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About

HowToDo combines How-Tos with To-Dos. Just enter your To-Do, and we will come up with matching How-Tos. It breakes down your To-Do item into more actionable To-Do items, so that a daunting task like get my driver's license is split up into more managable steps, like pay application fee or pass a vision test.

We eventually envision the web being providng a huge collection of How-Tos, from the very specific – like deliver furniture to 3544 Jones Av, Apt 27 – to generic ones, like the ones we find today. This will be enabled by using Semantic Web technologies to describe the How-Tos, discover them with a higher accuracy, and even to connect them to services on the Web so that some parts of your To-Dos can be resolved with a single click. HowToDo is a prototypical implementation of a small part of this puzzle.

This will let you to manage your To-Dos better and faster: wonder what the next actionable step is? Say your goal and we will help you get there. It's like GPS for tasks.

When does it work best

HowToDo works best when the To-Dos are covered by the existing How-Tos. Using the current How-To repository, this means that generic To-Do entries like sell car or prepare for camping will match better than specific ones like meet with John. There has been complementary research to address the latter kind of To-Do entries, and we think that a hybrid solution will eventually lead to best final results.

Also, the current implementation is limited to English.

Architecture

HowToDo is not meant — and indeed cannot — be used as a To-Do application itself. We think, there are plenty of To-Do applications, tools, websites, apps, and methodologies out there already (like everyone's favourite, pen and paper). Instead, HowToDo's API can be queried by an existing To-Do application in order to match either the existing list of To-Dos or a newly entered To-Do entry against our How-To repository. If the matching finds a result, it will return with a list of steps, that can then be added to your list upon expection (hey, we're far from perfect!).

The current How-To repository is the collection of over 80,000 How-Tos on wikiHow, but we can add further data to this repository easily (if you have How-Tos, contact us!).

HowToDo is a research prototype that you can use for free. If something is broken, please let us know. We are thankful for feedback and comments — contact us.

Acknowledgements

The work is funded by the program W-SHARING: Towards Shared Repositories of Computational Workflows by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant number IIS-0948429 (September 2009 - August 2011).

The current How-To repository is taking the articles from wikiHow. The current matching algorithm is based on Google. The site is using jQuery as a Javascript library and BluePrint as the CSS framework. Logo created with LogoCreator (beta).

News

Sep 8, 2010

HowToDo is launched.