TaskPaper 2.0: Simplicity in to-do applications

Despite switching from Windows to OSX  a year and a half ago, I’ve yet to find the perfect task management tool for my Mac. I need something that’ll exist on the web, my desktop environment and a mobile handset.

Sadly, Gmail’s recently introduced Tasks feature doesn’t offer offline or mobile sync, my iPhone’s default Notes app has no desktop or web equivalent and Apple Mail‘s To Do capability send my Gmail account’s IMAP sync into a tailspin.

taskphoneI’ve experimented with OmniFocus (a little complex for my taste) and  Thingssupremely elegant, but quite expensive with iPhone and desktop editions priced separately. Now, my business partner swears by Hog Bay Software’s TaskPaper – a product we covered earlier this year, and has just rolled out a 2.0 update of its software.

As Mike alluded to in his May review of TaskPaper – ‘sometimes simple is best’. TaskPaper makes no allusions to competing with its GTD-infused brethren, such as OmniFocus or Things, but reinforces the notion that a plain text document, marked up coherently can be very powerful indeed.

TaskPaper 2.0 adds a search engine, quick entry window, keyboard shortcuts, themes, a projects sidebar, AppleScript support and some UI tweaks. Despite all these additions, the product still feels elegantly simple, powerful and lightweight, retaining its orientation around a text document. Indeed, despite the lack of web or phone editions, the plain text core is actually the foundation for a powerful ecosystem of third-party solutions, one of which – Taskphone – is looking to bring Taskpaper support to the iPhone.

Personally, I’m not fully won over by any solution yet – holding out for a good Google+Apple linkup – like the interoperability of Gmail+Apple Mail or Google Calendar + iCal. However, right now its a toss up between the versatile, but plain girlfriend (TaskPaper) or the glamourous and expensive mistress (Things).

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