The Hit List sync

It’s no secret that I love The Hit List. The app serves as my care­fully orga­nized dig­i­tal brain. Some­times it’s the really lit­tle things that make an app fantastic.

This morn­ing I opened it up for the first time since Fri­day. I had already left my apart­ment so I was out of WiFi range. To pull data, many other apps, includ­ing Mail and Tweet­bot, prompt if you’d like to con­nect to WiFi.

This is a pain because it makes sync­ing my data a two-step process. The Hit List does it right. It rec­og­nizes that I’m on 3G with data and just syncs. No prompt­ing. Let me fig­ure out WiFi later.

I love this because it shows that the devel­oper con­sid­ered the fastest way to let peo­ple get their data synced and get work­ing. When I open an app it’s because I want to do some­thing. The sooner you let me do that the hap­pier I’ll be with your software.

The Hit List Review

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I’m using The Hit List as my task app. Before, I used Omni­Fo­cus which was good but was just too much for my needs. I don’t need the flex­i­bil­ity per­spec­tives offer, the sync was pretty slow, and the user inter­face was just not my style. The Hit List is a won­der­ful change and a really well done app.

UI Gold

A nice inter­face doesn’t make up for a sub par app. But, when you start with a well designed app like The Hit List a gor­geous inter­face really makes the app shine. Those small touches I men­tioned in the ear­lier post are just part of the story though.

For exam­ple, task entry in the iPhone app is a thing of brilliance.

Task entry in The Hit List for iPhone

Not only is the adding inter­face sim­ple but once you start typ­ing one task you get that slick plus but­ton in the bot­tom right. Want to add another task right away? It’s just a tap away.

This thought­ful­ness car­ries over into the desk­top app in more ways than I have time to men­tion. One of my favorite fea­tures though is the abil­ity to view any task as a card.

Any task can be viewed like this and you’ll see the title, tags, date infor­ma­tion, and a totally free form note field. I use this view way more than I first thought I would. In some ways it’s replaced how I use Nota­tional Veloc­ity. If I have a quick idea for a blog post I can just cre­ate a new task and start writ­ing. It’s a great way to just cap­ture infor­ma­tion for later.

These two fea­tures allow me to really get the most out of The Hit List. I can get right into the app on my iPhone or on my lap­top and start right into inputting information.

The whole point of a task app is to not spend gobs of time with it. You’re sup­posed to spend all that time on the actual tasks. :) So, it’s cru­cial for an app to make it easy for me to get in, enter my infor­ma­tion, cross things off, and get out. That’s exactly what The Hit List does.

A smart app

Another area where it’s clear Andy Kim spent a lot of time work­ing on is the lit­tle things sur­round­ing tasks. The repeat­ing task inter­face is a great exam­ple of this.

Like other task apps The Hit List uses nat­ural lan­guage pro­cess­ing to parse what you mean when repeat­ing a task. For exam­ple, if I type “1st” it auto­mat­i­cally sets the task to repeat every month of the first.

Sim­i­larly typ­ing “Mon­days” or “Mon­day, Tues­day” will, respec­tively, repeat it on every Mon­day or every Mon­day and Tues­day. Just another way The Hit List lets me add tasks with­out think­ing about how to use the app.

The task fil­ing I men­tioned in the ear­lier post is another exam­ple of this. It’s seri­ously incred­i­ble. With one or two key­strokes I can select a task and file it where it needs to go. Or, with a cou­ple of key­strokes I can go to any list I have cre­ated.1

There’s more too

That barely scratches the sur­face of my love for this app. Almost every day I find myself amazed by how won­der­ful it is. It takes just a few min­utes to learn the basics of the app and not much more time to really mas­ter it.

The Hit List cer­tainly isn’t one of the cheap­est task apps out there. It’s $49.95 for the desk­top app, $9.99 for the iPhone app, and $19.99 a year for cloud sync­ing.2

Sure, it’s a siz­able out­lay for soft­ware but I can’t think of an app that you’d want to spend more on than a task app. It’s your dig­i­tal brain, invest in it and you’ll get way, way more than $80 of value out of it.

Andy Kim has done a ter­rific job with this app. As an early beta tester I can say that the 1.0 desk­top app and the long-awaited iPhone app have blown away my expec­ta­tions from when I started using it a few years ago.

  1. All it takes is press­ing “g” and then typ­ing the list you want to go to.
  2. Sync­ing which is blaz­ing fast by the way.

The Hit List interface

I’ve had a license for The Hit List from back when it was in beta. It’s been a long time com­ing but it’s now at 1.0 with a com­pan­ion iPhone app so I thought I’d give it another shot. There’s some small inter­face touches that make it a real joy to use.

The fil­ing sys­tem for tasks in your inbox is out­stand­ing. With a task selected press­ing just “f” brings up the above. Start typ­ing the name of a list and side­bar high­lights those with match­ing let­ters. Press­ing up and down moves between lists to file the task under.

If you sort a list by date you get these great lit­tle dividers through­out the list. Slick way to indi­cate time as well as break up a longer list.

The best part of the user inter­face is how blaz­ing fast and unob­tru­sive the sync is. It doesn’t block task input, fin­ishes in a few sec­onds, and in my test­ing is absolutely reli­able. Pretty great app that’s well worth the wait.