We’ve finally come out of the woods and felt it’s about time we publish an update on what we’ve been doing, what’s coming next and what’s so exciting about this next big update? Today, folks, is the long awaited ta-da moment.
They say pictures speak louder than words. Maybe not so much for this post in question. The glaringly obvious visual changes, design language and UI elements is there, but what it can’t tell is how amazingly tangible it now is. That’s what this update has been all about. We kept improving it till there was, for now, no more room left for improvement. Everything is more fluid in every way imaginable. Don’t take our word for it, see for yourself:
Everything – including the stuff that was already there before. It’s new. The underlying code is new, the way you’d interact with it is new, the way tasks get updated, added, deleted, moved, dragged; from tabs to tasks to tags to editors – we literally dumped all the previous code ever written and re-wrote it from scratch. That took a lot of time, but boy are we glad we took this route. It opened up ways to new things, new ideas and new ways of doing the same ol’ stuff.
2Do has always had this unique look and feel about it, including its ability to offer everything under the Sun without compromising ease of use. The list tabs that we all love, as well as the several different intuitive ways you’d go about managing your stuff. The core ideas it evolved with over the years were all great. We wanted to retain all the goodness and improve upon the core. Our journey involved working on new ideas as well as porting proven ideas and concepts from our Mac app, ideas that earned it the ‘Best of 2013’ title on the Mac App Store. Without further ado, let us delve straight into some of these. Bear in mind though, this post is in no way an expansive overview of what’s to come. This is merely a glimpse of what to expect – a very thorough glimpse to say the least.
The Three Ts (Tabs, Tasks, Tags)
Up until now, the ability to move rapidly between your lists, tasks and tags was only possible on the Mac, thanks to the amount of screen real-estate you inherit. We’ve explained in a previous post how Tabs make our lives easier, by allowing us to switch context easily and effectively; something that we believe is vital when it comes to being productive. Our recent update for the Mac showed that people fell in love with Tags, all over again. It boiled down to mainly one thing: the ability to quickly and effectively reach out and access tags in between your usual workflow, so you could find stuff quicker, and the quicker you find them, the quicker you do them.
Tags have been part of 2Do for numerous years, but it’s the first them ever that we’re bringing them out in the open; access them as you would on a Mac, right next to your tasks. A single swipe gesture and you’re in in Tags. In an instant, know which tasks are tagged, known which ones aren’t, and find and act upon those that are. It’s simple, beautiful and you’ll love it. [···]
Many of you have been asking us whether the iOS 7 update is coming out soon. Actually, we want this update to happen ASAP, even more than you do. As it’s been a while since we last published news regarding the current state of things, we felt it’s time to share a little more information with you. Hopefully it’ll make this ‘wait’ a little less frustrating and a little bit more revealing.
First, to be crystal clear on the current progress – 2Do 3.0 is nowhere near the finish line yet, and there is no ETA either. We are working day and night to bring you the best update we have ever done, but there are far too many battles to be fought in order to ensure there’s no compromise made in any way or form. At this point, the majority of the underlying code is ready. The actual interface however is currently going through a review-and-dispose phase, where we experiment with a certain layout a few dozen times before throwing it out the window in favor for our next attempt. Given its current volatile state, we’re currently not ready to show you anything as it has probably changed a couple of times already between now and the time you started reading this post. As soon as we’ve nailed something we’re comfortable with, we’ll reveal more – that’s always been the case.
A Little Sneak Peek
To dig a little deeper into the black-hole portrayed above, we’ve actually completely redesigned the whole app. Not one part of it has stayed unchanged. But don’t worry, you’ll still feel right at home when you’ll launch the update – this particular experience is what’s taking so long to master. The tabs you love and use to quickly switch between lists are still there, but improved in every way possible. There’s a lot less visual clutter, and they work really well for list names longer than, say, 9 characters! You’ll now not only be able to pull and expand tabs intuitively in order to reveal more information, but will also be able to hide them using a simple gesture. Overdue counts on lists are no longer intimidating and ambiguous, instead they’ll now form part of the expanded-tab view you’ll soon grow to love. Oh, and to make it even more easier to organize your lists, we’ve introduced List Groups so that you’re able to group together a related bunch of lists and sync these across to the Mac app.
