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Action Lists: New GTD iPhone App

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  • Action Lists: New GTD iPhone App

    Action Lists (app store link) is a new task manager for the iPhone and iPod Touch based on the Getting Things Done (GTD) system. Action Lists harnesses the power of the GTD system with an easy to use interface that makes it fast to access the information you need when you need it.

    Action Lists is an app that was designed to be used on the go. Lots of little details help users "get things done." For example, the tab bar at the bottom of the screen contains all of your essential GTD lists and makes it convenient to access them without having to navigate back to a "root" screen to switch lists. Also, the context lists (or "action lists") filter the tasks that are displayed so that only tasks with a status of "Next Action" appear. This keeps you from staring at a host of Someday/Maybe tasks when you're hunting for something to work on in the five minutes before a meeting.

    Action Lists has all the features you'd expect from a fully featured todo app including support for due dates, future tasks (set through a task's start date), repeating tasks, and task notes, but it's the details that make this an app worth using. Scheduling repeating tasks is flexible: tasks can be set to repeat every Monday, the last Tuesday of every month, or every three months. Never forget trash day or that furnace filter again! Of special note is the way that Action Lists handles future tasks. By default, a task is hidden if it has a start date in the future. That's great until the start date is reached. Most todo apps would silently slip the task into the appropriate list when it's due to be started, but then the task is easy to miss. Action Lists allows the user to specify that tasks be placed in the inbox when their start date is reached. This increases the visibility of tasks that are due to be started, and is consistent with the "tickler file" described in Getting Things Done.

    Having your tasks always with you on your iPhone is great, but sometimes its nice to enter your tasks using a full keyboard and a computer. Since Action Lists will synchronize over the air with your Toodledo account, that's not a problem. (You can register for a free Toodledo account at http://www.toodledo.com.) Through Toodledo, the tasks that you enter into Action Lists can be viewed, modified, completed and shared with others. And tasks that are entered into Toodledo through it's web interface (or through its connection with Jott) can be synchronized back to Action Lists so that they are always at your fingertips, whether in a business meeting with an Internet connection, or on a flight with your device in Airplane Mode.

    All in all, Action lists is a great app if Getting Things Done is your todo system of choice. Action Lists is available for download on the App Store at a price of $9.99. If you would like to try before you buy, there's also a free version called Action Lists Lite (app store link). Action Lists Lite has all the features of the full version, but is limited to only 15 tasks.

    For full details and support, visit Daze End Software and post on the forums. Or just post in this thread, I'll try to monitor it.

  • #2
    I downloaded the light version of this app. It may work for some people, but frankly it's not as flexible as Toodledo's own app. For example, if you assign a start date after today, there appears to be no way to access that item on the handheld before that date rolls around- it just disappears. The app appears to use Toodledo's status field, but only for four of the possible states. People generally want some flexibility and customizability, not rigid adherence to some ideal model. Toodledo's own app is not perfect, but it is feature-rich and cheaper.

    Comment


    • #3
      I will agree with you that this is a specialized tool. I wasn't trying to write a general purpose tool -- Toodledo already has that covered very well. The goal was to be the best GTD app in the App Store. As for your specific objection: by default, future tasks are not displayed. You can change that by turning ON the "Show Future Tasks" option under settings.

      If anyone has any suggestions for the next version, please let me know either here or in the forums at http://software.dazeend.org
      Last edited by ceperry; 04-28-2009, 07:07 AM. Reason: fixed typo

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ceperry View Post
        As for your specific objection: by default, future tasks are not displayed. You can change that by turning ON the "Show Future Tasks" option under settings.
        http://software.dazeend.org
        Yes, well, there are no settings to change for the lite version. Out of the box, I do like the automatic use of smaller fonts when showing longer items.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
          Yes, well, there are no settings to change for the lite version. Out of the box, I do like the automatic use of smaller fonts when showing longer items.
          All application settings are in the Settings App. From the iPhone home screen, tap the Settings icon. From there, scroll down to Action Lists Lite to open its settings, and change the Show Future Tasks option to ON. Close the Settings app, and re-open Action Lists Lite. Future tasks should now be displayed.

