January 7, 2014

With the demise of Taskpaper iOS, now what?

Well, it was inevitable, I suppose. I’m now delflated when it comes to continuing with Taskpaper as a productivity system.

I’ve used Taskpaper for a few years now. I originally fell in love with its simplicity, use of plain text files, and powerful search. The addition of an iOS app and TextExpander support which allowed lightning-quick tagging made it more useful. I liked that it was a blank slate that did not force data into boxes which led to high tap counts.

Sadly, the developer, Jesse Grosjean has had to release his development team.

Now, Taskpaper will revert to a Mac-only outlining and task app. I cannot take seriously a productivity system that is not both Mac and iOS-based. I fear that this recent move is a tactical error on Jesse’s part in that others will feel the same way and sales of his Mac apps will decline also. I think it would have been better for him to give up one app on both Mac and iOS rather than all on iOS.

There is hope that Listacular (reads taskpaper files) will come through with robust search and tagging. However, currently it is striping some tags placed by common Applescipts used for Start and Due date management in Taskpaper. Maybe other apps will come to the fore with contenders. Maybe Jesse with come out with Folding Text for iOS but he has a lot to do even after jettisoning iOS apps so I am not hopeful.

So, what are my options?

  • Continue with Taskpaper until it becomes unusable with advancing iOS upgrades. Truly, the peak of Taskpaper on iOS was under iOS 6 since it has not supported TextExpander under iOS 7. It was, therefore, already in decline. My enthusiam for it has plummeted over the past few days and I sorely miss TextExpander integration. I did not realize how much I was holding out for the next update that would return TextExpander support.

  • Flee to Omnifocus. I already own it on the iPhone (solid app) but can’t get into the Mac app even after extended use. It’s not a good feeling when the design of an app causes the face of Bill Gates comes to your mind repeatedly when in use. Additionally, I heard Ken Case indicate he doesn’t like to use it either on Mikes on Mikes. Revealing. I’ve watched the debut video of version 2 for Mac from last January and, while it looks very promising, is appearing to be very Things-like in coming forth. I’m on the list for the beta but have been for quite some time.

  • Go back to Things which was my main app pre-Taskpaper. Things 3, mentioned recently on the Cultured-Code blog seems promising but will it arrive before 2016? I don’t really favor Things in current form.

  • Start using paper. This is compelling to me since I love pens and notebooks but I really value search, tagging, sorting, etc.

  • Use simple text files. Not sure I can do this after tasting the sweetness of Taskpaper.

  • There are various other apps which I have tried such as Wunderlist (just don’t like it, the initial wood was off-putting), Carrot (too cranky), Reminders (a possibility but limited in use), Clear (no metadata), Listary / Simplenote (see simple text files comments above), Evernote (was driven away by initial data-lock and besides it is not really a robust productivity app), Smartday (co-mingles all calendars making it useless for someone with a complex situation), Any.do (too low-level), ListBook (didn’t like the open tasks” concept), 2Do (has sync to own Mac app, didn’t like tabs to left), 2 Days / Finish (repackagings of low-level functionality), Appigo Todo (has always reminded me of Things and both seemed to suffer from excessive tap-counts to get anything done), Asana (team funcionality but see last comment on tap counts), Trello (not sure I like the cards, has subscription for advanced features), TeuxDeux (too low-level)

  • To investigate: Todoist (has labels, projects, filters, sync but also requires a subscription for added features), Todo.txt (plain text!).

  • I’ll also most likely take (yet another) look at Omnifocus (why not multiple contexts??! Yes, I’ve read their explanation). I might try Workflowy again (has tags and co-mingles notes and tasks). I’ll see what Listacular does (dev has promised advnaced Taskpaper-like features). I’ll also see if Jesse brings Folding Text to iOS.

Perhaps I’ll find something better - change can be good.

At the moment, I really wish Jesse would reconsider his decision…

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