Mylar hooks to external task repositories. The Mylar download site offers support for integrating with Bugzilla, JIRA, and Trac. There is a long talk proposal for EclipseCon that intends to discuss (among other topics) integration with XPlanner. I’ve been using the Bugzilla integration to triage Eclipse Corner Article submissions and Phoenix bugs. I’ve just started using the JIRA integration to keep tabs on the Apache Harmony bugs.
Adding entries to the task list is a matter of building a query on a repository. The query pulls the matching tasks (bugs) into the workspace where they can be manipulated (offline manipulation is supported). Creating repository queries is very easy using first class tools that resemble the corresponding web user interfaces (but feel far more elegant in the case of Bugzilla). I find the JIRA web interface a little clumbsy (likely due to my inexperience with it), but the query wizards provided for Mylar are intuitive and easy to use.
I like the permanent nature of the tasks. They’re loaded into your workspace and they’re updated on a regular (configurable) interval. Tasks that change are marked in the task list, making them really easy to spot. Mylar lets you attach additional information to the tasks, including such things as schedule information (when are you going to work on task), how long you estimate the task will take to complete, how much of the task is complete, and more. It also keeps track of how long the task is active (on a side note, it might be cool to build a BIRT report that details some of the statistics).
I’ve done a little digging and I’m quite sure that it’d be easy to create a mapping to a custom database table or web service for storing regular (i.e. non-bug) tasks. I’ve been toying with the idea of sorting out how to create integration with Outlook (or possibly an Open-Xchange server)…