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Will there be an Outlook Sync Plugin?
> Will there be an Outlook Sync Plugin?
Short answer: Yes.
Longer Answer: some integration is already supported, and more is on the way.
You can export individual Contacts as vCards using the vCard plugin. Importing vCards and exporting multiple vCards wouldn't be hard to add, as most of the code is already in place. I expect that the development team will get to this extra vCard functionality sometime this summer.
If all you want to do is be able to see the XRMS Contacts in Outlook, the best way to do that is to use the exisiting LDAP/LDIF export, and add an LDAP directory to your outlook configuration. This works in current code. One of the XRMS developers is currently working on making this syncronization two-way and automatic. I expect that code to be stable and in CVS in the next month or two.
We are currently working on publishing the XRMS 'calendar' in iCal format. This would allow Outlook to see this information as free/busy information for scheduling meetings. Publishing the XRMS Activities as iCal will come first, with two-way iCal syncronization added later.
There is an API for adding, finding, and modifying Activities in current code. An API for Contacts will be created in the next month or so.
If you want two-way syncronization of Contacts and Activities into Outlook, that will be more work. This requires C code on the Windows client, to integrate with Outlook's COM API. There is code in the open source community to do this now, and some of it is even geared towards syncronization with CRM database applications. We hope to work on porting this code to XRMS sometime in the spring of 2005, probably in May or June.
None of these peices of work are small, as Microsoft hasn't exactly made it easy to integrate to their products. Interest in this functionality is high, as you might expect.
Of course, development could be greatly speeded up by a corporate sponsor or client that was willing to pay for the development effort. Several of the members of the XRMS development team represent companies with consulting groups that would be happy to quote the work, and deliver it on a schedule. Other qualified members of the development team are independent contractors, and make their living from customizing packages like XRMS for their client's needs. So, the best way to get a large complex feature set like this into XRMS quickly is for a company that is benefiting from XRMS to step up and commit development resources to the job.
XRMS has had many man-years of development effort put into it by contributing companies. The total cost to develop XRMS as it stands today is probably approaching or over $1 million USD. Most of that cost has been covered as developer compensation by the contributing companies. (XRMS has received less than $1000 in user contributions) XRMS is currently quite competitive with commercial CRM packages costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and with hosted solutions costing tens of thousands of dollars a year (for a medium sized company).
Did anything ever get completed on this effort? If so- where can we locate it?