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Re: planner or org or ...


From: Tim X
Subject: Re: planner or org or ...
Date: Sat, 26 May 2007 19:14:41 +1000
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

"Rustom Mody" <address@hidden> writes:

> Not intended to be a troll... but I am one of those types who cannot make a
> decision when theres too much to choose from.
>
> So my question is should whats pros and cons of planner and org modes?
>

They both have their pros and cons IMO. I have been using planner mode for
about 12 months and find it really convenient for tracking information related
to various projects and having a daily page showing scheduled tasks, notes on
what occured that day and keepiing a time log of time spent on each task etc.
Its ability to keep embedded links to items relating to a project, such as
e-mails, contact info stored in BBDB, relevant web sites etc, is very
convenient. The day pages are a good way of keeping a daily record/diary of
events. You can have these linked to project pages as well. So, if you want a
project overview, you look at the project page. In my case, I'm using the time
reportinig summary, so I can see how much time has been spent on the project in
total and the tasks that breaks down to. All the notes and tasks associated
with the project are all there as well.

If I want to see what I did on a particular day, I can view the day page, which
has a breakdown of the time I spent on each task, what diary appointments I
had, any notes or summary of activity I've added and what tasks were completed
that day. 

Critics of planner mode tend to feel its too complicated and can be too fragile
because everything is kept in different files and changes made outside of
planner mode can screw up all the links. While I find a certain amount of truth
in that, I find the power and convenience it gives you is worth the complexity
and as long as you do things through the provided functions, it seems quite
stable. 

There are a lot of advanced parts to planner mode which I have either not
needed or just not liked, so I don't use them. 

I've used org mode for organising thoughts on a particular project and keeping
notes etc. I'm not using the full power of Org mode, but do find it convenient
for planning and organising thoughts. I like the fact that you can have .org
files anywhere, where planner requires all the files to be in one directory
(though I think there is some level of customization available in this
respect). 

> I also need a something to record a diary.  Some earlier postings on this list
> recommended records-mode http://sourceforge.net/projects/records but it seems
> to be broken
>
> $ make
> Makefile:370: warning: overriding commands for target `clean-lisp'
> Makefile:367: warning: ignoring old commands for target `clean-lisp'
> make: *** No rule to make target `recordsadmin.in', needed by `recordsadmin'. 
> Stop.
>

>From memory, isn't there some setup script your supposed to run before trying
to build the software? Did you do that?

I stopped usinig records mode once I started using planner. There were some
aspects of records mode I liked, but other things were a pain. I completely
lost my TODO list on several occasions, which was a real pain. I suspect it was
because of something I did incorrectly, but I think good software should
actually protect the stupid from themselves - if I was doing something stupid,
it should make it harder for me to lose important data or at least warn me I
ran that risk.

I guess the best thing to do is try them both out. Try to avoid heavy
customization until after you have been using the system for a while
(particularly relevant for planner mode). I found it took me a couple of goes
before I got my setup correct. In the end, I found that having an OfficeGeneral
project, TaskPool, and a project file for each of the projects I'm working on
was the best setup for me. Put tasks in the project files and only schedule
them when you are ready to start working on them rather than creating lots of
tasks and scheduling all of them. 

One thing which provides additional support for org mode is that it is being
bundled with emacs 22. This means it is more likely going to be supported and
you don't need to install additional packages to use it. This does not imply
that planner mode is not going to be supported - I think it has a big enough
user community for it to continue for some time, but you do have to install
additional software to use it. I also find muse mode very useful and planner
mode is based on muse mode. Using both, its very easy to generate web pages of
your day or project pages and while I've not done it, you can probably use
other muse publishing modes to generate latex, ps, pdf, texinfo and other
formats.  

HTH

Tim




-- 
tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au


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