My data have escaped from Alcatraz today. I had some old lists that were locked up in Wunderlist. It wasn’t an easy escape. My Wunderlist version 3.6 on Windows doesn’t offer any export facilities. I found various solutions on the Internet:
- A PHP script that extracts the data from the SQLite database. Works for version 2, I guess. My version has some DB file as database.
- A Python script that converts the JSON backup to something more practical. Regrettably my Wunderlist has no options for any form of backup.
So I decided to give Microsoft To Do a chance. Not surprisingly, it can import the Wunderlist data. But neither To Do has any export functions. Well, you can print… you can print to PDF. But when I tried to copy and paste text from the resulting PDF file, I found out that it had a rather deviant encoding. The 17-character sample “Feiten in beeld” revealed the following pattern:
- Every character takes 4 bytes.
- Space, double quote and “F” have their ASCII value plus 0xF4808063 (big-endian).
- Lowercase characters have their ASCII value plus 0xF4808123, a shift of 0xC0 (which is 0xA0 more than I would expect).
Rather perverse altogether. Is that what they mean by “malicious software?” Anyway, I didn’t feel like this puzzle. To my relief Microsoft had left one door open. To Do is automatically synchronized with Outlook. You can see the To Do lists via ‘View’ > ‘To-Do Bar’ > ‘Tasks’. And more important, you can export every individual list by ‘File’ > ‘Open & Export’ > ‘Import/Export’ > ‘Export to a file’ > ‘Comma Separated Values’. The resulting CSV file has really a comma as field separator, there’s no option to choose a semicolon for that. But anyway, having produced these files I feel in full control again. Everything worth keeping is stored in Joplin now.
There is still another escaping route on the Mac, where I had installed Wunderlist 3.4. This version does have a print option, thus giving the opportunity of creating a PDF file of the print. No exotic encoding this time. On the other hand, less attractive because of these drawbacks:
- You don’t get the tasks that are “completed”.
- You don’t get all task attributes.
- The layout doesn’t have the most practical structure for further data processing.
So that were my export experiences. Shared with everyone who once believed in Wunders.