.txt vs .taskpaper?

New user to TaskPaper.
Is there any advantage of naming my files .taskpaper, as compared to .txt?
I understand I can double-click .taskpaper files, whereas I have to drag .txt files to the TaskPaper dock icon. But I’m thinking more about difference in functionality etc.

No, the only benefit is icon and double click to launch.


iPhone/ iPad considerations

If you also want to edit the file on iPhone or iPad, then depending on how you are sharing the file between devices (if at all), it might be more convenient to use .txt. For instance, Dropbox’s editor handles .txt. To deal with .taskpaper files, export is required cf. Dropbox page on export. However, your setup might allow your favorite iOS/iPadOS editor easily to open the files. E.g., 1writer can be given access to Dropbox folders and open files with .taskpaper extension.

Multiple macs and sharing TaskPaper files

Using .taskpaper can be more convenient in a multi-mac situation – otherwise (depending on your setup) the other Mac (than the one on which a particular taskpaper file was created) might not open your " TaskPaper" files that end with .txt files.

One reason: when your Mac is configured to open a specific .txt file with TaskPaper rather than another app ( say, BBEdit), some information in that file’s extended file attributes is set: xattr: com.apple.LaunchServices.OpenWith, sets a custom app to open a file – The Eclectic Light Company .

Some cloud services, like Dropbox, drop xattrs; so, even if you’re set on one Mac to always open a particular .txt file with TaskPaper, if you sync the file with such a service, and open it on another Mac, macOS will choose the default for .txt files. Actually, it’s ‘worse’ than that. Even on the same Mac, xattr info may be lost.

However, if you use iCloud, this .txt issue isn’t a problem, since iCloud preserves xattrs. But see Which extended attributes does iCloud preserve, and which get stripped? – The Eclectic Light Company

Mac , iPhone/iPad

Also, if you want to quickly search for TaskPaper files on iOS or other devices, using the .taskpaper as the extension does the job. I find that being able to quickly find files, particularly TaskPaper files, is quite important.

while we are on the subject, I also find it very useful to systematically prefix filenames. This makes it much easier/faster to access files in Finder, Spotlight, LaunchBar and with other apps.

For instance, I tend to prefix my TaskPaper files with “tap”.

The access is both context sensitive, e.g., by typing in Finder in a folder with related files. Often, my project folder will have 10 or more files and folders. By using the “tap” prefix, I can very quickly access the single TaskPaper file there (without needing to do Spotlight name:task). This also works in context-neutral search, e.g., with launchers or Spotlight — again, without needing to use name:.taskp. The convention means I can use different tools (a launcher, Spotlight or Hoodaspot) without needing to think about how they handle filename search.

Other prefixes I find helpful for creative projects (papers, blog posts, presentations, screencasts, etc) include

  • outlines: outline-
  • elements: elements- (specifying the problem, thesis, major claims, etc.)
  • scratchpads: spad
  • titles: title
  • md: for the draft of the main document (e.g., the blog post itself), if it’s a markdown file.

There’s some redundancy with the extension but it’s not identical. Obviously, the specific convention doesn’t matter.

Is this also true for renaming saved TaskPaper files from .taskpaper, to .md?

Yes, any file that contains UTF-8 encoded text should work the same with TaskPaper no mater the file extensions. Again the only difference being that double-clicking on the file won’t open in TaskPaper by default.

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