TaskPaper, what it is and what it isn’t. I use TaskPaper, a lot. But, I am using it for slightly different reasons than what it was designed for. Many people use TaskPaper for keeping track of tasks. They use date functions and all manner of things to do this. TaskPaper is very good at doing this. I cannot comment on this type of workflow using TaskPaper as, ironically, that is not what I use TaskPaper for. I use TaskPaper for helping me to breakdown complex ideas. As a writer I have trouble with getting bogged down in all sorts of areas. This has been especially true when I have been researching arguments in a legal document.
TaskPaper has tools that I make much use of. It uses internal tags which is, anything that is proceeded by the “@” symbol. The tags go at the end of a paragraph. I don't have to set up that tag anywhere in preferences, I just start using it anywhere. Then, anytime I click on a tag, TaskPaper instantly searches for all tags that are the same. As tags are at the end of paragraphs, the found set shows all the paragraphs with the same tag after it. If I am doing research in a long document and I think, this section is about pointA, but it also has a meaning when examining pointB and pointC, then I can use as many tags after that section (paragraph) as I like, pointA, pointB, pointC. Then I can either click on any instance of PointA and see all paragraphs in my document of PointA, or, I can create or embed a search for Point A which will appear on the sidebar. The same is true of pointB or pointC of course.
Sidebar searches are easy to set up. If there is a part of my document that I want to go to a lot, then I can set that up as a search term in the sidebar. This works for tags but it also works for specific sections in the document.
Plain text. The only regret I have with TaskPaper is that it is totally plain text. I can't paste graphics anywhere in TaskPaper. But, I can add style to my documents very well. OK, I can't add style to specific words (can't bold a word) but, I can style a document by what is under what level of a heading, notes styles, tasks style, and anything I want to style using a tag. This includes page color, text color, line height, font style (for the whole paragraph or section), etc. TaskPaper does this by using something similar to a css file for each document. If you understand what a CSS file does then you understand what TaskPaper styles can do.
I know that the developer also sells similar apps with slightly different niches. He sells a writing app for example which is primarily what I am using TaskPaper for. But, for whatever reason, I find TaskPaper very easy to use and very configurable.
I also read a comment that the developer does not support his products very well. I think that is a bit unfair. I don't know the history of this developer although I have been using TaskPaper for the past three or so years. He has continued to update and to upgrade TaskPaper in that time. I have no worries that this is going to be in any way unsupported as an app.
Bottomline is that, there are more robust apps for task and file management. Those apps use database approaches and I am not knocking them if that is what you need. I use BusyCal for my calendar events. I use NVAlt for my daily tracking of things I have done. I use Nisus for my writing. Eventually I plan on moving to Scrivener for my writing. But TaskPaper works and it works well. I find that I use Taskpaper for most of my fleshing out of ideas when I write. It’s great for creating drafts as it makes finding the parts very easy and it also expands and collapses sections which I do or do not want to look at while I am concentrating on other things. I wish Nisus could do that.
TaskPaper is a great app for gathering ideas in an outline format. And yet, it does this not in a database layout such as Omni, it does this as a completely text based writing (text) style format.