Workaround Moca Mobile Deficiency with To Do Tasks

No Mobile App so the Dog’s Unhappy

When I wrote about Project Moca, a new personal productivity app that’s now in public preview for Office 365 commercial tenants, I bemoaned the fact that no Moca mobile app is available. Many of my best idea – some would say my only ideas – come when on the move, such as my daily dog walk (on a philosophical level, do I walk the dog or does the dog tolerate my presence on her walk?).

My point is that without a Moca mobile app on my phone, it’s hard to use Moca as the place to note thoughts, action items, and the like. And when an app isn’t available, its usefulness is reduced, and other apps become more attractive. So I complained as I am prone to do.

Linking To Do to Moca

While acknowledging that a Moca mobile app would be good, one of the Moca developers gently pointed out that a workaround exists that might help. If you create a To-Do item in a Project Moca space (Figure 1), it is synchronized to a list in To Do named after the Moca space (in this case, “Article Ideas”).

Creating a To Do task in a Project Moca space
Figure 1: Creating a To Do task in a Project Moca space

Creating a To Do task in Moca establishes a link between the space and To Do because the task becomes an “asset” belonging to the space. This is different to a To Do task created outside Moca which isn’t connected. The link means that any change made to a connected task using another To Do client, like the mobile app available on iOS and Android, is synchronized back to Moca.

In Figure 2, I’m using the To Do iOS client to update the task previously created in Moca. Changes to the checklist or adding a due date make their way back to Moca. Other changes like entering a note don’t. In any case, when I’m on the move, all I want to enter is a quick note that I can chase later. Adding it as a checklist item for a task is enough.

Figure 2: Updating a Moca-connected task in the To Do iOS app

Synchronizing Back to Moca

Figure 3 shows the result after To Do synchronizes an update back to Moca. The checklist items are enough to capture what I need to get done.

Moca displays an updated To Do task
Figure 3: Moca displays an updated To Do task

A workaround built around To Do tasks is enough to meet my needs but it’s insufficient when Moca becomes generally available. For people to move from their preferred notetaking app, like OneNote, Word, or whatever else they use, they need a solid mobile app.

Outlook Integration Needed

And they might also need Moca to be integrated into Outlook desktop. This might not be a popular view to hold because Moca is very much a cloud app while Outlook exhibits all its on-premises roots at times. But people use Outlook and a way forward might be seen in Microsoft’s One Outlook initiative and the way that OWA powered experiences (OPX) can be integrated into desktop clients. Moca is, after all, an OWA app today, so it seems to meet the criteria for inclusion in Outlook via OPX.

Outlook might also answer a need that Moca can’t answer today: the ability to print off a space, hopefully preserving the nice layouts that people can achieve as they organize their thoughts.

Project Moca is a preview app, so it’s not covered in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Unless we count all the underlying technologies like the Microsoft substrate, tasks, and so on.

3 Replies to “Workaround Moca Mobile Deficiency with To Do Tasks”

  1. Hi,

    This was very useful. May I please ask you whether you have a workaround for a -very frustrating issue- that I have with Project Moca, please?
    I used to use Trello, Asana, ClickUp, etc. but eventually, I realised that for my needs (I’m doing a PhD) I wanted a simple interface with no distractions. Project Moca provides that. However, when I create a Task in Project Moca with various subtasks, sometimes I need to edit a subtask and if by mistake I press the backspace or delete key more than once, the whole task with all subtasks disappears!
    I haven’t found a way to undo this action or to simply lock the task/sub-tasks until further notice. Either option would be nice.
    I have noticed that they still show on my To do in Outlook, but I can’t see an option to show them on Project Moca again (there is “copy” or “Move” option but they work within To Do and not in Project Moca).
    Your help would be invaluable.
    Thank you!

    1. I’m afraid you’re navigating the swirling rapids of preview software… The ability to undo delete actions with CTRL/Z or an undo button would be very nice. What happens is that the link to Moca is broken when a task is removed. The task is still in Outlook, but can’t move it back to its original location in Moca.

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