Two Due User Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

Two Due is a To Do List manager that does more than most. Some of its special features are: recurring To Do items, so that they can be scheduled to occur on a regular basis; multiple sorting and selection fields; multiple files with remembered viewing options for each; extra fields for each To Do item, such as a multi-line Description, Outcome, Sequence and Web Page; automatic Web Publishing; plus multiple category levels in the latest release!

What Two Due does:

There are lots of To Do list managers out there. Here are the features that make Two Due stand out from the crowd.

Support for Multiple Lists
Two Due stores its To Do lists in tab-delimited text files. This makes it easy for Two Due to support multiple lists. In fact, Two Due remembers all the files you have previously opened and makes it easy for you to switch between them, remembering and restoring different selection criteria and sort fields for each different file. You can also import data from an external file, adding its items to the currently open list.
Easy Navigation
You can easily navigate through a list using Next and Prior functions, accessing any record directly from one of two list views, and by finding all items containing a given search string.
Recurring To Dos
Sometimes it's not enough to do something only once. Like buying your brother a birthday present, or making plans to celebrate your anniversary. Two Due allows you to schedule recurring To Do items, with lots of flexibility in terms of frequency. Once an item has been completed, you can schedule it for its next occurrence by either closing the current item (a new one will be generated automatically), or by pressing the "Recur" button to re-use the current item.
Multiple Descriptive Fields
Many To Do list products provide only one field to describe each item. We don't think one field is enough. So we provide a Title field, in which you can provide a brief description of the item. But we also provide a multi-line Description field that allows you to go into greater detail about the item. And we also provide an Outcome field, in which you can document the results of an item.
Web-Enabled
Two Due provides a couple of useful features that allow it to work hand-in-hand with your Web browser. First of all, you can provide a Web Page URL for a To Do item. Once you have filled this in, you can easily view the Web page by pressing a button in Two Due.
The second Web feature is the ability to easily generate a Web page that contains the contents of your To Do list! Sample HTML templates are provided, and can be easily modified. This makes it easy to share your To Do list with others, even though they may not have copies of Two Due installed on their computers. And you can specify that the associated Web page be regenerated each time you save your To Do file, so that it is always kept up-to-date.
Categories
You can assign categories to any of your To Do items. Multiple, nested categories can be assigned as well, so you can have multiple levels of sub-categories. A special tree view lets you examine your list by category, opening and closing whichever ones you want. There is also a Replace Category function to quickly change a category from one to another, for all records in the same category.
Flexibility
Two Due expands your notion of To Do list management. Do you have a recurring meeting for which you maintain an agenda and minutes? Why not use Two Due? It can easily keep track of your agenda items, schedule their start times, record the results of your discussions, and publish this information on a Web page for all participants to view. You can use the Sequence field in this context to sort your agenda items into the desired sequence for each meeting.
Or how about using Two Due for a wish list for birthday or holiday presents? The Web features make it easy to share such a list with others, and to point them to Web sites where the items on your list can be purchased. Use the "Assigned To" field to create one list for an entire family.
Another possibility is to use Two Due to keep track of change requests for a software program, or other product. The Sequence field can be used here to record the version in which each request was implemented.
You can even use Two Due as a bookmark manager, with the ability to publish to HTML and import from HTML. The possibilities are nearly endless!

What Two Due doesn't:

To be fair, there are a few things that Two Due is not good at. If these are more important to you than the items on the list above, you should probably choose a different product.

Integrate with Other Products
Two Due is a stand-alone product. It doesn't integrate with your favorite e-mail program or your PDA. Oh, well. Life is full of tough choices.

Getting Started

System Requirements

Two Due is written in Java and can run on any reasonably modern operating system, including Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. Two Due requires a Java Runtime Environment (JRE), also known as a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The version of this JRE/JVM must be at least 6. Visit www.java.com to download a recent version for most operating systems. Installation happens a bit differently under Mac OS X, but generally will occur fairly automatically when you try to launch a Java app for the first time.

