For a while now, I've been using the excellent online calendar provided by 30 Boxes. It's a well-thought-out, fast, flexible, feature-rich, fun calendar. Its release was the event that brought me to the decision that I'd never use a PC-based software calendar ever again(though I was pretty impressed with rainlendar and Sunbird). That was in February of this year.
Then in April, Google outdid 30 Boxes with its own calendar, which automatically tied itself to my gmail account, consolidating my entire life into one little box. I put our entire kickball schedule into my Google Calendar, sent invitations to parties, and have made it a regular in my internet rotation.
As you might imagine, once I started using Google Calendar, my use of 30 Boxes kind of fell by the wayside. Google did everything I wanted, and very well. In a curious, "oh yeah!" moment, I checked back on my neglected 30 Boxes account, and saw that its developers hadn't been idle. They added a nifty Webtop, which made the whole experience that much more rewarding, but made me equally regretful, knowing that I'd still use Google's Calendar, as I saw it as superior.
One of the really nice features of the Webtop was the To-do List. It was using this very simple interface that I began to really get some previously daunting programming projects done. Usually, when I make a software change to the backend of this or any other site on which I work, I have several files to edit, to accommodate new formatting or improved communication between files. The bottom line is that whenever I'm programming, I'll be working on one file, and I'll notice that a change I'm making will affect something else.
Previously, when that happened, I would have to keep track of it in my head, or at least I thought I could, but even so, when too many things would weigh on my mind as parts of the change, I would usually just set it down and come back later. To accomplish a major task, like the complete reformat back in February, it could easily take weeks.
But with a simple To-do List, changes like this became simple. As I came up with an idea of a problem, I would enter it into the list, finish my current task, and go fix the next problem. Now I admit that it was much more than just an online to-do list that got me more organized with my programming. It was more of an admission that maintaining this site is a lot more work than just adding a couple of lines to a file.
But even so, the to-do list is a great thing for rudimentary programming. Today, I was researching a way to tie my Google Calendar to my online ledger program, and inadvertently found out about Remember the Milk. It's an AJAX-powered site whose entire raison d'etre is to-do lists. The interface is clean, attractive, and intuitive. I love that multiple notes can be added to a single task, making it capable of much more verbosity in my programming plans.
Tagging is a default behavior, along with full access from a wireless device. Entries can be assigned a time and place, bringing up a handy google map within the application. I still have a lot more tinkering to do, but one thing is certain: I have a new to-do list.
Bahua, 37signals also makes a nice to-do list called Ta-da List http://www.tadalist.com/
12:34 PM, Dec 1, 2006