FacileThings

September 2019: Here is where we are at

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
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Hello everyone!

In recent weeks we have completely redesigned the synchronization process with Evernote to make it more efficient and solve the problem of the rate limits per hour imposed by Evernote.

The next major improvements we are working on are the following:

  • New integration with Microsoft Outlook calendar.
  • Redesign of the Weekly Review, including all the improvements we have added lately to capture, clarify and organize things.
  • New version of the mobile app, without data synchronization process.

The last point requires a more detailed explanation.

The purpose of the data synchronization that occurs each time you access the mobile app is to bring the data from the server that have been modified since the last time you accessed the app, and send the data that have been modified locally in the app to the server. It is a cumbersome process, since it takes a few seconds in which you cannot do anything else, but it allows you to capture and view information when you are without an internet connection.

This process, for some reason we do not know, occasionally fails with some devices, resulting in its users losing data or not having them fully updated and, therefore, completely distrusting the app.

We have been trying to locate the cause of the problem for a long time but we have not succeeded. The sync process always works well on our devices, and we are not able to reproduce the specific situation of each user (type of smartphone, operating system version, connection speed, process speed, local configuration, active applications, local memory available, etc.)

As a consequence of this problem:

  • There are users who have lost confidence in the app, something that is tremendously important. In my opinion, it is more important even than the ability to operate offline. It is of little use to you to have an app that works offline if you do not have full confidence that you will not lose the data and changes you introduce.
  • Using so much time in trying to solve this problem, we have not been able to advance in the development of new features for the app or improve its usability.

To reverse this situation once and for all, we are creating a new version 3 that will not have any synchronization process. That is, it will work online. As advantages, access to the app will be faster and you will always see in it the same data as there is on the server. As a downside, it will not work offline at first.

In successive updates we will be including offline functionalities step by step and in a controlled way, at the points where it is necessary, thus ensuring that the app grows in a robust and reliable way. Version 3, although it will be apparently like version 2, will actually have more advanced technology since we will take advantage of the change to update all the internal software, something that the previous problems did not allow us to do.

Of course, as long as the new version does not have enough offline functionality, version 2 will still be available for those who are not troubled and need to work offline at certain times.

23 comments

892783ab2600008ccb3560f2e1cfa724
Commented 3 months ago Steve

Thanks for the explanation about the mobile app, Francisco. I look forward to version 3 and the improvements it will bring.

892783ab2600008ccb3560f2e1cfa724 Steve

Thanks for the explanation about the mobile app, Francisco. I look forward to version 3 and the improvements it will bring.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented 3 months ago Cyrus

This is some great news. The next updates will be great to have. THANK YOU!

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

This is some great news. The next updates will be great to have. THANK YOU!

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec
Commented 3 months ago Michał

Thank you for the explanation of the mobile app situation, I think this the only reasonable route to take. I love FT web app but the mobile app is something I have but don't use actively. Hope to change that with version 3 :)

BTW, with this update of weekly review would it be possible to add custom checklist to the Capturing phase? I have a few (too many unfortunately) physical inboxes and I'd like to have a checklist listing them so I won't forget to empty (and put into FT) them.

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec Michał

Thank you for the explanation of the mobile app situation, I think this the only reasonable route to take. I love FT web app but the mobile app is something I have but don't use actively. Hope to change that with version 3 :)

BTW, with this update of weekly review would it be possible to add custom checklist to the Capturing phase? I have a few (too many unfortunately) physical inboxes and I'd like to have a checklist listing them so I won't forget to empty (and put into FT) them.

88b87698be0bc461f3cacf1f080929d5
Commented 3 months ago Adrian

Actually it doesn't seem like a big issue that the app will be online-only. Mobile data is cheap nowadays and WIFI ubiquitous. Looking forward to no longer having to use a mobile browser to access FT. - good news!

88b87698be0bc461f3cacf1f080929d5 Adrian

Actually it doesn't seem like a big issue that the app will be online-only. Mobile data is cheap nowadays and WIFI ubiquitous. Looking forward to no longer having to use a mobile browser to access FT. - good news!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 3 months ago Francisco Sáez

I thank you very much for your understanding.

Michał, I'm writing down your suggestion to take it into account when the time to update the Weekly Review comes.

Adrian, I think the vast majority of users are connected most of the time and are going to get more out of the online version. However, I know that some go to work every day by subway or train, with time intervals without connection, which they could use productively if the app allowed it. We will try to satisfy all cases in the end.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

I thank you very much for your understanding.

Michał, I'm writing down your suggestion to take it into account when the time to update the Weekly Review comes.

