Web apps can be confusing, but with so many of them out there, there’s bound to either be one that’ll fit your needs, or a way to make your favorite ones work better. Last week, we asked for your questions about web apps, and we’ve gotten two great questions so far.
Our reader Melissa asked if we knew of a “to-do list app that offers a nice clean interface, is fast and easy to use, allows for shared tasks, and has an iPhone app that syncs.” She’s already found Flow to be nice but pricey, Wunderlist to be a lot slower in entering tasks and syncing, and Todoist to be great but has no task sharing.
Then, our reader Jussie finds YouTube to be a bit messy for managing video channel subscriptions, and wanted a nicer web app to manage video subscriptions.
Keep reading after the break for our ideas for each of these problems!
Better Task Sharing
If there’s one category of apps that’s been well covered in the world of web apps, it’s task management apps. There’s more to-do list apps than anyone could keep up with, and many of them are popular enough that they’ve become household names. Unfortunately, they tend to either be aimed at managing your own tasks privately, or are designed for collaboration but are priced for businesses. If you’re an individual wanting a great way to manage tasks and collaborate with others, the choices get a lot slimmer.
There’s still some great options out there if you’re not looking to spend a fortune. Here’s some of the best to-do apps that include sharing options and have great iPhone apps:
Remember the Milk is one of the original online to-do list apps, and it’s still one of the best. It gives you a great way to manage – and share – tasks online and from its high quality mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and more. It has a clean interface, and for the most part is very focused just on your tasks. It’s not as fancy as Flow, but it can definitely get the job done. Best of all, it’s free, or just $25/year for a pro account.
Doit.im is another to-do list app that’s been around for quite a long time, and it works pretty nicely on the web and in its mobile and Mac apps. Its got a clean interface focused on tasks, offers sharing, and is either free or just $2/month. It’s built around GTD, with tags, scheduling, reviewing, and more. Its only fault is that it feels a bit like a knock-off of Things and Flow, with parts of Remember the Milk’s design style thrown in. Then again, how unique can you really make a to-do list app?
Asana is one of the newest to-do list apps aimed at helping people work together, and it’s free for teams with less than 30 people. Melissa mentioned that it’s too cluttered, which is definitely correct if you’re just mostly looking for a personal to-do list app that can let you share the occasional task. But I thought I’d go ahead and include it for other readers that might find it useful for team collaboration. It’s built around collaboration, and is a robust option many companies are already using.
One of the newest affordable options for personal task management and collaboration is from one of the biggest names in team collaboration: Basecamp. 37signals’ new Basecamp Personal gives you one project and up to 5 extra collaborators for a one-time fee of $25. That’s way cheaper over time than other per-month premium options, especially if you just need to work on one project and don’t need tons of collaborators. You can collaborate on to-dos, write notes, and have conversations, all from an online interface or via email. It has a great mobile web app, or you can use 3rd party apps on your smartphone. Basecamp’s what we use at AppStorm to collaborate, and I use it personally for my own tasks. It’s great stuff.
YouTube Subscriptions, Without the Mess
We absolutely do agree: YouTube has gotten quite a bit busier over the years. The recent redesigns have helped a bit, but it’s not quite enough. The good thing is, YouTube videos can be played in other apps, not just in YouTube.com. There’s a ton of apps out there now that can clean up individual YouTube video pages and make them much nicer to view, such as Clea.nr YouTube and quietube. With these tools (which you can use online directly or with their extensions/bookmarklets), you can watch individual YouTube videos without any clutter.
But that only helps you when you want to watch an individual video. What about subscriptions? Turns out, Google already has a solution of its own: Google Reader. Google Reader is one of the best ways to get updates from your favorite sites from their RSS feeds. Just copy the RSS feed from your favorite site (such as ours: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/webappstorm), and paste it into the Subscribe box in Google Reader, and you’ll get the latest articles delivered to your Reader account automatically.
You can subscribe to YouTube with Google Reader in just the same way. If you already have some YouTube Channels you’ve subscribed to, you can add your YouTube subscriptions to Google Reader by entering the following in the Subscribe box, replacing youraccount with the name of your YouTube account:
You’ll now have all of your YouTube subscriptions automatically in your Google Reader account, where you can see them online in a cleaner interface that’s focused on just the stuff you’re subscribed to. You can then subscribe to your Google Reader account in other native apps (such as Reeder on your Mac or iOS device, or NextGen Reader on Windows 8), or you can even customize Google Reader with browser extensions such as Pure Reader to make it look even nicer. Even just in the default Google Reader, though, your YouTube subscriptions will look nice.
Another option is that you could use Reader to subscribe directly to YouTube Channels without having to manage them in YouTube at all. Just enter the feed below, substituting channelname with the name of the Channel you want:
There’s quite a bit more you can do with this too, if you want. Check out the YouTube Data API page for more RSS feeds you can create from YouTube to get new videos automatically, or check out the RSS feeds that the Google Operating System blog has dug up. Also, if Google Reader doesn’t suit your fancy, try out other RSS readers such as NewsBlur or (for the more geeky) Fever.
Now, What About Your Questions?
Two simple questions turned into quite an interesting little study on ways to make your web experience (with tasks and videos) cleaner and quicker. Not bad. But we bet many of you have more questions about web apps that you’d love to have answered. Just fill out the form below, and we’ll answer your questions in next week’s edition of Ask the Editor!