          And thanks for appreciating the smaller fonts. It's not a hard thing to do, but you've got to think ahead to how users would want the app to behave. I tried to take those things into account as much as I could. If you have any other suggestions on how I could make Action Lists better, please pass them along.

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          • #6
            Projects

            I would use this if projects were tasks and not folders. Tasks with subtasks, or marking certain tasks as projects, maybe with context. It looks nice, simple, just doesn't work the way I do with Toodledo.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by aavanderbilt View Post
              I would use this if projects were tasks and not folders. Tasks with subtasks, or marking certain tasks as projects, maybe with context. It looks nice, simple, just doesn't work the way I do with Toodledo.
              Can you describe what you mean a little more? Did you want projects to be tasks so that you can mark them as complete, or do you just want to be able to nest projects? The problem with Toodledo's implementation is that you are limited to only three levels: folder->task->subtask. You can't have other subtasks of subtasks, etc.

              Some type of sub-project or sub-task is one of the next big features I want to work in to Action Lists, but I'm trying to decide how to handle it. Should I stick to the Toodledo method with only three levels so that everything maps well to Toodledo (and also would require a Toodledo Pro (non-free) account), or should I allow multiple levels that I track internal to Action Lists, but isn't reflected in the Toodledo web application. Any thoughts?

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              • #8
                Action Lists 1.0.1 in the App Store

                Action Lists version 1.0.1 is now available in the App Store. New in version 1.0.1:
                • A few bug fixes, including one that prevented synchronization with Toodledo when an Email Login or Password with special characters was used.
                • A new checkbox for repeating tasks. This makes it easier to recognize repeating tasks on sight.

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                • #9
                  Action Lists 1.1.0 in the App Store

                  The best GTD app for the iPhone just got better. Action Lists version 1.1.0 is now available in the App Store. Version 1.1.0 is a major update including:

                  - Subproject support with unlimited nesting of subprojects.

                  - Landscape mode supported, including larger landscape mode keyboard.

                  - By popular demand, the task limit for Action Lists Lite is increased to 15 tasks to allow for more thorough testing.

                  - Task lists display the due date of overdue tasks in red for easier identification.

                  - Show Future Tasks setting is now individually definable for each tab.

                  - Added option to "gray out" future tasks so that they can be distinguished on sight from current tasks.

                  - Lots of usability improvements and bug fixes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can you provide some data?

                    Originally posted by ceperry View Post
                    The best GTD app for the iPhone just got better.
                    Can you provide some data to prove that Action Lists is the best GTD app for the iPhone? User satisfaction reports? Comparative tests and reviews? Sales results? Or is it just wishful thinking?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      Can you provide some data to prove that Action Lists is the best GTD app for the iPhone? User satisfaction reports? Comparative tests and reviews? Sales results? Or is it just wishful thinking?
                      I prefer to think of it as marketing. Unfortunately I'm a programmer, not a marketer, so that sappy line is the best I could do! But since you want facts, here's what I can tell you: I didn't start off wanting to write a GTD app.

                      I attended one of David Allen Company's public seminars in Chicago earlier this year, and came out of it all charged up on GTD. I spent the next few weeks trying to figure out how I was going to implement a GTD system on my shiny new iPhone. I did have a few criteria: I wanted GTD to be a natural fit for the app (instead of having to be shoehorned in), I wanted it to be easy to use so that I didn't have to tap a million times to just enter a next action, and I wanted to synchronize with an online service (for backup and accessibility reasons). In the weeks that passed, I bought and tested a lot of iPhone apps. I tried, Appigo Todo, Things, Toodledo, Ultimate Todos, and a bunch of different apps just called some variation of "To Do".