Adrian, I think the vast majority of users are connected most of the time and are going to get more out of the online version. However, I know that some go to work every day by subway or train, with time intervals without connection, which they could use productively if the app allowed it. We will try to satisfy all cases in the end.

C2a49e1aea4972f83b3bb0e4ea55fbbd
Commented 3 months ago Joseph

Very exciting news and developments, Francisco. I am curious about the Outlook Calendar integration. Will the specific Outlook account be user selected? Will I be able to select a work (Exchange) calendar for integration?

C2a49e1aea4972f83b3bb0e4ea55fbbd Joseph

Very exciting news and developments, Francisco. I am curious about the Outlook Calendar integration. Will the specific Outlook account be user selected? Will I be able to select a work (Exchange) calendar for integration?

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 3 months ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Joseph,

Yes, you will need to select your Outlook account to connect FacileThings to your calendar. You will be able to select a work account if it's in the cloud -- not in a private, protected company server.

Thanks for your comments!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Joseph,

Yes, you will need to select your Outlook account to connect FacileThings to your calendar. You will be able to select a work account if it's in the cloud -- not in a private, protected company server.

Thanks for your comments!

6587ee6e7fd6107296137715b1fe64dc
Commented 3 months ago Michael Potter

Hello FC Team, thanks for the monthly updates. It is encouraging to see the developments on mobile and your efforts to fix the problems. THANK YOU. Although I am not a paid subscriber as of today, I look forward to coming back and supporting your efforts soon!

6587ee6e7fd6107296137715b1fe64dc Michael Potter

Hello FC Team, thanks for the monthly updates. It is encouraging to see the developments on mobile and your efforts to fix the problems. THANK YOU. Although I am not a paid subscriber as of today, I look forward to coming back and supporting your efforts soon!

4d1acaafe054ec2e3b51c3f71fecaa27
Commented 3 months ago RTT

I'm currently in the trial phase of FT and this sounds like a great initiative. One of my first concerns when testing the product was the dated mobile app. May I ask - will you also build in functionality for native mobile app reminders? Seems a pretty standard function that is missing.

Example: Remind me at 10am tomorrow for X task. This would product a standard phone pop-up like other apps.

4d1acaafe054ec2e3b51c3f71fecaa27 RTT

I'm currently in the trial phase of FT and this sounds like a great initiative. One of my first concerns when testing the product was the dated mobile app. May I ask - will you also build in functionality for native mobile app reminders? Seems a pretty standard function that is missing.

Example: Remind me at 10am tomorrow for X task. This would product a standard phone pop-up like other apps.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 3 months ago Francisco Sáez

Thanks for your Support, Michael!

RTT, thanks for the encouragement. Alerts/notifications are somewhat agains the stress-free lifestyle that GTD promotes. We know that it is something that everyone expects from a personal management application, and not having it seems counterproductive. But on the contrary, when you embrace the methodology and review your stuff with the proper frequency you do not need (nor want) to be constantly interrupted by alarms ;)

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Thanks for your Support, Michael!

RTT, thanks for the encouragement. Alerts/notifications are somewhat agains the stress-free lifestyle that GTD promotes. We know that it is something that everyone expects from a personal management application, and not having it seems counterproductive. But on the contrary, when you embrace the methodology and review your stuff with the proper frequency you do not need (nor want) to be constantly interrupted by alarms ;)

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented 3 months ago Cyrus

I agree!

I do not want FT to alert me when I am late, being one more voice in my ear bothering me for deadlines that I am now missing because I wasn't fully aware of my professional and personal commitment landscape. That is stressful because now I am taking action on the notification, not the next actions that are being reported on. Totally in the wrong direction to get back on track and become stressfree.

I think FT could do with improvement or two in the areas of Goals and Projects notifications. If I mark a Next Action with a scheduled due date, it is visible in my Calendar. This is great and exactly what I want from a focus of work to do on that day and when I do my Weekly Review. My Google Calendar does all the notification for me and within context of all the other "hard landscape" commits.

I can add a due date to Projects and Goals, but that date does not show on my Google Calendar, making it difficult to understand the level of Focus I should put on my Projects within the context of all of my activities for the week. I am forced to review my due dates for Projects and Goals within FT. An unnecessary degree of separation.

Yes, I do not want FT to notify me, but I do want it to report TO ME in a way that allows me to fully view all of my commitments. We've talked about this before, Francisco, so it should not come as anything new.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

I agree!

I do not want FT to alert me when I am late, being one more voice in my ear bothering me for deadlines that I am now missing because I wasn't fully aware of my professional and personal commitment landscape. That is stressful because now I am taking action on the notification, not the next actions that are being reported on. Totally in the wrong direction to get back on track and become stressfree.

