Forget the sticky note - remember the milk!

Put down your pen and "sticky note" pad - the reminder note of the future is here with the launch of a free open-source Web application for the masses called Remember the Milk (RTM).

Created by Emily Boyd and Omar Kilani, RTM is an electronic planner that offers e-mail, instant messaging (IM) and Short Message Service (SMS) reminders to yourself or to others; the ability to share and/or publish lists with contact groups; and support for iCalendar, a standard for calendar data exchange across applications and OS platforms.

RTM's easy-to-use interface has international support, enabling users to schedule tasks in their own time zone and language. It is accessible via a PC, Linux, or Macintosh computer and supports Firefox, IE, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera and Safari browsers.

"We now have 50,000 tasks in our system since we launched 5 days ago," said Kilani. "That's not too bad for two Australians who have come out of nowhere and surprised the Web application world." He said RTM took about 4000 hours of work to create.

A multitude of technologies have been used to run RTM: JavaScript for the front-end Web client; PHP for the Web site; C and Python for back-end code; PostgreSQL as the database; and Linux as the operating system.

"All our systems talk to each other over XMPP or 'Jabber'," Kilani said.

Kilani and Boyd said they had to develop several components to do what they wanted to do with PHP and PostgreSQL. They have "open sourced" the majority of them at

"Overall, we think the combination of the technologies we used is a great fit for companies developing Web applications, and definitely the way to go if you need to develop fast, scalable platforms," Kilani said.

Kilani and Boyd aim to continue refining RTM, translating the site into as many languages as they can and adding features such as Outlook synchronisation. He said, however, that RTM would continue to be free to the end user, even after it became a completed product.

Feedback on the RTM blog has been overwhelmingly positive, with declarations from posters such as "Just thought I'd publicly declare my undying love for RTM. It's the best thing since RSS" and "Absolutely incredible job! This is freakin' great! I'll be telling everyone about this."

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Dahna McConnachie

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