If you are a WarGames fan, then you understand the reference 😉
Over at the Plaxo blog, Cam, one of our founders, posted a technical blog entry on how we pulled off the little icons in the ‘Contacts’ view in Outlook. He even gave a little shout-out to me, which is much appreciated.
Although the icons view has been a stable system, I did spend a lot of time on that code. The first time was when we originally created it. The second time was when I had to put AOL presence icons all over the Outlook client. This work was both fun and challenging because you had to go very deep into the various systems in order to pull this off. It is also one of the projects that helped me form an idea about plugin work in general…
Whenever you do intense plugin work, you will find that it is a lot like doing device driver work for an OS. You must be VERY detail oriented. When you are just doing userland work, the OS is there to catch your mistakes. When you are inside of a complex application, at the C level… the application will crash or become broken when you mess up. If you are lucky, it will crash on your frame.
I could go on about the various mistakes that occur, but I think you get the idea. I mention this because a lot of people think this is easy work. It is not, and the people we hire have to be very good. Todd, Cam, and the others are very smart coders. Otherwise, we could not pull this off.
The only thing I can think of that is harder would probably be building a MAPI store provider…. which reminds me another quote by someone here at Plaxo. “Remind me to take MAPI off of my resume”