I think FT could do with improvement or two in the areas of Goals and Projects notifications. If I mark a Next Action with a scheduled due date, it is visible in my Calendar. This is great and exactly what I want from a focus of work to do on that day and when I do my Weekly Review. My Google Calendar does all the notification for me and within context of all the other "hard landscape" commits.

I can add a due date to Projects and Goals, but that date does not show on my Google Calendar, making it difficult to understand the level of Focus I should put on my Projects within the context of all of my activities for the week. I am forced to review my due dates for Projects and Goals within FT. An unnecessary degree of separation.

Yes, I do not want FT to notify me, but I do want it to report TO ME in a way that allows me to fully view all of my commitments. We've talked about this before, Francisco, so it should not come as anything new.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 3 months ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

Having projects and goals' deadlines in Google Calendar seems a good idea to me. I'm noting it down to consider in future updates.

Thank you!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

Having projects and goals' deadlines in Google Calendar seems a good idea to me. I'm noting it down to consider in future updates.

Thank you!

E4aa24b0f8b705abd0e41e284c684919
Commented 2 months ago Todd

Kudos to the app syncing. I've had that issue multiple times. Online-only access seems fine! Maybe the only offline function one needs is the capture functionality, and that could be addressed independently with a "captured, waiting for sync" page or something.

E4aa24b0f8b705abd0e41e284c684919 Todd

Kudos to the app syncing. I've had that issue multiple times. Online-only access seems fine! Maybe the only offline function one needs is the capture functionality, and that could be addressed independently with a "captured, waiting for sync" page or something.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented 2 months ago Cyrus

The FacileThings iOS app just failed on me after I captured several items on the fly and they DID NOT SYNC. Well, I guess those thoughts are now lost.

Zero trust in the FacileThings app, despite the fact it is the easiest way to access FT.

Looking forward to ANY improvement regarding the application. It is 2019 and almost 2020. We live in a mobile world. FT needs to keep up with me.

It is also worth noting that I have shared FT with friends and family. They really like the web application, but are not interested in using it due to the mobile application being so poor. I plan to reintroduce FT to everyone I speak to after the application is fixed, once and for all.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

The FacileThings iOS app just failed on me after I captured several items on the fly and they DID NOT SYNC. Well, I guess those thoughts are now lost.

Zero trust in the FacileThings app, despite the fact it is the easiest way to access FT.

Looking forward to ANY improvement regarding the application. It is 2019 and almost 2020. We live in a mobile world. FT needs to keep up with me.

It is also worth noting that I have shared FT with friends and family. They really like the web application, but are not interested in using it due to the mobile application being so poor. I plan to reintroduce FT to everyone I speak to after the application is fixed, once and for all.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented 2 months ago Cyrus

A thought regarding the new approach with the FT application.

Please include in the new feature an alert in the application that announces to the user that their mobile phone/tablet must be online in order to work. And consider being rather "in your face about it", too. As in, don't let me do anything with the application unless I am online.

The reason for this is fairly simple. "Trust". I don't want to access the application, make changes, and save them only to have the application fail to synce or (worse yet) only tell me I cannot save the changes I just spent time on because I was offline.

No, no, no. Let's be upfront and clear with the user. That'll save everyone time and assumptions.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

A thought regarding the new approach with the FT application.

Please include in the new feature an alert in the application that announces to the user that their mobile phone/tablet must be online in order to work. And consider being rather "in your face about it", too. As in, don't let me do anything with the application unless I am online.

The reason for this is fairly simple. "Trust". I don't want to access the application, make changes, and save them only to have the application fail to synce or (worse yet) only tell me I cannot save the changes I just spent time on because I was offline.

No, no, no. Let's be upfront and clear with the user. That'll save everyone time and assumptions.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 2 months ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Todd, thanks for your support!

Hi Cyrus, so sorry you lost the stuff captured. That's exactly the reason we're moving to an online app. Don't worry, we will build the necessary mechanisms so that there is no confusion about the expected operation.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Todd, thanks for your support!

Hi Cyrus, so sorry you lost the stuff captured. That's exactly the reason we're moving to an online app. Don't worry, we will build the necessary mechanisms so that there is no confusion about the expected operation.

5e2ad848ac2181d56c0241b6a3b15dd6
Commented 2 months ago Abhishek Mittal

Hi,
I am using the Free Trial of FT. My trial gonna expire on Oct 17.I need some more days to evaluate the free trial . If its possible. And yeah the iphone app is very poor. It needs a lot of work.

