Categories
Productivity

Productivity Software Wishlist

I have a fever for productivity software. I haven’t found anything perfect (the nerve of other people not to think of exactly what I want!). This is wishlist of things ideal software would have. I wrote this both as a checklist for myself and as a guide of what to mention when I review other productivity software.

So, my nearly-true love is ❤️ Trello ❤️. Next best is Asana. This review is based on the things I found pleasing and displeasing about each.

Terminology

  • I use the terms tag and label interchangeably.
  • I use the terms card and task interchangeably. I realize that the Official Kanban Term is card, but I’m not bent on it.

Yes, Please

Basics

  • Kanban
  • The ability to copy and move boards, lists and tasks
  • The ability to do nearly anything in the app that you can do on the desktop and vice versa.
  • The ability to use other boards and cards as attachments. Pasting URLs will do in a pinch, but I’d like it to be able to grab the board’s name without me having to enter it.
  • Can see a list of all tasks assigned to me, regardless of board. Can sort these tasks by due date (among other things?). It remembers the sort.
  • Open source LOL yeah right
  • Native calendaring
  • Reminders on my phone. I’m not really pleased with how this is done in Trello, but I’m not sure what I would like. In Asana, reminders disappear after a day or so. I’d prefer they stick around until dismissed. This is useful if I’m waiting on some other party to complete a step.
  • The app should have basic functionality without an internet connection; it should sync automatically once the connection is restored.
  • Global IDs for each task so I can put ID-123 in a description or comment and it automatically links to that card, again regardless of board.
  • Attachments, including the ability to set an image as a cover on both cards and a list.
  • The ability to create templates from boards, lists or tasks
  • A library of ready-made templates.

Boards

  • Boards should be scoped to private by default.
  • The ability to create a template from a board
  • Alphabetical sorting on list of boards
  • Many pretty board backgrounds
  • Detailed notes on boards, lists or tasks. It would be nice if this integrates with Evernote or Google Keep or the like. Trello has board and task descriptions, but I’d like it to allow for more detailed notes. I think Notion has this.
  • The ability to see something as a board or a list with section headings.

Lists

  • Per-list notes
  • Per-list attachment

Tasks

  • Assign a task to multiple boards.
  • Multiple batches of checkboxes per task; the ability to promote a list item to a task
  • Per task detailed notes

Tags

  • Global
  • Color-coded
  • The ability to see a list of all tags, regardless of board – when I click on a tag, it should show me all the tasks across all the boards.

Other

  • No time limit on the free tier. Although I’m willing to pay for a service I love, a limited time trial period is inevitably too short to get a sense of whether or not a service works for me.
  • Analytics

What it Doesn’t Need But I’ll Tolerate

  • The ability to share things with other people
  • The ability to color-code tasks themselves

No, Thank You

  • Boards shared by default

Drop me a line if you have a lead on something like this – resume@kjcoop.com

Categories
Asana Productivity Trello

Productivity Review: Asana

I almost switched from 💌 Trello 💌 (not affiliated, just a fan) because it has global tags. Board-scoped tags is the one feature that’s keeping me from joining 💑 Trello 💑 in a union of holy matrimony. Ultimately, Asana was missing a lot of features that prevented me from fully embracing it.

What it Has Going for it

  • Covers basic kanban functionality nicely.
  • Aforementioned global and color-coded tags.
  • Can see a list of all tasks assigned to me, regardless of board. This is another thing 🌸 Trello 🌸 omits on the desktop.
  • It has the ability to see something as a board or a list with section headings. Scrolling down as opposed to over (and down) doesn’t really have a specific benefit, it’s just nice to see things displayed the way I think about them.
  • Native calendaring – 💖 Trello 💖 has plenty of plugins for this, but it doesn’t do it on its own
  • You can assign a task to multiple boards.
  • Occasional fun animations when you click done.
  • A nice library of templates
  • Its task notifications are pretty good.
  • Progress view, even at the free tier.
  • No time limit on the free tier. Although I’m willing to pay for a service I love (I pay for 💛 Trello 💛), a limited time trial period is inevitably too short to get a sense of whether or not a service works for me.

What it Lacks

  • The ability to duplicate a list to another board. While repeating oneself is bad practice (particularly in code), sometimes when you’re an end user of somebody else’s software, you just have to accept it.
  • Only a few pretty backgrounds to choose from. 💜 Trello 💜 must have some kind of intellectual property dibs on this.
  • Tag problems:
    • Can’t create a new tag in the app on Android.
    • No list of tags. If I want to see everything in the tag I used for things to be done during work hours, I have to go into a task with that tag, then click on the tag there.
    • Using them is buggy in the app. I once accidentally created two of the same tag (same name, same color). In my browser, I moved everything to one and deleted the other. The app still shows them both and fails silently when I guess incorrectly about which one is still there.
  • App won’t even show a complete list of boards without an internet connection.
  • Sorting options aren’t retained in the app. When you pull up a list, it’s not sorted in any way. It doesn’t want to guess what you want, that’s fine. I sort it by due date and I’m happy. I go away and come back. For a minute, it’s still sorted by due date, but then the list refreshes and returns to unsorted.
  • The ability to use other boards/tasks as attachments.

