An Update on Todoist PowerApp and Developer Challenge

New update 10/24/16

Nearly two years ago, we as a team decided to put a significant amount of time and resources into an ambitious project called PowerApp ­– a platform that would allow anyone to easily build 3rd-party integrations with Todoist and make them available to our users.

If you’ve been following Todoist, you may already know that the initial launch in June of 2015 was a huge letdown to say the least. We underestimated the technical challenges of building a platform like PowerApp that needs to interface with both Todoist and an infinite number of other apps, each with its own quirks and subtleties that we have no way of controlling. Since that first release, we’ve gone back to the drawing board several times to address the technical challenges of this project.

However, in the time since we first started working on PowerApp, we’ve seen integration-building services like IFTTT and Zapier grow by leaps and bounds. The constantly growing number of integrations available, along with new capabilities like Zapier’s Multi-Step Workflows, allow for a near infinite number of use cases. They let users with zero technical knowledge build their own integrations to fit their unique workflows. In most cases, this goes beyond what we expected PowerApp to offer.

In light of the availability of integration services like these and the amount of time and resources it would take to build an integration platform we could be truly proud of, we as a team have decided to not move forward with relaunching PowerApp right now. Instead, we will be refocusing all our efforts on making Todoist itself an even better tool for individuals and teams who want to get organized and accomplish more.

We realize that there will be many of you who will be disappointed with our decision. We’re deeply sorry that we were unable to deliver on the promises we made. As a team we failed to communicate and adequately test. As a company we failed to live up to the standard you as users rightfully expect from us.

I know it’s a cliché, but these mistakes have been a tremendous learning experience for Doist as a growing remote team, and especially for myself as a leader. It drove home for us the fact that millions of people rely on our products every day. Releasing half-baked, buggy products is not an option. We must uphold the highest standards in everything we do. That often means letting go of some plans to make more room for others. Deciding to not move forward with PowerApp is one of those times. 

Along with PowerApp, we launched three of our own highly-requested integrations – Evernote, Github, and Google Calendar – which we’ve since stopped supporting. Below are some of the most popular IFTTT and Zapier integrations with these apps to replace what PowerApp could have provided.  While they don’t cover each and every use case that someone might want, we think that they do an excellent job of covering the majority of our users’ needs.

One thing they do not achieve, however, is a true 2-way sync with Google Calendar. That’s why we’re committed to building a custom integration with Google Calendar that will truly allow users to manage their tasks in their calendars. This will be a big undertaking and one we want to make sure we get right before we release it. We don’t have a firm release date yet, but we hope to make it available to users early next year.

We also encourage and promote 3rd-party integrations from other developers. If you’re interested in building your own integration with Todoist, please reach out to support@todoist.com any time. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Thanks so much for your patience and support. It means the world to us.

Best Regards,

Amir and the Todoist Team


Popular IFTTT & Zapier Integrations: 

IFTTT:

Zapier:


Original Update 6/12/15

On June 4th, we announced Todoist PowerApp, part of our new Developer Platform which includes the 6th version of our API and a handful of other robust tools for developers who are interested in building apps onto and into the Todoist ecosystem. Unfortunately, this launch was a let-down to not only the developers, but also to our entire community.

Normally when we launch a new product or software update, we follow a series of pre-established best practices that include an extensive testing phase both by the Todoist team and various groups of external beta testers. Last week, a series of events and inadequate coordination resulted in a serious lack of testing prior to the release.

The result was chaotic and awful for our users and for the developers who tried to build on top of our platform and sign up for our Developer Challenge. And for that we are deeply sorry.

We can and must do better than this.

Given the importance of this platform and the many months of very hard work our engineers have put into developing it, we are hugely disappointed in releasing a product that was not ready to be used publicly. This release has been our worst in many aspects and there are many actions that we will take to ameliorate this situation.

One of the very few positive results of this disappointing release is learning where we can improve and taking steps to ensure something like this never happens again. We are already implementing new ways to coordinate and communicate better among our various teams when launching a new product.

Something like this will not happen again, and we will work very hard to make sure your trust in our team and product is fully restored.

Going forward, here’s our roadmap with respect to our PowerApp integrations and our Developer Challenge:

  1. Our Developer Challenge will be postponed while we fix the errors in the platform. Developers who have already signed up and/or submitted their ideas will all be given a lifetime Todoist Premium account.
  2. We will go back to the drawing board to figure out what is causing so many problems in the PowerApp integrations with Evernote, Google Calendar and GitHub. We are considering rewriting parts of the integrations completely from scratch.
  3. Our back-end team will be dedicated to fixing integrations with the three platforms that we announced on the 4th: Evernote, Google Calendar and GitHub. We will make them rock solid and problem free.
  4. We will work on the general framework of the Developer Platform and PowerApp and we will share it with selected developers and partners to make sure the implementations are totally bulletproof. This will include lots of testing and lots of programmatic tests.
  5. Only then, when we feel sufficiently confident with the platform repairs, will we re-open the Developer Challenge and invite developers to participate. And only then will we communicate this release and these integrations massively with the rest of our community.

We will put all of our efforts toward exceeding your expectations once PowerApp and our new integrations are ready to be fully released. Many, many of you have been eagerly awaiting these integrations for a long time and our only aspiration is to make sure they are properly executed so that you can get back to getting more done, with less effort in less time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with me here in the comments section, or via Twitter (@amix3k). We look forward to building your trust in our apps and platforms and to providing you with an amazing, productive Todoist experience.

Sincerely,
Amir

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