddle that will require a lot of re-writing of the plugins..
In drupal there is CCK, content construction kit, which allows some flexibility in terms of putting together addons. ie you can take an addon of the text input + addon for email and if they were written for CCK, you could put the together into a new content type. However, apart from having to reply on code for cck, even there, the drupal system tends to get in the way of sharing good code people wrote, because it is time consuming to the extent that it can be wasted as well.
In a large company, or even a company, products are often made to “talk” or integrate with one another. As company’s projects grow, so do the elements that make it. Google began with a search, added gmail, that talks to the search both in terms of spamads, UI, and ease of use – or attempt to.
In Opensource projects like wordpress & drupal there tends to be a lot of same idea repetition – which is fair enough as people do not coordinate, at times dont want to – however, if there was interoperability between elements/plugins, then you could have more robust use of time, because users -off all kinds – could take code and easily deploy it in a variety of combinations.
For this to happen, I think the system based imagination has to drop, it is an old way of thinking.. It is routed in ridgid perception of the world, a view I think has to become more fluid if we – as a socio-cultural body – want to maximise resources.
I think that perhaps imagining stuff, in particular on a network, as switches made of at least 3 connective elements: connect, dissconnect, and unattached. A bit like lego, or indeed bricks – maybe connecting via language rather than a lingual system, then maybe more could be done with stuff thats already out there..
If that was the situation, I could have simply indicated that the reminder switch is linked to the calendar and todo list switches..