Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

    TSW-friendly task and note management software

    5th June 2016

    A while ago I was looking for GTD/TSW-compatible android app.
    I ended up using Trello, Keep, and Calendar.

    But I always keep looking for new/improved tools, as right now I feel the best one does not exist…
    (If the best one can exist at all – requirements and conditions change all the time, so there is no fixed perfect immovable target.)

    I have been contemplating trying out the TSW methodology, but neither Keep nor Trello are quite there yet.
    I ended up using Evernote; after recent management changes and actually trying to become profitable it may as well last long enough.

    Everything was fine and calm until I have found workflowy yesterday.
    In essence, it is very similar to the text-file-based system that I have been using for at least half a year.

    Briefly, it is a web-based text editor on steroids, with possibly infinite nesting lists and seemingly full keyboard shortcuts control – no mouse needed.
    I recommend that you try the demo – it seems to be fully functional, and there is no need to sign up.

    This discovery made me read through pages and pages of this class of software tools.
    Here is a very brief summary of my findings:

    • org-mode for emacs: taking notes, organizing to-do lists and projects, writing structured text; I can definitely see the benefits – especially for tasks/projects management; however, for rich content – with attached/embedded files/images – this probably won’t work that well; see also orgzly;
    • TagSpaces (also on github) is a tags-based files manager; cross-platform, offline, stores tags in filenames (in square brackets) – this is probably the least interfering/locking-in solution, the only things changing are file names; TagSpaces users are expected to synchronize the tag-controlled filesystem (which can be some specific directory tree) using 3rd-party tools such as [BT]Sync, SyncThing, Dropbox, Box, etc;
    • many kinds of Evernote-like tools and wikis, that people also use to take notes; the two most mature and usable and feature-rich are probably Laverna (looks great, uses markdown, can be self-hosted, unclear how to search by multiple tags) and Paperwork (same thing with multiple tags); WizNote also deserves a mention; among other tools: git-backed magpie, yipgo, Marks, KeepNote, zim, etc;
    • hamster-GTD is a (yet another?) variation of TSW/GTD – not a tool, but a system;
    • Artificer (formerly Overlord S-RAMP), a system for any kind of interconnected, hierarchical data; see also Artificer GTD example;
    • magnolial, workflowy clone (haven’t tried it yet); another clone is HackFlowy – trying its offline demo shows that only a basic list functionality is present.

    Now that I think of it, TagSpaces is a neat idea…
    Especially for photos – assigning tags actually updates filenames, which is great for photos.
    And you can easily search by those tags later in TagSpaces.
    In fact, TagSpaces looks very interesting for organizing lots of directory/file-based data.

    Laverna looks quite exciting! And seems to be actively developed.
    But there seems to be nothing quite comparable to WorkFlowy… Need to test it some more.

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