4 Hugues Ross - Blog: Getting Organized - 2 - Looking at Options
Hugues Ross

4/10/17

Getting Organized - 2 - Looking at Options

Last week, I wrote about my plan to try and help myself get organized. After that, I spent the week trying out tools and planning.

What's available?

The taskwarrior site has a tools page, where a number of tools and scripts are listed. There weren't many that looked useful, but I was able to find a handful of relevant tools and tried them out.

Tasky

Doesn't work. It's a few years old, so I suppose that's to be expected.

Taskswamp

Taskswamp is a python script that creates a tmux session with predefined taskwarrior filters. Basically, it lets you create a window with several tabs, each displaying different views of your tasks.

Some thoughts

  1. Taskswamp doesn't update its view without user intervention. This means that you have to press a button to refresh whenever the window is resized or your tasks change.
  2. It also fails to start up properly unless you open another tmux session first. I could use a script to do that automatically, but it's still a little bit of extra effort.
  3. Lastly, it puts the new session inside of Xterm. It doesn't offer a choice of terminals, or check environment variables for your default terminal. That's unfortunate, although I could probably live with it.

Tasknc


(note: text redacted)
Tasknc is an interactive curses-based client for taskwarrior. It theoretically supports all of the basic features of taskwarrior, such as creating, editing, and deleting tasks.

Some thoughts

  1. Tasknc doesn't seem to be actively developed. This is unfortunate, because it has a few bugs.
  2. Unlike Taskswamp, the view will automatically refresh when the window is resized. You still have to refresh it when your tasks change, but that's ok because it supports all the basic editing actions from within its UI.
  3. Deleting a task seems to make the application hang indefinitely. In addition, the add task command seems to display the wrong information. Both of these issues seem to have a workaround, but basic features being broken without extra configuration isn't a good sign going forward.

Taskwiki

So taskwiki is actually pretty great! It acts as an extension to the 'vimwiki' vim plugin. Basically, vimwiki lets you make...wait for it...wikis in vim. Taskwiki takes the concept a step further, by adding the ability to just throw a little checklist into any wiki page which automagically becomes a set of tasks managed by taskwarrior. Basically, it gives you a text-based method of managing your tasks.

You might be wondering why I like taskwiki so much, despite the fact that it fulfills none of my stated goals. It took me some thinking to figure out why I was so attracted to it, but I think I've figured out the reason: It gives your tasks a greater context. Sure, you can add tags and projects in taskwarrior, but this lets you organize and annotate those tasks however you want. You can make a new page in your wiki, write down some general description of something you want to do, then add a checklist of actionable goals to it. Those goals can then show up in checklists elsewhere, where you can check on their status or update them, and in the main wiki page you can add notes and other details as you make progress. Personally, I find that very exciting.

Some thoughts

  1. Taskwiki is actively developed/maintained. This is good.
  2. Resizes nicely, but you have to manually refresh your tasks.
  3. It was a huge pain to set up (about an hour of work). This is no longer important, but I figured it was good to mention.

Constructing a plan

I didn't find anything that really fills the niche that I'm looking for. I think I can adopt taskwiki to handle some of my needs, but I'll also need to make something to fill some of the gaps. So, here's the plan:
  1. Try to use taskwiki seriously for a while. I want to see how well using a wiki for organization actually works in practice, and there's only one way to do that. Next week, I'm going to write up a more detailed overview of vimwiki and taskwiki.
  2. After that, I'm going to start building some scripts to cover the features that I want. While I can't precisely say what I'll need yet, I'm expecting that I'll want some way to be directly notified of upcoming tasks, and I'll probably also want a way to quickly pull up the wiki when I log in.
Ad before you get worried about dfgame, don't! I've been working on it behind the scenes, and you'll hear more about my progress in a few weeks.
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