Sections are dead! Long live sections!

Good plan. Hopefully it will ultimately result in the ability to pivot a project from list to board and vice-versa. That way we can list when we want to list (like when creating a bunch of tasks) and then we can board when we want to board.


So would this affect the sections in task themselves? Like subtask sections.

@Joe_Trollo any idea about this?


@Diakoptis @Frederic_Malenfant @Tayler_Ursu: there are still a lot of open questions that our product teams are working through and researching now that will answer how the Asana web app will behave in cases like “default” sections and sections in subtasks. The only information I have is that the API will reflect the web app behavior, but that behavior is not something the API team is deciding on.

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Hi all, the product team driving this migration has provided me with answers to a few of the questions in this thread that I can share with you.

I presume sections will also collapse/expand?

Sections will definitely collapse in list view.

Hopefully it will be collapsible also in the Timeline view

Timeline view is out of scope for this data model migration, but collapsable sections in timeline makes sense and will be considered for follow-up work.

So would this affect the sections in task themselves? Like subtask sections.

Sections in subtasks will remain as regular tasks, as the data model changes required to put column-sections inside tasks is far out of scope for this migration. This means that a subtask section cannot also be a project section. (A subtask section multi-homed into a project will appear to be a normal task in the project.)


Thanks for the update, @Joe_Trollo!

One question regarding the last bit about subtask sections…

In your initial post above, you indicated that the current (“old”) type of section - you called it a “task-section” - is going away. So does that mean that a currently-existing task-section living inside of a task will turn into a regular subtask; i.e. even if it ends with a colon, it will no longer be bolded etc.?

Thanx for the update! I hope to be well also there at Asana.

One question. What will happen with the existing tasks in list layouts that have memberships[n].section as null or to be more user-oriented that are not currently into a section?

Have a great day,

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Do we have any dates in mind for this migration?

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Continuing the discussion from "Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections:

@Joe_Trollo and team: is this “Tab-N” change purely a UI change or does this mean that the data transformation from task-sections to column-sections has begun??

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@Phil_Seeman: Existing task-sections in subtask lists will stay as they are—still just tasks at the data model level, and still bolded in the UI. They will eventually not require colons, though, and may behave differently than other subtasks in the UI despite being tasks in the data model, such as described in "Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections. The changes in that post are purely in the UI, and no data migration has begun.

@Diakoptis: We have not yet finalized what will happen to tasks in projects that are not already in a section.

@Fivetran_Developers: our product teams are still working on the implementations and we do not yet have a confirmed timeline we can share.

Thanks everyone for your interest and concerns!


I understand the update to the data model, but I don’t understand why you had to remove the “:” functionality. Why can’t that behavior be layered onto the new data model?


FWIW, the quick “:” method of creating sections has been one of Asana’s most brilliant UI features. Why would you take this away? It can’t be that hard to catch a colon typed at the end of a task and fake an Tab+N can it?


@Matt_Trifiro: with the data model changes, tasks and sections are not the same objects anymore and are incompatible with each other. It is not possible to change the type of an existing object—only to create a new object and copy data over. Enabling this would mean that every time you convert back and forth between sections and tasks, new objects would be created, IDs would be different, links and references would break, notifications would be sent, and more undesired side-effects would be unavoidable. Because column-sections don’t have assignees, descriptions, due dates, custom fields, comments, or anything other than a name, converting a task to a section would lose all of that data, and converting it back would not be able to restore it.

Also, every time this conversion happens, all the tasks beneath it (of which there may be thousands) now need to have their section-association objects rebuilt to reference the correct section. This (1) is a stability concern as a large number of objects need to be updated all at once, and (2) would require that we lock the project temporarily while that rebuilding happens, or else tasks that are added/removed/reordered could end up interfering with the rebuilding and cause inconsistent data or data loss.


Will it be possible to have multiple sections inside a section? We use the sections to split project’s phases, but often we would like to split a phase in multiple sections.

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@Francois_Pare, no, that will not be possible. A column-section in our data model can only be associated with a project, not another column. Similarly, a column in a board cannot have columns within it.


just wanted to say thanks @Joe_Trollo
This is one of the few topics in the forum where we get insights into what Asana is planning, where questions around an evolving feature are answered. Thanks for that!


Sadly I agree with @Matt_Trifiro but I understand the complexity @Joe_Trollo shared!

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Yes, this is great to understand what‘s happening inside. I am happily looking forward to the next coming new feature of switching List and Board view :blush:

If I am understanding this correctly. Eventually, all of the task-sections (tasks ending in a colon) will be converted to the new Sections format.

We integrate with the API to create sections in our List-View projects. At this moment we still are using the Task API interface to create these sections (just adding a colon to the name). We are looking at what resources are needed to convert to using the Sections interface. One major feature we currently see missing from the new Sections interface is sorting under the list-view (e.g. insert_before). We have a few projects which require keeping the sections sorted and are able to accomplish this through the Task API.

It appears section sorting is available in board view, but not in list-view (before_section or after_section). Is this going to be added to the new Sections API prior to deprecating the task-sections in the API?

If not, what are the recommendations to keep our Sections sorted in the meantime?

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Hi @Benjamin_Ragan,

Yes, once list-view sections are converted to be actual Section objects, then you’ll be able to use the exact same code to move the sections in the list-view project as you do now for board-view projects.

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