Not Lacking But Distasteful

  • Boards are default scoped to public within organization.
  • Although it’s theoretically nice that on the website you can change the board sort, it comes at the expense of having Asana alphabetize them.

Conclusion

I’m still contemplating getting a 😍 Trello 😍 tattoo; running out of ❤️ emojis.

Categories
Trello

Productivity Review: 🌈 Trello 🌈

I have mentioned my love for Trello. I’ve also been trying to work around the lack of global tags since about the time I began using it on Dec 31, 2018.

This shortcoming finally lead me on a trip around the world of kanban software. I plan to review some of the stops I made. First off, I’d like to write a love letter to Trello on what may be the eve of our separation.

Some things I love about Trello:

  • The primary functionality: kanban. I didn’t realize that’s what my life was missing until Trello came along. To-do lists just don’t cut it anymore.
  • The pretty background pictures. They call the Unsplash API to allow you to select a pretty background. It is surprisingly pleasant. I assume this hasn’t been copied due to some intellectual property reason. If/When Trello and I part ways, I’ll miss it.
  • The ability to use other boards and cards as attachments. It turns out to be surprisingly handy.
  • The ability to copy lists and move copies to other boards.
  • I have yet to find anything I can do on the website that I can’t do in the app.

The thing I don’t love:

  • It’s very siloed

Things I’d love to see

  • Global tags
  • A dashboard
  • It’s the nature of Trello’s beast to be closed source, but I’d sure love to find an alternative that’s so free rms would approve.

I’ve found a few open source web-based Kanban packages on Github, but none have all the features I’d need to be wooed away. I’m currently scoping out a few to potentially add missing functionality myself, but I’m still in the market.

Categories
npm Trello

Tinkering with carlosazaustre / vue-trello

In my continuing effort to find a Trello replacement, I’ve been looking at carlosazaustre / vue-trello. My thanks to carlosazaustre for creating it. After some exploring, I realized it’s more reliant on Google Cloud Platform than I particularly want to go. However, I publish the notes I had so far in the hopes that they’ll help someone else.

`npm install`

`npm install` kept dying on Firebase. I had to uninstall then reinstall. I can’t find the Stack Overflow post that gave me the instructions, but according to my bash history, it looks something like the following:

Chuck GRPC’s data:
rm node_modules/grpc -r

Delete package-lock.json:
rm package-lock.json

Rebuild node-sass:
npm rebuild node-sass

Install the latest version of firebase:
npm i firebase@latest

Install firebase/app:
npm install --save @firebase/app

Settings File

The next error was:
ERROR Failed to compile with 1 errors 11:43:17 PM This relative module was not found: * ./settings in ./src/api/firebase.js

It needs a file called settings.js in src/api/. There’s an example file (settings.js.example) to grab from. You need to add your Firebase details. You can learn your API key at:
https://console.firebase.google.com/project/[project ID]/settings/general/

Next Steps

This is where I got off the train. Presumably it’s now just a matter of filling the correct details into the config file. Best of luck to you.

Categories
Asana CLI Linux Productivity Programming Ruby Trello

Working with TrelloToAsana

First off, many thanks to goborrega, the author of TrelloToAsana – a ruby package to help users port their data from 🌹💃 💕 Trello 💕 💃 🌹 to Asana. I love Trello (as you may have gathered from the emojis), but the boards are very siloed. I have like 3 dozen boards, I don’t want to have to dig into each one.

There are a few ways to get data between the two, but none were to my satisfaction until I found this package on Github.

I ran into a couple issues and I wanted to save some other folks the time. Many of these issues stem from not being a Ruby developer Thanks to Google University, I was able to develop a sufficient passing literacy.

Some background that may be helpful to non-Ruby devs may find useful:

  • Install Bundler and other dependencies. On Suse the command was: sudo zypper install ruby2.5-rubygem-bundler ruby-dev ruby2.5-dev ruby2.5-rubygem-rails-5_1
  • Install dependencies defined in the gemfile: bundle install
  • To run a Ruby script: ruby [filename]

There seems to be a version problem with the required versions of Ruby and the gem json. To fix that, I went opened Gemfile and replaced where it calls for json version 1.8.1 with 1.8.5. I haven’t seen any negative consequences of advancing it to a later version.

Between the time of the code’s writing and the time I ran it, Asana evidently changed their property id to gid on workspaces, projects and tasks. A find and replace on all instances of .id with .gid fixed the problem. The error was:

/usr/lib64/ruby/gems/2.5.0/gems/asana-0.10.0/lib/asana/resource_includes/resource.rb:34:in `method_missing': undefined method `id'

It worked like a dream after that.

Having gone to all that trouble, I don’t think I’m going to stick with Asana. There are too many features 💖 Trello 🌈 has that Asana doesn’t. My hunt for a 🌼 Trello 🥰 alternative that has global tags continues.