Using the Task List Plugin in Eclipse

If you are a software developer, you most probably have dozens of tasks to juggle in your head -- and I guess that this is just for today. Anyway, if you don't have a decent list of tasks, you probably are not doing a good job of prioritizing your work, and therefore you should have one. In both cases, you should be taking a look at how you can do many of these things in Eclipse, using the Tasktop plugin that can be freely downloaded.

Features of the Task List

The task list installed with Eclipse (called tasks) provides very simple control of your list of tasks. For example, it allow you to check all TODO items listed throughout the code. It also provides priorities for each item, as well as an option to check task completion.

Although convenient, I don't consider the standard tasks list to be the most adequate solution for task management in Eclipse. I have been using for the last few days an option that is quite more effective, called tasktop.

Tasktop is a plugin that can be downloaded for free. Although there is a pro version with additional features, the free version is probably all that a single developer or a small group needs to manage their lists of tasks.

To access the task list, you need first to check if it is installed in your computer. Click on window/show view, and find the task list link. If it is not there, you will need to install the tasktop plugin from this link.

With tasktop installed, you can create tasks by clicking on the new task button on the task list window. You can also create tasks automatically from a task database, such as Jira, bugzilla, of Trac. Using a centralized task list like this is the most effective way to synchronize your work in a group of developers.

Additional Features

A great feature of tasktop include creating tasks from an email source, such as gmail. Using gmail, you can simply enter you account information and the name of the folder you want to track. The task list will automatically pull whatever email you have defined, and show the description of the items you will be working on.

The task list plug in also gives you a lot of options on how to schedule the tasks you created. For example, you can determine the tasks that you want to work on today or tomorrow, and they will be displayed in a different color in your list.

You can quickly change the scheduled day for a task using the context menu on each item of the list. Over time, the list will provide clues on which items are on the waiting list and which are late, so you can prioritize your work accordingly.


In all, the task list plugin of task pro is one of the best methods I have used to prioritize tasks. And it is completely free for the most basic functions that we have described. You can use it to connect to Jira or Trac, and simplify the maintenance of bug lists. It is one of the most useful plugins in Eclipse to maintain your schedule and help developers to prioritize their work.

Article created on 2009-01-14 09:27:11

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