ios 7

Integrating 2Do Tasks into Notification Center

This article assumes you’re syncing 2Do with Reminders on iOS.

Notification center is a good way to keep track of your appointments and tasks. If you’re syncing 2Do with Reminders (iCloud) on iOS 7, it already does a great job at displaying your current and overdue tasks along with list colors, notes and priorities. You can even toggle tasks directly from the Notification Center as ‘done’.

For the best experience we recommend following settings:

  • Go to Settings > Notification Center. Make sure you have Reminders in Today View.
  • Open notifications settings for Reminders in Settings > Notification Center. Turn OFF all notifications including Lock Screen, badges and banners/pop-ups
  • Make sure you have notifications ON for 2Do in Notification Center settings, but turn OFF the Notification Center toggle. You don’t need those notification to sit in Notification Center since Reminders will have it covered. Unfortunately you can’t set iOS to open 2Do when you tap on an upcoming task in the Notification Center, but will work great as a quick overview.

Act 1 – Behind the Scenes

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.

2do blueprint

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.

Crossroads: State of the iOS 7 Update

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

iOSv3

Note: An early mock-up. Not the final preview of the app

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.

What’s new?

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.

Pricing?

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