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Announcing Release of Version 0.05 (Beta)

We’ve released an update to Simply Goals & Tasks. Highlights of this release include a new multi-select capability for the list of tasks, a simple onboarding wizard, bug fixes around change in orientation, miscellaneous fixes and features.

Multi-select 

Multi-select means users can now long-press a task from a list (in either Tasks or Schedule main views) and open what Google calls a Contextual Action Bar (or CAB). Gmail also has this feature, so users should recognize it.

After the first long press, the ActionBar is replaced by the CAB and a simple tap adds more tasks to the selection. The CAB shows common actions that a user would want to perform on one or more tasks: reschedule, change status (priority, done, etc), edit, copy, or delete.

This makes it easy to do a couple common tasks. For example, say the day got away from you and half your tasks from today didn’t get finished and need to be rescheduled to tomorrow. You can multi-select all these unfinished tasks, and reschedule them all at once.

Similarly, you can mark a group of tasks “done” all at once. Though personally, I enjoy marking each one off as I complete it.

I have found copying tasks very useful. I use this almost like one might use recurring tasks. (Recurring tasks is a feature we have on our list, but it is not coming soon. It’s a tricky feature that will require user testing to get right.) I use Copy to quickly make 5 instances of my “Exercise” task for the week after going through the New Task process just once.

Simple Onboarding Wizard

With this release we added a super simple onboarding wizard. It is just 3 screens quickly explaining how to get started in the app. As well as collecting the user’s estimated active hours per day and active days per week — the one setting that we really can’t guess. All other settings are given defaults that we think are good guesses and that can easily be changed in Settings.

We plan on overhauling this wizard in the future. We would like the onboarding to walk the user through Goal Planning and help them quickly move their existing task list into the app. That will be much more fun to go through and really set users up for success tracking their goals, tasks, and time.

For now, this simple wizard means that new beta users can start using the app without one of us looking over their shoulder and walking them through getting started. An important step in growing our user base, finding bugs, and improving the app!

Bugs with changing screen orientation

In Android, when the device changes orientation, from portrait to landscape or vice versa, the current screen is discarded and redrawn by the Android OS. This unusual event in the lifecycle of the Activity (Screen) is a common place for bugs, particularly crash bugs. We had a few of them. In fact this was the majority cause (by far) of our crash bugs.

Technically what was happening was the OS used a different constructor to redraw the dialog (pop-up) when it was redrawn at rotation than the UI did when a user launched the dialog. Now we know! And now these have all been fixed!

We also found that sometime the selected task would change when the device changed orientation. This has also been fixed.

Miscellaneous fixes and features

Previously the Schedule main view was sorting tasks by the timestamp of when they were created. This is not particularly useful to the user. Now tasks are sorted first by Status (priority, action, waiting, then done), then by Goal. Same as the default sort in the master Tasks view.

Selecting a task from a list now always opens the Task Detail screen, whether from Tasks or from Schedule main view.

Finally we added little bits of info for when an area has no data to display (like the Goals charts when no goals have yet been set, or the Schedule when there is nothing scheduled in that time). This lets the user know what’s going better than just a blank screen.

With this release we’ve expanded our Beta Testers group. We’re excited to see all the bugs and crashes that they find!