This article is going to be the first of a two part set of articles on Cross Platform and how we at the The Daily Mac View will be considering this evolving functionality. So to start, I’ll open with this general discussion of task management systems, their central importance to productivity and their evolution based on new technologies and capabilities.
Cross platform, as I recently discussed, is an area that can grow now that companies have been able to master in house, cross management functionality. Apple is probably one of the finest cases in point and what is referred to as the Apple ecosystem is nothing more than in house, cross management capabilities. Apple has brilliantly got all their systems talking to each other and more importantly, leveraging the capabilities that lie within such a paradigm.
The Browser: The Quintessential Cross Platform System
To fully appreciate the value of cross platform systems and the capabilities this piece of function brings to the table, one need look no further than the browser. The best cross platform systems that rest with the browser are Firefox and Google’s Chrome and of these two we can refine this thinking further. Firefox is not only cross platform, but it is built on the concept of open systems standards.
Not that Google doesn’t use some cross platform open standards, they are inherently a private company with specific interests. Thus, we could say easily say Firefox is the most open, standards based browser in the industry.
Firefox and and Google’s Chrome are fully cross platform and work identically say on a Mac as a Windows PC. Safari is fairly cross platform but doesn’t work as well outside of the Apple environment. Then there’s IE which gave up on the Mac years ago.
If the Browser is not cross platform, it is extremely difficult to work in any efficient manner. That it is cross platform allows you to efficiently bounce from one system to another with no relearning of the interface required.
Further, the access to data becomes a non-issue. You have access to the data regardless of environment on a fully cross platform system. The benefits are handsomely apparent as are the downsides.
One of the most important areas of work functionality is simply the management of what it is you have to do. Once again, a cross platform system has so many benefits I was going to say it’s hard to describe but in actuality it is very easily describable.
Apple has done a wonderful job once again making their systems cross platform within the Apple environment and to a lesser degree outside of it. Thus, it behooves anyone who works with a task management system in the Mac environment to ensure that they have one that that works equally across the Mac, iPad and iPhone.
The Apple environment is replete with cross platform systems. The four I like the best personally are:
- TODO Cloud
- The Hit List
One could say I pretty well like them all equally. Interestingly though, the Hit List only has a Mac and iPhone counterpart and not an iPad version yet I like this system immensely as not only is it a very powerful GTD task management system, it is both easy to learn and use. As such, you can be very productive quickly. Yet, for them to remain relevant I feel they will have to fill the holes which is simply the lack of an iPad version and the need to break out and become cross platform.
Cross Platform is a Different Kettle of Fish
In the above list, the only system that is cross platform beyond the realm of Apple is TODO. This is one of the oldest of the Apple task management systems but under it’s new management. they have turned a somewhat adequate platform into not only a good Apple GTD system but also a cross platform, highly functional product.
It’s huge advantage though is it extends beyond Apple. Data is not something that one necessarily wants to own. Data can be put to good competitive use. However, for the above to happen, the application should be robust. New applications are appearing to take advantage of the opportunity. Other apps are evolving with the opportunity. In the next article, I will explore four applications that fit nicely as cross platform.
There is a readiness for cross platform systems. There are new systems coming on stream that are very robust yet easy to work with. They fully meet the requirement required to be considered cross platform.
In the next article, we will specifically look at:
- Get it Done
- TODO Cloud
There certainly are more applications that could be discussed but to keep the discussion within bounds, the above represents a good starting point.