use as a todo/task management app?
Robert William Vesterman
bob at vesterman.com
Mon Feb 27 00:59:05 UTC 2023
This may be somewhat crazy, but I've never been satisfied with any of
the todo/task management apps that I know of, mostly because of a single
common issue that they all suffer from (in my opinion), and it suddenly
occurred to me a few minutes ago that the typical bug-tracking app could
be massaged into being a todo/task management app that does /not /suffer
from this. So, I'm now wondering whether there are any /different/
reasons that this wouldn't be a good use case for Bugzilla (or something
like it). As background, I've used Bugzilla to actually report bugs on
various projects, but I've never used it running on my own server, or to
work on bugs that someone has reported.
To back up a bit, the issue that I'm referring to is that it always
seems like relations between tasks can only be structured as trees
(well, forests, really): Any particular task can have at most one parent
task. For me, it always seems much more natural to be able to have
multiple parents for a single task (i.e. the tasks should form an
acyclic directed graph, not necessarily a forest).
For a contrived example: In real life, the "Bake a cake" task depends
upon the "Buy flour" task, which depends upon the "Go grocery shopping"
task. Typical todo/task apps can handle this just fine, insofar as
described. But the problem comes up when you realize that going grocery
shopping can be a dependence for a whole bunch of things completely
unrelated to baking a cake (e.g. buying Liquid Plumber), while at the
same time in the other direction, baking a cake can be dependent upon a
whole bunch of things completely unrelated to going grocery shopping
(e.g. fixing the oven).
I realize that there are workarounds for this sort of thing - e.g.
allowing a task to have arbitrary "tags", or making multiple in-app
tasks all meaning "Bake a cake", but these always seem very kludgy to
me, and I can't help but think using the app would be much simpler if it
were just able to represent multi-parented tasks in the first place.
But, like I said, it just suddenly occurred to me that something like
Bugzilla does /not/ have this problem. For example:
* Bug "Don't have cake" is blocked by bug "Don't have flour";
* Bug "Don't have cake" is blocked by bug "Oven isn't working";
* Bug "Don't have flour" is blocked by bug "Need to go to the grocery
* Bug "Toilet is clogged" is blocked by bug "Don't have Liquid Plumber";
* Bug "Don't have Liquid Plumber" is blocked by bug "Need to go to the
Obviously you wouldn't have to describe the tasks in terms of being
"bugs", but (A) I'm putting it in Bugzilla-esque terms just to show the
idea, and (B) I kind of like it, tbh :P
Crazy or not, that sounds pretty great to me, so now I'm just generally
asking "Are there any other reasons why Bugzilla might not be great for
this?", plus some specific questions based on that general question:
(1) Is there a way (preferably an easily usable way) to do things like
"Show me all current blockers", ordering by priority and/or due date?
I'm guessing the answer is "Yes, of course", but more specifically:
(2) Can things like "priority" and "due date" in that refer not simply
to the blocker in and of itself, but also to the things that it blocks?
For example, I might decide one day that I should (for no particular
reason) buy some flour, and thus add a "Buy flour" task with priority
"Low". But the next day, I might REALLY REALLY NEED CAKE, so I'd add a
"Bake a cake" task with priority "Critical". In the report, I would
like the "Buy flour" task to then be considered "Critical", without me
needing to go and manually update that task. And if I then buy enough
flour to bake a cake but for some reason /not/ enough to cover all my
upcoming, low-priority predicted baking needs, I'd like "Buy flour" to
/automatically/ revert to "Low" in the report after I mark "Bake a cake"
as being done.
(3) This is really a would-be-nice rather than a need, but: How about
ordering by something like... not sure of the actual terminology to use,
but... the /combined weight/ of the things that the blocker blocks? So
something along the lines of a blocker that blocks a bunch of critical
tasks being more important than a blocker that only blocks a few
(4) Same not-really-a-need sort of thing: What about repeating tasks? Is
there a reasonably easy way to submit the same sort of bug every week or
whatever? I mean, that cake I bake today isn't gonna last for the rest
of my life.
Please help. I really need cake.
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