GTO 3.2.8 - Completed Dates And Beta Testing

Note: The first full sync after installing this update might be slower than usual. Sync speed should improve after the first sync.

The latest version of GTO fixes and improves many different aspects of the app, and adds a new optional field to the task Edit screen - Completed Date. Using a task's completed date can be helpful if you need to track the order in which tasks were finished. This field is important if you keep track of tasks after they're completed, but since not everyone does this, the Completed Date field is hidden by default. To enable it, visit the GTO Menu > Settings > Tasks > Show Completed Date. After enabling, view a task's Edit screen to see the Completed Date field directly below the Due Date field. Lists can also be sorted by Completed Date now, and this sort option is available regardless of whether the field itself is being shown or hidden.

This version also changes how often tasks are downloaded into GTO from the Google servers. Previously, tasks would only be downloaded during a full sync action (either scheduled in the background, or through Menu > Sync All). The full syncs haven't been changed, so you can still use them to sync all your lists. But in addition, every time you make a change in GTO, the task will be sent to the server, and then GTO will check for any recent changes that need to be downloaded. This isn't a full sync since it only looks at the current list, but it will help to ensure that GTO always has the freshest data for the list that you're currently using. The new method of syncing will occur by default, but it can be disabled through the GTO Menu > Settings > Server Sync > Advanced > disable Send Changes Instantly. Because of this change, the first full sync after installing this version will take longer than normal as it sets up the new syncing behavior, but then every sync should be as fast or faster than in previous versions.

Moving tasks has been sped up significantly in this version. Moving a task with large numbers of subtasks should now occur instantaneously if the move occurs within the same list. Moving tasks to a different list has also been improved.

If you regularly search for tasks (Menu > Search), you may have noticed that the selected task will only be highlighted on the list if its parent tasks are expanded. This has been fixed in the latest version, so selecting a task through search (or through clicking a reminder notification) will cause the task's parents to expand automatically, allowing the task to be highlighted in the list.

GTO Beta Testing
GTO is constantly being improved and updated with new features, and I'm looking forward to continuing with even more improvements in the future. I try to test every change as much as I can, but testing each new update on all the different devices and versions of Android is virtually impossible for a one-person developer. I've done small-scale beta testing in the past, but it was usually limited to less than a dozen testers for each update.

So I've decided to introduce an ongoing GTO Beta program for any brave users who want to try out the newest features and improvements before they're released in the monthly stable update. Google made several changes recently which allows Beta versions to be managed through the Play Store, and I'll be taking advantage of this. Beta testers will still receive the monthly updates along with everyone else, and in addition they'll also receive Beta updates more regularly, containing new features that are still in the process of being tested out.

The program is opt-in only, so if you don't do anything you'll continue receiving the stable monthly updates as soon as they're released for all users, just like in the past. But if you'd like to volunteer as a GTO Beta tester, send an email to beta@tinjasoft.com and mention that you want to opt-in or volunteer for GTO Beta. I'll be sending out more information soon on how to get fully set up. Joining the Beta program is entirely optional and voluntary, and you're free to leave at any time. Thanks, and I look forward to sending out the first Beta update soon!


As always, if you have any problems with the latest version of GTO, email me at tinjasoft@tinjasoft.com.

Thanks for reading,
-- John


3.2.8 Release Notes:
Note: The first full sync after installing this update might be slower than usual. Sync speed should improve after the first sync.
NEW - View and change a task's Completed Date. (Enable in Settings > Tasks > Show Completed Date)
NEW - Sort by Completed Date.
FIXED - 'Tomorrow' and '1 Week' buttons on non-calendar date picker dialog.
FIXED - Bug causing tasks to lose their color after server sync.
FIXED - Issue causing tasks to occasionally show a blank due date on the main list screen.
FIXED - Searching for tasks using international/non-Latin characters.
FIXED - Tasks being created in or moved to 'All Lists'.
FIXED - Issues with refreshing scrollable widgets on some homescreens.
FIXED - Daily repeating tasks now rollover properly.
FIXED - Task color appearing as transparent in color dialog.
FIXED - Tasks are now highlighted properly in the main list after searching or opening a reminder notification.
IMPROVED - Increased speed when moving large numbers of tasks at once.
IMPROVED - Increased speed when moving tasks to other lists.
IMPROVED - Widget setting 'Show/Hide Subtasks' now has option to only show the first subtask of each parent task.
IMPROVED - Changes made outside of GTO are synced much more often than before.
IMPROVED - Calendar push speed is increased.

GTO 3.2.7 - Task Colors

Update 4-15: The previous update broke the Calendar Push feature for many users. I've released a bug-fix update to the Play Store, which should be available for download around 11 am CST. This is a partial fix for Calendar Push - the feature will work, but it won't be much faster than the older versions before last week. I'm working on getting the speed back to where it was this weekend when it worked successfully for some users, but I expect it will take several days to improve the speed. I'm sorry for this inconvenience, but I'll be fixing it as soon as possible.


