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Do More: Online To Do Lists Compared

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Tech.Memeorandum is now TechMeme

Time is our most valuable commodity. Productivity pays. Procrastination costs us time and money, and leaves us stressed, exhausted and unreliable in the eyes of others.

For many, the classic “To Do” list is the remedy. But for heavy web users, there are a number of recently launched to-do list products to choose from, with convenient sharing and other features, and easy to use interfaces.

We’ve taken a look at five of the best.

Web 2.0 To Do Lists

Note: we steered clear of some of the more complex personal homepage and calendar products like Zoho Planner and Backpack to try and compare only apples to apples.

We examined the usability and interesting features of these applications to find the most noteworthy procrastination remedy. All the products reviewed are free, and the normal set of features includes: sharing lists via email, emailing yourself a list and the ability to subscribe to your lists via RSS.

Bla Bla List is a simple to-do list product built on the RIFE, open-source Java web application framework. It’s fast, and offers the basic to-do list features and functionality. It tenders an easy-to-use interface, but loses points because of the annoyingly small pop-up window launched when you set up a new list.

Ta-da List by 37signals, the Chicago-based company, is built on Ruby on Rails and offers a wonderfully simple and clean to–do list product. Ta-da list uses lots of white space and larger fonts to make the list easy to read. 37signals subscribes to the rule of “less is more” and it shows.

Tudu List is unlike the rest of the to-do list products reviewed since it is not primarily a consumer-facing online solution. Instead Tudu list is an open-source solution which has been offered online by ESS Development AG. Tudu list is intended to be downloaded and installed on your own host and is the outlier of the group but we felt it was appropriate to review since there is a free version running online. Tudu list provides the ability to create multiple to-do lists with prioritized items on a deadline. Some interesting features are the backup and restore features which allow downloading XML files of a list as a back. Lists can then be restored online via uploading an XML file. In addition, Tudu lists can be shared with others.

Remember The Milk, an Australia-based company which was previously reviewed on TechCrunch, offers a smooth Ajax interface and rich user experience. It allows lots of metadata to be associated in the form of date information, repeat event and tags. Tasks can also be organized and prioritized by tab as well as sent to other Remember The Milk contacts. Tasks can be added via email, which could be a helpful feature especially if you have an email-enabled mobile device for on-the-go to-do updates.

Voo2do, created by software developer Shimon Rura, has a catchy name and a good (also Ajax) interface. However, it is a more complex project management task list than a simple to-do list. Voo2do tracks lists as tasks with assigned priority, due date and time estimates for each task. The interface is intimidating in comparison to Ta-da or Bla Bla list. Nevertheless, voo2do offers several interesting features including the ability to add a task via email, collaborate on password-protected shared to-do lists in addition to the ability to view your task history. Voo2do also has an API in progress which will allow developers to create custom applications.

Summary

The easy-to-use Ta-da list, with its clean and simple interface and good-enough feature set, is in our opinion the best choice if you are looking for an effective and easy to use solution. Online to-do applications are becoming competitive; products like Bla Bla list closely match the Ta-da list features, and voo2do and Remember The Milk offer more complex and powerful to-do list products. One feature that I think all of the competition should look into is mobile-accessible to-do lists because, unless you print your lists for on-the-go use, the traditional paper- written to-do list still could trump all of these products.

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