Thursday, October 8, 2009

The New Guy

Hi Folks,

I'm the new guy and this is my inaugural post.

I first ran into MarkMail a few years ago, during my tenure at Clearwell Systems. Back then, both Clearwell and MarkMail were building "search engines for email". If you didn't look deeply, you'd have thought we were competitors. But we weren't. And we aren't, still.

At Clearwell, we knew we were breaking ground. Like many start-ups, we really didn't preconceive which applications our efforts would enable and which markets would find our solutions valuable. We just believed, with all our hearts and minds, that there was something there and we could get it done. I've since learned the history isn't too different at MarkMail. To make a long story short, Clearwell went one way, focusing on enterprise email environments, like Microsoft Exchange, PST Files, and Lotus Notes, eventually cracking the nut on common Electronic Discovery use cases. We built a really sweet e-discovery product that continues to get rave reviews and save customers $$$.

And, MarkMail went another, supporting public, open-source communities and mailing lists (MailMan, Ezmlm, Google Groups, and others). Through these efforts, MarkMail has become a large scale, highly respected, and high-traffic service for software developers. Ironically enough, as a software developer, it was not uncommon for me at Clearwell to ultimately use MarkMail. So I've been a fan for quite sometime.

And now, thanks to the hard work of good folks at Mark Logic (and Jason Hunter in particular), I'm here to help further the MarkMail mission. I bring to MarkMail, deep experience in software development practice, high-performance computing, and user interface engineering (OpenLaszlo, LaszloMail). For a good percentage of this time, I've been in and around all sorts of email, communication, and collaboration tools, especially those used by developers. And in my most recent gigs, I've been focused on making sure my engineering efforts are part of a broader business success. And I plan to do the same for MarkMail.

So... to take a line from Bette Middler, "Enough about me." What am I going to do for MarkMail? Well, a lot I hope. In the immediate term, I've got a few obvious directives, like keeping the site going and growing. I’ll also be focusing on the changes needed to make the site responsible (aka pay) for its own operations, while keeping a focus on the general communities that it serves. To that end, you can expect another post (or two) about upcoming changes.

Sounds like fun, eh? Well, you'll get to hear it all, assuming I continue to be able to make time for blog posts like this one. Thanks for listening and please holler at me with advice and comments. And, of course, if you have feedback or ideas related to how MarkMail might help you, please holler.

Oh... and one more thing. If you're in the Bay Area and you want to see me in person, you can also find me occasionally playing out with the Tribal Blues Band (I'm the one in the blue shirt).


chadmichael said...

Is MarkMail using Open Lazlo?

Eric Bloch said...

MarkMail is written on top of MarkLogic Server. Most of the code for the web application piece is XQuery that renders HTML on the server. It also uses MochiKit and Yahoo's RSH javascript libraries and a good deal of Ajax and custom built client-side rendering as well.

The MarkMail charts are built with a 3rd party Flash tool. If/when this piece needs re-tooling, we may look to make use of OpenLaszlo.