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LAUNCH: Ta-da list - Simple, sharable to-do lists

19 Jan 2005 by Jason Fried

A few weeks ago I posted a logo and asked what it was. The guesses were entertaining. Some were really close.

Well, now we can share. It’s our new FREE product called Ta-da List. Ta-da list lets you make simple, sharable to-do lists. You can keep them to yourself, share them with only specific people, or share them with the world.

ta-da list logo

Why did we do this? Well, one of Basecamp’s most popular features has been its to-do lists. People just love them. So we figured we’d share some of that love and build a little free tool based on Basecamp’s to-do lists. We put together a chart showing the key differences between Ta-da’s lists and Basecamp’s lists.

So, go sign-up for FREE and check it out. You’ll be up and running in 10 seconds. We think you’ll find it really useful — and fast (thanks to XMLHTTPrequest, things that you’d normally think would require a page reload don’t require a page reload).

Note: Ta-da is only guaranteed to work with Internet Explorer 6, Safari, and Firefox. It will not work on IE 5.

102 comments so far (Post a Comment)

19 Jan 2005 | Bob H. said...

Ha! Took me 7 seconds!

I really like the large text boxes for forms and the large font when typing in them. Good job!

19 Jan 2005 | bobby said...

looks nice, but i get a javascript error when i try to complete a task...hurry, i can't go home when i can't check off my completed items!

(fyi, win XP IE 6.0.2880)

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

Thanks bobby... We're looking into this.

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

Something is def fishy in IE 6. Fine in Firefox and Safari. Looks like there's a little JS bug in IE that slipped in. We're on it.

19 Jan 2005 | Bob said...

Well, the JS benefits in Firefox are great--be patient, IE drones, good things are coming! Finally a use of XMLHTTPrequest that actually makes a difference!

19 Jan 2005 | Lee said...

I'm getting:

"File not found

Change this error message for pages not found in public/404.html"

When clicking My Lists, Edit Reorder or Share.

XP FF

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

Lee, email support at tadalist dot com with some extra info (your URL, to-do list name, etc) so we can have a look. Thanks.

19 Jan 2005 | Bryan Peters said...

Excellent work! Now my wife can send me tasks that I will actually read (hooray for RSS).

Have you thought about making it fit in the "_search" pane on Moz/IE? I'm sure that would confuse some people, but this seems like the perfect mini webapp for some hot sidebar action.

Thanks for the hard work and usable interface!

19 Jan 2005 | Josh Williams said...

Sick... I was just thinking two days ago... I need some way (outside Basecamp) to manage a simple to-do list. My desk is littered with Post-its, cos they're much cheaper and more accessible than a Palm, and OmniOutliner is bloated.

Killer.

19 Jan 2005 | pat said...

I am always stunned by the simplicity of the work you do. My issue though is that I would like functions of Basecamp but I do not have the cash. Are you going to open basecamp to the public? And if not, then don't you think other people will eventually create an opensource alternative?

19 Jan 2005 | Kiran Max Weber said...

Great work Jason!

However, I seem to have an issue when I try and reorder things. When I click on the "move to top" button for instance, it just blinks and doesn't actually move the item.

Incredible work, now bring on Writeboard!

19 Jan 2005 | Marshall Potter said...

I was just thinking of something similiar to this a few weeks ago. Now I can focus on school instead of writing programs that make my life easier (on second thought, the later sounds more fun).

A quick suggestion, on the shared lists, would it possible to add "slugs" to the end of the URL? Having the name of the list in the URL would be useful, just to make it a little bit more specific about what list I'm sending to people.

19 Jan 2005 | Jeremy Flint said...

Great job guys.

I recently started using a simple Word doc to keep up with to-do items. Problem was, it sat on my PC here at work, and not on my powerbook, so I had to print it out if I wanted a copy for the house.

Now i can access it anywhere, even get an RSS feed for my lists.

19 Jan 2005 | Mark said...

Cool.

One issue. I'm playing with it in IE6 and notice that the 1 item test that I put in does not keep the box checked off if I leave the application and come back.

19 Jan 2005 | Justin French said...

There's nothing I can say here that I haven't just written on my own site here, other than to say that I'm once again impressed.

19 Jan 2005 | Simon said...

So...

When will you make the lists at Basecamp use XMLHTTPRequest?

19 Jan 2005 | Ryan Mahoney said...

Hmm... there are a few JS bugs in both FF and IE. I strongly suggest using the microsoft script debugger, makes fxing JS bugs in IE much easier.

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

We're fixing some JS issues right now. Man, JS sucks.

