Michael Koehler

Exploring the intersection of productivity, technology, and life.

Archive for the ‘Nozbe’ Category

Exporting Nozbe to CSV

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I just finished writing and testing exporting Nozbe data to CSV.  I know at least one person has commented that he needs to report in Excel, so I hope this will help.

Next step is export to XML, as well as saving in Nozbe’s native JSON format (should make for a good backup).

Once those two are added I will turn my attention to my ultimate goal: adding and editing things and syncing the changes with Nozbe.  That is when ReVuDo is really going to shine!

In the meantime, I hope you are taking advantage of what ReVuDo can already help you with in keeping Nozbe up to date.  My weekly review already starts with sorting projects on Labels to make sure that all my projects have a label.  Then I sort on actions to be sure that all projects have at least one action defined.  Then I walk through my projects one by one using ReVuDo’s next project feature.  For now I have to jump to either the Nozbe web site or the Nozbe Windows app to make changes, but the day when that is no longer true is coming.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/08/12 at 11:27 pm

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

ReVuDo 0.3.6 – Printing and Filtering Nozbe lists

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This update adds some great new capabilities.  Download the latest!

Printing

First, as I mentioned in my last post, printing makes it’s debut. You will notice that all the windows (projects, contexts and the various views on tasks) now have a toolbar and a Print button has been added.

The Print button let’s you print the contents of the window, so if you have a filter set, only items matching the filter will be printed. Very handy if you don’t want the whole list. In addition to supporting filtering, once you click print (or type Ctrl+P), a dialog will ask you if you want to print only the selected items. Say for example that there are three projects you want to print. Just highlight all three, Print, and select the option to “Print only selected items”. Through filtering or selecting, you can print just what you need.

On that same print options dialog, you have the option for project lists and context lists to print the related tasks and, if you are, whether each project’s or context’s task list should start on a new page. A good example of this is to print only your @Errands tasks. Open the Contexts window, select the Errands row, Print, select “print selected items only”, and “print tasks for each context”. In this case start the next context on a new page doesn’t matter as we only selected one context.

Once you select your options and click OK, the standard Windows print dialog will appear. In a future version I hope to merge this into the previous print options dialog and save a step, but for now we’ll just use the one Windows gives us for free. Select your printer, paper, or any other options and click OK.

Finally, ReVuDo will show you a preview of what the print out will look like. Not what you wanted? Just click Cancel. Or, click Print and the paper will start emerging from your printer.

More powerful filtering

I mentioned above that you can limit what you print by using the filter. To make that even more useful, the filter was been updated to use a Google like syntax:

Upper and lowercase text are treated as being the same.

this that — will find items containing both words.
this OR that — will find items that have either or both words. Note that OR must be in caps to distinguish it from the word or.
“this that” — will find items where both words are next to each other.

-this — finds items that do not contain the word this.
-“this that” — finds items that do not contain the phrase “this that”.

This is much more powerful then the simple search that we had before, but we can take it to another level:

name:this — will, depending on what you are filtering, match only project names, context names, or task names containing the word this.

Basically any column header can be used this way to filter on just that column. You can even search on next:true or next:false to filter tasks on whether or not they are next actions. A negative like -context:home would find tasks that do not have a context of home.  date:July would find tasks with due dates in July. And while description:that will search project descriptions for the word “that”, desc:that will do the same and save some typing.

I’m not sure if I’m more excited for printing or the more powerful filtering. They’re both great additions that let you do more.

Updates

One final change: The About window has been redesigned to better match the rest of ReVuDo, and a Check for New Version button has been added.

What’s Next?

What’s next? Exporting is the next big thing to add, and then I will dive into letting you make changes and sync them with Nozbe. For those wondering about files, Evernote and Dropbox support; I plan to add them after allowing updates.

Big things are coming!

Is there a feature you wish I would add?  Let me know!

