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Feature request: Multiple contexts per task

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#1 Morgan

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:04 PM

Current Android user considering the windows version as well.

I recall that on the old forums there was a discussion on the implementation of multiple contexts per task, and a possible commitment to add this capability to a future release of due today.

Am I remembering this correctly?
If yes, will we see this anytime soon?

It's something I really value and miss from Windows mobile . .

Thanks

Morgan

#2 Chris

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

The discussion kind of morphed into whether or not sub-contexts would fill the spot a little bit better. Would that be a better implementation for you?

#3 Morgan

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:06 AM

Chris, by sub-contexts I assume you mean a nest hierarchy like the nested projects? I don't think it would be a usable substitute for multiple discrete contexts. Others may use contexts differently, but I tend to just search for them alphabetically based on where I am at the moment. Nested contexts would be useful though to reduce scrolling, just as I inquired about for the project view.

I know this topic has gone around in most forums related to GTD, and the purists always come back to Allen"s insistence on a single context per task. But this is based on a paper system that doesn't take advantage of the capabilities of smartphones and the possibility of location driven triggers.

For example, say I need to get new tires for the car sometime soon. It's not something I need to rush, and since they're expensive and there are many options, I need to do some research. So . . .

I'll want to do some online research. Some I can do on my phone anywhere I have a few moments, some I really need to be home at the computer.
I'll want to check out tires at costco when my wife drags me there for shopping.
I'll want to stop by the tire shop right next to the building supply the next time I'm picking up some construction materials.
I'll want to stop by another tire shop at the end of the street where a material supplier is located that I stop by to pick up materials from every month or so often for work.
And so on.

The project could be: Replace tires on car
The task could be: Tire options for car from online and local shops
The contexts could be
@Phone
@Homecomputer
@Costco&area
@Building Supply&area
@MetalSupermarket&area

I can use the same task, with data included in the task note of the suitable sizes for all these contexts, without having to duplicate the task for each context. As I learn things from the various stops, I can add it to the notes for this task, and all this is captured in one task, which doesn't get completed until I've finished the research. (It's a lot easier to remember that I've already stopped somewhere for a task than it is to remember that I need to stop at a location)

Maybe not the perfect example, but I hope it's understandable. This approach saves energy, time and fuel, as I fit it into my routine, rather than bending my routine to the task and running around.

But. . . it only works if I can include all the possible contexts for the task to prompt me wherever I am.

Morgan

#4 Jim

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:54 PM

I remember this discussion as well. I know that some people consider the multiple-context concept useful and I don't want to push this in the direction of a debate over whether or not that's appropriate. I would only ask Chris to consider making any implementation he might pursue to be as "optional" as possible.

 

In other words, if someone wants to use multiple contexts then maybe they could be allowed to turn on the option for "allow multiple contexts". I only worry that for those of us who stick to the "one context per task" theory that the interface possibly becomes more cluttered or less functional in some ways.  

 

One example that comes to mind is sorting. If you use multiple contexts for single tasks won't you lose the ability to sort by context? You could filter but there could be no sorting into groups because of the combinations possible with multiple contexts. So I'm not saying someone couldn't make use of multiple contexts but if added, I would lean in the direction of sub-context so that it could still be discrete.

 

I've found that instead of overlapping contexts, tags can be used very effectively in these instances and if defined correctly fulfill the role of sub-contexts in their own right.   



#5 Chris

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:50 AM

I don't know if you ever used Pocket Informant on Windows Mobile. I did a few years ago. In WM you could assign multiple categories to a task. And in PI you could sort by category. What this did is it duplicated the task in each category. Now, that could clutter up the list, but it's a possible way to go.

 

Let me finish up some bug fixes and then I'll see if there is some way to implement this in the near future.



#6 Techk

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:44 AM

Hello!

 

Another one here requesting multiple contexts.

