README @ c00fff9956e6

Add the --delete-if-empty options for Desktop users.
author Steve Losh <>
date Wed, 20 Jan 2010 20:55:17 -0500
parents 6e68da47f154
children (none)
-*- markdown -*-


`t` is a command-line todo list manager for people that want to *finish* tasks, not organize them.

Why t?

Yeah, I know, *another* command-line todo list manager.  Several others already exist ([todo.txt][] and [TaskWarrior][] come to mind), so why make another one?


### It Does the Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work

Todo.txt and TaskWarrior are feature-packed.  They let you tag tasks, split them into projects, set priorities, order them, color-code them, and much more.

**That's the problem.**

It's easy to say "I'll just organize my todo list a bit" and spend 15 minutes tagging your tasks.  In those 15 minutes you probably could have *finished* a couple of them.

`t` was inspired by [j][].  It's simple, messy, has almost no features, and is extremely effective at the one thing it does.  With `t` the only way to make your todo list prettier is to **finish some damn tasks**.


### It's Flexible

`t`'s simplicity makes it extremely flexible.

Want to edit a bunch of tasks at once?  Open the list in a text editor.

Want to view the lists on a computer that doesn't have `t` installed?  Open the list in a text editor.

Want to synchronize the list across a couple of computers?  Keep your task lists in a [Dropbox][] folder.

Want to use it as a distributed bug tracking system like [BugsEverywhere][]?  Make the task list a `bugs` file in the project repository.


### It Plays Nice with Version Control

Other systems keep your tasks in a plain text file.  This is a good thing, and `t` follows their lead.

However, some of them append new tasks to the end of the file when you create them.  This is not good if you're using a version control system to let more than one person edit a todo list.  If two people add a task and then try to merge, they'll get a conflict and have to resolve it manually.

`t` uses random IDs (actually SHA1 hashes) to order the todo list files.  Once the list has a couple of tasks in it, adding more is far less likely to cause a merge conflict because the list is sorted.

Installing t

`t` requires [Python][] 2.5 or newer, and some form of UNIX-like shell (bash works well).  It works on Linux, OS X, and Windows (with [Cygwin][]).


Installing and setting up `t` will take about one minute.

First, [download][] the newest version or clone the Mercurial repository ( `hg clone` ).  Put it anywhere you like.


Next, decide where you want to keep your todo lists.  I put mine in `~/tasks`.  Create that directory:

    mkdir ~/tasks

Finally, set up an alias to run `t`.  Put something like this in your `~/.bashrc` file:

    alias t='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir ~/tasks --list tasks'

Make sure you run `source ~/.bashrc` or restart your terminal window to make the alias take effect.

Using t

`t` is quick and easy to use.

### Add a Task

To add a task, use `t [task description]`:

    $ t Clean the apartment.
    $ t Write chapter 10 of the novel.
    $ t Buy more beer.

### List Your Tasks

Listing your tasks is even easier -- just use `t`:

    $ t
    9  - Buy more beer.
    30 - Clean the apartment.
    31 - Write chapter 10 of the novel.

`t` will list all of your unfinished tasks and their IDs.

### Finish a Task

After you're done with something, use `t -f ID` to finish it:

    $ t -f 31
    $ t
    9  - Buy more beer.
    30 - Clean the apartment.

### Edit a Task

Sometimes you might want to change the wording of a task.  You can use `t -e ID [new description]` to do that:

    $ t -e 30 Clean the entire apartment.
    $ t
    9  - Buy more beer.
    30 - Clean the entire apartment.

Yes, nerds, you can use sed-style substitution strings:

    $ t -e 9 /more/a lot more/
    $ t
    9  - Buy a lot more beer.
    30 - Clean the entire apartment.

### Delete the Task List if it's Empty

If you keep your task list in a visible place (like your desktop) you might want it to be deleted if there are no tasks in it.  To do this automatically you can use the `--delete-if-empty` option in your alias:

    alias t='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir ~/Desktop --list todo.txt --delete-if-empty'

Tips and Tricks

`t` might be simple, but it can do a lot of interesting things.

### Count Your Tasks

Counting your tasks is simple using the `wc` program:

    $ t | wc -l

### Put Your Task Count in Your Bash Prompt

Want a count of your tasks right in your prompt?  Edit your `~/.bashrc` file:

    export PS1="[$(t | wc -l | sed -e's/ *//')] $PS1"

Now you've got a prompt that looks something like this:

    [2] $ t -f 30
    [1] $ t Feed the cat.
    [2] $

### Multiple Lists

`t` is for people that want to *do* tasks, not organize them.  With that said, sometimes it's useful to be able to have at least *one* level of organization.  To split up your tasks into different lists you can add a few more aliases:

    alias g='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir ~/tasks --list groceries'
    alias m='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir ~/tasks --list music-to-buy'
    alias w='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir ~/tasks --list wines-to-try'

### Distributed Bugtracking

Like the idea of distributed bug trackers like [BugsEverywhere][], but don't want to use such a heavyweight system?  You can use `t` instead.

Add another alias to your `~/.bashrc` file:

    alias b='python ~/path/to/ --task-dir . --list bugs'

Now when you're in your project directory you can use `b` to manage the list of bugs/tasks for that project.  Add the `bugs` file to version control and you're all set.

Even people without `t` installed can view the bug list, because it's plain text.

Problems, Contributions, Etc

`t` was hacked together in a couple of nights to fit my needs.  If you use it and find a bug, please let me know.

If you want to request a feature feel free, but remember that `t` is meant to be simple.  If you need anything beyond the basics you might want to look at [todo.txt][] or [TaskWarrior][] instead.  They're great tools with lots of bells and whistles.

If you want to contribute code to `t`, that's great!  Fork the [Mercurial repository][] on BitBucket or the [git mirror][] on GitHub and send me a pull request.

[Mercurial repository]:
[git mirror]: