Beeminder ♥ Trello

Monday, October 29, 2012
By Andy Brett


Lately at Beeminder we’ve been using Trello for just about everything. We use it to stage blog posts and track bugs and new features on the Beeminder API and website. The Beeminder iPhone and Android apps each have their own board too.

“We automatically track the number of cards in your Done list.”

Moving a card into the Done list feels pretty awesome. So in order to feel more awesome more often, we figured we’d beemind the number of cards in that list! But it’s pretty easy to forget to update your Beeminder graph every time you move a card into the Done pile. For many kinds of goals the Beeminder email bot or SMS bot solves the forgetfulness problem nicely: just reply to the bot with your number every day. But that would be annoying for Trello since you’d have to go and count the number of cards.

Enter the Trello API. We’ve set up a new goal type that automatically tracks the number of cards you’ve moved into one (or more) of your Trello lists. You can set one up just by pasting a link to the Trello board you want to track. If your board is private, you’ll be prompted to let Beeminder access your Trello account with the typical OAuth goodness. [1]

Then just use Trello like you normally do. Move a card into one of the lists you chose and you’ll see the data point appear on your graph, usually within 10-15 minutes (we don’t want to overload Joel’s servers!). UPDATE: Beeminder fetches your data less often than that now but you now can just hit the refresh button on your graph page if you want it to fetch your latest Trello count Right Now.

I’ve set up Beeminder goals that are tracking how many cards we finish on our website board as well as our API board. [2]. So I’m on the hook for $10 if we start slacking. Now you can be on the hook too (for your own boards, that is):

Start a Trello goal


[1] We never see your password and we’ll never look at anything except the number of cards on the list(s) you specify.

[2] These Trello boards are all completely open to the public, and we’ve tried our best to let anyone contribute. It seems like Trello requires that you be manually added as a contributor before you can create cards, but if you ask us we’ll definitely add you. And if someone at Trello is reading this, we’d love a promiscuous mode for boards that lets anyone at all contribute to them!

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  • tadeusz

    I wanted to write trello->beeminder link on my own. Boom, done, officially integrated. That must have been some form of telepathy on the part of beeminder crew.

  • Alan Casey

    I also love Trello! Bummer that Trello is down due to Hurricane on the day after this post :(

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  • boksir

    I have started using Trello with Beeminder. I haven’t seen Beeminder getting updated with the Trello board counts. I have to manually refresh the Beeminder goal to see the results.
    How often does the refresh happen automatically? I see the Gmail refresh happening much more often.

  • Daniel Reeves

    It refreshes before sending you reminders (including zeno reminders, if you have those on — ) and at midnight. So it will always check often enough to make sure you don’t derail (if you’ve moved enough trello cards to not derail) but is otherwise not very realtime. Of course you can manually hit the refresh button to have it check.

  • alisonscott

    Am I being really stupid? But when I archive cards from the done pile in Trello, my Beeminder target goes down. I don’t want the done pile to just keep expanding. help!

  • Daniel Reeves

    It’s not you! This is legitimately confusing and we need to change it, but for now the workaround is that if you want to archive cards from your Done list you need to archive *all* of them, so there’s zero Done cards, then hit refresh in Beeminder to make sure it grabs the zero datapoint.

    Here’s the whole story (Trello goals are Odometer goals):

  • alisonscott

    Thank you! There was a reason I hadn’t archived all of them but I will go and do it now.