19 Jan 2005 | Ryan Mahoney said...

In the file "lists.js", in the function "toggle_item", you should make sure that "item" has "children" before you attempt to refence them.

19 Jan 2005 | dusty said...

I've been working on pretty much the same app for the last few weeks in my spare time (using xmlhttprequest, no less). :(

kudos. it looks good.

19 Jan 2005 | Ryan Mahoney said...

JF, Javascript can be a beautiful thing, but I find that every element's existance and type needs to be verified before you can work with them. All this error handling inflates the code by as much as 5x... but - once you work through the bugs and testing it will work reliably. I guess what I'm getting at is that JS isn't buggy, it's very predictable. You're probably just spoiled by server side programming ;)

19 Jan 2005 | JD said...

Looks interesting. I have signed up! :)

Btw, why did you make signup form to ask me to enter email address twice?

JD

19 Jan 2005 | JD said...

Dusty, how would I know when you will launch your app? Do you have some kind of contact info because I am very much interested in a ToDo app which is very GMail like! :)

JD

19 Jan 2005 | Mark Wubben said...

Awesome.

Sorting doesn't really seem to work though (only tested in Firefox). Things don't appear to change, however when I edit the list the order is the way I wanted it to be!

And Jason, JavaScript does not suck ;-) It's those browsers!

19 Jan 2005 | Will Hayworth said...

Beyond awesome!

I recently started to create To-Do lists in Basecamp to manage some of my busier days, but then I'd also have to create projects around them. It got a little annoying. Now I have a separate app to manage day-to-day stuff quickly and easily. Fantastic!

Just a question: how many Ta-Da lists can you create?

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

Right now we let you have 10 active lists. If you complete a list, a slot opens up. So you can have 50 lists, but only 10 can have open items. We'll see how things go.

19 Jan 2005 | Will Hayworth said...

Ooops, ignore my last question. There are only 10 lists allowed (according to the chart).

19 Jan 2005 | Jamie said...

JD. The reason why is because people mistype their emails sometimes.

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

When someone mistypes their email there's no way to get in touch with them.

19 Jan 2005 | Wilson said...

Looks great! We'll see what Merlin and GTD faithful have to say. One thing that strikes me would be very handy is a function to move (or copy) this item to another list.

19 Jan 2005 | �lvaro said...

hey!!!

I guessed it!!

http://www.37signals.com/svn/archives/000985.php#alvaro_036156

what's my price?

:)

19 Jan 2005 | p8 said...

Very nice! I like the huge input fields.

I guess I'll have less downloads on my old php freeware TooDoo app. :).

Ordering is a bit buggy on FF mac though when you check or uncheck items. Unchecked items don't have the order buttons.

19 Jan 2005 | Sascha Ebach said...

Great way of marketing Basecamp ;)

19 Jan 2005 | Jeff Werner said...

Minor spelling mistake in the right-side box on the My Lists page (right after you log-in):

Get RSS
Be notified of changes to your any of your lists via RSS

19 Jan 2005 | JD said...

I can guess that user may mistype it. But do you really think you can solve the problem by asking them to enter it twice? I don't think so.

Be honest, tell me how many times you have actually typed email TWICE? Either you copy/paste email OR you have some kind of form filler utility which takes care of inserting the email twice for you.

So in first case where user is copying/pasting, you will have wrong email in both fields AND in later case, email will be anyways correct.

Can you change your sign up script to count how many times error 'Email address does not match' is returned? I have the feeling that the number will be very small.

And if you want to make sure that user has typed email correctly, you can have a confirmation screen where app displays email which user entered (it can also display other information depending on your app) and account is created only if user presses the confirm button.

And let's say that for your site, username is same as email address. In such scenario is makes much more sense to not ask email twice. Why, you may ask. Let's say user signs up with wrong email and then he/she can't login. As most of the sign up form send welcome mail after signing up, user will see that he has received none, so if he is smart he can figure out he typed email incorrectly OR he can use password reminder screen to verify that his account doesn't exist. So now he can sign up again, making sure that email is correct! Does it make sense?

Now for sites which have username (or login id) separate from email, it can be problem as user potentially might loose a username because of using wrong email. In this case, my argument is why in the world you don�t use email as login id? You can always have a field name �Display Name� which you can use to display a user�s identification on your site.

JD


19 Jan 2005 | npr said...

Very nice work, all! I found a bug, when you do "something & something else" it seems to delete everything after the word "something" might be a problem with the "& (ampersand)", test it out. Thanks.

19 Jan 2005 | Josh said...

Great work as usual guys, but one quick suggestion: there is no information available about a privacy policy. Seems like nowadays thats the first thing I look for when using my email address (even if its my alternate address used specifically for registering) to register for anything. At the very least I like to see some sort of quick assurance that my email address won't be used for evil purposes. Thanks!