Because Two Due may be run on multiple platforms, it may look slightly different on different operating systems, and will obey slightly different conventions (using the CMD key on a Mac, vs. an ALT key on a PC, for example).

Rights

Two Due Copyright 1999 - 2015 by Herb Bowie

Two Due is open source software. Source code is available at GitHub.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Two Due also incorporates or adapts the following open source software libraries.

Installation

Download the latest version from PowerSurgePub.com. Decompress the downloaded file. Drag the resulting file or folder into the location where you normally store your applications. Double-click on the jar file (or the application, if you’ve downloaded the Mac app) to launch.

Data Fields

Item Fields

Tags
You may enter multiple tags, separated by commas, and each tag may contain multiple levels, separated by periods. For example “Books.Mysteries” would be a two-level tag. Once you enter a tag for one item, you may select that same tag for another item by using the drop-down menu. The Tree tab will show the items on your list, grouped by tags.
Title
Enter a brief description or name for the item.
Due Date
The components of the date are specified in Year/Month/Day order. The initial date is a default, meaningless date far in the future. If your item doesn’t have a particular due date, then leave this field as is. (This will allow undated items to be sorted by more meaningful fields, such as priority.) Clicking on the Today button will cause today’s date to be entered. You may then use the various increment and decrement buttons to increment the date components until you see the date you want. Or, you can always type the date in yourself.
Status
Use the drop-down menu to select a status, if you want to assign a status other than Open. You may only wish to use Open and Closed, but other values are available in case you are interested. The following meanings are suggested for the available values.
  • Open – The item still needs to be done.
  • In Work – The item has been started, but not yet completed.
  • Pending – The item can’t progress any further until someone else completes some action you have no control over.
  • Canceled – The item was not completed, but no longer needs to be done.
  • Closed – The item has been completed and needs no further attention.
Priority
Use the slider to select a priority, if you wish to distinguish between high- and low-priority items. 1 is the highest priority, and 5 the lowest.
Assigned To
If you are only using Two Due for items that you personally need to do, then you probably won’t need this field. If you are using Two Due to manage a team, or to track action items for other people, then you may type a person’s name in here. You may use the drop-down menu to select a name that was previously entered.
Sequence
This field can be handy if you want your items to be sorted by some value other than any of the other ones available for an item.
Description
Use this if want to enter a longer description of the item than would fit in the Title field.
Outcome
In some cases, you may want to maintain a record of completed items, with a description of how they turned out. In these cases, this field can be used to document some details of how the task was completed.
URL
If you have a Web Page or local file associated with this item, then you may enter the URL in this field. Note that “URL” is a button, rather than an ordinary label. Pressing on the button will allow you to select a local file on your computer to be linked to the item. Note also that the List menu has an item called Validate Web Pages. This function will attempt to validate all the Web Page links in the currently open To Do list, identifying any dead or invalid links. Of course, you need a currently active Internet connection for this to work. Pressing the Launch button on the toolbar, or the arrow to the left of the URL, will cause Two Due to pass the entered URL to your preferred Web browser.

Time Fields

Many To Do items need only a due date, and do not need to be identified with a time of day. However, Two Due has several fields and functions for dealing with start times when they become important. Here are the ones you should be aware of.

Recurs Fields

Many items, thankfully, are done once and then they are done forever. But other items may need to be repeated on a recurring basis. For the latter, you may use Two Due to repeat items on a regular schedule.

The first step in setting up a recurring item is to create the new item on the Item tab. Set the due date to the first occurrence in the future.

Now visit the Recurs tab. Here you can specify how often the item is to recur, in terms of a number and a unit of measurement (weeks, months, etc.). If you always want the item to occur on a certain day of the week, then you may also specify that on the Recurs tab. And finally, for monthly items, if you have specified a day of the week, you may specify which occurrence of that day, within each month (first, second, last, etc.) you want to be used.

A recurrence may be triggered in one of two fashions. Both are triggered from the Item tab.

