A popular annual list of top installed Trello Power-ups (Blue Cat Reports) has called out one of my Trello Power-Ups for its quick growth. At less than a year old is already have over 5000+ active installs.
I have really enjoyed writing this bit of code because it stretched from Trello API to Office 365 API, two of my favorite programming interfaces. This Power-Up is similar to the default Trello Calendar Power-up, the key difference being is that it connects to your Outlook Calendar. So, you can see all your Trello Tasks and your Outlook appointments/meetings, side by side in one place, you can link your appointments to Trello cards and vice-versa. With a month view and a weekly view, you can manage your calendar easily by dragging and dropping your Trello Cards on the calendar to create linked appointments for specific tasks all in one place.
To date I have created four Trello Power-Ups that I use every day to fill a gap that I need in order to scrum my life’s “backlog.” I was first turned towards Trello when I read Deep Work by Cal Newport. Since then I created:
And I am working on another for Outlook Calendar integration – with a possible companion OfficeJS Add-in to boot.
Each time I created a Power-Up, I found myself going back to the documentation over and over again for the most trivial items. So, I finally sat down and hacked out a type definitions file based on the existing Trello Power-Up Documentation.
You can find all the information about the type library I created here:
Continuing to use Trello I found a need to take cards that had been sitting around a while and put them in a place other than Archive (and forget them). What I had been doing was copy/pasting them in checklists in another card and as needed taking the check list items and promoting them back to a card. However, after performing the manual process (which could take a lot of time) enough times, I decided it was time for another Power-Up. So, I created the Demote a Card Power-Up:
Also — while building this Power-Up, I also got a tad frustrated that there was not any IntelliSense code assistance from the Trello Library. So, I build one in JSDOC and will likely be publishing that on GitHub soon. Not sure how many other developers there are out there that write Power-Ups, but my hope is it might be useful.
I have been in full-bore developer mode of late, trying new things and writing a lot of code. One area I thought I would give a try is browser extensions. I find myself wanting to tag pages so that I can reference them later in something I am writing or working on. And because I like to store information in Trello, I wanted something that combined both. So, here is an extension I created that will do just that. It takes the page you are on and then creates an MLA or APA reference and then adds it to a card in Trello for you.
I published this to both the Microsoft Edge and the Google Chrome store:
The following screen shots show you what it looks like when you are using it:
This browser extension is useful if you are a student writing a paper (supports MLA and APA formats), an author writing a book, or a blogger or someone doing research and keeping track of references using notecards. Because Trello is a digital version of notecards and it is available everywhere and stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about the dog eating your homework. 😱
Add it to your browser and let me know what you think.
I just completed another Power-Up for Trello, called Board Wiki.
I have really taken to using Trello to help organize many aspects of my life and one area that kept annoying me was that I always had to have a card setup on various lists for “meta” information or things like my weekly, quarterly and yearly plans (see Cal Newport). After thinking about it a bit, I realized since it makes sense to keep all this in one place, why not have a wiki to capture this, so this new Power-Up was created.
I have now created several Power-Ups a couple Office Web Add-ins and just published (still in review) an Edge Extension. To see everything I have published, check out my website.
I have done it! I have published my very first Office Web Add-in to the Microsoft Store. After years and years of blogging about it, I wrote an add-in for something I needed. It is true that necessity is the mother of all invention.
The add-in is called the Trello Taskpane for Word. It is a simple add-in that connects Word to your Trello boards, so that you can insert information you have collected in Trello into your documents. I do research on the web for various topics and send snippets and pages to Trello cards where I organize and refine them. Then I found myself copy/pasting the information from Trello into Word getting lost on the task switching. Now, I can remain in Word, select the cards I want, and insert them without ever leaving Word. How’s that!
It was also a fun exercise for me to combine the two types of extensions I have found to enjoy writing (Office and Trello). More importantly, it is a useful tool that I think might benefit other writers that use Trello, or writers looking for a new way to keep their notecards and thoughts in a more digital, accessible from anywhere type of format.
I have been away from my blog for quite a long while. I had moved from doing work exclusively in the Office Developer space to general development, web development, even PowerShell development. The randomization was both distracting and eye opening. So, I took on a new role as a Program Manager that has only tangential involvement with Office and almost none to do with Office Development. So, that is why it has been a while. I have been involved in other projects and mentoring in Office Development projects and actually have a pet project I have been working on for an Outlook add-in as well.
Through all this, however, one thing I have been getting into is reading a lot around productivity and trying to make the most of my time, or better yet free up my time to do more things I would like to do. This is where my journey crossed paths with the productivity books written by Cal Newport. His book pointed me to the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris and how to automate aspects of life. As I have moved towards more and more automation, one area, thanks to Cal Newport that has helped me keep organized in that effort is an application called Trello.
Now, I am a Microsoft guy, and I know, I know, Microsoft has a tool called Planner (now called Tasks) that is a similar Kanban tool. But one thing it does not have integrated into it is the ability for extensions. And another is a mobile app. So, Trello has been an amazing way for me to get organized.
One reason I also like Trello as I mentioned was extensibility. Being an extensibility guy, I immediately found “room” to build some useful extensions into Trello. So, I learned their API and viola, I have built two Power-Ups (as they are known):
I have a few ideas for more but will be working on suggestions I have received from the first and the second one JUST got published right before this blog post. Additionally, I am working on a few other side projects including writing a book.
I have worked hard over the last year to free up time to do the things I want to do. And so far, so good… thank you Trello (and thank you Cal Newport for pointing me to it).