19 Jan 2005 | George Hotelling said...

Ta-da is working perfectly - I just got an IM from a friend asking me if I'd seen Basecamp.

19 Jan 2005 | Will said...

I always type my email twice by hand, because I recognize the value and purpose of doing so as confirmation.

19 Jan 2005 | JF said...

At the very least I like to see some sort of quick assurance that my email address won't be used for evil purposes. Thanks!

On the signup page it says "We'll never share, sell, or use your email address in irresponsible ways." right above the email entry field.

19 Jan 2005 | Anibal said...

hi,
Just like p8 mentioned, I too experience random behaviour when completing items, uncompleting and reorder.
Using FF 1.0/ XP SP2
Steps to reproduce:
- Create a list with 2 or more items
- Click reorder
- check an item
- uncheck that item
- Click reorder
- Reorder position is lost and can't move items to position wanted

Hope this Helps,
Anibal

19 Jan 2005 | sarque said...

Here's a bug similar to npr's "&" bug. If your list item has a "#", then you edit that list, the list item will delete the "#" and everything after.

Great app, guys!

19 Jan 2005 | Josh said...

Hehe, thanks Jason. Be honest, you just added that in after my comment :)

19 Jan 2005 | Sid said...

Deleting tasks is a bit clunky. Am I missing something or is the only way to do it to go to the edit page and blank out the field containing the task?

Would be good to be able to edit task names in place instead of via the separate form (using some more XMLHTTPRequest no doubt).

Reordering is weird as others have noted. I think it should stay on the reorder page if you tick/untick a task. It appears to jump back to the normal list view which is a little surprising.

On the whole it's nice little app. Small, simple and no fluff - the way all things should be. Not ground breaking, but nice all the same.

19 Jan 2005 | jason said...

it is hilarious what people complain about on here.

19 Jan 2005 | Bob H. said...

it is hilarious what people complain about on here.

HEY! What's going on? The lists are entered but my stuff isn't getting completed!

19 Jan 2005 | SH said...

It is hilarious what people complain about, because I've been using the beta version of this for the past two weeks, in Firefox AND Safari AND have even tried it in IE for mac, and haven't encountered *one* problem.

Sometimes that critical eye for detail some people have is really just a log in their eye. Don, do you hear me on that?

19 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

"Excellent work! Now my wife can send me tasks that I will actually read"

Ha! Exactly what I thought when I saw this!

19 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

OK, in a matter of seconds I set it up, made a list, and showed it to my wife.

A very impressive, slick little app! Nicely done.

19 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

Oh...and off to google 'XMLHTTPrequest' and see what this is all about...

19 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

The 'reorder' widget is really nice. I need to examine that a bit more.

19 Jan 2005 | Brad Hurley said...

My first reaction was "so what," because Outlook (Windows) and Entourage or iCal (Mac) have to-do list functions, so why would anyone need something like this? But as anyone who's tried to manage tasks and projects across platforms knows, these programs don't talk to each other. I can only assign tasks via Outlook to another Outlook user, for example. Many of my clients use Lotus Notes, and some of them use Macs. So I might in fact find these ta-da lists handy.

Handier still would be if you could set deadlines and have e-mails automatically sent to you to remind you when the deadlines are approaching, but that's asking a bit much from a freebie app.

19 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

Any chance of a write up in the future talking about some of the technology behind it?

19 Jan 2005 | Rob said...

Ta-da-list is another great example of simplicity and clarity when creating web applications.

Keep up the excellent work!

-R

19 Jan 2005 | tim said...

Job well done. Any news on writeboard?

20 Jan 2005 | tim said...

Justin (for example :) posted a link to one of his public lists.

I then checked http://justin.tadalist.com/lists/public/, expecting to see all his public lists, but I got a Rails application error.

Whether this was meant to have been a feature or not, it would be neat :)

20 Jan 2005 | sloan said...

So is the idea that Basecamp includes prioritization, due dates (with alarms, or is that more of a milestone thing?), and nesting of tasks? I couldn't determine what featrues the lists themselves did differently other than the chart on the FAQ.

Interesting idea...

One little bug I found was that it will let me ADD a list item with only a space and it will show up in my list, but if I click EDIT for that list it automatically deletes the blank space entry...

Some interesting choices in how to delete entries and lists themselves... You have Edit, Reorder, Share as list commands, but you can only Delete the list from within the edit screen...

Why not allow editing of items in a list from the list screen? Couldn't you have each item in a row with a switch to edit mode initiated by a button?

