This is part two of my quest to make a task management framework that is simple and extensible. In part one I included a list of high-level requirements. I also noted that I plan on implementing the framework in two reference applications, written in two languages, to help me self-evaluate the framework I've created.

This update focuses on the first draft of the serialization format, which is effectively the heart of the framework.

Surprise, JSON

JSON is an easy choice for serialization because it is both human-readable and a familiar way to represent data types and objects. I didn't decide upon it without exploring other options, though, such as MessagePack, YAML, and even CSV:

  • MessagePack loses because it is less friendly to manipulate by hand. It does, however, have the advantage of being more compact than JSON.
  • YAML lies on the other side of the coin: while it is extremely easy to edit by hand, it is too far abstracted from the underlying data types for my tastes.
  • CSV falls apart in the object models that I've decided upon for Tasks and Projects.

The TilDone object

This is the top-level object that encapsulates all Project and Task objects. I am tentatively calling this framework "TilDone."

{
    "tildone": "000001",
    "projects": [],
    "tasks": []
}
  • tildone is a required string specifying the serialization format version
  • projects is an optional array of Project objects
  • tasks is an optional array of standalone Task objects

Tasks can be associated with a specific project or stand on their own.

The Project object

Projects can contain zero or more Task objects, plus some meta-data.

{
    "id": "1e0b2be8-f70f-11e2-b3fe-7e7c4ab78cdb",
    "description": "To-Do list framework",
    "due": 1379421511,
    "notes": [
        "This is gonna be fun",
        "Insert some epiphany"
    ],
    "tasks": []
}
  • id is an auto-generated UUID for this project
  • description is a required string description of the project
  • due is an optional integer UNIX epoch time specify when this project should be completed
  • notes is an optional array of strings for any notes related to this project
  • tasks is an optional array of Task objects for this project

The Task object

A task specifies a single to-do or item to be completed.

{
    "id": "b11a4e34-f712-11e2-85e0-bcc58b41ba03",
    "description": "Decide on a serialization format",
    "complete": true,
    "due": 1374971728,
    "notes": []
}
  • id is an auto-generated UUID for this task
  • description is a required string description of the task
  • complete is an optional boolean specifying whether this task is complete
  • due is an optional integer UNIX epoch time specify when this task should be completed
  • notes is an optional array of strings for any notes related to this task

This lays the groundwork for writing implementation apps. Before writing code, I'd like to hash out the command-line workflow for managing projects and tasks. Part 3 of this series will likely focus on the desired workflow and any revelations I've had since today.

This written work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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