Software developer looks to .NET for mobile

Canberra-based software development company Taskey is looking to Microsoft's .NET to increase the functionality of its Web-based management software.

Taskey CEO Neil Miller said the enterprise version 3.6.1, to be released this week, will have partial .NET architecture, but the next version due in six months will be predominantly or entirely based on .NET.

Miller said the move is driven by a desire for increased functionality, particularly in integration with BlackBerry and PDAs.

"When you look at Outlook, it is fairly inflexible so we are looking at .NET to come up with smart ways around that," he said.

"The problem is there are a lot of .NET components out there that are clunky and take up a lot of bandwidth, so we have done a lot of research to find their right components."

Miller's software development team of eight write and develop most of the code from scratch.

"You could sit around forever and wait for components to come out, and then the chance is that it won't do everything you want anyway. The trend now is to actually go and buy the source code, which is great. A few years ago, people kept it much closer to their chests," he said.

"You can't ever make your product sing with off-the-shelf components. We own the source code for everything we do. If we can't get the source code, we don't use it."

Taskey Team is a tool aimed at enterprise users for managing all work through a Web browser. It enables integration and coordination of strategies, projects, changes, on-going tasks, actions, to-dos, teams, virtual teams and individuals.

Taskey Team is a certified Microsoft partner, and the software is developed to work with Outlook, but Miller said he has always planned to diversify at some point, when the market is right.

"Whether you like Microsoft or not, it has the biggest slice of the market," he said.

"Because we are in Canberra, we're initially looking mainly at the government sector, and they are pretty much Microsoft shops. I think a lot of people would like to use open-source, but it is still a bit problematic with training an entire department that is used to using Microsoft products."

Miller said his team use Firebird (an open-source datatbase) and run Linux at the back-end.

"Even though a lot of departments and organisations are using open-source in the back-end, it will still be a while before the Microsoft browsers and desktops go away. Firefox is starting to get more popular, but it is still sitting at around 20 per cent penetration, most of which I imagine would be home users and individuals," he said.

"We have always had that diversification in mind, because there are organisations that use open systems or Sun or Unix. But being a small company, you can't be too diverse too early."

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