Sorry for the questions. I was just wondering about the reasoning behind your design decisions... always looking to learn other opinions and considerations!

20 Jan 2005 | johnza said...

Wow. That's all I have to say. Simple, great. I have all kinds of other inputs and thoughts but frankly don't think they're worth much. Why muck it up.

20 Jan 2005 | the deer said...

am i doing something wrong. i keep trying to create a list and it automatically kicks it into the completed list pile. and then when i get the email to myself, it says i have no lists even though i tried creating 2 sample lists.

20 Jan 2005 | Will Hayworth said...

Why not create an "Everything Ta-da List" blog as a tech support resource and development weblog?

Just a little suggestion.

20 Jan 2005 | Adam said...

I get a "Live bookmark feed failed to load" error after subscribing to the RSS feed in Firefox 1.0

20 Jan 2005 | MH said...

XMLHttpRequest seems to be getting very popular lately. Anyone know what the accessibility implications are (like, say for a blind user with a screen reader)?

20 Jan 2005 | Jeff Wheeler said...

An instant hit with me! I'm definately addicted already. Getting all my schoolwork on, and a different list for different due dates! Wow!

Thanks :D.

20 Jan 2005 | Kris said...

Looks nice, but clicking on "Add another item" doesn't point me anywhere ...

Am I missing something ?

Kris.
Linux/Firefox 1.0

20 Jan 2005 | Conspi said...

Doh ! Doesn't work on Opera 7.5 ...

20 Jan 2005 | Kris said...

Oh I forgot, and I'm behind a proxy, is it possible that there's some problem related to XMLHTTPrequest and proxies ?

20 Jan 2005 | Marco said...

Nice work.

Strange, seem that Safari do not remember the password in Ta-da list... in Basecamp it remember both user and password... anyone knows why?

20 Jan 2005 | Mark Eichin said...

Sweet, and fast (but gmail has gotten us used to that kind of interface now :-)

Workflow point: I find myself going from a list, to my list, to some other list fairly often - if I can only have 10 lists, just having them all on screen directly seems to make sense (and if I can have more, the most-recently-changed 7 or 10 and "more..." would be fine.)

20 Jan 2005 | Peter Marquis-Kyle said...

Very neat and clean -- I like it!

But what happens to completed tasks? Are they kept forever? (I'd like them to just go away after a while).

20 Jan 2005 | Dan said...

Awesome little app. Love the large fields and the no-mouse entry addition. I told Firefox to load the My Lists page into the sidebar, so that when I click a list it loads in the main window. Sweet!

20 Jan 2005 | Joshua Kaufman said...

Woah! This was exactly what I needed to share my GTD lists between home and work.

Request (not sure if it's been mentioned above, sorry): I would like a way to delete completed items without deleting the entire list.

Other than that, I'm happy as a clam with this! Great work 37signals!

20 Jan 2005 | Dan said...

List items do not appear to like ampersands.

20 Jan 2005 | Scorched said...

All of the images at www.tadlist.com were blocked by my ZoneAlarm. I've poked around a bit, and am not even able to fetch the images manually via the url typed in the address bar. I've never seen this behaviour before. Does anyone have any suggestions?

20 Jan 2005 | Scorched said...

After some digging, ZoneAlarm has decided that the images on www.tadalist.com are banner ads. I'm still not entirely sure why...

20 Jan 2005 | Brian Behrend said...

Really great so far. I signed up yesterday morning and haven't experienced a single problem.

I guess your strategy is working, within 30 minutes I had signed up to use the free version of BaseCamp. One project at a time is plenty for me right now, but I imagine once I'm busy enough to need one of the pay versions I'll be happy to fork over the cash.

20 Jan 2005 | .sara said...

to npr and sarque (and everyone else): you need to escape/encode/whatever the special characters. I, too, have an ampersand in one of my list items and everything after it disappeared before I added the amp;

I like that I can use bits of HTML in the list items.

This is a very nifty little app, guys. Great work. (I wonder: will you have a page -- at some point -- that lists publicly available/viewable lists? Or recently updated? Okay, I'm being quiet, now. (: )

20 Jan 2005 | .sara said...

(sigh) apologies. public link for aforementioned list-with-ampersand.

20 Jan 2005 | Bob said...

Ampersands, etc. seem to work for me, but if it's causing problems you might look at URIEncode() instead of escape(); they each escape different characters:

http://xkr.us/articles/javascript/encode-compare/

20 Jan 2005 | Bob said...

sorry, that's "encodeURI()"...

20 Jan 2005 | Mark Payne said...

Man, I was just starting to developing something exactly like this. Looks like that time has been freed up! I'm excited to use it, nevertheless.