Is ReVuDo helping you?  Let everyone else know by clicking one of the Share options below.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/08/02 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Nozbe, ReVuDo

Competition – I Love It!

with 5 comments

Today, Nozbe released their first beta of the official Windows Nozbe app.  So, I minimized the compiler where I was learning how to format a printed version of my projects list for the next version of ReVuDo and installed it.

As Michael says in his blog post, their current version is a beta, and I applaud them for releasing it at this point so we can all experience it, and comment.  That’s exactly what I wanted to see, and one of the reasons ReVuDo is being developed in public.  Despite being a beta, their app looks very good.   I like what I see and will try to spend a lot of time using it instead of the web application.

Ever since Michael announced that Nozbe was changing direction to native applications that sync with the cloud, I wondered if there would be any reason to continue work on ReVuDo.  With their first Windows beta in hand, I have no doubt.  ReVuDo is about seeing your Nozbe lists in a new way.  My focus right now is on printing, followed by exporting, followed by edit and sync.  Only that last item overlaps with what Nozbe has achieved, and it was the feature gaps that were always my main focus.

Congratulations to the whole team at Nozbe for their first Windows client!  I cannot wait to see the 1.0 release and hope that the web site is modified to look like the new desktop apps.  I’m sure that must be your plan.  In the meantime, I will do my best to support your effort with comments, and add to the Nozbe community with features in ReVuDo that you haven’t had the time to write yet.

Competition?  Not really, but certainly lots more options for everyone.  I really love that!

Written by mwkoehler

2011/07/15 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

ReVuDo 0.3.5.2

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ReVuDo Projects Window

In the comments, Dudley reported a crash when opening the Inbox. Crashes bother me at a deep level, so I immediately started trying to find the cause. After awhile, I concluded that all I knew was that there was something in Dudley’s Inbox that ReVuDo did not know how to handle and I needed to know more. So, I created some fake data and I filled it with gibberish. Basically I create a set of projects, tasks and contexts that made no sense and I made ReVuDo open it. It crashed.

This to a programmer is a joyful thing. A bug that can be reproduced. I started digging. By the time I was done I had deleted a bunch of ReVuDo and moved that chunk down into Nozbe.Net where I rewrote it. ReVuDo can now read gibberish claiming to be from Nozbe without a crash and I hope that means that I fixed Dudley’s problem. Not that I think there was gibberish in his Nozbe Inbox, just that if the program can now handle the unexpected, it will probably do a better job at handling valid information. I had mentioned in a previous post that I was putting Nozbe.Net aside to write ReVuDo because I needed to write ReVuDo in order to better understand how Nozbe.Net should handle updating Nozbe. Apparently I needed it to better understand how to read from Nozbe as well.

Right before that bug report came in I was finishing up some small updates and preparing to start on printing which was to be in this version. Printing didn’t make it (although I did start on it), but some of those other things did:

  • There is now a [No Context] context, so you can locate the tasks that do not have a context assigned. And of course sorting projects by labels will quickly show you the ones that don’t have a label.
  • Icons everywhere. All the buttons that were just plain text are now both icons and text. It looks so much better.
  • And just today John asked for a button on the filter to clear it, so I added that as this went to press. I should note that pressing Esc in the filter field also clears it.

Technically the other change to mention was part of the last release, but since I forgot to mention it then, I’ll do so now. When you open a project from the project list, the task window will display the project information. I added this for the Previous and Next buttons that also appear. The combination allows you to double click the first project and then just click the Right arrow or type Alt-N to step through all your projects one by one. Now that’s a weekly review! I can’t wait to add the ability to make changes!

The update can be found on the ReVuDo page along with the updated road map.

Now back to printing!

Written by mwkoehler

2011/07/06 at 9:06 pm

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo

ReVuDo 0.3.4

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I’m going slow on the version numbers, because I have so much I want to do before I hit 1.0, so I’ll call this release 0.3.4.

