Mylyn – Why it is worth upgrading to Tasktop

I have been using Mylyn now for a while and it has been great to help keeping on top of large amounts of bugzilla entries. I’ve used it to manage the integration plan for the Symbian platform, which describes the expected contributions into the platform.

One of the benefits that Mylyn offers developers is the reduction on Context Switching. Context switching is not only costly for software programs, but also for humans working on concurrent tasks. Mylyn provides a great integration with the IDE that allows developers using Eclipse to substantially reduce the wasted time on switching between application and work tasks.

However, I am not a developer… so Mylyn did not really provide me with any improvements in this area. Hence, I decided to download the Tasktop 30-day-trial standalone version and see if I could have get some time-saving by exploring the additional features for “Task Context”.  Here are the results:

The first obvious advantage is that it doesn’t really load all the rest of Eclipse/Carbide functionality that I don’t use and that eats a substantial amount of my manager’s-spec laptop memory. Hence, the first improvement is better working speed!

But there is more to Tasktop than better memory management.. Let’s look at BUG176 – The New Graphics Architecture as an example.

First, the context auto-detection is integrated with your web browser and local file system.  Now I have associatted to the Bugzilla entry the wiki pages that relate to the integration plan in, and the associate files in my PC ( My presentation file for the next Release Council). This can be automatically launch in integrated TAB browsers within Tasktop when the BUG176 is activated, they also closed automatically when the focus is switched to another task.

In addition,  Tasktop provides a quick link bar that can be launched within a integrated TAB or in your preferred browser, this means that I don’t need move away from Tasktop to look at the online source repositories for new commits, the Symbian Wiki or run OpenGrok code searches.

Integration Planning is only a part of my job, so the “Notes” TAB in Tasktop is a great way to have handy the relevant notes for my “bug-related” activities – one less context switch.

Another thorn in my side (how dramatic!) is switching between Tasktop and the windows explorer to find the relevant file.  Using the Navigator view I d’t need to do this anymore and yes! you can open office files within Tasktop (although I am less convinced on this).

In summary, we all do 1000’s of small task per day that take more time to set-up than to execute it : finding and launching a file, googling something up, small wiki edits, quick reference checks …. Tasktop makes all these small tasks seamless again!

So what is my next step? try to convince someone to pay for my lincese before the 30-day-trial expires! any donations? 🙂

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