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Tasktop for Eclipse - Get More out of Mylyn

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Email is Work

The role of a software developer often involves a great deal of team and customer correspondence, requiring significant time investment. How much email did you receive this week? How many of those email warranted a detailed response that required over 5 minutes of your time? Many of your responses were sure to require browsing through code, web, and documents in order to respond. Of these, how many of those documents can you recall in an instant? Just as you can easily track the time and program elements associated with a programming task using Mylyn, Tasktop will allow you to track the time, web sites and files associated with email.

With Tasktop, the developer is able to create Email Tasks in their Mylyn Task List from their favourite email client (Figure 15). At time of writing, Tasktop integrates with Outlook, Gmail and IMAP, and if you don’t use either you can vote ( for your client of choice. So now, when reviewing your inbox, if it can’t be dealt with immediately, simply move it to your Task List for prioritization and scheduling. This helps with inbox tracking and keeps things running on a priority based schedule rather than being derailed by email interruption.

Figure 15

Email Tasks are first class citizens of the Task List with a rich editor and all of the time and resource tracking facilities previously mentioned. You can activate Email Tasks just as you do all other tasks in the task list, building up a context for the work you do as part of your email correspondence. The Outlook Email Task editor (Figure 16) displays the pertinent fields of the email with fields for taking notes and authoring a response.

Figure 16

The Gmail integration (Figure 17) is similar and has the added benefit of threaded messages (Outlook threading is in the works). When subsequent emails are received on the same thread, they are accumulated under the original Email Task in Tasktop so that all of the information is in one place under one task.

Figure 17

Tasktop integrates with but does not replace your existing email client. Both the Outlook and Gmail Email Task editor toolbars have buttons for reopening the original email and in the case of Outlook, the option to reply and forward the message all using your native email client.

With Tasktop’s Email Task integration, the time and resources involved with each piece of correspondence is accounted for and can be instantly recalled. Your email can now be folded into your Task List and your schedule managed on your terms rather than dictated by your inbox.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Robert Elves.

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