The latest update adds one of the most-requested features for GTO, task colors. Since the GMail Tasks gadget doesn't have any way of coloring tasks or assigning priorities, this is a GTO-only extra feature, similar to repeats and reminders.

Task color can be changed on the new task dialog, on the long-press task menu, or in the task edit screen. The color wheel at the top allows you to customize any color, but the seven preset colors below offer a nice variety which should cover most uses. To remove a color from a task, select the first preset button, which doesn't have a color.

Lists can also be sorted by color, allowing you to use colors to set task priorities. In the current version, the color sort matches the order of the color presets, which follows the color wheel from yellow to purple, but jumps around a bit for the blue and green hues. This offers the quickest performance when sorting, but it is a little counterintuitive so I'm looking into a better way of sorting colors for future versions. For now, the colors will be sorted yellow - blue for Color Asc, and blue - yellow for Color Desc.

Another addition to the sort order dialog is the option to have "Subtasks stay with parent". This option is available on the multi-sort screen. In previous versions, sorting by anything other than Custom Order would cause subtasks and parent tasks to all appear at the top level, intermixed based on the sort criteria. Now, however, you can sort by any criteria and still keep subtasks in their proper place, under their parent task. Subtasks will be sorted with their "siblings" (other tasks under the same parent), but not mixed in with their parent tasks. Obviously, this option doesn't have any effect when sorting by Custom Order since subtasks always stay with their parents in that order.

I made quite a few improvements to the Calendar Push code, which should speed up syncs if you use the Calendar Push feature, and make the calendar push more reliable. These changes also shrunk the size of the app by around 20%, which is good news even if you don't use this feature. Additionally, you can choose which lists to exclude, under the GTO Menu > Settings > Server Sync > Calendar Push > Lists to Push. By default, every list is included when you turn on Calendar Push, but this option allows you to only push tasks from some of your lists.

The widget code got quite an overhaul as well, so widgets should be more reliable and faster to refresh. You'll probably notice a new widget button for syncing. This allows you to perform the Sync All action without opening up GTO and the menu. While the sync is taking place, the widget sync button will be disabled and replaced by a clock icon. As soon as any full sync finished, even automatic background syncs, the widget will refresh itself with the latest data.

This year I've moved to a monthly update schedule for GTO. Major versions, which add new features, are targeted for release in the second week of each month, but might be pushed back if necessary to ensure a stable update. Minor updates, which fix serious bugs, are released whenever needed, and usually don't include any new features. This release schedule will help me ensure that each new version is stable and complete, improving the quality of GTO.

Thanks for reading,
-- John

Debut of GTO Help Page

There's a new place to go for answers to GTO questions - the new GTO Help page. You'll find information there on every aspect of GTO, and solutions for some of the most common problems. I've moved most of the GTO-related information from this blog to the help page so it will be the main repository for GTO documentation.

I'll be adding links in GTO to the help page in the near future. I decided against creating an in-app help system so that I can easily update the information in between app updates. You'll be able to quickly jump from GTO to the corresponding help page when you have questions or need more explanation of something.

Writing the help pages took all my time for the past couple weeks, but I'll be working on the next GTO update again in a couple days. Fortunately, writing Java and XML is a lot easier (and faster) for me than writing English.

This week, Google replaced the Android Market with the Google Play Store. If you don't already have the Play Store app on your Android device, you can expect it to arrive there soon. You can still find GTO and GTO Lite there, and my updates will be available on the Play Store, just like on the Market. In fact, not much has changed other than the name and logo. Don't ask me why they switched the name, I thought the name Market was just fine. But it's still the same place, and still one of the the best ways to find Android apps, regardless of the name.

GTO 3.1.19

This week's update adds multi-level sorting to the GTO widget, and a few bug fixes and performance improvements. I upgraded the syncing system again to use the most recent Tasks API, and it's looking to be quite a bit more stable than before. These changes also mean that Android will have to ask again for permission to manage your tasks through GTO, but this should only happen once per account. I've also fixed the task notes in the main list, so new lines will now properly show up when you select and highlight a task.

If you've recently enabled 2-step verification on your Google account, and GTO seems to be asking for your password constantly, you might need to visit the Google support page and follow the steps outlined there.
It's also worth noting here that GTO never has access to your password. If you're syncing GTO and a password window appears, that's coming from the Android OS. The Android system handles authentication for your Google accounts, and creates network sessions for apps like GTO. So if GTO requests a session but Android can't properly authenticate your account, it might ask you to enter your password again. A more technical explanation of Android's authentication process can be found at the Android Developer site.