  1. Pressing the Recur button, to the right of the due date and below the Today button, will cause the date of the current item to be immediately set to the next scheduled occurrence. (Holding your cursor over the Recur button will cause a Tool Tip to appear, reminding you of the recurrence schedule for the current item.)

  2. Closing a recurring item will cause a new item to be created, with an Open Status, with the next scheduled due date, and with all of the other attributes of the current item. Use this option if for some reason you want to keep a record of the closed item, in addition to scheduling the new one.

File Operations

File operations may be accessed via the File menu.

Saving Your To Do List(s)

When you launch Two Due for the first time, it will open with an empty list of To Do Items, and will save it in a “to do list” folder within a “TwoDue” folder within your “Documents” folder (“My Documents” on Windows).

You may select New from the File menu to create a new list.

To save your list to a location other than the default, take the following actions.

Two Due will identify one of your to do lists as your primary list, and will open this for you automatically when you launch Two Due. The first list you create will be your primary list, by default.

If you create multiple To Do lists, then you can use the File / Open Known menu item to easily switch between them. Your primary data store will be identified by a “(P)” on the Open Known list.

If you later wish to make a different file your primary file, then open that file, select Get Info from the File menu, and check the box that says “Make this my Primary List”.

Note that changes and additions to a list are not automatically saved to disk as they are made. You may explicitly choose the Save item from the File menu in order to save your data to disk. You may also wish to turn on the AutoSave option, by visiting the General tab within application Preferences and setting the AutoSave interval.

Backing Up Your To Do List(s)

Use the Backup menu item on the File menu to create a backup file containing your To Do List. A file name identifying your list and the current date and time will be suggested for you. After picking a location for your backups, that same location will be suggested for subsequent backups.

Use the Revert from Backup menu item on the File menu to restore your list from a prior backup.

Use the Backups tab within the application Preferences to select the degree of assistance you would like with backups. The Automatic option will completely automate the process for you. The Manual Only option will not provide any automated assistance. The Occasional Suggestions option will suggest a backup on roughly a weekly basis.

User Interface

The Tool Bar

A toolbar with multiple buttons appears at the top of the user interface.

Main Window

The main window contains three different panes.

The List

On the first half of the main window, you’ll see two tabs. The first of these displays the List. This is just a simple list of all your To Do Items. You can rearrange/resize columns. You can’t sort by other columns. Click on a row to select that To Do Item for display on the other half of the main window. Use the entries on the View menu to select a different sorting/filtering option. Use the View Preferences to modify your view options.

Tags

The second Tab on the first half of the main window displays the Tags. This is an indented list of all your Tags, with To Do Items appearing under as many Tags as have been assigned to them, and with To Do Items with no Tags displaying at the very top. Click to the left of a Tag to expand it, showing To Do Items and/or sub-tags contained within it.

Note that Tags that were once used, but that are used no more, will stick around until you close the Two Due file and re-open it. If you wish, you may accelerate this process by selecting Reload from the File menu.

Details

The detailed data for the currently selected To Do Item appears on the second half of the main window.

Tips, Tricks and Special Functions

Dealing with Closed Items

The number of open items on your list at any one time will tend to be relatively constant. As time passes, however, the number of closed items on your list will tend to grow. Two Due offers several ways of dealing with these.

Using Folder Sync

Two Due can be used to track to do information about a folder of files. Metadata about the files (last modification date and file size) will be kept up-to-date automatically. Two Due can then be used to track other information about each file, such as its status, tags used to categorize the file, the priority of its completion, etc.

Start by creating a new list. You can use the folder of files to be tracked as the location for your Two Due folder, or you can use another folder located elsewhere on the same disk drive.

Next select Folder Sync from the File menu to see the Folder Sync window. Click on the Browse button in the upper right corner and select the folder of files to be tracked.

Now click the Sync button. At this point Two Due will create a matching to do item on your list for each file or folder in the file to be tracked. The title of each item will be taken from the corresponding file or folder name, dropping any file extension (which means that multiple files with the same name but different extensions will be represented by a single item on your Two Due list). If an item with a matching title already exists, then that item will be updated, rather than creating a new item. Each corresponding item will have four fields created/updated, based on the latest information about the file:

Note that Last Mod Date and File Size can be used as sort keys when creating Views.

