Wat To Do: Yet another To Do app

So I’ve set out to build my own to do app. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “But Jonn, there’s already a thousand to do apps already, why would you want to make another one?”. Because.. Reasons. Don’t worry. I’ve asked myself the same question a thousand times, and here’s what I came up with:

First of all, I figured that I’ve never really worked on a project that’s wholly my own. The side projects I do at home are really related to the work I’ve been doing for the past 7 years. I think I did a generic Excel parser once and dynamic fields just so I could repeat the same process when I was at work. This is probably only the second time that I’m going to work on a project I would have others use.

Another reason is that I really, really wanted to learn React.js. Been hearing a lot of good things about it. I tried Angular on my last side project (http://holidayba.com), but it’s a good thing that I postponed devoting more time to it until React came around. I work with some legacy systems (read: systems I wrote 4 or 5 years ago). Back then, as a fresh graduate, given the immense responsibility of writing a Javascript framework which would be used for future projects, I wrote a lot of code I’m not proud of today. And ever since I’ve been trying to check out Javascript frameworks along with some patterns that would help me organize the chaos that was my code. But a lot of those frameworks worked best if you already started with them and required that I overhaul the whole thing, which of course we would never be able to fit into the schedule. I hear good things about React and from what I’ve used so far, the component model is a great way to organize all these files. We’ll see.

Third, the other to do apps are not my to do app. I’ve tried a few other to do apps, and kudos to those who made them. They’re really well done. I’ve been a fan, and user of Any.Do for around 4-ish years now I think. Great design. Very simple. Loved the whole thing. I’ve flirted with one or another to do app in between too. But as I’ve learned more and more of how to think of productivity, I’ve found it hard to fit those to do apps into my own personal workflow. That and the lack of self-control and discipline I have at times when I’m at home really makes those apps useless. So I’m gonna build a to do app for lazy me. And use that to do app to help me build the to do app. If that somehow works, and it works to change my workflow for the better despite my habits, then I’d have built an app for lazy people (sample size: me). If it doesn’t work out for other people, then at least it would work out for myself. I could certainly use a good productivity boost so it works for me either way.

And lastly, this gives me something to blog about. It’s so hard to keep up this blogging habit. I know, I really, really know that writing helps me better understand what I’m doing, but it’s just soooo hard to get into the habit of it. I have to write, then read, and re-read my work. So much time is spent when I could have been straight up coding all the while. But it’s a good habit and skill to develop so I’m going to hit two birds with one stone here and blog about the experience. The danger here is that if I publicize what I’m doing, I run the risk of instantly gratifying myself from the social acknowledgment of what I’m doing. This TED talk sums up what I’m talking about here. That’s happened more than once before. But on the other hand, publicizing what I’m doing should nag me enough to keep on doing it since I now have a publicly declared obligation to keep at this habit. Or I feel that way. Here’s to hoping this whole thing works.

And with that, I’d like to introduce you to Wattodo?, a to do app for people who don’t know what to do.


I don’t know how that’s gonna do it yet, but I hope to blog more about my journey writing it. I’d be thrilled if you could join me as I try to work this out.

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