Getting it done!

Tasks has been a fantastic application for me. It’s a php/myql hierarchical Task Manager and about the best I have used. What this means is you can easily keep track of complex multi-step tasks or simply organize things into groups. I initially blogged this about the release of Tasks Pro about a month ago and have been using Tasks (the “lite” version) since. I’ve got it installed on a remote server, but you can easily install it locally as well.

Everything happens in the browser though once you have things running you can easily view your tasks in iCal which is excellent as they then sync over to your Palm. This is a one-way sync, you can’t write back to the Tasks system, but that has actually not bothered me like I initially thought it might.

I get a daily email reminder with all my tasks thanks to a nightly cron job that was easy to configure, your mileage here might vary depending on your skill level, though if you installed PHP and MySQL, you can probably figure out cron.

Tonight I upgraded my installation to the Tasks 2.0 beta and it is most impressive.

On the surface – literally – are themes so you can change the way the app looks from serious to more fun. The next main difference is that all the configuration now occurs from within the app itself, rather than in a config file via text editor over ftp. You now can configure authentication within the application instead of having to rely on an .htaccess file which is very user friendly. A new sort option called Magic Sort and seems to be a good way to go for now… have to actually learn what that one really does. It was the default, so far so good.

You can also control how Tasks publishes to phpiCalendar (included) which then allows iCal (and other aware apps) to subscribe to the published file. In the original version, you could just subscribe, but now you can choose to publish as a Task instead of Event as it used to be. This is a great change for me, since on my Palm things are now in the ToDo app rather than in my Calendar as a float for what is due that day. I noticed that in order to get this to work in iCal, you have to actually un-check the remove todo option in the calendar which was initially selected blocking the Tasks from showing up. There is a button now within Tasks that lets you instantly subscribe to the Calendar – again a very nice user friendly touch that changes the discover the url in the docs procedure from 1.x.

You can publish to a B2, Moveable Type or WordPress blog if you have one, which could be cool to do on occasion. The addition of Notes to Tasks might cause me to do this more this time around. I find myself using Tasks all the time for various things so keeping Notes is very logical to me.

At the heart of it all is a very simple, yet powerful task management system. Thanks to the MySQL database you can include all kinds of helpful information with the task beyond just when you might want to have things completed. Version 1 allowed for priority, percent, some notes and the addition of URLs which might be relevant. Tasks 2.0 includes some more tricks. You can now add files to tasks which is great for project work – say a creative brief, the photoshop file you have etc. This is then accessible anywhere you have a browser. The Pro version (something I won’t be covering in any detail here) offers a group mode so you can send tasks, notes and files around between the users of your installation.

You can now select tasks to be billable and also keep track of time spent on things. I have yet to try this as, well I did just get it up and running tonight but expect to for a variety of things.

Tasks 2.0 beta seems to be a fantastic upgrade to what was already a great tool for everyday organization. I am looking forward to using it much more and would recommend this to anyone juggling more than a few things. The version out now – 1.8x is free to try and donation-ware with a suggested offer of $25. I think you would be hard pressed to find an application that is anywhere as powerful for anywhere close to this price. The Pro Version is currently $125 for a 5 user license – again a great price.

7 comments for “Getting it done!

  1. 3/25/2004 at 10:53 am

    hi there – you know one software i am looking for right now is a calendar which is online and can be used by people looking to get on my calendar for appointments etc. and i want it to sync with ical and my palm. any suggestions? do you know if tasks will work for me/

  2. 3/26/2004 at 11:22 am

    I think you might find the current version somewhat limited for that (no ability to schedule times and durations yet). I plan to add more ‘appointment’ features in future releases, but probably not until I finish a few more project management features.

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  4. 5/12/2006 at 3:49 pm

    IÒve had dreams with scenes like that in Ñem, but usually only when I was awake.

  5. 5/13/2006 at 1:33 am

    PS I wonder how Blunkett would feel about the fact that this same person explained how she understood this way of using words by saying ÓitÒs the kind of thing Haider does in AustriaÔÅ

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