Making GTG more Backend Friendly


Getting things Gnome, at present, is a simple task manager, with added multiple backend support for other online and offline apps such as Twitter, RTM, GNote, etc. My project focuses on adding diverse web based backends for different use cases to GTG. Specifically, I’ll be adding support for Google Calender, Tracks (web based, self hosted GTD application), Github Issues, Bitbucket Issues and Redmine.


The deliverables at the end of the project are:

  1. Backend for Google Calendar
  2. Backend for Tracks
  3. Backend for Basecamp
  4. Backend for Github issues
  5. Backend for Bit Bucket issues
  6. Backend for Redmine.
  7. Documentation on writing backends

Backend for Google Calender

Google Calender keeps track of events. Sync GTG with GCal, and all your events with the tags you want, will appear in GTG. Say a dear one’s birthday in the next week shows up in GTG priorly. Ample time to get her a gift isn’t it? The Google Calender API enables this GTG <-> GCal sync.

Backend for Tracks

Tracks is a web based application implementing the Getting Things Done methodology, and is built on Ruby on Rails. Tasks are mapped as to dos in tracks. The mapping is done using Rest API, that uses simple HTTP requests. When the GTG user enables Tracks sync, your todos will surface in GTG.

Backend for Basecamp

Basecamp is an extensively used online project collaboration tool. Support for Basecamp to-do-lists in GTG will be added, using the REST API.

Backend for Redmine & Github/BitBucket issues

Issue tracking is a necessary part of most people’s lives (most developers atleast). While GTG has a backend for Launchpad already, adding support for other popular issue tracking systems would increase usage of GTG.

Documentation for Writing Backends

Documentation and samples to make it easier for other people to write backends.


1.My Proposal:

2.Task Semantics:


Source Control Used: Bazaar

Weekly Reports

Week 1

This week:

My target for the first two weeks is to complete the backend for Google Calendar. I am using the GData Python Client Library that provides the Google Calendar API, for this. As the generic backend framework is already available, I only have to implement the backend specific methods. At the lowest level is an GcalEvent, an object that is an abstraction of the Calender Event. Then the GcalProxy class that contains the methods that relate with the backend to fetch or submit events. ClientLogin is used to authenticate users.

Next Week:

Right now, I have only completed the framework for the Google Calender backend. In the next week, I will complete the code, and establish two way sync between GTG and GCal.

Week 2

I have set up the UI for the Google Calender backend, which is now added to the list of Backends in GTG [1]. I have also set up the GData client library. I could not get any more code written as I was travelling.

This week, I will invest time in further understanding GTG code, and sharpening my basics, to enable me to write better code. I will also complete the calendar backend, and get started on Google Tasks integration.

Screenshot: [1] Code: [2]

Week 3

This Week:

I started with gaining a stronger foot on pygtk and python first. Then with the help of my mentor, Luca Invernizzi, I understood how the backends are structured, and started out to write code for the Google Calendar backend for 2 specific use cases Adding tasks in GTG reflecting in GCal and vice-versa Deleting tasks in GTG reflecting in GCal and vice-versa And I've been successful in implementing both, excepting some minor issues. I have updated the code on launchpad [1].

Next Week:

I will fix the issues with GCal, and also add Updating of tasks functionality. Currently I have statically authenticated to a test account, and will upgrade that to user authentication via OAuth or ClientLogin. I hope to complete these early in the week and get started with Google Tasks integration.



Week 4

Last week, I continued the work on the Google Calendar sync. I have added authentication feature using ClientLogin, by modifying the UI suitably. I have added the update function, but having trouble because the set_text method of GTG throws an error. Excepting that, the GCal Backend is almost done!!

I invested time reading the basics of REST API, as most of the upcoming backends use this API. I have also been reading up on Google Tasks API.

This week, I need to finally fix up GCal and move on quick. Will spend sometime documentation on writing Backends. Then Google tasks and Tracks integration should follow soon.

Week 5

This Week:

Yeah! The Google Calendar Backend is close to complete :) Now it is synced from GTG to GCal and vice versa. There are some functionality I would like to add though - such as tag specific import a nd export, find a way to add Where and Guests values to the GTG task ( may be add them as subtasks), allow users to switch between default calendar and other calendars. These are on my wishlist, and will probably add them later! I have linked the updated revision [1].

Also I started on Google Tasks - This use the REST API and serves as a predecessor for the other backends - as all the others that ensue use REST too :) So I set up the UI, and the functionality will follow suit. Find link to the code below [2].


I had a few minor glitches such as, the events getting added into GCal and returning the unique link, and the xml content perfectly, but the event not showing up in the GCal UI. Also a date parsing issue while importing into GTG. Will fix these after guidance from my mentor :)

Next Week:

The tasks backend should be up and about next week. The client libraries are set up, the UI ready...

See you again next week, with the Google Tasks backend ready to go!


[1] Updated Google Calendar: [2] Added Google Tasks :

Week 6/7

Progress this week:

I continued on the Google Tasks backend. I started out with registering my application on the Google API console, which generated consumer and developer keys for OAuth authentication. The Tasks API functions at 2 levels - Tasklists and Tasks. Each Tasklist is a group of tasks, and in GTG, I had to only work at the Task level. Adding, Deleting and Updating tasks, were pretty much the same as Calendar, with just different API calls. So now the backend is up and working, and some fine tuning in authentication, and choosing which task lists to import, should finish it. The link to my code repo can be found below[1].

Next Week:

The next backend on my list is Tracks. However, I would first take a few days to clean up code, write documentation and reports for the mid term, before starting with Tracks.

[1] Code -

Outreach/SummerOfCode/2011/Projects/Madhu_GTG_Backends (last edited 2013-12-03 23:18:28 by WilliamJonMcCann)