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-   OmniFocus 1 for Mac (http://forums.omnigroup.com/forumdisplay.php?f=38)
-   -   .Mac Sync (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=4290)

Shawn Wright 2007-07-25 06:16 AM

.Mac Sync
 
I know I am beating a dead horse but I just wanted to get my two-cents to Omni for .mac support. To be able to use this on my three computers would be tremendously helpful instead of having to fire up my laptop when I want to use OmniFocus. Maybe we can get this function in version 1?

Is it just me but in the past month or so of using OmniFocus I haven't had a single crash or glitch. Maybe we should call this Beta? What a great program! Keep it up guys.

Shawn

BwanaZulia 2007-07-25 08:40 AM

Second (or third, or forth).

BZ

wkoffel 2007-07-25 08:52 AM

Oh for the love of your Father and Mother, YES!

Fine, maybe a bit dramatic, but as I've said in other threads, this is my biggest wish, no question about it.

Any general sync mechanism that freed this data from the bonds of CoreData on my disk would be helpful. Especially one that actually worked to sync back changes from another machine's copy of OF.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those things for me like the Apple Spreadsheet app, I'll covet it for years before it finally (if ever) comes to fruition.

And don't get me wrong, as a developer myself, I don't blame Omni for wanting to put this in well after a stable 1.0, it's kind of a bitch to do right. But it doesn't make me want it any less. Wow me, Omni. Show off your Cocoa kung-fu and make that action happen!

Shawn Wright 2007-07-25 09:45 AM

Is it really that hard to implement .mac support? I am not a programmer at all so this is a question and not sarcasm. I would think that if Yojimbo or even iGTD use it then it couldn't be that difficult. Am I wrong?

wkoffel 2007-07-25 09:58 AM

[QUOTE=Shawn Wright]Is it really that hard to implement .mac support? I am not a programmer at all so this is a question and not sarcasm. I would think that if Yojimbo or even iGTD use it then it couldn't be that difficult. Am I wrong?[/QUOTE]

The actual SyncServices mechanism for .Mac is not terribly complicated, no. The trick with sync'ing of any sort is getting the conflict resolution algorithms correct. It takes a *lot* of testing and there are lots of edge cases. Smaller shops sometimes skimp on that, and figure "good-enough" if it works in 90% of the cases.

I believe Omni is the kind of company that wouldn't want to ship it unless it were rock solid in 99% of the cases, which means quite a bit more testing.

In addition, the data model in OF is far more complicated than something like Yojimbo (which I use and love the .Mac syncing, BTW!!). There is so much state captured in tasks and projects. Start to imagine all the cases, and how you'd handle them:

- What happens if you mark a task completed on machine A, change it's context and recurrence fields on machine B, and delete it on machine C, what is the expected output when those machines all try to sync?

- If the machines you are using it on are each in different time zones from each other and from .Mac, how do you manage the date columns for tasks?

- Would you want all preferences also sync'ed, like perspectives, empty projects and contexts, View Bar settings, etc. Or just data? Or maybe a preference for what is kept in sync. Maybe folders, so you could have your work and home projects on your home machine, but just your work projects on your work machine. etc., etc.

Those are just a few things off the top of my head, but I'm sure Omni has a much more comprehensive list of hard questions regarding .Mac sync'ing.

Anyway, that's my fear, but I sure hope they'll prove me wrong!

Anthony.Calzadilla 2007-07-25 01:26 PM

Well in the meantime you can use 'File/Back Up Database' and save the OF database to your idisk or thumbdrive. Then copy the OF file over to your second machine and use the 'File/Revert to Database Backup' to load it up.

@ Shawn: OF doesnt have to be exclusive to your MacBook, remember use the Back up Database option... Its a little bit of a pain in the arse but the Omni Gangsta's can only do so much :)

curt.clifton 2007-07-25 02:38 PM

[QUOTE=wkoffel]
- What happens if you mark a task completed on machine A, change it's context and recurrence fields on machine B, and delete it on machine C, what is the expected output when those machines all try to sync?

- If the machines you are using it on are each in different time zones from each other and from .Mac, how do you manage the date columns for tasks?

- Would you want all preferences also sync'ed, like perspectives, empty projects and contexts, View Bar settings, etc. Or just data? Or maybe a preference for what is kept in sync. Maybe folders, so you could have your work and home projects on your home machine, but just your work projects on your work machine. etc., etc.

Those are just a few things off the top of my head, but I'm sure Omni has a much more comprehensive list of hard questions regarding .Mac sync'ing.
[/QUOTE]

Those questions are all easy compared to rearranging projects, actions and folders. I haven't done the math, but it seems likely that the problem is "NP Complete", which is a $5 computer science term for "not doable in any reasonable amount of time". It may be that approximately correct is as good as outline syncing can be.

jstrat 2007-07-26 02:28 AM

Yup have to say that not having Sync of some sort is limiting the useof OF for me.

I know that backup to iDisk could work
I know that putting it all on a USB stick/iPod could work

but both of those ways require me to remember something, the whole point of OF for me is so that I don't have to remember stuff!

Up the vote for sync systems please.

Cheers
Jason

MacSparky 2007-07-26 07:59 AM

Additionally, if the data were parked on the .Mac server, we could get access to it (or at least view) it on our iPhones with a few extra steps. I am very much in favor of this.

David

[url]www.macsparky.com[/url]

wkoffel 2007-07-26 08:25 AM

I wonder if there's a way to leverage the Backup/Restore DB functionality into a poor-man's .Mac sync?

Basically, on launch, have OF check for a version on .Mac that's newer than the current local DB, and offer to download it and replace the current with it. It'd mean you could only run on one Mac at a time, you'd probably have to quit the app when you went to another machine, and there'd be a delay in sending up and retrieving the DB.

Just thinking out loud here, wondering if there's a temporary solution that doesn't distract TeamOmni but satisfies some of these productivity cravings for those of us on multiple machines/laptops.

(Edit: sorry, double posted this to another thread incorrectly as well, in case you notice me repeating myself....)


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