April 6, 2011

Things vs. Wunderlist

A to-do dilemma

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.


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.

review productivity

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

Previous Post
My First iPad
Next Post
To-Do Dilemma: One Year Later