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omni-eire 2010-09-20 05:06 PM

OF 1.8 - Unable to filter unavailable projects
I've got projects with next actions set to start in the future and unlike in OF 1.7.5, they are not appearing when I filter projects by "Stalled" in the sidebar.

Is anyone else experiencing this?
I've already tried rebuilding the database.
My backup of OF 1.7.5 is still displaying these projects as stalled.

Is this a bug or has OF changed the definition of a "Stalled" project?
If so how can these projects be filtered?

Not being able to quickly separate active from inactive projects is seriously effecting my work-flow.
I'm forced to go back to OF 1.7.5 for now.

Thanks for reading.
Any advice would be appreciated.

RobTrew 2010-09-20 11:32 PM

Projects are now considered '[URL=""]stalled[/URL]' when they are active but have no remaining actions.

(There is a draft FAQ listing current definitions of the OF 1.8 filters [URL=""]in this forum[/URL]).

'Active' is a user-assigned status (rather than a calculated property). Unless, in Preferences, you have checked "When completing the last action - mark the project or group completed", you have to manually change a project's status from Active to On Hold|Completed|Dropped).

In other words, projects with a future start date (or with a first task which has a future start date) are 'active' unless you have marked them as [done/dropped/on hold].

(They are not, however, 'available')

Also, if you reset a project's 'next task' to a future start date, it loses its special highlight, and the applescript interface shows that it is no longer flagged as the 'next task' of its project.
(This is probably rational because in parallel projects it allows another task to take over as the 'next task'. On the other hand, it can leave sequential projects (and parallel projects which only have one task left) without any formal 'next task', even when uncompleted tasks remain - so 'next task' is implicitly defined as something like 'next currently available task').

I personally use my [URL=""]Where in OF[/URL] script to track future starts and dues beyond a certain horizon.

For the purpose you describe, you might use searches like:
[INDENT][I]projects where start date of its first task > now[/I][/INDENT]
or, for specific horizons, things like:
[INDENT][I]projects where start date of its first task > today + 2w[/I][/INDENT][INDENT][I]projects where start date of its first task > <jan>[/I][/INDENT]
(A symbol like <jan> would be interpreted as midnight at the start of the next (or current) month of that name).

You can keep custom views like this within two clicks by saving them in your Where in OF search library (so that they appear on the front menu), and giving them some search options. For example:
[INDENT][I]projects where start date of its first task > now --sh nw gr=folder so=start[/I][/INDENT][INDENT][B]sh[/B] shortcut - jumps straight to a custom view which shows only the matching projects
[B]nw[/B] new window
[B]gr[/B]=folder [B]so[/B]=start - grouped by folder and sorted by start date[/INDENT]
[QUOTE=omni-eire;85930]I'm forced to go back to OF 1.7.5 for now[/QUOTE]

([URL=""]Where in OF[/URL] only works with OF 1.8 - It depends on a number of excellent innovations in applescript support which have been made in OF 1.8)


omni-eire 2010-09-27 07:05 AM

Thanks for the reply.

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Applescript and shouldn't have to use it for what I would consider basic functionality. Functionality that was present in the last release!

This is a bug in my opinion and I'm shocked Omni either missed it or didn't think it was important.

These actions are now completely invisible from context view. You have to go into project view and look for them manually. It's ridiculous!

I noticed the project title is faded on these projects but that is not nearly enough to distinguish them easily in a large group, and you can no longer just view all unavailable projects in one place with a single click.

Using the word "Active" is my original post was a mistake.
So let me rephrase my question:
How can I create a perspective in OF 1.8 to filter projects whose next action is unavailable - like I easily could in OF 1.7.5?

RobTrew 2010-09-27 07:39 AM

To see projects and actions with a future start date in Context view, I would probably start with:
[LIST][*]OmniFocus > Preferences > Project & Context Columns > Show full hierarchy[*]Ensure that the project column is showing in Context view (Ctrl Click on a column header)[*]Sidebar filter > Remaining[*]Grouping filter > Start[*]Sorting > Start[*]Status > Remaining[*]Flagged > Any status[*]Duration > Any Duration[/LIST]
You will then see actions listed under headings like:[LIST][*]Start within the next week[*]Start within the next month[/LIST]
(With their projects shown in the project column),
and you can use the disclosure triangles to collapse any groupings that are irrelevant to what you want.


omni-eire 2010-09-27 08:26 AM

I was wrong about the actions being invisible in context view but it doesn't solve any of the issues.

Available and unavailable projects are still bunched together making them hard to find and the unavailable projects still aren't viewable seperately.

I've sent a bug report to Omni.

Thanks for trying.

whpalmer4 2010-09-27 08:51 AM

It was a deliberate change, not an accident. Prior to the change, the set of people who wanted to discover projects with no remaining actions had to use an Applescript solution, such as Curt Clifton's Verify Next Actions Exist. People who wanted to discover projects with no available actions could use the Stalled filter. There were a number of complaints on the forum about how the old definition of Stalled wasn't useful to many users (personally, I did find it useful, but that's just my opinion), and probably there were more that went directly to Omni. You can see Ken's announcement of the change [URL=""]here[/URL] along with some discussion of the matter. Apparently they decided more customers would be better served by the new behavior, and made the change.

You shouldn't be so quick to dismiss extending and tailoring the application's behavior with Applescript. It is very easy to install Rob's script, and it is a veritable Swiss army knife when it comes to doing specialized searches in your database, most of which are simply not practical with the Omni UI. Part of the price of admission is going to pay for that Applescript facility that Omni provides all too many applications provide little or no scriptability! It isn't necessary to write your own scripts to take advantage, as a quick glance at the offerings in the OmniFocus Extras forum will reveal very useful scripts from people such as Rob, Curt, Dan Byler, Toadling, and so on, bringing greater functionality than the application provides out of the box. Rob's script can even be run from the dock or desktop if you don't want to install it in the OmniFocus toolbar.

So, you can run 1.7.5, keep the old behavior, and miss out on future functionality from 1.8 on, or you can run 1.8, get either definition of the stalled filter when appropriate (I use them both and wouldn't really want to lose either), and continue to enjoy bugfixes and new functionality. Seems to me the latter is a pretty easy choice to make, but it is your decision, of course. You should give Omni your feedback on the change and how it was made by using Help->Send Feedback, as there is no guarantee any particular forum post will be read by them, but all email they receive is.

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