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Friday, July 26, 2013

To do: find replacement to do app

Being forced to replace an app to which you've grown accustomed is, on the one hand, a first world problem, and on the other, a genuine frustration. Particularly so if the app works just about perfectly for your needs. Exhibit A: Google Reader. It wasn't that long ago I made the move to feedly, and whilst it wasn't all smooth sailing I've adjusted to the post-Google Reader/feedly way of life. Now it's Astrid's turn for retirement, and the hunt begins for a suitable replacement.

Features I was looking for:
  • free
  • support for recurring tasks by due date and completion date 
  • notes for tasks (ie separate notes field / additional to the task title/name)
  • reminders independent of due date
  • sync to cloud / PC / other devices (I currently sync between Google Tasks and Astrid on two devices)
  • automatic backup, restore, and export (see next point) 
  • data compatibility with other similar apps (ie in case need to transition again) 
  • (optional) priority levels
Some of my research:
My shortlist of candidates and selected findings:
  1. Gtasks
    • syncs with Google Tasks 
    • does not support recurring tasks in free version
    • the above limitation pretty much killed it for me, so I uninstalled Gtasks after installing TickTick and importing from Gtasks to TickTick
  2. TickTick
    • based on/evolved from Gtasks? No longer tied to Google Tasks.
    • can import from Gtasks, but sync is with own cloud
    • reminder/alarm is tied to due date
    • cannot set recurrence by completion date (only due date) 
    • cannot set recurrence by more than 2.5 years (30 months) - I currently have one task that I want to recur every 5 years
    • overview screen/list only displays 1/1st line of task title
    • the combination of the above few limitations meant my search was not yet over
  3. Wunderlist
    • can only import from Astrid.com
      • I wasn't using Astrid.com, but could do a one off sync from Android to Astrid.com, then use astrid.wunderlist.com to do the import into Wunderlist - this produced duplicates of everything, but otherwise worked fine
    • sync is with own cloud 
    • can maintain multiple lists 
    • can set reminder separate from due date 
    • email notification setting done via website seems to apply for normal reminders as well as what the website suggests (other things)
    • cannot set recurrence by completion date (only due date) 
    • overview screen/list only displays 1/1st line of task title… (but at least this is denoted by "…" cf no indication of more text in TickTick)
    • selected sort order (eg by due date) does not autorefresh after changing a task's due date (or it might take a minute or more, which is a bit off-putting)
    • reminder notification cannot be persistent (as Astrid's could be) 
I liked the cleanness and simplicity of TickTick, but it was lacking in some features I wanted. Wunderlist is in some ways more complex/more bloated than what I need, but it offers some features that TickTick doesn't. Wunderlist also has a much larger user (and fan?) base and potentially greater likelihood of sustained future support.

I also briefly considered how I might extend my use of Evernote, or play around more with Google Keep, but they're notetaking apps and not to do apps. I also subsequently found out I could keep using Astrid offline / syncing only to Google Tasks (which was my syncing regime in any case), but figured I didn't want to be 'stuck' with old and frozen software.

So, Wunderlist it is... but I am going to miss Astrid.

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