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The Hit List takes aim at OmniFocus and Things


The Hit List, from the Potion Factory, is a new task management application set to go head-to-head with Things and OmniFocus. We haven't seen a lot of waves in the advanced, visually polished task manager wars lately, but this one is going to storm the gates. I tend to get overexcited about new productivity apps, but after test driving the beta release of The Hit List for a day, I'm convinced it's worthy of all the excitement I can muster. A few of us here at TUAW, in fact, have been trading notes and are in agreement that this one is a serious competitor.

The Hit List combines my favorite aspects of Things with some of the niceties of OmniFocus, and then adds some visual polish and usability tweaks. It works in a single, tabbed window; nice, because I've always been bothered by the floating palettes in OmniFocus. Beyond my personal tastes, though, the interface is beautiful both in aesthetics and simplicity. I can see immediately what each item on the screen means and infer what each button is going to do. For those with advanced needs, The Hit List provides a full-fledged tagging system, filtering and sorting, contexts and projects, notes, links ... the only thing I haven't seen yet is repeating tasks, but the application is still in development. Despite its beta status, though, it's been stable and highly usable.

The system-wide Quick Entry window is as simple and powerful as any on the market, and the tagging and context system is based on keyboard symbols ("/" and "@"), so adding them is easy: you just type them at the end of your task name. The interface is almost 100% keyboard-navigable; tasks can be moved and filed with a few keystrokes, and tags, contexts, start and due dates can be added to a highlighted task with their respective shortcuts.

A projected retail price of $70 places it between Things and Omnifocus on the cost scale. Given the features and ease-of-use it provides, I'll gladly pay in that range. The biggest problem for The Hit List is going to be that most of its target users have probably already shelled out for Things and/or OmniFocus. I think that a test drive will prove pretty convincing for a lot of folks, though.

The Hit List just went into private beta recently, but Andy from the Potion Factory is welcoming new testers. If you have the time to file bug reports and feature requests, head over to Google Groups and sign up for the discussion and get the download. [Google Groups link fixed, sorry!]

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