Tasktop Summer 2008 Released: Offload Your Brain

by Mik Kersten, July 24th, 2008

The Tasktop Team is very pleased to announce the release of Tasktop Summer 2008. Summer is a great time to offload your brain, so we’ve packed this release with features that will help you do just that. This release’s splash screen commemorates a summer hike in the mountains overlooking Vancouver.

The coolest thing in this release is the new time tracking and reporting feature, which gives you full transparency into your work activities with automatic to-the-minute tracking of time spent working both within and outside of Eclipse. As usual, we put all of the control at your finger tips, enabling you to do things like adjusting timings. You also get flexible reports so that you don’t have to stress the creative side of your brain when needing to report activity or fill out time sheets, and can save your creativity for more interesting activities like coding. As an example, take a look at my time report for the week after the Mylyn 3.0 release, from which I can immediately see that I spent most of my time on the Tasktop working set (blue part of pie chart on far right), a bunch of time went to managing (the gray bars in the graph) and thankfully a higher proportion to working on the tasks I had scheduled (colored bars in the graph). From this I can immediately see why I was itching to write code by the end of the week, since most of my week went into non-programming activities.

Eclipse Mylyn users will be pleased to learn that we are now providing a free version of Tasktop called Tasktop Starter. This allows us to deliver to you some valuable features that are out of the scope of Eclipse and Mylyn. Below you can see a snapshot of the welcome screen that will get you started exploring the features in Tasktop Starter, such as one-click install of partner connectors, automatic Mylyn updates to either release or weekly builds, and a time tracking dashboard for the current week. We’ve also included the Gmail connector for free, which lets you easily tag conversations in Gmail have them appear in Mylyn’s Task List and be accessible when working offline. You need Tasktop Pro for the main productivity features such as focused web browsing, desktop integration, customized time reporting and additional connectors such as Microsoft Outlook. But with Tasktop Starter you get both a useful day-to-day tool and a glimpse at what it’s like to have Mylyn’s task-focused interface keep you focused and productive for the non-coding parts of your workday.

I drive at least 90% of my workday from Tasktop/Mylyn/Eclipse, and one of my favorite new features is the one-click switching of working sets. It seems so rudimentary, but this makes switching your project/work/role contexts as easy as switching task contexts. In addition, you get to see how far behind you’re getting on any particular working set, thanks to an indication of the number of incomings. This is just one part of the additional streamlining that we’re providing with Tasktop as part of our mission to save you clicks. Less is more.

We hope that you enjoy this release of Tasktop and continue sending us your feedback and votes for future enhancements and integrations. For more info see:

   InfoQ interview about the release
   Upated Tasktop site and product tours

Watch Tasktop webinars

About Mik Kersten

Dr. Mik Kersten is the CEO of Tasktop Technologies, creator of the Eclipse Mylyn open source project and inventor of the task-focused interface. At Tasktop, Mik sets the strategic direction of the company as well as drives many of Tasktop's key partnerships and key customers accounts. He created Mylyn and the task-focused interface during his PhD in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Mik has been an Eclipse committer since 2002, is a 3-time elected member of the Eclipse Board of Directors and serves on the Eclipse Architecture Council. Mik's thought leadership on task-focused collaboration and improving the software economy makes him a popular speaker at software conferences, and he was voted a JavaOne Rock Star speaker in 2008 and 2009.

4 Responses to “Tasktop Summer 2008 Released: Offload Your Brain”

  1. Rusty Scupper Says:

    Seeing better task-oriented tools in the IDE is great, but I wonder if this is the right approach to the problem. First, it seems like task time tracking is a project activity and second I’m not sure how this approach aligns with more Agile-oriented project tasking.

    I agree that there’s a benefit of being able manage tasks within the IDE, but I think tools like Rally, etc. are better for this since they are oriented towards completing sprints and managing the task backlog.

  2. Mik Kersten Says:

    Great points Rusty. But the good news is that this is not an either-or question. Rally is a great Agile project management tool, and when using Tasktop with it you get both all of the benefits of our rich client (e.g., offline access to user stories and tasks, personal time tracking and scheduling) as well as the benefits of Rally (e.g., slick web-based project planning). The neat thing that we’re considering working on next with Rally is the updating of actuals based on Tasktop’s time tracking. We’ve heard from quite a few users that this would be a killer feature for them, and this feature already works if you’re using Tasktop/Mylyn with XPlanner. If you have any feedback on how you would like it to work it would be great if you could pass it on, since we’re still brainstorming. Since we take a very developer-centric point of view, one thing that’s important is allowing developers to reflect on their task activity before sharing it with others, in case they need to make adjustments. So we’re thinking that the sharing of actuals should always require an explicit action on the part of the user. This is exactly the approach that we take with the sharing of contexts.

    For more on using Tasktop with Rally see:
    http://tasktop.com/connectors/rally.php

  3. ekkehard gentz Says:

    I’m using (and like) Mylyn as eclipse developer -
    makes my work more productive.

    just looked at your website what Tasktop will give me more

    the calendar integration looks nice, but the examples only show outlook or Google cal.
    I’m working on OSX and so: what about apples iCal ?

    would be really great if this could be integrated.

    I’m doing my developer tasks inside eclipse using mylyn,
    and all the other tasks using OmniFocus which synchronizes with apples calendar (and the iPhone, too)

    if Mylyn could be connected to iCal then this would fill a gap.

    thx again for the great Mylyn

    ekke

  4. Less is More » Blog Archive » Article: Tasktop for Eclipse - Get More out of Mylyn Says:

    [...] have just published an article with tips on how to get more out of Mylyn with the summer release of Tasktop. It starts with an overview of Mylyn, followed by an introduction to Tasktop for Eclipse. The [...]

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