News, plans and how to get organized using beorg
Staying organized in 2022
Happy New Year everyone 🥳! It’s half way through January and one of my 2022 resolutions to connect more with beorg users. In this newsletter I’m going to share my plans for improving beorg, tips on using the app and better explain changes in recent updates.
The aim is to make this a monthly newsletter. I’ll post when it is released on Twitter - or you can subscribe to get it delivered as an email as soon as it’s released.
First a little about me
When you download an app you often know very little about whose behind it. Is it a continent spanning megacorporation 🌏? A team based in a European capital 🌆? Or a single indie developer 👋?
With beorg it is very much the latter category. I’m an indie developer and freelancer. Most of my income comes from apps I work on for third parties. The part of my work however I like the most on is developing my own apps. As a husband and father of two pre-teen children I do my best to keep ‘work’ to within working hours - so I plan my day carefully to make sure I get everything done I’ve promised my clients as well as working on the software I publish directly on the App Store. The app of my own I spend the most time on is beorg, but have a few other apps as well. Most of the ideas which interest me aren’t really for the mass market but those people like myself who see the iPhone as a pocket sized computer 👖📱.
What I’m working on
I’m currently working on two new features in beorg.
Furthest along is one-way sync with the system calendar 📅. The idea being that you can see items that appear on the beorg agenda in your favourite calendar app. It is, at least to start with, one-way only as I don’t like the idea of custom IDs being added to each headline. Calendar sync will be off by default and if enabled beorg will attempt to create a new iCloud calendar and then try and keep that calendar in sync with scheduled items from your Org files. So far this is working well in testing and I’m hoping to release this later in January/early February.
The second feature is to cache parsed Org files in a database. Currently each time you view the agenda, the Tasks tab, perform a search or beorg updates your notifications/the app badge every single Org file is read and parsed. Most of the time this is fine - modern iOS devices are fast. However many Org Mode users, including myself, are using Org-roam which can quickly lead to an explosion in the number of files. It will stop being feasible to frequently read and parse each file. The plan therefore is to write information about each headline to a SQlite database and use that when generating the agenda, etc. I’m hoping if this all works then it will speed up beorg significantly 💨 and enable many other new features and use cases.
Also in the next update you’ll be able to create a new item from a calendar event. Long press a calendar event in the agenda and you’ll be given the option to create a new item in an Org file.
If you have any issues with beorg you can raise a support ticket 🎟. Here is a taste of some recent issues:
beorg changes date/time ranges. Org Mode supports timestamp ranges - e.g. <2022-01-10 16:00>--<2022-01-10 17:30>. beorg understands and can write ranges in this format, however it doesn’t currently optimize for when the range is within the same day - so it is expanding <2022-01-10 16:00-17:30> to the example I’ve just provided. (Added to my list of changes to implement)
beorg not showing past instances of recurring tasks in the agenda as having been completed. (Noted and I’ll revisit this once the database work is completed)
The agenda not displaying in the Apple Watch app. (Resolved)
Dropbox syncing not working properly. (Resolved)
A ticket is a good option if you are experiencing a bug in beorg. If you have a feature request you are welcome to raise a ticket or post on the forum 💬. The forum allows others to add to your use case and provide feedback on your idea.
Longer term plans
beorg is currently written in a mixture of Swift and Objective-C. Over timeI would like to separate out the UI and create and one or more Swift packages for parsing, querying and manipulating Org files. At that point I would look to release much of beorg under a free software license as well as a command line tool for working with Org files. I’m still mulling over exactly how/when I’m going to get to this stage but hoping to implement all new features (including the ones detailed at the start of this newsletter) with these plans in mind.
I hope you’ve found this newsletter useful. Have a great start to 2022 and stay organized.
If you have any feedback on what you’ve read here start a conversation on the beorg forum 💬.