Also for anyone who read this comment. Please share your experience how FT improved your organisation process using GTD.

5e2ad848ac2181d56c0241b6a3b15dd6 Abhishek Mittal

Hi,
I am using the Free Trial of FT. My trial gonna expire on Oct 17.I need some more days to evaluate the free trial . If its possible. And yeah the iphone app is very poor. It needs a lot of work.

Also for anyone who read this comment. Please share your experience how FT improved your organisation process using GTD.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented 2 months ago Cyrus

Abhishek Mittal, per your request, a brief summary of how FacileThing improved my personal organization....

First, to set the stage, I've tried all the apps out there that claim to be GTD. None of them are telling you the truth. FacileThings is the only application that truly follows the methodology set forth by David Allen. Sometimes to the application's detriment, as it enforces the concepts, leaving little room for the user to create their own version. This is important to note. If you have not read, understand, and adopt GTD in full, you will find FacileThings to be a tool that enforces concepts and workflows that you might not want. However, I encourage everyone to work within FacileThings. How it goes about organizing and displaying information keeps you informed and empowered.

Second, the web application has come a long way, but not quickly. The FacileThings team - from what I have gathered over the years - is small. They make choices about what to work on with deliberate intention. They do not feel rushed nor are they reactionary. They have a vision - which is clear from the start - but appears to be limited by both time and technical knowledge. Case in point is the mobile app, which is total rubbish. Most - if not all - applications on the web today either have a streamlined browser version or an application. FacileThings has neither. They know it and are working on correcting it, but it has never felt like a priority to the team. That being said, to judge FacileThings on the mobile application would be a mistake. The web-based application is strong and continues to get better and better.

Third, I can personally attest to how empowering the application is. I jump off it from time to time to go try other applications and always return to FacileThings. Not because it is the fastest or the prettiest, but because it's workflow makes sense. It is not just a list manager. It is a life manager. I keep both personal and professional tasks in the application, and FacileThings balances both like a pro. I am more productive and stress-free thanks to this application.

Fourth, the folks behind FacileThings truly give a shit. They are passionate about the application and where they want to go with it. This is refreshing, as Francisco Sáez and I have gone back and forth on many occasions arguing points about the application. In all cases, I have found his thoughts to be valid, deep, and more importantly, open to suggestions. If you are looking to use an application designed by folks who are passionate about what they create, FacileThings is for you.

Fifth, FacileThings focuses on you, not the team or the world. I find this to be one of FacileThings greatest strengths. Most productivity apps nowadays keep introducing the concept of teams. But this is a mistake. Not everyone works like me. Not everyone has the same priorities as me. To suggest otherwise is assinine. FacileThings recognized this early on. You can easily share tasks and projects with others, but the application is built first and foremost with the idea that YOU are the center of the universe. FacileThings is truly a "personal" productivity application. Teams come and go, but the idea of "you" remains solidly based in the application's foundation. And it shows.

Sixth, the future is bright. I hungrily read each of FacileThings posts, engage the team activity, and am always excited for what the application has to offer. Every update is an improvement. Not just polish, but a genuine life-changing (to a very small degree) update. FacileThings has a long way to go if it ever hopes to be the "premiere" application for GTD enthusiasts, but it continues to march down that road of success with determination. I personally look forward to all it has to offer now and in the future.

Hope this helps...

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

Abhishek Mittal, per your request, a brief summary of how FacileThing improved my personal organization....

First, to set the stage, I've tried all the apps out there that claim to be GTD. None of them are telling you the truth. FacileThings is the only application that truly follows the methodology set forth by David Allen. Sometimes to the application's detriment, as it enforces the concepts, leaving little room for the user to create their own version. This is important to note. If you have not read, understand, and adopt GTD in full, you will find FacileThings to be a tool that enforces concepts and workflows that you might not want. However, I encourage everyone to work within FacileThings. How it goes about organizing and displaying information keeps you informed and empowered.

Second, the web application has come a long way, but not quickly. The FacileThings team - from what I have gathered over the years - is small. They make choices about what to work on with deliberate intention. They do not feel rushed nor are they reactionary. They have a vision - which is clear from the start - but appears to be limited by both time and technical knowledge. Case in point is the mobile app, which is total rubbish. Most - if not all - applications on the web today either have a streamlined browser version or an application. FacileThings has neither. They know it and are working on correcting it, but it has never felt like a priority to the team. That being said, to judge FacileThings on the mobile application would be a mistake. The web-based application is strong and continues to get better and better.

