Sunday, April 26, 2009

Support for action dependencies

Carsten Thiele and Kralik have done some great work* on one of the most requested features, action dependencies. Based largely on the Carsten's SequencedActionsPlugin (with some changes to use tag indexing for speed), and Kralik's UI adjustments, I've added this feature into MonkeyGTD.

At the moment I'm only using it for Actions and not Ticklers (as per SequenceActionsPlugin) just for the sake of keeping things simple but I can see that it would be useful for Ticklers also. Once again it's pretty new so perhaps hold of updating unless you've been waiting on this feature. Let me know if you find bugs.

Some notes:
  • I'm providing an alert when an action is promoted to Next or demoted to Future based on the Done checkbox of the action it's dependant on.
  • The 'create dependant action' button is not there yet, since it doesn't work with TW core 2.4.1 which is the one I'm testing with at the moment.
  • There's also a speedup fix and a bug fix for changing Actions/Projects/Ticklers provided by Jason Dunham
  • For a demo of the new functionality click here and mark Action A as done. Then mark as not done. It's easy to specify that an action has a dependency using the drop down selector.
  • The action is getting cluttered with the contact and now the depends on drop down. I've but the depends on drop down after a br tag, but it probably need some layout tweaks. Suggestions welcome.
  • If you delete an action that another action is waiting on you probably should get a warning. Or at least there should be a page that shows actions that are waiting on a non-existent action. But lets not worry about that at present.
  • Multiple dependencies are supported and work. But it's not easy to create them as the drop downs let you select one only. You have to manually edit tags to do it.
To update see here.

* See this page in the wiki for details.


Blogger Justin said...

Simon, I love this, thanks. I did notice that the Depends On button breaks (shows, "Error in macro multiSelectTag") if my project name contains an apostrophe.

2:58 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely a big step on the right path. Thank you! Next we'll hopefully have some way to make actions get their dependencies automatically, perhaps as they are processed in the QuickAdd tool.

3:10 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this a lot... any way that an action can be dependent on an action from another project?

My projects have lots of inter-dependencies. Thanks you for the great evolution.

4:16 PM PDT  
Blogger Geir said...

I really do love this functionality. I had tried with numbering tasks in order to display the interdependencies, but it quickly got quite messy.

I have a bit if trouble making the upgrade. 0 tiddlers available for download. Am I doing something wrong?

5:59 PM PDT  
Blogger Ken Mankoff said...

You say: The action is getting cluttered with the contact and now the depends on drop down. I've but the depends on drop down after a br tag, but it probably need some layout tweaks. Suggestions welcome.

I say: You could replace that, and possible all the other HTML popup lists with a tiddlywiki-style button, such as you have elsewhere on each tiddler. For example, the "V" button next to the word "action" lists all other actions. Could you use a button like this to save space?

It seems like it would only save space when nothing was set, as it would have to expand to show the set tiddler once something was set.

A second suggestion: Move the [make reference] [make project] [make tickler] buttons higher, perhaps in the same row as the [next, waiting for, future] buttons. Now you can remove the BR before the Deponds On, reducing the header area by one row.

9:13 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff - this really fills the gap!

Do you think that it would be useful to see a list of "Dependent actions" on an action (i.e. the reciprocal for "depends on")?

2:08 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice work - i like it - plus: it's the only feature i've always been missing since dropping dcubed :P (although the missing ability to make independent actions was a reason to drop...)

11:41 PM PDT  
Anonymous Mike Kenyon said...

I've been missing this feature for a long time! It'll really speed up my GTDing! I can't wait for this to hit the main release!

9:38 AM PDT  
Blogger simon said...

It is in the main release. :) Do an update and you should have this functionality.

1:25 PM PDT  
Blogger pat toche said...

My question is about the MptwTheme:

It works great with Firefox, but with IE8 the search bar displays the following red error message:

Error in macro lessthan lessthan search lessthan lessthan

where lessthan is obviously the symbol that does not allow me to publish here.

Would love to hear of a fix!

thanks a lot,

2:49 PM PDT  
Blogger simon said...

thanks, i didn't know about this. will investigate.

8:43 PM PDT  
Blogger Geir said...

The improvements look great, unfortunately I am not able to install them.

After I click 'import' and select the file from the menu, and click open, mGTD only gets a list of ZERO tiddlers, and there is nothing to install.

Any help with this would be much appreciated

11:38 AM PDT  
Anonymous Magdy said...

An excellent feature, thanks. I hope if it can be extended to generic action /project dependency; any action or project can be dependent on any other action/project.

Now I need to convert action to project, the relation would be lost.

12:51 AM PDT  
Blogger Daniel said...

Geir - not sure if this applies to you, but I had a similar problem. I save my TiddlyWiki online and when I went to update, none of my tiddlers came up. However, I was able to update by downloading my TiddlyWiki, updating the locally saved version and uploading again.

1:12 AM PDT  
Anonymous Agl said...

Great Feature!!!
Works stabel over here.

Only one thing about it: would be possible to provide a "soft alarm"? On one hand I'd like to be notified, when an action get's promoted to next. But on the other hand I don't like klicking away one (or several) alarms.

Is it possible to notify the user via the little yellow box that also shows when changes have been saved or uploaded?

1:51 AM PDT  
Blogger simon said...

Agl, that's a good idea. Will add it to my list. It's been a while but I am planning to get back into active development soon.

4:57 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would really like support for dependencies btw. ticklers and actions; this action will be in marked as "future" until that tickler has occurred and is "done". This can of course be simulated the hard way (e.g. create a tickler T and an action A in the same project, write a comment note to change the tickler T to an action B when T expires and is done, change the tickler T to the action B when this happens and let A depend on B, and finally close B) but that is a bit messy.

9:40 AM PST  

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