Todo Apps

[727 words]

why you should build your own Todo app

So I had some time, under a blanket with my phone, a thing that happens occasionally when trying to get small children to sleep. Recently I had to do a factory reset and lost my Todo list app (homemade). Blanket time is usually premium task planning time for me so I had an itch to scratch and decided to try out a random Todo list app on Android. And then, I decided to try them all.

Here’s my speed dating review of all the results of a Google play store search for Todo. I decided to be absolutely ruthless, and my criteria were simple. Let me create a task as fast as possible. If I need to log in or create an account, I’m out. I know this isn’t everyone’s use case but it’s mine, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I appreciate logging in allows me to save lists and all that, but it shouldn’t be a blocker. Maybe I have shitty internet (I do). Maybe I have no time (I don’t, usually).

any.do - needs login. Fail. “Organise your life in seconds”. No any.do

Bright Todo -this is a calendar, not a list. Also too bright bright

Codo is all about sharing lists so login should be required I guess. And yet, fail

Do - Yes. No sign-up and the tutorial is three tasks to complete that show how to use it. Top marks. do

DO IT NOW - ok I know I said bright was too bright but this is too dark doitnow

Memorigi “start small” by signing in using Google? No. Bye. memorigi

Nexdo - Nice. No account needed nexdo they somehow got away with using deadpool in their onboarding. nexdo2

Stuff - weird format where it needs a widget that doesn’t work with my chosen home screen stuff

After installing 10+ todo apps I found that 3 separate ones are just called “Tasks” which is not mega helpful. taskstaskstasks

Tasks (1) everything is called tasks or Todo, but I think this one was Google tasks. It turned out I had historic data in here from five years ago which was a mini trip down memory lane. But meh. googletasks

Tasks (2) tasks.org. says it’s a clone of Astrid which I used to use. No barrier to entry, it worked ok, a bit forgettable though. No wow factor. tasks.org

Tasks (3) mytasksapp, same sameyness tasks.org

Tick tick: is actually good. onboarding is again via a bunch of preset tasks. ticktick

To do: account? Nope todo

Ms Todo: account? Nope mstodo

Todo.txt - I’ve used this before and I know it’s based on a text file in Dropbox, an approach I love. I was delighted to see there was an option to skip accounts. todotxt1 But then. todotxt2 fuuu

Todo cloud: Jesus H Macy. My eyeballs. No thanks. todocloud

Todoist: account? Nope. I’ve used it before and its great, but today, nope. todoist

These onboarding screens are starting to look familiar onboarding

Is it reasonable to ask a user to sign up for an account first? Of course! I’m not knocking it as a business model. I have had accounts on some of these in the past, notably todoist, and theyre very good. But as a new user who just wants to dive into tasks, I shouldn’t NEED to create an account. There’s a benefit to it, of course, but i have everything I really need on the device. An Android phone is a small handheld computer, and if it can’t handle a simple list of checkboxes without going to the cloud then we should all just give up as engineers

Building a todo list app is a rite of passage for Devs. Everyone and their mother has made one. It’s kind of an industry in joke. the idea that your app will be better, somehow, than the hundreds of offerings already crowding the market is laughable. How could you be better than everyone else?

But this is flawed thinking. The are so many apps out there, so many options, variables, use cases, options, configurations, so many articles listing the pros and cons, so little variation between the top players, that finding the perfect solution for you could take months. I would argue that we have reached a point, that if you are a half capable developer, you SHOULD write your own Todo app, rather than spend time trying to find one that is everything you want.