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I'm a bit frustrated with Outlook and Google contacts, as neither understand that people share addresses, or that one address can represent several people. So you either have crappy custom fields like "Bill's mobile", "Jane's mobile", or you have a Bill and a Jane contact, and you have to keep the address updated between the two.

Are the any decent, and simple, address book applications out there which have this kind of intelligence?

Note: this is for home use, I don't need to do professional 'contact management'.

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I ended up coding my own. – Benjol Jan 25 '10 at 6:27
Always nice to see a new open source project ;-) – Arjan Feb 19 '10 at 9:03
@Arjan van Bentem, it's not open source yet. The problem is that I coded it to the point of 'good enough', which leaves the code pretty unpresentable... – Benjol Feb 22 '10 at 9:13
@Benjol - if you are willing to share it (even if not open source), post it as answer, and accept it. – Gnoupi Jun 1 '10 at 16:01
@Gnoupi, Yeah, I flirted briefly with the idea of putting it up on github, but realised that some of my test data actually contained contacts from my own address book! Once I've sanitised that, I'll post back here :) – Benjol Jun 2 '10 at 5:31
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As per @Gnoupi's comment, I've uploaded my own home-grown version to github.

Currently there is no exe (you have to download and build it yourself). I'll probably fix that soon.

ContactManager on github

ContactManager was born out of a frustration with Outlook and Gmail contact management, which don't include the notion of 'household' - this makes it difficult to manage (for example) a family's address, at the same time as individual mobile phone numbers.

ContactManager is very basic: it doesn't send or receive emails, doesn't do mail merges. All it does is manage contacts, and people. A contact can be a business, or a family. Each contact can 'contain' zero or more people. There are a limited number of fields that ContactManager knows about (address, phone number, email, birthday etc.). Anything else can be added to the 'Notes' field.

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People's individual information are commonly their mobile and email. If you are using an address book to keep track of further information you'll likely have birthdays, work information, IM IDs, personal blogs or social profile pages for each individual.

The only commonly shared field between people are, as you said, the address and possibly a home phone number. Since people rarely change addresses (except for those in college) then it seems like a minor issue to worry about one shared field among so many individual options. The few minutes it takes to update someones address on the rare occasion it changes does not seem to warrant a special complicating function. This makes it unlikely for there to be an application that will have the particular function you are wanting.

An option would be to use a service like Plaxo where information is automatically updated. So if your friends also have Plaxo accounts then they would update their own information and it would automatically update for you. Plaxo has many, many options for sync with Outlook and other common services so maybe this would be a work around for you.

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I take your point, but it's not normalized! :) The argument cuts both ways. I know someone with 8 children, the only extra information per child is firstname + birthday. They'd better not be moving house too soon... – Benjol Oct 27 '09 at 6:50
I see where it can be useful, but can also see the headaches it could involve. I'm thinking of the extra processing and sync options required to keep the addresses correct. What happens when one of those kids moves out of the house - you change the address for Billy and then the entire family's addresses change to Billy's. If you are offering a product to the common consumer then the extra complication may cause more problems than it solves. I would see about finding a plugin for Thunderbird or maybe a script for Address Book (OS X). – Insomnic Oct 27 '09 at 17:18

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