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.
I have been using Trello for a while now and one of the features I have found most useful is to take an email I received and turn it into a Kanban item on my backlog to address later. This allows me to archive the email but keeps it on my “Trello radar” as I work at my own pace through my personal backlog.
Recently, Trello removed their add-in from the Microsoft Office store. If you have the add-in installed, you will see this error:
Well, since they say necessity is the mother of all invention and I really had to fill the gap as it is part of my routine, I rolled my own. 🤓 To add a degree of difficulty, I wrote this in VS Code in Linux running in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). See my previous post. It was a fun exercise as I am on vacation and using the time tom learn new things, engage in self-improvement and relax (coding is relaxing to me 🤓🤓🤓). In the end, I learned something and created something for everyone to enjoy.
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).