Dataview vs other task management-specific plugins

I am starting to use Dataview plugin. In addition to table and list views, it provides a task view that seems quite powerful. I am wondering what are the pro’s and con’s to using Dataview for task management, as opposed to a more task management-focused plugin, such as Tasks.

For example…

  • Do people use Dataview for many things, but use another plugin for managing tasks/projects? If so, what guided that choice?
  • Are there any limitations in Dataview task view that users have run into?
  • Are there task-views that are particularly effective?
  • If you manage tasks with Dataview, are you generally using table or list view instead of the task view? If so, why?
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Some slight impressions about my experience.

  1. Tasks is a powerful plugin exclusive for tasks. It works only at tasks levels. (I tried the plugin, but I do not use it regularly). It has some great features (for example, add automatically the completion date) and is more ‘visual’.
  2. Dataview, in recent releases, increased the ability for tasks queries. It’s more powerful now and has some great features in roadmap (for example, queries by “section”). Besides tasks level, Dataview works on page level, and for some cases can be useful to create tasks queries with some conditions/filters provided by pages level (for example, by a tag in the page/note and not a tag in the task). Another advantage could be the ability to work with inline fields inside tasks (not only tags, due date or completion date). But all this depends on what is the focus of your workflow.
  3. You can use both (Dataview recognizes the format used by “Tasks” for due date and completed date).
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yes, I have been using Tasks for a little while. As I play with Dataview, I keep Tasks running in order to auto-complete tasks that are done.

I also like that Tasks does not group/bin inline tasks according to the file from which they come. I’m trying to figure out how to control how tasks are grouped/binned in Dataview but haven’t figure it out yet. I am able to sort (SORT) and filter (WHERE).

I’d like to put a ‘plug’ out there for text expand. Unlike Dataview, text expand allows Edit View queries within a note. So its great for creating MoCs.

Also, Templater, since the recent update to include non-displayed scripts to run at start up, Templater has become much more powerful.

Dataview is great, but its not simple. The few snippets I use dataview for took me a long time to figure out usually with the help of people on this forum. That is mostly due to a lack of syntax documentation or examples.

Yes, the group thing can be annoying. I think group by files is the default render, but you can change the way how to group tasks: for example, GROUP BY due.

GROUP BY — not sure how I missed that! It works great.

From early stages of playing with Dataview, it seems that one of the big advantages is the flexibility to define any meta-field and create views based on the value of the meta-field. For example, I have category to refer to broad areas. Some people might put their files into subfolders to achieve the same thing. I can then create a view with GROUP BY category. If I wanted another field, such as status, I could label individual tasks as [status::cncl] or [status::someday]. All this flexibility comes without having to hardwire a task manager-specific plugin. It’s on-the-fly flexibility. Really neat!

I may have found a way to prevent grouping. I used GROUP BY NULL. This appears to create a single group with all matching tasks. Not sure if this query has unintended effects, but it seems to do the trick.

Yes, if you use an inexistent field (in your example “NULL” is read as field) it works. See my discussion with developer here:

I have set up different Dataview queries to view tasks. It seems to work very well. A missing feature: marking a task done does not automatically populate with something like [completed:: yyyy-mm-dd]. Keeping the Tasks plugin active solves this problem — but only partially.

When I visit the task at its location and mark it done, then Tasks will add ✅yyyy-mm-dd at the end of the task line. This is recognized by Dataview so that this particular task will no longer appear if you have WHERE !completed as part of the Dataview query.

BUT, when I mark a task completed from the Dataview-generated task list, the task isn’t marked with ✅yyyy-mm-dd by Tasks plugin.

Is this the behavior you see? Is there a way to have Dataview update the task item?

Yes, if you mark a task as completed in Dataview, plugin is unable to instruct Tasks plugin to add the completion date. I think this requires some interaction between both plugins not available at the moment.
The only problem is with date completion. Besides that task is read as completed by dataview.

yep, it all works as you described. Dataview is quite nifty, and I’ve been leaning on it for task management. Of course, once I start down the path, the list of task management features one wants in Dataview starts to grow… mark a task done and have it update the item at original location, handle recurring tasks, and so on. At some point it is too much. Meanwhile, task management-focused plugins handle the important nuances of tasks but lack the powerful query and display features that make Dataview a great plugin.

What is the solution to this conundrum? At least two possibilities jump out:

  1. Dataview starts to do more and more of task management-related features. Eventually, the task management features become a major module within Dataview.
  2. Another plugin treats Dataview as a dependency. This other plugin leans on Dataview to do the querying and presentation of results. Meanwhile, the new plugin focuses on task management-related features.

Is option #2 technically feasible? If so, are there any task management plugins doing that? What are the downsides to this approach for a task management plugin?

I’m not able to answer you. I don’t have ‘technical’ knowledge.
About the completion date limitation, see last Dataview update: now that’s possible.

yep, works like a charm!

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