We have also improved the way you add tasks to your lists. In addition to retaining the full add-a-task window, we now have a simple to use Quick Add option (without the need for adding yet-another-button on screen), something a lot of you have been asking us for years. You’re in the zone and want to quickly dump your thoughts without having to tap [+] a few dozen times? We’ve got you covered!
We’ve also revisited the screens that allow you to add and edit your tasks. With 2Do it’s always been about ‘efficiency’, i.e. trying to reduce the time it takes for you to get from A to B so that you spend that time on actually getting stuff done. We brought you tabs for easy context switching, and now we’re bringing to you a quick and easy way to edit your tasks, especially the ones with lots of properties. There will be a new and improved way of switching between property editors (dates, times, alerts, recurrences etc) that will effectively shave off a good few seconds from your total workflow. Related properties (such as dates and times) will also now be grouped together in a more logical, organized way.
In addition to the above, we are going to introduce to you a new Tags list. After receiving wonderful feedback from our Mac users, we felt we could actually bring some desktop-class usability to our iOS apps. This way you will quickly and easily be able to filter your tasks by tags/contexts and drag and assign them to existing tasks and vice versa. Imagine the possibilities! The really tricky part though was to do this without distracting the user with needless screen options, or by introducing awkward new gestures – although a leftfoot-toe-double-tap-swipe-and-rotate was a pretty tempting and a surprisingly unused gesture in the public domain from what we gathered. The solution however turned out to be far simpler, an effortless single-hand pan and drag and you’re in and out of tags at will. You’ll love it when you see it.
We didn’t stop there, though. We have routinely been taking every feature in 2Do apart to find out if we can make it more intuitive, easier to use and quick to execute so you can build extremely efficient workflows in order to get things done.
We realize you have waited for this update for a very long time and we truly want to make your wait worthwhile. Not only will this update be free for all existing users, we want you to know that it’s not just a simple iOS 7 redesign – it’s in fact an iOS 7 remake. An update worthy of being called a ‘new app’ is coming to you, we can promise you that.
First of all, we’d like to thank everyone for the tremendous feedback we’ve received so far after 2Do’s recent update on the Mac. This update meant the world to us, and we’re happy to learn from our users that it was well worth the wait. To top it off, we’ve been humbled to see Apple feature 2Do under the Best New Apps category.
“Good for you, but what about an update for iOS 7” you ask? In short, we’re working on it, but it won’t be out any time soon. I admit, that was pretty cold. Please allow me to elaborate.
2Do v1.0 came out late 2009, when the App Store was young and so were we. In those early days, 2Do unexpectedly saw itself climbing the charts, being featured by big names in the industry, making television appearances* and even signing autographs – okay, I got carried away there for a second. It was immediately obvious though, that there was a lot of potential in this little app. And so update after another, we kept raising the bar.
Where we went wrong, or so we thought
Perhaps we didn’t see it coming, or perhaps we were trying too hard, but as time flew by, the very technology and tools that our code was built around, changed profoundly. That left us with code that seemingly worked great, but was in fact a hurdle in moving forward. While that left us grappling in the dark, we came at a crossroads in 2012. We could either continue to shy away from developing a companion Mac app or fix something that wasn’t really broken on iOS.
If we had gone for the latter, we would have spent numerous months re-writing code that still would have compiled to essentially ‘look the same‘ (i.e. the user interface). Sure, in that process we would have refined certain on-screen elements and tuned the rest of the experience, but it would still have been the same app. Instead, if we were to concentrate on developing a Mac app, that would have given us the reason and drive to re-write the underlying logic, whilst re-imagining it for the desktop. Logic that we would later share with our iOS apps.
All’s well that ends well
With hindsight, everything was perfectly timed. When we started working on updating the Mac app, which was soon after it got released, we weren’t counting on re-writing a lot of code, again. The re-design and development of v1.5 took approximately 8 months. During this time, iOS 7 got announced and released around the same time we finished on the Mac.
Now, with all the amazing shared logic we had a chance to re-write, and all the advancements in development tools, the timing could not have been any better. 2Do got matured on the Mac in less than 12 months of its release date, just in time to bring a lot of the new stuff over to iOS. You’ll love it when it’s ready.
If you were reading in between the lines, the answer is: everything. From the very logic that deals with creation of tasks to the meta-data that get synced across devices, we’ve re-written the actual framework that makes 2Do do what it does. That means the UI, from how you sort your data to how you edit tasks, will all dramatically improve. But not at the expense of UI clutter. Instead you’ll see purpose behind every feature, and a lot of thought.
