While browsing the information superhighway I stumbled

across an open source mobile application server, Funambol (formerly

Sync4j).  Funambol claims to provide push

email as well as address book and calendar synchronisation between mobile

devices and PC’s.  The heart of Funambol

is the Data Synchronisation Server which actually provides synchronisation

services—various connectors allow Funambol to integrate with current email and

database systems for two way synchronisation; finally a multitude of client

plug-ins for Outlook, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Palm ensure that

synchronisation with the main database is possible from a variety of devices

(most mobile phones now have compatible SyncML built in).

I always find contact synchronisation to be a pain, be it

between multiple mobile devices and Outlook, or between multiple

computers—therefore it seemed like a good idea to give Funambol a home

trial.  I can report that after several

hours of bashing my head against the wall I did manage to have my Sony Ericsson

mobile phone sync contacts with the server. 

I haven’t yet managed to make Outlook connect to the same database and

retrieve the uploaded records—I am still working on this and will post an

update if/when I have success.  Once I

have that working I’ll be interested to see how the push email operates; I have

heard mixed reports as to its feasibility.