borg: iPhone Org-mode app

May 25, 2017

NOTE: borg (now called beorg) is on the App Store! Read about version 1

If use Org-mode and have an iPhone carry on reading.

As you know Org-mode is a fantastic plaintext based system for outlining, task planning, authoring and more. Many people, myself included, started using Emacs because of Org-mode.

You are probably also aware that there is an iOS Org-mode app called MobileOrg. It allows for sync and editing of your org files on your iOS device. It doesn’t however allow you to quickly see your agenda, and is a harder tool to use than popular iOS apps such as Things, OmniFocus and Wunderlist.

I’m a newcomer to Org-mode, and will only be feasibly able to continue using it if I can carry it around on my iPhone. I need to be alerted when my tasks have upcoming deadlines and be able to quickly glance at what the day and week looks like.

borg is a (really) new app which may eventually provide a relatively complete Org-mode experience on your iPhone - or at least in terms of todo lists, projects and notes. How far I take borg depends on feedback from Org-mode users - and whether I can sufficiently fund ongoing development.

With that in mind I’m looking for Org-mode users to test the first version of borg. There are (lots of) limitations, which I will explain below, however if you use Org-mode in a certain way then it should prove a useful tool.

If I’ve got you excited about a new toy to play with stop reading now and email borg@appsonthemove.com and ask to be put on the list of testers. It would be really useful if you can explain your experience with Org-mode and what you are looking for from a mobile Org-mode app.

The main limitations are:

  • Only works with Dropbox - however the app is architected to eventually allow other sync solutions
  • Syncs files from a folder on Dropbox, but doesn’t recurse into subfolders
  • Doesn’t support repeating and more complex date representations
  • You can see dated tasks, but you can’t see the details of the tasks. You can’t see tasks which don’t have a date
  • Completely readonly - no editing currently implemented
  • iPhone only at the moment - iPad support to be introduced in due course
  • Probably lots more depending on how complex your Org-mode usage is

There is a roadmap that currently looks like this:

  • v1.1 - “Tip jar” and release on the App Store following implementation of most vital changes suggested by testers
  • v1.2 - Show basic item details, including notes
  • v1.3 - Show a list of all todos (not just those which have dates)
  • v1.4 - Provide a list of your Org files in the app and a read-only outline style view of the files
  • v1.5 - Outline folding
  • v1.6 - Quick capture
  • v1.7 - Editing of existing files
  • v1.8 - Creation of new files
  • v1.9 - Search

If you are interested in getting the app and providing feedback to create a tool which will hopefully bring many more users into the Org-mode fold, then send an email to borg@appsonthemove.com and I’ll get you a build.

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