webOS App Review: Task Management with Done! and Toodledo

webOS is great at a good many things. Multitasking, Synergy, unobtrusive notifications, and others are all real strengths. The native Memo, Tasks, and Calendar apps, however, are not among them. Where Palm was known for making robust PIM (personal information management) tools in Palm OS, they clearly chose to focus on other things so far in the development of webOS.

The webOS Tasks app might be the weakest of them all. It has only limited category support, won’t sync natively with anything other then Exchange Activesync (which doesn’t work with Google Tasks), doesn’t support recurring tasks, and supports due dates but not times. Simply put, webOS users who need strong task management must look beyond the core webOS apps to fulfill their requirements.

Fortunately, some great third-party task management apps are available. This review focuses on one, Done! by Tiger Country Software, which syncs with the outstanding online task management solution Toodledo. While everyone has their own task management process, the combination of Toodledo and Done! can accommodate most working styles from simple to-dos to a full-blown Getting Things Done (GTD) system.

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When I was looking for a good alternative to the native webOS tasks app, I wanted three fundamental capabilities:

  1. The ability to sync with multiple systems, including online (for access from anywhere), my Sprint Pre, and my various PCs.
  2. The ability to easily categorize tasks by major areas, such as home, work, and my various Web projects, including tags when needed
  3. The ability to create subtasks for project management.

Toodledo provides a powerful core group of features that exceeds my requirements. There are three account levels, Free, Pro ($14.95/year), and Pro Plus ($24.95/year), that can likely meet most needs from the individual user with very basic requirements up to an organization that requires substasks, reporting, and collaboration. Yes, that’s right: if you need subtasks then you’ll have to pony up at least $14.95 a year, but once you do you’ll find the subtasks capability robust and easy to use.

In addition, I use a very nice Windows application, TaskAngel ($19.95 for two computers), to manage tasks on my PCs. It’s easy to use, fully featured, and syncs with Toodledo. Note that I’ll be redacting some of these screens to avoid giving out the details of my plans to take over the world:

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Done! doesn’t yet support subtasks in the release version, but the developer has announced support for pending update. And so it either already does or will soon meet my three core requirements. Without further ado, here’s a quick overview of using Done! and Toodledo for managing tasks.

Overview

Done!’s feature list is fairly complete. As listed on Tiger Country Software’s Web site:

  • Synchronize with Toodledo
  • Add/edit tasks in Done or in Toodledo
  • Add/edit Folders, Contexts, and Goals
  • View task lists by Folder, Context, Due Date, Priority, Status
  • Create Custom Lists where you control what’s shown: filter by folder, context, goal, status, priority, star, due date/time, start date/time. Sort the list however you want!
  • Change the background color – sixteen colors available.
  • Customize the fields displayed in the task details screen
  • Get notifications when tasks are due!

Toodledo is also a complete solution. Toodledo provides a handy overview of their features and capabilities. Here’s a subset:

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Both Done! and Toodledo are among the most feature-complete task management solutions for their respective platforms. The following is a basic introduction to each solution’s most important capabilities (for me, at least).

Configuration

Done! offers an impressive number of configuration options around how it displays information, how and when it syncs with Toodledo, and how it provides notifications:

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Toodledoo’s basic configuration options are also extensive, and are greatly expanded on in other parts of the application:

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Creating Tasks

Click the “+” button in the lower left corner to create a new task. There are many task configuration options and so the screen is a bit imposing. But, in fact, the only required field is the task name, testifying to the app’s flexibility:

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Adding a task in Toodledo is equally flexible:

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Task Management

Done! offers a number of options for filtering and viewing tasks:

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Tasks can also be filtered by category, but Done! supports “just type” for searching. And so, capturing screen shots can be a bit tricky, because the app wants to start searching before the system registers the screen shot combo.

Done! supports swipe to delete:

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Toodledoo offers extensive management features as well. There’s a bit of a learning curve with both apps, but the online version of Toodledo will likely take most users the longest to learn. Tasks can be filtered, sorted, expanded, divided, sliced, and diced in just about any conceivable combination. It’s easy to get a quick view of your complete task list in Toodledo, and with a bit of work it can also be a very powerful and effective tool for folks with complex task management requirements.

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Syncing

Done! syncs to Toodledo when the app first opens, periodically, and on demand. So far, I’ve found the syncing process to be robust and reliable. I’ve yet to have a task that failed to sync between Done! and Toodledo and then between Toodledo and TaskAngel clients running on my PCs. Simply put, it’s an outstanding solution for keeping tasks up-to-date across any number of systems.

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Notifications

Done! supports notifications for items that have due and start dates and times. The notifications show up in the dashboard, and they work reliably. Clicking on the left button in a notification rotates between tasks, and clicking on a task opens it for editing in the main app. However, Done!’s notifications have some serious inherent limitations.

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First, notifications are provided for all relevant tasks at the preconfigured notification time and whenever any task has a set time. Therefore, tasks with a due or start time of, say, 10:00am will notify numerous times: at the default time of 7:30am and at the due time of 10:00am. Second, tasks can’t be snoozed or individually dismissed, and marking a task as complete doesn’t remove it from the notification list until the next set of notifications. Overall, Done!’s notification system is perhaps its weakest feature, and hopefully will be resolved in time.

As a Web app, Toodledo doesn’t offer notifications. However, TaskAngel can provide reminders for tasks with due dates and times, and works reliably. Oddly enough, TaskAngel’s tasks can’t be snoozed either.

Support

Tiger Country Software is very responsive to issues, and has provided fixes within days when I’ve notified them of problems. Done! is consistently updated for bugs and new features, and continues to improve. Toodledoo support is also seems good, with an active forum. The app is very stable and feature complete, however, and so I’ve not had many opportunities to test their responsiveness.

Conclusion

The combination of Done! and Toodledo is powerful, reliable, and flexible for everything from the simplest to-do list to the most complex GTD use. It’s a complete solution for managing tasks on the go and at the desktop, and can keep you organized across a wide variety of platforms. Done! costs $3.23 in the Palm App Catalog, and as such is a real steal. And if you don’t need its more advanced features, such as subtasks and collaboration, then Toodledo is free. Even at $14.95 a year for Toodledo’s Pro version, that’s only a total cost of just over $18 for a year’s worth of robust task management. All in all, Done! and Toodledo represent a tremendous value.

Positives:

  • webOS client currently supports every pertinent feature of Toodledo except subtask management
  • Fast and reliable interface
  • Reliable syncing between Done! and Toodledo
  • Support for simple to-do management all the way up to the most complex task management requirements

Negatives:

  • Learning curve is a bit steep compared to other webOS apps
  • No subtask support
  • Notification system needs work

Update: Done! version 0.5.0 adds in subtask support for Toodledo Pro users, and improves notifications. The update also adds in a number of other welcome features, including color-coding by status (e.g., red for overdue). Well done, Tiger Country Software (and hat tip webOSroundup)!

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Comments

  1. Great detailed breakdown of this power combo on webOS. I’ve been using Done! for many months now and it’s everything I wish the built-in tasks app was, and then some. I’m definitely a fan of Tiger Country Software and really dig their Noted! app too.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Travis Atkinson, AboutwebOS. AboutwebOS said: #webOS App Review: Managing tasks with Done! and @Toodledo: http://bit.ly/cz4zQO @Palm @HP_PC [...]

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