Michael Koehler

Exploring the intersection of productivity, technology, and life.

Some progress

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I have been absent from this blog for awhile, as I have been spending every moment available on getting ReVuDo to sync with Nozbe.  The actual syncing part took a few weeks before I was satisfied.  The real issue was getting the new information to appear on the screen short of restarting ReVuDo.

ReVuDo is written using Microsoft’s WPF technology.  Part of my motivation for writing ReVuDo was to learn WPF, so the project occasionally hits a speed bump when I run into something I do not yet know how to do.  The trick of getting the windows to update with the new information turned out to be a major, and surprising, road block.  After a lot of reading and researching I was lucky to come across Michael L Perry’s Update Controls.  More reading and testing ensued as I learned how to apply this new tool.  Finally, this weekend it all came together. I started ReVuDo, went to nozbe.com, added a new project to Nozbe, and then clicked Sync in ReVuDo.  The new project seamlessly appeared in ReVuDo.

Now I still have some work and testing to do, but version 0.4 with one-way sync to Nozbe should be finished soon.  By one-way I mean that initially ReVuDo will accept updates from Nozbe, but not allow you to change anything from ReVuDo.  So many changes have been made inside ReVuDo, that I do not want to risk anyone’s data.  After we have all had a chance to test the new version, I will open it up to allow changes as the next step.

Thank you for your patience.  Good things are coming.


Written by mwkoehler

2011/12/12 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

Still working on ReVuDo, but a new version is still to come

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It has been quite a while since I lasted posted a note or released a new version of ReVuDo, my free Windows client application for Nozbe.  Why?  In short, not enough time.

After my last post I had a wedding to go to.  It was a joyful event celebrating the love of two wonderful young people.  It was wonderful to celebrate their wedding and I wish them love and happiness together.

The wedding was a destination wedding for me (although not the happy couple who live in this magical place), and the prep and aftermath was typical of stepping away for awhile from the usual daily grind.  A lot of closing open loops and passing work to others beforehand, followed by a lot of catch up afterward.  In the middle was Hurricane Irene which actually followed me so I could experience it twice. And all of that led into to the most seasonally busy part of my business year.

The beauty of GTD is that it assumes things like this will happen.  The whole idea of emptying your mind into organized lists allows you to concentrate on life happening to you. I am very grateful for my lists.  They allowed me to be fully present at the most beautiful times as well as when I needed to focus on the most important work.  People claim that GTD does not support prioritization.  Clearly this is not true.  It focuses on true prioritization.  This is something I should write more about.

As for ReVuDo, it is moving slowly toward its next version.  I have fixed several bugs, established a local database so that ReVuDo does not have to load all your information every time it starts, and found a Nozbe bug.  My next action is to decide if I will work around the Nozbe bug or wait for a fix.  I will let you know as soon a I can.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/10/23 at 8:13 pm

Posted in GTD, ReVuDo, Windows

A fix and a new feature but no updating yet – ReVuDo 0.3.8

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This is not a post I planned to write, but a bug is a bug is a bug, and they bug me.

On September 4th, Paul reported an issue with copy/pasting tasks from ReVuDo to Excel.  The context information was not copying. The most likely cause of this was adding the context icon to the context column.  It turned out to be a pretty easy fix, so here is version 0.3.8.  Paul, let me know how this works for you.

As it happens, I had finished another change that I had intended to go out in the big update for editing Nozbe using ReVuDo.  I had noticed that after I added more extensive filtering, that I wished I had a view with All Tasks.  So, I added one.  This is literally all your tasks in one view.  To make it more powerful I added a column for project labels.  Now you can open this view and filter for “context:out context:anywhere context:home” and get all the tasks with any of those three contexts.  Try it out and see what you can do with it.

Keep the comments coming.  I am working on editing, but that will be a large update, so I am not sure when it will be ready.  I’ll be blogging in the meantime, and will provide status updates as I go.

To update to 0.3.8 click here.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/09/06 at 9:40 pm

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo

Export Nozbe to CSV (and Excel), XML and JSON – ReVuDo 0.3.7!

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It is amazing what the focus of a vacation can do.

The day after tomorrow I will disconnect and spend a few days celebrating the wedding of a beautiful young couple. So, of course, the push was on to finish a new version of ReVuDo for Nozbe. I left work late, spent my commute through the NYC subway in design mode for the remaining features, and settled onto a crowded commuter train to bang out the code. All the prior planning, design and coding came together smoothly and I am happy to announce a new version!  Get ReVuDo 0.3.7 here.

A Missing Feature

First let me thank Alan Cochran for pointing out, earlier today, that I had not yet provided a way to undo selecting Auto Login on the login window. This is now available in the Options window. Thanks Alan!


Second, a Tools button is now available on the Projects window tool bar that lets you export all your Nozbe data to CSV, XML, or JSON.  For each one, you will be asked what folder to export the files to. After selecting the folder, the data will be exported.

The CSV format creates one .csv file for each Nozbe table; one for projects, one for contexts, one for labels, one for tasks, etc.  In addition, a sub-folder will be created for each project that you have uploaded files for.  All those files will be stored in the project sub-folders.  This is the ideal file for export to Excel.  Just double click a CSV file to open it in Excel.

The XML format will create just one Nozbe.xml file, but will also store uploaded files to project sub-folders.

The JSON format is the native format for Nozbe, so the Nozbe.json file it creates is probably the closest thing to a backup of Nozbe.  The uploaded files will be saved in the same project sub-folders as the other two formats.

This checks off another feature that I wished Nozbe had.  It’s exciting to see my goals getting checked off one by one.  I hope you find it as useful as I do!

What’s Next

The other exciting thing about this new version is, it marks the last read only, no way to make any changes, version of ReVuDo for Nozbe.  The next version you see will let you change something!  Hopefully it will allow a lot of changes, but that will depend on my available time over the next few weeks.  My goal is a complete weekly review in Nozbe. Wish me luck!

What Do You Think?

Let me know in the comments.  And if it is helping you, let others using Nozbe know.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/08/16 at 1:01 am

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

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!


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.


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

First I started to work on printing, then…

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Right after the last release, I immediately started work on printing.  This was initially a lot of research and a little bit of writing code, but as I learned what I needed to know the coding sped up.  But, things started to not feel right.  In a previous post I wrote about listening to your product.  Adding printing brought this on in a big way.

What seemed like small things at first quickly ran into deferred design decisions, forcing me to rethink how all of the windows worked.  One way to look at it is that the printer is just another kind of screen.  Adding printing was less like adding something new, and more like adding support for a different way to display ReVuDo’s windows. The internal rewrite took most of the time that has passed.

One good thing that came of it is that ReVuDo no longer considers the project list to be the main window, special and above all the others.  They are all just windows now, and at some point I will be adding an option to select the window you want to see first.  For me its Projects, but you might prefer Next Actions.

As I post this, printing works with one issue: the printing is cut off on the right edge.  It’s past midnight and I cannot see why that is happening.   A truly productive person knows when it is time to sleep.  The answer will probably be clearer in the morning.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/07/29 at 12:25 am

Posted in ReVuDo

Competition – I Love It!

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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


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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

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