After I posted yesterday’s post on time management I realised that I failed to give sufficient emphasis to one of the main reasons I enjoy using TodoPaper and Taskpaper. That is that they use plain text files to store lists.
This means that the underlying data is not locked-in to a proprietary file format or database but can be edited on any platform using a text editor. With a good text editor it’s possible to create syntax definitions that will colour code the date in a similar way to how they are normally presented. As the ‘rules’ for what defines a project, a task, tab or whether a task is completed are very simple it’s very easy to work with these files directly if needed.
Here are some pictures of a single file (not quite if you look carefully) opened using different tools.
The original file in TodoPaper
TaskPaper running on OS X
TodoPaper in a text editor on Windows
This file is open in EditPad Pro, a Windows text editor for which I’ve developed a syntax definition file to colour code the file. As EditPad’s rules for doing this are based on regular expressions this was pretty straightforward to create.
TodoPaper in a text editor on Mac OS X
In this case the file is opened with Barebones text editor BBEdit which uses a ‘Codeless Language Module’ to colour code the file.
Use plain text files. Never go out of style!