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Re: [todotxt] Re: Why is 'completion date' a required field?

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  • Gina Trapani
    Hi Denis, ... Well, it s not just about my workflow. The todo.txt file format rules have been around for more than 6 years, and the mobile apps have tens of
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 23, 2013
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      Hi Denis,

      On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 1:19 AM, still_fil <still_fil@...> wrote:

      But, still, does it mean that such a feature becomes required just because you find it useful for your workflow?

      Well, it's not just about my workflow. The todo.txt file format rules have been around for more than 6 years, and the mobile apps have tens of thousands of users, and this question hasn't come up yet. Based on that (admittedly not hard) data, I assume it's working for most users so far.

      I`ve been having an impression that todo.txt is about simple and workflow-agnostic file format. From your message it seems like todo.txt comes with an unescapable completion flow, which does not fit me (and maybe someone else) very well.

      The goal of the format is to keep things simple, so I'm glad you raised the question.

      1. Are you completely sure that 'completion date' field should be and forever will be required?

      I do believe that the date a task was completed is an essential piece of metadata in done.txt. I don't think entering it on completion is too burdensome, especially if you're using any of our tools, which do it for you. If you're using a text editor, a simple macro or snippet could handle it easily.

      The todo.txt file format rules have changed very little over the past 6 years, and while I'm open to changes, I don't take them lightly. Even something as small as changing a required value to an optional value has cascading effects: it requires all the tools that work with todo.txt files to change how they work. I only think we should do that if the change would benefit the majority of users. 

      This request has never come up before, so I'm not convinced it would benefit the majority of users. The most asked-for spec change is adding due:date, and we haven't done that yet (to keep things simple).

      Question for the community: for how many of you here would this change make working with your todo.txt file easier?
       

      2. Would you accept a pull request for todo.txt-ios project, which would introduce 'completion date opt-out' switch in Settings?


      The app adheres to the file format spec, so first we have to decide if the spec is going to change. If the spec changes, then I'd consider the pull request.

      That said, in the name of simplicity, we want to keep the number of settings in the app to an absolute minimum. Every setting we add adds code complexity and more items for a user to fiddle with, which also goes against todo.txt's philosophy of simplicity. I think it's easy to say "oh just add a setting" in the short-term, but that has bad long-term effects on the code and interface.

      Gina



      --
      http://ginatrapani.org
    • Ben Hughes
      ... Hi Gina, Now it s not an issue for me, but before todotxt.net existed it certainly was. I can understand why it would bug anyone who wasn t using one of
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 23, 2013
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        Question for the community: for how many of you here would this change make working with your todo.txt file easier?


        Hi Gina,
        Now it's not an issue for me, but before todotxt.net existed it certainly was. I can understand why it would bug anyone who wasn't using one of the tools. OTOH, there's a lot of other reasons why I think working with the file directly is painful (lack of filtering, sorting, moving to done.txt etc) so I'm not sure how big an issue this is.

        I agree that we should tread carefully when changing the spec, especially when it means applications (and previous versions of them) will no longer work quite right. As we get more and more apps in the ecosystem this becomes a bigger issue.

        For my part as a developer I'm happy to update todotxt.net to gracefully handle the lack of a due date for completed tasks if the community decides to go that way. It's a 2 minute change for me (literally changing one regex).

        Cheers,

        Ben
      • tomwadley88
        Hi, Firstly, sorry for reviving this old thread. I stumbled across this list when I got confused as to why a todo.txt app I was using didn t understand my
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 18
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          Hi,

          Firstly, sorry for reviving this old thread. I stumbled across this list when I got confused as to why a todo.txt app I was using didn't understand my manually completed tasks that didn't have a completion date. I'm confused because my primary reference when getting started with todo.txt was the example file which is linked from the todo.txt website.

          http://todotxt.com/todo.txt

          The last line in the file is:
          x Download Todo.txt mobile app @Phone
          No completion date there. Is this an invalid example file? I was ready to patch the app I was using and send a pull request but thought I better actually read the spec carefully first instead of just looking at the example!

          I was drawn to todo.txt because I wanted a simple file I could edit in my text editor without needing any custom software (but for which software exists to make it easy to use on my phone etc). I think, as Ingo was suggesting, encouraging apps to insert the completion date but not require it to already be there is the perfect compromise. I agree that the completion date is a useful construct - just not that it's mandatory.

          Thanks for making todo.txt!

          Tom
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