The first change in this version is a set of changes to stop ReVuDo crashing for some people. Thanks go to phusick and RobM for reporting the problem, and especially to RobM for letting me know that I had guessed correctly on the fix.

Bug fixing is fine, but we need some new stuff too.  For those who saw a previous version, this is the first version that has context icons!  Personally, I’m thankful for the addition of color, but this is really about functionality.  A context icon helps grasp what context is assigned better than the words alone.  And ReVuDo includes the words as well.

In addition to the context icons, the Next Action stars also make their appearance.  Overall I think it looks much better.

The columns that contain text will now wrap the text if the column is too narrow, so you can size the window as you please and all the words will still be visible.

The Contexts window is now only as wide as it needs to be.  Having it larger bothered me.

My next two goals are to add printing, and (or?) to add exporting to XML, JSON or CSV format (I’d really like to offer export to Excel, but the first go is really slow).

So help me out.  I have started to think about what I would want in a printed version of Nozbe.  So far my thoughts are leaning to a dialog that allows you to select printing your project list, your contexts, your next actions, and/or your due dates.  Select what you want printed, click print and go get something done.  Does this sound right to you?  What do you want to see?

For exporting, or if you like, creating a backup, my idea is similar.  Pick one of the formats I mentioned above and provide a file name.  Done.  Do you want something else?

Let me know in the comments below, or go over to the ReVuDo page, download the new version, and leave your comments there.  This is your chance to add features to Nozbe.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/06/30 at 11:14 pm

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

ReVuDo 0.3

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It’s been just shy of two weeks since I posted version 0.2, and since then it has felt like a conspiracy has been trying to prevent the release of the next update.  I finally reached a point where I decided it was time to declare version 0.3 and let everyone see the changes. I think two weeks is my limit.

Changes in 0.3:

The installation program has been completely re-done.  It will now give you options for where to install, whether to create a desktop icon and other handy features.   It will even check if the required Microsoft .Net 4 is installed, and install it for you if it is not (a reboot is required in this case, but not otherwise).

I added an About button to the main projects window, which will display information about ReVuDo like the version and web site.  With a long stream of updates to come I wanted to give you a clear way to determine what version you are running.

I knew that options would be a big part of ReVuDo, so I added an Options button to the main projects window next to the About button.  There is only one option right now: to always open ReVuDo’s windows maximized.  I find this very useful when I am reviewing my projects as it gives me a clear view with no distractions.

Closing the main projects window will now close all the other windows you may have opened and close the program.  I have found that I can wind up with a lot of windows open and this provides a way to close everything.

In the contexts windows, if you double click a context, a window will open showing all the tasks for that context.

The change I like the most is visible when you are viewing a project’s tasks: a Prev (previous) and Next button at the top.  Clicking them allows you to move to the previous or next project on your project list.  This is great for weekly reviews.

If you are viewing tasks that are not all for the same project (Next Actions, Context, or tasks with Due Dates) the project name has been added so you know what project the task is for, and if you press Ctrl-Enter, or right click on one of those tasks and select Jump to Project, the view will switch to showing all the tasks for that project.

Get the latest version on my ReVuDo page, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Written by mwkoehler

2011/06/21 at 9:58 pm

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

ReVuDo version 0.2

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I originally posted this on my ReVuDo page, but with many changes to come, I realized that this belongs on my blog.  So here is the short list of changes that made it into version 0.2 on June 8th, 2011.

Changes in 0.2:

I have added buttons to the main projects window to open windows for Inbox tasks, tasks that have a Due Date, tasks that are Next Actions, and a list of Contexts.

I also cleaned up the display of tasks and fixed a bug where completed projects and tasks were being displayed.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/06/21 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

Preparing For Dark Clouds

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Jack Delano, photographer. Farm Security Administration.

In an earlier post I described how I had narrowed my GTD software options down to cloud based systems and chose Nozbe.  Amazon’s outage the other day highlights the risk of moving such a critical aspect of one’s work into the cloud: what do you do when the cloud fails you?