When multiple files have the same name with different extensions, then files with extensions of .txt, .markdown or .mkdown will take precedence over others when deciding which file will have its URL, Last Mod Date and File Size updated to match the file’s info.

Check the Delete Unsynced Items box to have the sync operation delete any items on your list that no longer have any matching files in the sync folder.

Check the Auto Sync box to have a sync performed automatically whenever this list is opened.

The text window below the Sync buttons will show the results of the sync operation.

Note that your Two Due list will be saved to disk at the end of every Sync operation.

The Cancel button can be used to close the Folder Sync window when done.

Transfer/Update

After selecting a particular To Do item, you may select the Transfer menu item from the Item menu. This will copy your to do item to the system clipboard in a plain text format. You may then paste this text into an e-mail, as one possible example. The recipient of the e-mail could then read the to do item and optionally paste it into their to do list by copying the text to the clipboard, then using the Two Due Update command on the Item menu.

Publish

Two Due has a powerful ability to publish your To Do lists as Web pages, or as a series of related Web pages.

PowerSurge Publishing has a complete system for publishing tab-delimited files of any kind to the Web. This is available from a separate product, called PSTextMerge. However, most of PSTextMerge’s capabilities are made available within Two Due for To Do lists.

In order to publish a To Do list to the Web, you need to use a template file. The template file is a combination of normal HTML tags and special PSTextMerge commands. Several standard templates are provided with the Two Due distribution. You may either select one of these standard templates from the Publish window or create a custom Web template and specify it from the Publish window.

See the Template page on the PowerSurge Publishing Web site for a complete introduction to creating Web templates.

A Web template is normally stored in the same folder that contains your twodue.tdu file. After selecting a standard or custom template on the Publish window, you may then publish your list as a Web page by pressing the Publish button on the Publish window. You may also pick from the following drop-down menu to have Two Due automatically re-publish your Web page whenever you save your To Do file, or whenever you close it. You may also specify a complete PSTextMerge script as a Web Template, which can then cause a whole series of related templates to be used.

Note that on the Purge window, you may specify a separate template to publish your archived To Do items. This can be used to publish meeting minutes, for example.

Creative Uses

Two Due’s fields and features can be combined in a variety of creative ways. Following are some examples.

Preferences

The following preference tabs are available.

General Prefs

The program’s General Preferences contain a number of options for modifying the program’s look and feel. Feel free to experiment with these to find your favorite configuration. Some options may require you to quit and re-launch Two Due before the changes will take effect.

SplitPane: Horizontal Split?
Check the box to have the List and Tags appear on the left of the main screen, rather than the top.
Deletion: Confirm Deletes?
Check the box to have a confirmation dialog shown whenever you attempt to delete the selected To Do Item.
Software Updates: Check Automatically?
Check the box to have Two Due check for newer versions whenever it launches.
Check Now
Click this button to check for a new version immediately.
File Chooser
If running on a Mac, you may wish to select AWT rather than Swing, to make your Open and Save dialogs appear more Mac-like. However, Swing dialogs may still appear to handle options that can’t be handled by the native AWT chooser.
Look and Feel
Select from one of the available options to change the overall look and feel of the application.
Menu Location
If running on a Mac, you may wish to have the menus appear at the top of the screen, rather than at the top of the window.

Tags Export Prefs

Tags to Select
Leave this blank to select all tags on any export, including a data export performed as part of a Publish process. Specifying one or more tags here will limit the content of the export to items containing at least one of those tags.
Tags to Suppress
Any tags specified here will be removed from all tags fields appearing on exports. This may be useful to suppress tags used for selection at Publish time, as opposed to tags that will appear in the eventual output being created.

Help

The following commands are available. Note that the first two commands open local documentation installed with your application, while the next group of commands will access the Internet and access the latest program documentation, where applicable.


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