So, again, about that ETA…
It’s impossible to give one, you see. But if it helps, we’re looking at a good few months. Early 2014 at best.
Absolutely, 100% free. No in-app advert, no in-app purchase and no annoying popups trying to sell you a related app. 2Do is a universal app. You buy once and get it for free for your other iOS device.
It’s worth mentioning though that there’s no doubt that even a small little update can at times end up costing a company a lot. Let alone major re-writes and re-designs. But there’s a problem that many developers have openly talked about. Apple does not currently provide developers with a way to charge for upgrades. Many companies resort to developing a ‘[Insert app name here] 2’ and begin treating everyone the same way. If you’re one of those unlucky ones who recently purchased v1.x, you’re forced into paying the full price a second time.
Are the developers who practice this to be blamed? Not really. Development companies really need to make ends meet. But is this practice any good? Absolutely not. Instead, developers need to reach out to Apple, explain to them how this affects their business and hope for the best.
We’d hate to buy 2Do only to pay more the next time we upgrade and we’re sure you would too. In all honesty, giving out free updates is not sustainable. At the same time, for us the alternative (i.e. publishing a new app) is not an option. Currently, waiting for the update to arrive is the only price you pay. We need the time to refine and improve the app in every way possible. We’ll keep you updated and we’re sure the next major update will blow you away.
* 2Do got featured by the BBC in the technology show called ‘Click’, won a the Best App Ever award and has appeared in an Apple iPhone advert to list a few
This update is a result of several months of refinements and redesign. The actual changelog was far too big (more than 10 pages, A4 size). This update is packed with tons of intuitive visual and content layout improvements. We revisited every single pixel to make it more appealing, and to give you a robust, intuitive user experience.
Without further ado, here are some of the key highlights you’ve all been waiting for:
Ready for Mavericks
Dropbox Sync overhauled
Completely written from scratch to make sync much faster, better and error free. It learns as you use the app and will seamlessly sync in the background without user intervention.
A new easy to use mode where you only see your project and its subtasks and nothing else. Access it directly from the left list panel or use the new shortcut keys.
An addition layer of organization. Manage, sort, order or show / hide related lists in their own groups. You can also re-order lists between groups. You can mix Smart lists and normal lists together under the same List Group.
Collapsible Task Sections
Collapse or expand grouped tasks. 2Do now cleverly remembers your preference when navigating within the app.
The Drop Bar
A new and easy way of performing frequent tasks such as deferrals, duplicating / copying, deleting or sharing tasks using a simple drag and drop gesture.
The calendar control is now even more useful and smarter than before. Option+Click to add a task to a date, select a single date or multiple dates to filter on tasks and drag and drop for quick deferrals.
Smarter Focus Lists
Drag and drop on the Starred Focus list to quickly Star your tasks, or on top of the Scheduled Focus list to quickly assign Start dates to your tasks.
Project / Checklist Sorting / Focus
You can now sort or apply the focus filter to projects and checklists separately from their lists
Done with a list and no longer wish to see it, but still would like to keep it around? Archive it. Lists can be archived but still take part in global search.
Hidden Scheduled Tasks
2Do now cleverly displays a Scheduled Tasks toggle button when there are scheduled tasks (i.e. tasks that start some time in the future) available in the visible list or smart list. Simply click or use a keyboard shortcut to toggle their visibility. Finally, a list that’s clutter free.
Moving tasks to Projects
You can now move tasks to projects or create a new task inside a project directly from edit / add mode, including Quick Entry.
Quick Add with Quick Entry
Once you’re done entering a task into Quick Entry, simply hit the Quick Entry hotkey combination again to quickly add the entered task and then re-show Quick Entry for adding a new task.
A new and improved way of showing and assigning colors to lists. The color band now shows a soft glow to reflect current task selection for quick reference. Double click to quickly assign a new color.
Improved global Sort Bar
The sort bar above the task list is now the only relevant place where you will find useful information about the current state of your list.
Improved Global Search
You can now search through all your lists using the global search field without having to switch between lists. Simply select ‘All Lists’ in search preferences and you’re done.
Several new preferences, focus options, filter options and more.
Full Keyboard Navigation
Keyboard Navigation enabled on editable properties when adding / editing tasks
Support for several new languages
Many, many other bug fixes, performance improvements and subtle new features.