Getting organised

Posted on Fri 13 January 2012 by alex in geek

What with becoming a parent and getting promoted I suddenly find myself needing to become a lot more organised. Although I've been using org-mode for a bit I need to get a lot more organised with it.

Previously I had two sets of org notes. My personal set where sitting on my server which I could access via the terminal. I generally accessed this at home on the odd occasion when I was doing things like the annual round of insurance quote gathering. The second set was a fairly simple time sheet type affair that I was using at work to keep a vague track of where all my time was spent. The big missing part of this is when I'm on the move.

I've just recently upgraded my phone to the latest Galaxy Nexus which is a fine Google enabled device. I make no apologies for using Google's calendering and shared document services. They work very well and importantly allow me to share things with my wife who doesn't quite share my desire to run everything from a text editor. However for my personal task lists on the move and remembering what's coming up at work it doesn't quite cut it. Besides I like org-mode and I'd heard about MobileOrg so I endeavoured to set it up.

MobileOrg has been around some time for the iPhone but the mechanisms it uses for integrating with org-mode are fairly well documented. As a result there is a couple of Android implementations for it. Matthew Jone's mobileorg-android was the first version I tried.

The original sync method for MobileOrg was to use a service like Dropbox to sync files. Given the history of Dropbox's security I wasn't about to move my files into the proprietary cloud. The alternative is to enable WebDAV on my web-server and therefor enable two way communication via HTTP. It was a little concerning to see self-signed SSL wasn't supported as this does open up a potential attack vector on my machine. I've mitigated it a little by using digest authentication instead of basic-auth but I'd still prefer to be conducting these read-write operations over something more secure.

Initial results were a little underwhelming. After some messing around with the format of org-links I eventually got a basic outline summary up. Unfortunately I can't seem to sync notes created on my phone to the server. This seems to be a Apache problem which I shall have to dig into later.

After perusing the market some more I noticed there is a new project in town. Konstantin's MobileOrgNG was forked some time ago from Matthew's code and on installing I found it looked an awful lot better. I've still be unable to post any locally added notes (due to previously mentioned Apache config issues). However it's presentation is a lot slicker and it shows a lot of potential for being a good MobileOrg client.

I'm now stuck with a classic open source fork dilemma. The code bases look to have diverged enough that these two projects are essential going their own way. Looking at the two impact graphs it looks like they diverged around August 2011 and since then MobileOrgNG looks pretty much like a solo effort albeit with an impressive commit rate of new features.

So the questions for my readers. Which code base should I jump on? Has anyone got experience with the two different code bases and the reason they split? Are there any other Android clients for org-mode I should be looking at?