April 6, 2011

Things vs. Wunderlist

When I dis­covered Things, I figured I was out of the woods. It’s got an abso­lutely fant­astic inter­face that makes me want to use the pro­gram, it has a pro­ject and area sys­tem that lets me keep my tasks organ­ized without becom­ing too bloated (I don’t want a full-scale pro­ject man­age­ment solu­tion), and it’s got an iPad and iPhone app so I can keep up to date with my tasks on the go…sort of.

And this is where the prob­lem emerges.

See, Things doesn’t do cloud sync. It does sync between your devices, but in order to accom­plish this you need to pair your devices with the com­puter, and you must be on the same net­work in order to ini­ti­ate the sync. In prac­tice, this means that every time I tick off a task on my com­puter, I need to pull out the mobile devices and pop open Things on each to have them sync up before I head out with them. Then, if I com­plete some items on the go, I need to come back to base to sync everything up between all my devices. I can’t sync between the iPhone and the iPad only, and if I have Things installed on mul­tiple com­puters, I can’t keep those in sync unless I work around the sys­tem by pla­cing the data­base in my Drop­Box and link­ing both Things apps to it - and even then, I can’t have both open at the same time because they panic when they’re both try­ing to access the same database.

Tire­some.

Cul­tured­Code, if you’re listen­ing, this is just not effi­cient inter­face experience.

Con­sequently, I have been toy­ing with another com­pet­itor. Though rel­at­ive new­comers, the folks over at Wun­der­l­ist have made a huge splash. This is, I feel, largely because they have designed their sys­tem around multi-platform inter­con­nectiv­ity. Not only do they have apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac like Things does, but they also have an Android app, a Win­dows app, and a fully-featured web cli­ent - neither of which Things can com­pete with. But it’s not so impress­ive to have all these plat­forms if you can’t keep everything in sync, and this is where Wun­der­l­ist has its greatest advant­age: cloud sync. Not only can you have your tasks avail­able on a nat­ive app for just about every plat­form, but your tasks remain in sync auto­mat­ic­ally between all of them so you never have to worry about manu­ally syncing.

In addi­tion, Wun­der­l­ist fea­tures some amaz­ing task shar­ing fea­tures via Cloud­App. Things, con­versely, has a rather unhelp­ful shar­ing” sys­tem. You can assign tasks to people, but not send it to them, which makes it a ves­ti­gial fea­ture at best.

But here is where my dilemma lies. For now, Wun­der­l­ist does not provide the robust project-based and area-based organ­iz­a­tion fea­tures (their lists don’t really cut it), nor tag­ging - cru­cial lapses in func­tion­al­ity for my usage patterns.

For now, I’m stick­ing with Things, but the lack of cloud sync and mean­ing­ful col­lab­or­a­tion is really start­ing to get sore. Thank­fully, Cul­tured­Code is well aware of these com­plaints as they’re get­ting them from most of their users, and they’re work­ing on imple­ment­ing a sys­tem to fix this. Wun­der­l­ist, on the other hand, has stated that they’re also work­ing on try­ing to expand their task man­age­ment depth to include tag­ging and more organ­iz­a­tion fea­tures. Since, for now, neither is quite per­fect but both are very close, I will give my vote to the first that catches up with the requests of their user base.

Any day now, guys.


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