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Sep 13, 2018

“Getting Things Done” (David Allen) System: Artificer End-to-End Use Case

By Brett Meyer


To learn more about Artificer, check out the website: artificer.jboss.org. Full documentation, including a “Getting Started” guide, is available at docs.jboss.org/artificer



.At first glance, this may sound like it’s a bit of a stretch. But bear with me — the concept turned out much more useful than I had originally hoped…




“Getting Things Done”, by David Allen, is a well known and well respected system for managing projects, tasks, and reference information, for both personal and professional uses. The system results in a large amount information chunks, many of which are related and dependent. Custom tags are also needed, as well as hierarchical metadata.


Sound familiar? “Getting Things Done”, meet Artificer…


The demo populates an Artificer repo with fake reference information, as well as a system for a “Getting Things Done” style of project/task management. It includes a custom OWL ontology with some ideas for hierarchical classifiers. The beauty of “Getting Things Done” is that it’s purely a skeleton system that can be molded for your own uses. That’s the same idea here. This certainly isn’t complete or exhaustive, but simply demonstrates what’s possible.


In this particular setup, we make heavy use of ontologies/classifiers for nearly every aspect of GTD. They’re easily used and modified during runtime, in addition to having the benefit of being hierarchical in nature. However, note that this could also be implemented using generic properties (essentially making them ‘tags’) as an alternative.


Our GTD ontology (gettingthingsdone.owl.xml) consists of:



  • Actions: Tasks to be acted upon. Further broken down into classifiers based on the level of complexity:

    • Simple

    • Moderate

    • Complex



  • Waiting: Actions to be acted upon, but currently held up by an external expectation (a call/email from someone, etc.).

  • Someday: Actions that are on the back-burner (ie, the “tickler file”).

  • Context: Productivity increases when actions are grouped by context, rather than constantly shifting your focus. Our’s include:

    • Using The Computer

    • On The Phone

    • Out Running Errands




Note that GTD utilizes an ‘inbox’, prior to organizing and classifying actions. You could certainly add that to the ontology, however we skip it here. The assumption is that other external sources (email, etc.) typical act as the inboxes.


Running the demo will push in an example dataset, using the ontologies to classify everything in a GTD way. Once its run, play around with the UI to see how it turned out. Pay special attention to the Classifiers area within the sidebar filters. That will allow you to build queries, such as:



/s-ramp[s-ramp:classifiedByAllOf(.,'http://artificer.jboss.org/gettingthingsdone.owl#ModerateAction','http://artificer.jboss.org/gettingthingsdone.owl#ComputerContext')]


IE, find all actions, moderate in complexity, that can be done while using the computer. Or:




/s-ramp[GTDProjectRel[@name='Bathroom Remodel']]


IE, find all actions associated with the ‘Bathroom Remodel’ project.


Are those queries verbose? Absolutely. But that’s why the UI and other interfaces exist!


For more info, check out the demo code itself: artificer/demos/end-to-end-use-case/getting-things-done at master · ArtificerRepo/artificer · GitHub




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