21 Jan 2005 | Billy said...

I would like for the 'Remember me for 2 weeks' text on the login screen to be a proper label for the checkbox. I know it's a bit picky, but I get frustrated when I have to find the checkbox.

21 Jan 2005 | new? said...

seems pretty similar to 43Things

21 Jan 2005 | Kevin said...

I really, really like the app. The simplicity and streamlined interface are total winners, but the program does not work in Opera 7.5. This is annoying because Opera is my default browser and I only go to Firefox when someone has programmed a page that does not work with Opera. Not sure if this is Opera's shoddy JS support, but its pretty disappointing.

21 Jan 2005 | JF said...

Yup, no Opera support for Javascript reasons. If someone wants to get the javascript working on Opera then we'd be glad to offer Opera support.

21 Jan 2005 | Darrel said...

Anyone have any suggested readdings on XMLHTTPRequest? I'm quite intrigued by it now...

21 Jan 2005 | Pedro - Brazil said...

Excelent job guys. I'm amazed.

Just a small note: I'm from Brazil and tada does not support some characters from here like � or �. If possible try an international character encoding set, or anything like this,

Thanks,
Pedro

21 Jan 2005 | huphtur said...

Ta-Da could use some better markup, which would improve the accessibility.
Accessible HTML/XHTML Forms

21 Jan 2005 | Jeremy Flint said...

Getting an error when I try to access my list.

Application Error (Apache)

Any ideas?

21 Jan 2005 | Jay said...

I'm getting the same error as Jeremy (XP Home/Firefox 1.0).

21 Jan 2005 | Scorched said...

Darrel, I have been using the excellent Sarissa cross platform library for XMLHttp. It's proven to be fairly strighforward, and unites the slightly different version of the implementation across the various browser implementations.

21 Jan 2005 | Jay said...

FWIW - it's coming up for me now.

21 Jan 2005 | Riz said...

Hi, just a quick comment about the user login screen that appears when you enter xxx.tadalist.com. Today I visited the site and found that my auto login failed to work for some reason, no problem I'd just have to log back in. Problem was that when registering I had decided that as I wasn't sure what I was signing up for or how useful it would be to me that I would use a bespoke password that I don't use anywhere else (be honest we all use similar passwords for most stuff even though it's wrong). Anyway to cut a long story short i'd forgotten what password I used and went looking for a forgotten password link on the ta da list site - I couldn't find one. Went to my log in screen at xxx.tadalist.com, still couldn't find one. Only after I had put in my wrong password was I prompted to be sent a mail containing my password. Is this defensive design gone too far in that you have to make a mistake before you can find relevant information? Perhaps another link on the site somewhere might be a good idea. Don't know, what you think? (P.S If I'm thick and have missed it then feel free to flame me)

21 Jan 2005 | Riz said...

Oh and I nearly forgot to say - this service is going to be really useful to me. My to do list right infront of me everytime I start up my browser. It's great!!!

22 Jan 2005 | Jay said...

I feel like such a pest. Now I get a blank screen. Came up at work (XP Pro/FF 1.0) but not at home (XP Home/FF 1.0).

23 Jan 2005 | joey said...

that's just sad...

24 Jan 2005 | Regnard Kreisler Raquedan said...

Sweet!

I just hope that there's a more explicit way of trashing completed tasks. :)

24 Jan 2005 | Ra�l said...

Nice... i like it so much... ta-das lists, its really a great idea...

24 Jan 2005 | Mike said...

Did you guys use the Sample Rails application to build the base of Ta-da?

It seems very similar to the sample app over at http://manuals.rubyonrails.com/read/chapter/36

Looks very nice

01 Feb 2005 | Derek said...

Seems to work fine with Netscape 7.2, the bonus will be if it works on my Treo browser (that would rock).

The UI for done is confusing, it just sits there below checked off; and when I edit the list, it doesn't show up as an item I can delete.

I'll also second the request for exploding all the lists on the front page (right now I only have one anyways, but maybe tomorrow I'll add another one.)

02 Feb 2005 | Matt said...

I know you guys are committed to the whole cross-platform thing, but given that you're making such beautiful (and useful) stuff like this, I think it would be a pity if none of you are thinking about making a Dashboard utility to meld TaDa and Apple's new webwidgets. Dashboard + Basecamp/TaDa would be amazing.

02 Feb 2005 | bobk said...

Just a small thing - why not make the labels for each to-do item an actual <label> tag? It's what the <label> tag is made for, and it would be nice to just click the description and have it get checked (and unchecked).

16 Feb 2005 | Stephane Lee said...

When will it be possible to move items from a list to another ?
That's an absolute must for GTD.

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