Erik’s Brain

The reward of a thing well done...

TaskPaper for iPhone Sync Bug

I’m liking TaskPaper for iPhone, but have run into a problem with syncing via SimpleText.ws

First, a little background:

I use Notational Velocity on my Mac. It stores its documents as plain text files in a folder on my hard drive. That folder lives in my Dropbox. That folder is also the folder I use to sync with the SimpleText.ws service (graciously hosted by Jesse Grosjean). I also use WriteRoom on my iPhone, which syncs to SimpleText.ws. Thus, I have access all my text docs on my Mac and my iPhone and they stay in sync nicely. As an added backup, those files are backed up via Dropbox. The final piece of the puzzle is TaskPaper for iPhone. It also syncs with SimpleText.ws so my todo.taskpaper file, which lives in my text doc folder, is on my computer, iPhone, and also web via SimpleText.ws.

Is your head spinning yet?

The problem I’ve run into is that when I open TaskPaper on my iPhone and start editing my todo.taskpaper file, I’ll sometimes get errors. This is what happens:

  • open TP on iPhone
  • start adding a new task
  • new task gets wiped out OR the app crashes

Why does my new task get wiped out? Because I have TP on my iPhone set to automatically sync with SimpleText.ws. So when I load TP and I edited my task list WHILE TASK PAPER IS SYNCING, it will result in either my edits being wiped out or TaskPaper for iPhone crashing when the sync completes.

So my options are to either turn off autosync and revert to manual syncing. Or when I open TaskPaper, I just need to wait for it to finish syncing before I edit my document. Neither of these is ideal. I don’t want to worry about syncing. I just want it to happen automatically. And waiting for sync to happen can take more than a few seconds on a bad cellular connection.

I don’t know nearly enough about how Jesse’s SimpleText.ws service works, so I won’t offer technical suggestions. All I’ll say is that rapid capture is so so so important to me. It’s probably the most important habit I picked up thanks to David Allen. I can capture things pretty quickly with TaskPaper: Open the app, double-tap on my “Inbox” project header, start typing the new task. For my purposes, this is equally as good as Things Touch, where I can open the app, hit the + button on the bottom of the screen, and start typing the task info. BUT, if I have to wait for TP to finish syncing before it’s safe to enter a new task, it’s a drag :( Hopefully I’m not the only one who has this problem and Jesse will have a fix on the way.

(fingers crossed)

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