Recently I reviewed The Hit List and while it is a great application I found a number of areas that gave me pause in using it long term. Since then I’ve been using EasyTask which appealed because of it’s cross-platform nature and the offsite sync, not to mention the price which includes versions for both Mac and Windows. Today EasyTask gets it’s time under the microscope.
What’s Hot & What’s Not
One of the biggest things going for EasyTask is the offsite sync provided for free by the application. Setup consists of getting a free online account then entering the username and password into the EasyTask sync preference panel. Click Sync in the top menu and you’re done. It can also facilitate passing your TODO list between the Mac and Windows versions. In my opinion this setup is awesome and the single biggest thing that 90% of desktop applications fail on.
Web Interface Sucks
If you bothered to click the link above to the online account you’ll see that the design sucks. Just the intro buttons alone are terrible. While the web interface is better, it’s still pretty awful in it’s own right.
Having used Remember the Milk for a number of months as my online TODO list I know what a good web interface looks like and how it should function. EasyTask is not up to the challenge, so while it’s great that the web version is there I’d certainly never use it if there were any other option. Even sending myself an email with the relevant item is a better option than using the web interface provided.
In addition to the sync offsite EasyTask will let you sync with the iPhone/iPod touch application. This works like every other application sync. Get EasyTask running on your Mac and on your iPod and on the same wireless network. Then simply sync it.
An Extra Step
What baffles me about this sync is the fact that it isn’t automatic. Like so many things this is a half realized item on the application. To sync you need to scroll to the bottom of the iPhone application click on ‘Sync’ and then click ‘WIFI Sync’. Why do we have to waste our time doing this? I have a number of iPod/iPhone applications that sync automatically so there is obviously no reason EasyTask can’t do this.
LaunchBar & QuickSilver Integration
Yes EasyTask ships with a QuickSilver script that lets you add tasks directly from QuickSilver. I ported it to LaunchBar easily enough as well. While this is pretty awesome the fact is that the AppleScript support in EasyTask is sorely lacking.
You can’t add contexts, or due dates, or start dates, or have it go directly into a project. Unfortunately with the awesome scripts available for Things and Omnifocus this lack of support is really not acceptable.
Even the minor items that are supported work in such a way as to confuse you. When you use the script it puts your task into the ‘Someday’ category with no project or context. Yeah it should default to your Inbox, but it doesn’t
Quick Developer Response
One of the biggest issues I had with The Hit List is the fact that development has essentially died on the project and isn’t even responding to users. Over the last few weeks I’ve emailed the developer a few times about pricing and AppleScript support and guess what…they respond.
While it’s awesome that the developer responds the future of the product is still in question. When you get on a product purchase page and it doesn’t even list the current version of the operating system for any platform you have to wonder what’s happening.
Secondly the Google Group for EasyTask hasn’t seen updates (outside my own two) since February 2009. On one hand this seems to show we’ve got a stable application but on the other hand it also shows that there isn’t a strong community of people using it. It also seems to indicate that there is no development since new features would spur questions.
The story of EasyTask is one that shows lots of promise and lots of “if only’s.” If only the web interface was useful. If only the development seemed to be ongoing. If only there was better support for AppleScript. If only iPod syncing was automatic.
While EasyTask has lots going for it the sad part is that all of these issues amount to an application that just doesn’t cut it for long term use. I would put it above The Hit List since it doesn’t have an expiry.
The Real Sad Part
The really sad part is that I’m going to recommend this application. If you’re on Windows and looking for a good task management application EasyTask is by far the best solution I’ve ever seen for Windows. I find it very unfortunate that Windows users get left out in the cold with solidly built TODO applications.