Michael Sliwinski talked about this on the Nozbe blog after a bug caused problems for many Nozbe users.  His main point was that Nozbe has been designed with problems, and recovering from them, in mind.  I applaud this, and I am glad that he took the time to describe what they have done to protect our data.  But, for me the right model is to have my own offline copy, ideally one that is more than just a backup.  It should be a copy that I can use.

Evernote does exactly what I want from every cloud based application.  They offer web access, apps for all the major mobile phones, and programs for Windows and Mac that will sync with the cloud, and allow you to work offline.  This means that if Evernote has a problem, as long as I have my laptop I have everything since my last sync (and everything that was ever entered using that laptop).  In short, Evernote could be down for a week, and I would just be inconvenienced.  I would still have all my Evernote data.

WinNozbe is intended first and foremost to solve this problem for Windows users.  It will connect to Nozbe, sync your information so both Nozbe and your PC are in agreement, and let you work offline.  Even if Nozbe is having a problem.  Even if you decide to leave Nozbe.  Even if you never signed up for Nozbe.

I know this is not coming quickly; is probably months away; but I am committed to making it happen.  And there will be some other goodies in WinNozbe as well.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/26 at 7:40 am

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

WinNozbe Status

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Michael Sliwinski, the founder of Nozbe, has said that Nozbe would have been written much faster if only he hadn’t had to stop to learn how to do something so often.  I feel I am following in his footsteps.

When I started work on WinNozbe, I decided that I would use the project to learn Windows Presentation Foundation or WPF.  Not only would I learn something new, but WPF seemed to offer a lot of cool stuff that would make WinNozbe a better, more fun application.  Well, I am learning.  So far I don’t really regret my decision, as the promise of WPF is still there; but, it is really slowing me down.

At this point there is nothing to show you, but I have a stack of WPF articles to read and I hope to make a break through soon.  Sometimes you just have to put in a lot of upfront work before you can see the payoff.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/21 at 8:00 am

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

Listen to your product

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When you need to make a decision, but you don’t have enough information, you have two options.  Seth Godin suggests flipping a coin, and I agree that sometimes this is the best way to go.  When you are short on time, or there is simply no cost effective way to get the information you need, coin flipping will at least move you forward.  The second option is to get more information.  One of the great things about software is that you can often get more information with the simple investment of time.  Of course, when you can’t afford the necessary time, your back to coin flipping.

As I mentioned last time, I have shifted from Nozbe.Net to what I am calling WinNozbe (at least for now).  The idea is a Windows application that can either operate on it’s own, or sync with Nozbe.  I want it to operate either offline or online as needed.  But all this is work to be done; it is still early days.

The reason for the switch was that I did not feel that I had enough information to finish the part of Nozbe.Net that updates Nozbe itself.  Until I wrote a program that actually wanted to do that, it wasn’t clear how it should work.  So read-only Nozbe.Net was published, and I turned to developing the program I wanted to begin with so I could let the program give me the answers.

Did I learn how I wanted to update Nozbe?  No, I learned that I needed to modify how I provided the information from Nozbe!  Nozbe.Net was originally tested by writing Powershell scripts that sliced and diced the projects and actions, so Nozbe.Net returns arrays of hash tables, the sort of thing Powershell handles with ease (and not incidentally a simple translation of the data as provided by Nozbe).  But, WinNozbe is a more complicated system and hash tables are not exactly what is wants.  So work has shifted into the gray area between the two.  The end result will likely be an update to Nozbe.Net before WinNozbe is ready for publication.

I have heard artists say that a statue is not something they make out of stone, but something they find in the stone.  The structure of the stone constrains what is possible, and the combination of the stone and the sculptor creates the statue.  Working in software is far from working with stone, but that same interaction occurs.  If you can take the time to listen to what you are making, it will tell you what you should do, and the result will be amazing.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/13 at 10:33 pm

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