 

I recently bought my smartphone and I have spent the whole week looking for some tasks/GTD app. I have looked for lots of them, the most popular ones and not so popular as well, close to 20 (I am exhausted). I'm just trying to end up with a choice and what I have to say is that at the moment "Due Today" is one of my favourites and I think it will be my final choice. Congratulations for the app and the effort you invest on it.

 

Now contexts: Today I have read an Spanish article about "12 characteristics that a good GTD app must have". It's two years old but I think it's a good reading for all of as using GTD and overall, implementing a GTD app. If somebody wants to read it maybe can they can use online translator. http://www.optimainf...istema-gtd.html

 

One of those 12 characteristics is multiple contexts and multiple contacts. One task can be done in multiple places (or by/with many people).

 

Double-cheking in "Due Today" I realized that multiple contacts is posible (in the app is called Team) so I think that (speaking from ignorance) It would be really useful to implement contexts as Team is implemented. When a task is added you can choose with a check list all the contacts (team players) you want but only one context. Then you go to the Team tab, and you click inside each contact and you will see the same task for each contact you assingned. I think that it's exactly what I would like for contexts.



#7 Chris

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:52 AM

I am working on this now. The main issue is upgrading the database and the Due Today sync server. Sadly, I may have to not allow this feature for ToodleDo sync users since ToodleDo only allows a single context.

 

Actually, ToodleDo is responsible for many of my early design decisions as I am very limited by what they support. So, consider this a good reason to move to the Due Today sync service as I can expand it in any way that you or I want.



#8 msaxer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

Re: ToodleDo limiting what Due Today can do.

 

It's unfortunate that ToodleDo doesn't support multiple contexts since that seems like a possibly useful feature.  Hopefully you'll be able to continue working around whatever limitations ToodleDo imposes since I, as a fan of ToodleDo's web UI, would hate to lose the ability to sync with their service.



#9 Chris

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:20 AM

Well, I'm not going to drop them. Perhaps we can all petition ToodleDo to support some of these features.



#10 msaxer

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:44 PM

I figured I'd look into that a bit since I'm now an official paying Toodledoer (for whatever trivial amount they charge per year it seems like a good deal given how great the combo of ToodleDo and DueToday have worked for me).  Unfortunately a quick search in their forums makes it absolutely clear that my asking for it would fall upon deaf ears.  See this very recent official posting:

 

------------------------------------

Toodledo
 

Posted: 49 mins ago

 


It is not currently possible to have multiple contexts per task. This is unlikely to change soon. My recommendation is to make a combo context called "Out + Home" or a more general version called "Any Context" that you can use in these situations where it can be done in multiple situations.

-------------------------------------

 

 

They seem to recommend using tags which are a free form text field.  Not sure if that's a useful solution or not.



#11 Chris

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:11 PM

I've been reading some articles about other people who want similar functionality in other apps similar to Due Today. So far very few people have thought it was a very good idea. Instead, they have all recommended using tags for your extra contexts. 

 

However, I am continuing to figure this out. For Due Today sync users this could be added natively. For ToodleDo users I could place the extra contexts in the meta-data field which ToodleDo gives syncing apps (but there is an upper-limit on this field and I'm already using it for some things).



#12 Morgan

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 09:11 AM

Any progress on this potential change Chris?

 

Re the other articles: Yes, it seems most people simply can't see the benefit of this, and only see ways it would allow their organizational systems to go astray. It's like they don't trust themselves or anyone else to use this capability appropriately, and want the system to rigidly limit their ability to mess things up . . :wacko:  

 

Re Tags: Problem is, tags aren't contexts. If I have to look at tags to determine the location of something, than what's the point of contexts? Especially when the contexts have the capability to add gps coordinates to trigger from and tags don't. 



#13 balabunat

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:09 AM

I think the best solution will be to make categories for contexts. for example "People" , "Places" , "Tools" , "Cairos"...etc 



#14 Chris

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 03:35 PM

It's this kind of attitude from them which caused me to create my own sync server. I can add features like this without relying on someone else to do the backend work. So, if I'm going to consider this seriously then it will have to be a Due Today-specific feature and not available to ToodleDo users, unfortunately.




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