TaskRatchet Development Updates

The first 10% of the time - so if I create a goal due in 5 hours that gives me 30 minutes. If I create a goal due in 2 days that gives me 4.8 hours to cancel.

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Quick update as the first week of the alpha draws to a close (we started on Tuesday, so, not really, but close enough).

The first few days of the alpha were quite overwhelming. Part of that was being tired from returning from a trip to some friends’ wedding, part of that was having absolutely no idea what I was doing with the alpha and being scared I was really going to screw things up for people.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten some good sleep, and things are feeling better now. :sweat_smile:

We have five registered alpha users, and they continue to trickle in. I haven’t done any marketing beyond letting people know who’d already expressed interest in the project that the alpha is open. I’m going to leave it that way for a while. (Are you interested in the project but haven’t joined yet? You can do so here!)

I wasted a whole day trying to automate things right away. It’s so tempting to run to code. I’ve found that the things I was trying to automate I can get more than close enough with some clever uses of AirTable’s UI. (By the way, if you’re not familiar with AirTable, you owe it to yourself to go try it out. It is bonkers how powerful that thing is if you’re wanting to do casual database or workflow kinds of stuff.)

I’m scheduling morning emails using Gmail. I was surprised to discover it’s built right in, in the submenu hidden by the split send button in the compose window. Nice!

Thanks, everyone, who’s already joined the alpha! I’m learning so much already, I can’t wait to continue building the service with you guys. :smile:


Been getting into the groove of things running the alpha manually. It’s been pretty fun. I personally enjoy the interactions I have with the users, celebrating their small wins throughout the day.

I’ve also been experimenting with including some productivity tidbit in the daily summary emails. Hopefully that will encourage people to open the emails and be some additional value for them, too.

Been playing around with some design directions. First go at a logo, meh:

Result of some playing around with how the landing page could look in the future:

Also been trying to think about how to automate things going forward. Thought about using Glitch. Also considering Google Cloud Functions. Zapier could probably do most everything I need right now, but if the product becomes successful it would be very expensive to keep running that way, so I’m not sure I want to invest the effort to go in that direction.


I love the logo!

Why do you need to use another service to automate? I thought that was what the backend was for.

@zedmango Glad you like the logo! :smiley:

Yup, so basically what I’m trying to do is find a path towards building a full backend that will allow me to go step-by-step from what I’m doing now, fully manual, to whatever we discover the service should look like in the end. So:

  • That path should allow me to automate pieces of the service as I have time.
  • I should be able to have some level of confidence that it will lead to a solution that is cost-effective.
  • I also should have some level of confidence that it won’t restrict what client applications can be developed in the future.

I just sent out this email to all the alpha users:

Hi, all. :slight_smile:

Just wanted to give you a quick update. With my current situation, running the alpha manually is not sustainable, so I’m having to put it on pause temporarily. So here’s what that means:

  • I’ll continue to keep you accountable for any tasks you’ve already given me, but I won’t be taking any additional tasks or sending out morning emails.
  • I will be continuing to work on the project, and hopefully I’ll be able to reopen the alpha soon.

Thank you so much for joining the alpha right out of the gate. You guys have been awesome, and I’ve learned so much already.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I’ll do my very best to help you out.

Also, I’d love to do an interview with every one of you to get your feedback on how the service has (or has not) worked for you so well, as that information will be golden as I continue to develop the product.

Thank you again!


Good news! I’ve officially quit my job, so from now on I’ll be spending my time contracting and working on TaskRatchet. So development is resuming.

I’ve also created a public Trello board with community voting that I’ll be using to keep track of TaskRatchet development tasks:


yay! congrats! being your own boss is the best.

the board looks cool - how do we vote?

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You have to be logged into trello, but you shouldn’t need to be a member of the board. Once you’re logged in, you should see a voting button when you view a card:

Of course, your view will look different since you won’t be a member of the board, but the vote button should still be there.

so what are we voting on?

You’re voting on tasks and features you’d like to be prioritized.

is it multiple choice? what are the current options?

You can vote for as many cards as you want. Each card is a feature, a task, a bug, etc. So if you would like one card to be prioritized, you just open the card and vote for that card.

so voting for all the cards would be nugatory?

“If everyone’s special, then nobody is.” - The Incredibles

Beyond showing that you’re super excited about the project and agree with the direction I’m headed completely, yeah, it wouldn’t be a very clear signal. :wink:

Of course, everything on the board right now is basic plumbing which needs to happen regardless of what people vote on. I imagine voting will be more interesting when there are more optional features on the board.


Well I am very excited about it!

Don’t forget my wish list… can I vote on any of this yet?

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I’ve added all your ideas to the backlog. :slight_smile:

Yay! There’s also this one:

  • cancellation is not allowed if more than 10% of the time from goal creation or autorollover to deadline has elapsed

@zedmango Added. :slight_smile:

Quick dev update: I’ve been consistently spending 2 hours / day working on the API, and I’m quite happy with the rate of progress. Some of the things I’ve completed so far:

  • Configure Google Cloud Functions staging and deploy scripts
  • Set up unit testing
  • Add local dev environment configurations
  • Build generalized IoC container class
  • Add project to CircleCI for continuous integration
  • Configure the project to connect to AirTable as the initial database
  • Set up API routing and start on first two routes (/users and /users/{user_id}/tasks)
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Another update:

Still focusing hard on the API, trying to get enough done to where I can restart the alpha. The biggest piece of what I’ve been doing is building the morning email route, which will end up being used to email users a list of their incomplete tasks each morning, according to their timezone. I’ve already got the route sending the emails with a task list inside. In the case of overdue tasks I still need to add a paragraph to the email telling the user what’s going on. And I also need to set up the system to only send the morning email to users who haven’t yet received a morning email that day according to their timezone. Then I can configure Google Cloud Functions to hit that route, say, every hour, and I should be all set.

I’m thinking once I have those morning emails automated, I may be able to restart the alpha right away. At that point, I’ll focus on building a CLI client for power users, which can then inform future development of additional clients (web, Android, iOS…).