.TEL for Outlook - A First Look | Webnames Blog

.TEL for Outlook – A First Look

In addition to the sample applications Telnic have created for the .TEL domain on mobile devices including the Blackberry, iPhone and Windows Mobile smart phones, there’s also a plugin for Microsoft Outlook.

Like the mobile device applications, it can be downloaded from the new Developer Community portal at http://dev.telnic.org/, together with the source code, whitepapers, how to guides and more.

The plugin installs easily and is ready to use in a few minutes. As with the other sample applications, the Outlook .TEL plugin is at an early stage of development and is designed to show the potential of how easily third party developers can develop code for devices and contact oriented software.

With the TelHosting credentials that we’re expecting soon, we should see a lot more of the functionality open up, but for now, we’re limited to looking up sample .TEL names, like webnames.tel.

dot-tel_outlook01.pngThe webnames.tel name only has a couple of data fields completed, but we can see how the data is returned, giving the option to import the contact.

dot-tel_outlook02.pngImporting a contact doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. At this stage, the .TEL is not natively supported by Outlook, so importing effectively creates a hard copy of the data, which isn’t what I want from the .TEL.

That said, it’s pretty quick to do although this early implementation of the plugin doesn’t have some of the niceties we’ll expect to see later, like intelligent mapping (or at least remembering the mappings) of the main fields.

Again, we have to remember that we’re looking at potential here. One of the things I like is that even though an imported contact effectively appears to become a static Outlook contact, the plugin provides a visual alert to say when data has changed and allows the changes to be updated in Outlook.

There’s some way to go still with the Outlook plugin, and these are already in the works. The future enhancements documents the following:
• Compatibility updates to retain interoperability with core systems
• Revamped look and feel
• Auto Update feature

These will go a long way towards illustrating the potential ease with which .TEL can be integrated into existing software we use on a day to day basis. I’m looking forward to the next release, as well as seeing how other developers build on the blocks already laid down.

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