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I’m forever fiddling with online ‘organizers’ one of the nicest IMHO is Backpack by those 37 signals guys, it’s clean and straightforward - and while I doubt I’ll ever actually use it for my day-to-day masterlist, it’s an excellent place to jot down some quick notes - till I can transcribe them into the ‘uber’ paper list that rules my waking hours (yes..paper, I confess, I kill trees, regularly)

So my recent insomnia had me poking at the BackPack API - to see if I could easily marry BackPack to Launchbar which is my preferred launcher du-jour (whole other post needed as to my choosing it over QS) Natively launchbar supports applescript (which I hate writing), and it also supports Shell scripts (which I love writing) so that choice was simple.

BackPack’s API uses XML over HTTP - which I found annoying (which means I couldn’t get it to work) but Backpack also has a email interface - which is cake. I create a shell script named ‘createTODO’ and parked it in my bin directory. I CHMOD’d it executable.


S="Subject: todo: $1"
echo $S | sendmail -f $A

that’s the nuts and bolts of it really. it’s clean, simple, bulletproof - you don’t even need to worry about your API key, tested with some static content, boooyah! step one done.

Now to connect that to LB it’s so easy it’s sick..
Open your LB Configuration and create a new search template, give it a simple to type name (like TD)
and make the detail is (Note the linebreak ¬)

x-launchbar:execute? ¬

Using it is as easy as;
Trigger LB, type ‘TD’ hit space. type your task/note and hit enter DONE!

I created a similar script and template for Backpack notes, I’m pretty sure you can figure that one out. Maybe the next version will use applescript and have Growl feedback… hmm.

2 Responses to GTD via Shell by way of LaunchBar

  1. Hiya. I have LaunchBar and would love to do this, but I’m not a shell ninja like you. How exactly can I create a shell script? I think I can figure the LB search template stuff but additional detail around the shell script would be great. You can basically assume I know nothing about shell.

  2. saul ⋅

    Joshua -I sent you an email reply to this, hopefully you received it..

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