Third, I can personally attest to how empowering the application is. I jump off it from time to time to go try other applications and always return to FacileThings. Not because it is the fastest or the prettiest, but because it's workflow makes sense. It is not just a list manager. It is a life manager. I keep both personal and professional tasks in the application, and FacileThings balances both like a pro. I am more productive and stress-free thanks to this application.

Fourth, the folks behind FacileThings truly give a shit. They are passionate about the application and where they want to go with it. This is refreshing, as Francisco Sáez and I have gone back and forth on many occasions arguing points about the application. In all cases, I have found his thoughts to be valid, deep, and more importantly, open to suggestions. If you are looking to use an application designed by folks who are passionate about what they create, FacileThings is for you.

Fifth, FacileThings focuses on you, not the team or the world. I find this to be one of FacileThings greatest strengths. Most productivity apps nowadays keep introducing the concept of teams. But this is a mistake. Not everyone works like me. Not everyone has the same priorities as me. To suggest otherwise is assinine. FacileThings recognized this early on. You can easily share tasks and projects with others, but the application is built first and foremost with the idea that YOU are the center of the universe. FacileThings is truly a "personal" productivity application. Teams come and go, but the idea of "you" remains solidly based in the application's foundation. And it shows.

Sixth, the future is bright. I hungrily read each of FacileThings posts, engage the team activity, and am always excited for what the application has to offer. Every update is an improvement. Not just polish, but a genuine life-changing (to a very small degree) update. FacileThings has a long way to go if it ever hopes to be the "premiere" application for GTD enthusiasts, but it continues to march down that road of success with determination. I personally look forward to all it has to offer now and in the future.

Hope this helps...

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 2 months ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus, I really appreciate your support and help. You have been our customer for a long time and have interacted a lot with us, and that makes your perception of both the application and the company quite accurate. Thank you for sharing how FacileThings helps you in your day to day.

Hi Abhishek, no problem with extending your trial period as you need. Please request it through the Support option that you will find in the web application. That way we will know what your user account is.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus, I really appreciate your support and help. You have been our customer for a long time and have interacted a lot with us, and that makes your perception of both the application and the company quite accurate. Thank you for sharing how FacileThings helps you in your day to day.

Hi Abhishek, no problem with extending your trial period as you need. Please request it through the Support option that you will find in the web application. That way we will know what your user account is.

F0bb374068d5629e051f33dc5800884c
Commented 2 months ago Owain

A huge (and seemingly easy) upgrade, would be an Android widget listing "Next Actions". It doesn't need to be interactive etc, just a simple list such as you see when you click on "Next Actions" in the App. An addition of a "Capture" button would also be incredibly handy.

The above is a very simple widget to code, yet would allow you to save an awful amount of time logging in and out just to review next actions. The same is also true when you want to capture something very quickly.

F0bb374068d5629e051f33dc5800884c Owain

A huge (and seemingly easy) upgrade, would be an Android widget listing "Next Actions". It doesn't need to be interactive etc, just a simple list such as you see when you click on "Next Actions" in the App. An addition of a "Capture" button would also be incredibly handy.

The above is a very simple widget to code, yet would allow you to save an awful amount of time logging in and out just to review next actions. The same is also true when you want to capture something very quickly.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 2 months ago Francisco Saez

Hi Owain,

Absolutely, we plan to add both a "capture" and a "nexrt-actions" widgets in the future. First, we need to solve the current mobile app situation ;)

Thanks for the suggestions!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Saez

Hi Owain,

Absolutely, we plan to add both a "capture" and a "nexrt-actions" widgets in the future. First, we need to solve the current mobile app situation ;)

Thanks for the suggestions!

Dbebe432c71ddaf7a3029ee6305f6878
Commented about 2 months ago Bruno

No doubt. Better offline and reliable than unpredictable online! Smart move.
Nevertheless, I am extensive traveler and roaming In Many countries where WiFi/data are not always available. Therefore having offline capabilities is a must. Primarily just the ‘capture ‘ function. Rest can wait. But pleAse think about a simple capture function offline. Warm regards

Dbebe432c71ddaf7a3029ee6305f6878 Bruno

No doubt. Better offline and reliable than unpredictable online! Smart move.
Nevertheless, I am extensive traveler and roaming In Many countries where WiFi/data are not always available. Therefore having offline capabilities is a must. Primarily just the ‘capture ‘ function. Rest can wait. But pleAse think about a simple capture function offline. Warm regards

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented about 2 months ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Bruno,

Absolutely. First thing we will do after the major update is to design a system that allows you to capture things offline.

Thank you!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Bruno,

Absolutely. First thing we will do after the major update is to design a system that allows you to capture things offline.

Thank you!

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