Creating Links in the Body of a Note in Things

July 5th, 2010  |  Published in mac and iphone, ruby  |  1 Comment

The whole “panopticon won’t be able to create a link in the notes of a Things todo” thing really bugged me. This morning over coffee I found an AppleScript by Moszi that creates links to mail messages in a Things note, and that taught me that Things uses a bbcode-style markup convention to create links in todos, like this:

[url=]Wikipedia on BBCode[/url]

So now panopticon can make links to URLs and directly to e-mail messages in when the todo-creating function is fed a link:

I had briefly switched to using TaskPaper to store my panopticon todos, because it provides a live link to Web URLs in the desktop version. That was still only a 50 percent solution, because there was no linking to messages, and because Taskpaper on iPhone and iPad treat URLs like any other text: No live links.

With live links working in Things, I’m at about 95 percent of what I’d like: Links to messages don’t work in the iPhone and iPad versions of Things, and I’m still not sure how to handle Instapaper items. For the moment, the Instapaper feed provides a link to the original source, not the Instapaperized item. For Instapaper items, I just create a link to the item as fed through the Instapaper Mobilizer service on the assumption that if I saved it in Instapaper to begin with, it must be amenable to reformatting.

The other thing that came out of all this poking around for live links was a discovery that I like TaskPaper a lot, but like Things better. With a little scripting, TaskPaper can accomplish an awful lot, but very little that Things doesn’t “just do” without the need to shoehorn stuff into TaskPaper’s plain-text conventions. I also ran into some odd issues with TaskPaper’s syncing. It uses the SimpleText service, and I had some problems with a complex list that suggested TaskPaper’s move to Dropbox as its syncing engine is probably a pretty good idea.

At the same time, TaskPaper is a really, really nice way to manage simple shopping lists, because you don’t have to count on someone else in the household having a copy of it when you can quickly print the list. I also like having TaskPaper around for quick lists that I don’t want to turn into full todos. For instance, it’s a nice way to identify a bunch of requirements in list format and tick them off as they’re met during the early draft stage of a project.


  1. Things: Add NetNewsWire Headline says:

    March 14th, 2011 at 5:30 pm (#)

    […] script (which is based on this one by Mike Hall) creates a new To Do in Things based on the currently selected headline, gives it a […]

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