I got a nice email last week from someone asking why I never made the “triage” Outlook plugin I mentioned last year available as I have with other bits of code. The short answer was obviously because I never got round to finishing it!
However, the idea feels a bit more topical at the moment so I think it is worth revisiting.
The aim was to create something that would let me process my emails in Outlook Mobile (the cut-down version of Outlook you get on Windows Mobile PDAs and smartphones).
“Processing”, rather than doing emails is an idea that I hear people mention more often since Merlin Mann’s brilliant Inbox Zero talk started doing the rounds as a Google video. I’m even hearing other people use it as a phrase from time to time! I used to call it “triaging” my email, but I think “processing” is actually a better term. Either way, the idea is that I want to be able to go through my inbox as quickly as possible – doing something with each one so that I can finish up with an empty inbox.
It doesn’t mean doing everything right away – just putting the information in it’s right place. If it’s an email asking me to do something, the right place for the email is in my Task List, not my Inbox. If it’s an email telling me about a meeting or appointment, then the right place for the email is in my Calendar. If it’s an email containing information that I need to keep for future reference, then the right place for it is in my wiki.
Mobile phones seem like an ideal tool for processing email, as it’s something that you can do when you have a few spare minutes and without having to do a lot of text entry or other input. Rather rely on manual (and slow!) copy-and-pasting, I wanted Outlook Mobile to be able to move my emails around like this for me. This was the idea of the plugin…
If you are interested in the pain of writing MAPI plugins in C++, read on. If you are… erm… normal – then the short version is that I tidied up the code and made it available.