Let’s be honest, there has been a flurry of activity in the task manager/list space over the last couple years. For better or worse, there seems to be an endless stream of such apps making their way to the market. Some are very complicated and almost do too much, while others are incredibly simple and cover just the basics.
Hub List is a very new piece of software that has just made an entry into this cramped space, falling very much into the latter category of a super-simple task manager. A “super early adopter beta” version has been released recently.
Beta versions—let alone “super early adopter” beta versions—can be pretty buggy, but I’ve been playing around with the software for a few days, so read on to get my first take!
The first thing that you will notice is that it is very basic. As I’m assuming was planned, it is reminiscent of jotting down a to do list in a paper notebook. Overall, the design has a nice feel to it.
There aren’t too many buttons and spaces to convolute the experience, and it is very clear how Hub List works from the time you first open it. It is designed in such a way that it feels at home with other Mac software.
Layout & Functionality
The layout is remarkably simple. It all happens on one screen with a couple buttons. That is it. The left hand side is where you can organize your task lists. Lists can be organized into folders, and folders can be organized within sub folders.
Folders and task lists can be dragged around to organize them differently. This is a very useful feature to keep you organized and feels like a natural interaction with the application.
One minor gripe I have is that it appears that the only way to create new task lists or folders is by using control-click (or right-click) to bring up a menu. Personally, I’m a control-click kind of person so it doesn’t bother me too much, but a couple of simple “add task” and “add folder” buttons would be a welcome addition for the majority of users.
The right side of the application is where the task lists actually display. As I mentioned earlier, it looks like the lists are displayed on a piece of notebook paper. Double-clicking on a new line will let you add a task, and you can also press the enter key to accomplish this. Double clicking on an existing task will edit it.
The tasks show up with a check box next to them. If a task is completed (checked) it will dim slightly. You can also uncheck tasks as needed as well. It is possible to delete tasks (or lists or folders) by either using a control-click option, the delete key on your keyboard, or using the Hub List menu.
Task order is also easily adjustable by dragging them into the order you would like. If you drag and drop one task on another you can create a sub-task—a nice little touch to help organize a bit better. It is also possible to drag and drop tasks to other lists in your navigation panel. Again, another nice touch that can help you make some quick adjustments.
There are two views for displaying task lists. They can be toggled with two corresponding buttons at the top of the application. The default is the “sheet of paper” view and the other is more of a “notecard” type view. Arrows on either side of the card will allow you to flip between tasks.
It does seem that there is quite a bit of empty space in this notecard view, and I expect that the developers will add more functionality to this before the final version ships.
This is a minimalist task manager (at least it is right now). Hub List is very simple and basic and, depending on your school of thought when it comes to task management, this could be a perfect tool. It really strips away all the frills.
This is just a flat out desktop application at this point, something that will be an immediate interest-killer for many readers. I know a lot of task managers do work in the cloud, and many also have companion iPhone or iPad applications as well. Hub List is also a single person task management system—there are no collaborative features available at this point.
Hub List is still in “super early adopter beta” phase so I’m sure that plenty more tuning and adjusting will be done in the coming months. Truthfully, I haven’t come across any “bugs” as such when using it, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’d add a great deal more functionality. If the goal is to create a super-basic, easy to use Mac task editor, they have achieved this goal pretty well. For the most part it has all of the core features a task manager should have, and interactions with the application seem very natural.
The choice made for an application of this type relies heavily on your task management methodology. If you’re exploring applications in this area, I’d say you should keep your eye on Hub List. Native mobile editions are coming for iPhone and Android by year-end (supposedly), so we’ll soon see how their syncing system works.
Don’t let the beta version scare you away from taking it for a spin either! From what I’ve experienced it runs quite smoothly, and I look forward to seeing the final product.