In my previous article “Cross Platform: Looking at the Value in Task Management Systems!” and my subsequent article detailing the reasons cross platform is becoming so important, it’s time to take a look at some of the fully cross platform solutions available. They range from the entirely new such as Conqu to those that have been there for quite some time but have evolved nicely, such as TODO Cloud.
Comparing is Hard Not to Do
When looking at these new systems or the systems that have evolved, it’s hard not to compare these systems to the tried and true that are frequently mentioned. If a system is cross platform, one immediately wonders if it is as robust as the one’s that aren’t.
My initial thoughts on this is that do they have to be the same or can they effectively be produced by a GTD system with a slightly moderated approach and really are they less effective. I would say that they need go no where from where they are and then continue to evolve. These systems are highly effective and more effective than those that aren’t cross platform due to their nature. Just by being cross platform, they provide great value. Every system that I’ll look at though has a robust feature set so there is nothing to worry about in that regard.
Every System being Considered is Based on the GTD Methodology
All of the systems that I’m going to mention here are based on the GTD methodology. At The Daily Mac View we see the value in using a methodology and then this particular methodology. There is not one system that doesn’t implement the approach well although each has a certain style some of which will appeal more than others.
Let’s first begin with a system that has been around for a very long time and has nicely evolved into a very useful and attractive cross platform system. TODO has always had GTD at it’s roots as a way to structure itself but in its earliest days would have been considered one of the weaker programs. Purchased recently, tremendous effort has been put into making this a first rate system that has the Bells and Whistles of a higher end GTD program but yet is very easy to use and understand.
I have covered TODO extensively including its cross platform beginnings so I won’t go into much detail around TODO again except to highlight that what was once only an Apple system has evolved beyond that. As an example, you can run TODO Cloud on any BlackBerry 10 system or Android and they almost look identical to the other platforms that it runs under. Access to information is carried out in the same way but most importantly the information is much more broadly available.
This is a relatively new system based on the GTD methodology. This is a fairly all encompassing cross platform system which basically runs on any platform. For a complete list of the platforms the product is available for see the hyperlink in this line. This is an impressive array and I can tell you that it looks identical regardless of which platform you come at it with.
From a company training perspective, nothing could be finer. To properly apply our tools I think a firm grounding is necessary in the premise upon which something is based and learned. In this case, it is David Allen’s “Getting things Done” methodology that takes the limelight. Once learned though, the application of any of our GTD tools becomes all that easier.
Conqu respects GTD soundly. When one compares it against the sort of measuring rod of GTD, OmniFocus, it measures up very well. Although it might lack certain things such as subtasks, something useful in helping with flow, I would say its area of greatest weakness would be that of the ongoing review and the overall review. It really has everything else but many would contend these are probably the two most essential elements in the methodology.
Conqu is by no means a looser or a poor application due to this though. It reflects a much grander perspective on where our software – software in general – needs to head and that is to cross platform. Should your application be called a failure because it lacks a piece of functionality or because no one uses it.
As far as an application goes that needs to be cross platform Conqu has some resounding positive capabilities. One such capability is simply how nice it looks and if I didn’t know GTD so well I might be a better critique. However, unless this were so bad it could only lead to a disruption in routine I feel this is very good software something well worth looking at whether your cross platform or not.
Another program that that evolved and has become a strong contender in the cross platform arena is TODOIST. This system was chosen by Frederico Vittucci of MacStories as he felt it me his needs.
Some wondered why he chose this over say OmniFocus, the big name in the industry or one of the other Mac only players. At one point, he felt that Reminders was more than enough for him and that OmniFocus was simply overkill something I have heard more than once. However, Reminders goes as far the other way as possible providing you a sound yet very simple Reminders application.
With more investigation Vitucci chose TODOIST. I’m not aware that I had anything to do with his desire for cross platform as more to the fact I believe it was his desire for a solid application.
Supports many Programs
TODOIST though does support many programs being probably one of the most powerful programs I’ve seen. At the same time, it is not flush with complexity nor overwhelming. It supports GTD superbly. As such, we can easily chalk its up to another application that provides a solid basis for a cross systems solution.
Get it Done
Yet another of the new breed of cross platform solutions, Get it Done is, simply as the name implies, a GTD program. It has one of the cleanest and most refreshing interfaces of all the programs mentioned. It runs on every platform except oddly enough not the Mac itself and must be run here as a web based app. However, it runs as perfectly though as if it was a native app with all the clean lines of all the other iterations. This program yet provides another avenue to allow your users to access the data using the platform they have or desire without issue.
I wont’ spend a lot of time on this app other than to say I’m distinctly impressed. The clean, crisp lines are a pleasure to look at while it covers basically all the bases without the feeling of being overwhelmed or using something that is extremely complex.
Once again, the idea here is to get the information into the hands of everyone involved on a project. Further, even if it is just you who is going to use the system, might the system you’re using be right for today however, who knows about tomorrow. If you have a system that is cross platform, you’re not bound to anything. Get it Done is very much part of that breed of software that is not only liberating but most likely to keep you informed and thus on track.
Only the Beginning
This cursory overview of cross platform Task Managers available is yet but the tip of the iceberg. There are certainly other cross platform task managers. It’s not necessary to look at everything available. What’s important, is that by looking at these major brands, the idea and potential of the cross platform system reveals itself to us.
These systems help in the quest to equalize both the creation and that access to that information. They are more efficient. They allow users to get more done and prevent those that need to be involved from being cut out.
At the individual level though, they ensure you’re not stuck with something because it is not cross platform. If today the iPhone suits you and your needs but tomorrow it is the BlackBerry, you can easily transition without fear of losing valuable information.
Cross platform can now take off due the state of the technologies we are dealing with. The cloud is proving to be a remarkable enabler of many things including cross platform solutions. As the cloud evolves and ensures its availability and capability, so too then will cross platform systems be able to take form.
We are, once again, at the dawn of yet a new era in tech or one might say the natural evolution of the second wave of the information revolution. I think we are at the second wave of the tech revolution which got under way around the year 2000.
For the last few years, certain things had to come together to allow this evolution of tech to occur. Now that it is, new capabilities and apps are being deployed rapidly. Once again, this is a bit of an exciting time. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and the types of technologies that will arrive to meet new needs.