                      Despite most of the apps mentioning GTD in their app description, I found that few of them seemed to actually well support the GTD system as described in David Allen's book. Some were so tied to assigning priorities that it was unfeasible to implement a system (like GTD) that didn't rely on prioritization. Some had their interface so cluttered with tiny little icons and symbols that trying to scan a list became an exercise in interpreting hieroglyphics. Some were pretty good general purpose tools, but required too much work/time to get from one GTD list to another. (Think Inbox to Contexts, or Contexts to Projects.) Finally, most of them did not perform any synchronization, which meant that my data would have been stuck in their app, unable to be easily transferred to another system should I decide to change apps or phones. (I wanted to future-proof my system to whatever degree I could.)

                      So having failed to find the perfect GTD app for the iPhone, I decided to write the perfect GTD app for the iPhone. Did I achieve my goal? Perfect is an awfully strong word, so probably not. But I do feel that Action Lists is pretty darned good and getting better with every release. And it certainly fulfills my original criteria better than any other app out there, which is why I feel comfortable with my original statement: that at least for me, and I hope for you, Action Lists is the best GTD app on the iPhone.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Action Lists 2.0.0 available in the App Store

                        I'm happy to announce that version 2.0.0 of Action Lists is now available in the App Store. This version is a major update to Action Lists that improves synchronization with Toodledo, streamlines the interface to make data access and entry faster, and includes new features like the ability to email tasks and user selectable sorting of lists.

                        For more information about Action Lists, please visit its homepage at http//software.dazeend.org/action_lists.

                        Changes in version 2.0.0
                        ------------------------

                        - Refactored to comply with iPhone SDK 3.0. (iPhone OS 3.0 or above now required.)

                        - Major overhaul of syncing with Toodledo. Now, a full sync is done only on start up. As changes are made in Action Lists, those edits are pushed to Toodledo immediately (instead of waiting for another full sync on close). This should fix bug reports of tasks becoming orphaned from their projects/contexts.

                        - Tasks can now be emailed to others within the app.

                        - All lists can now be sorted alphabetically, by due date, or manually.

                        - New optional feature that moves completed tasks to the bottom of lists.

                        - Overhaul of task entry user interface. Removed lots of "Save" and "Edit" buttons to make task entry faster.

                        - Added toolbars to all main lists to improve usability and allow for expanded functionality.

                        - Changed context and project list views to display member counts on red oval (instead of gray) if any members of the context or project are overdue.

                        - Action Lists now reopens to whatever tab was visible on last close.

                        - Created option to show badges on the tab bar with task counts for Inbox, Waiting, and Someday lists.

                        - Made title cell in task detail screen expand to show full title without truncation.

                        - In Project View, made task rows show the task's status on second line of each row.

                        - Reduced the number of default tasks in the database.

                        - Lists automatically refresh after synchronization with Toodledo has completed.

                        - Many minor bug fixes and interface enhancements.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Task-dependency

                          It sounds great, but what about task-dependencies?
                          Can you make task, add subtasks to it, set one of the subtasks as the Next Action, set other task that depends on it to Hold/Depended and when the Next Action is ticked as complete, have the Hold/Depended task turn into Next Action status?

                          Also, is there an option to only view Next Action tasks?

                          Both of these options are a must for me.
                          Omnifocus for the iPhone does them both, but it only has a Mac-only desktop app, and I don't have a Mac.
                          Also, I'm already a Toodledo user, so if Actions Lists has the above two features, it would be my closest-to-perfect option (unless it's interface is really terrible).
                          Last edited by yonyz; 09-18-2009, 02:44 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Action Lists does not support sub-tasks, and does not support the Hold/Dependency feature that you described. It does allow users to view only tasks that have a status of Next Action.

                            You might want to check out the homepage for Action Lists at http://software.dazeend.org/action_lists. There you can find more detailed information as well as screenshots.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Then I have yet to find the best App Store GTD app.

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