Todoist is one of the oldest web-based task managers still available today. Yet, they unveiled a major update that takes advantage of some bleeding edge HTML5 features. In addition to demonstrating the latest technology improvements that can be implemented in a web app, it is still today a relevant task manager for individuals.
The two main improvements of the new version are offline access with automatic synchronization — as previously seen in other web apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar or Google Docs – and considerably speedier performance.
“My guess is that HTML5 is a new paradigm shift that will change how users perceive and use web applications,” founder and lead developer Amir Salihefendic said. In other words, he believes that HTML5’s web storage and offline support are as important as Ajax communication and HTTP server push, the technology that powers Facebook Chat and Gmail chat. But he is less optimistic when it comes to HTML5 adoption due to the necessary code rewrite.
“HTML5 introduces a lot of new technical challenges and is probably the main reason why few web applications use it,” he said.
Todoist stands apart from the competition thanks to its clean look and simplicity. “I want to focus on the way I can optimize productivity so busy people can achieve more,” Salihefendic says.
In Todoist, tasks are a simple text string with an optional due date value. They can be nested and separated into different categories. Keyboard shortcuts, labels and Gmail integration are relegated to the background and reserved to power users willing to learn those features.
With that update, Todoist now finishes loading in under 100 milliseconds. When you create a task, mark it as done or view another category, it happens instantaneously because everything is stored and executed locally before being synchronized with Todoist’s server.
Since 2007, Todoist has accumulated more than 350,000 users and millions of tasks. But the introduction of that major update is a milestone for Todoist.
“I can see that our usage numbers have sky-rocketed since the introduction of HTML5. We have almost seen a 50% increase of tasks being added daily,” Salihefendic says. They only received $40,000 in funding from Startup Chile, the program that encourages entrepreneurs to relocate to Chile, and have been profitable for years thanks to an optional premium subscription.
Competitors include the oft-cited and veteran web app Remember the Milk, minimalist services such as Wunderlist and TeuxDeux and in some way team-based services such as Asana, Producteev, Flow and many others.