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-   OmniFocus 1 for Mac (http://forums.omnigroup.com/forumdisplay.php?f=38)
-   -   Showing contexts in "All Contexts" (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=9762)

tswartz 2008-09-04 09:13 PM

Showing context names in "All Contexts" view
 
I'm new to OmniFocus, so cut me a break if I'm missing something easy here.

All I'd like to do is sort my contexts by due date (tomorrow, this week, etc.), but also show the context name next to the task name. This is the screen I'm talking about, with the purple showing the area where I want the task's context name to show (click for larger view):

[URL=http://img379.imageshack.us/my.php?image=omniop1.gif][IMG]http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/8514/omniop1.th.gif[/IMG][/URL]

I use the general context view to see a basic picture of what I have due this week, drilling down into different contexts if necessary. I can't see what context a task is in using this format, though (unless I'm in the context, of course).

whpalmer4 2008-09-04 11:59 PM

If you select the actions of interest, then click on the focus button and switch back to project mode, you can see what contexts they fall into as well as any ordering dependancies with other actions.

MacBerry 2008-09-05 12:38 AM

But why? Why be forced to go through convoluted hoops, just to see perfectly reasonable data in your view of choice? In fact, that doesn't take you to your view of choice anyway, as you're now in project mode!

Mark

brianogilvie 2008-09-05 04:58 AM

[QUOTE=MacBerry;46496]But why? Why be forced to go through convoluted hoops, just to see perfectly reasonable data in your view of choice? In fact, that doesn't take you to your view of choice anyway, as you're now in project mode![/QUOTE]

Maybe three reasons: because OmniFocus is (1) a version 1.x product (2) whose original inspiration was GTD (Kinkless) and early alpha-testers mostly GTD proponents (3) produced by a company whose primary concern is the stability of the product and security of its data, not adding new features all the time.

Ken Case has stated repeatedly that Omni Group plans future refinements to the data structure and UI--for instance, arbitrary metadata columns. But they have not been as important as syncing. It's clear that Omni listens to user feedback, as witnessed by their quick addition of an option to instantly clean up completed actions.

On the other hand, given that OmniFocus was inspired by GTD, with its distinction between project lists and action lists, I don't think the distinction between modes will disappear any time soon. But I'd be surprised if Omni doesn't add an option to show a context column in context mode by v1.2 or 1.3.

MacBerry 2008-09-05 05:16 AM

I'm afraid that makes no sense to me Brian - I'd expect an early version to be simple, with complexity to be added later on. Instead we have an overly complex programme that needs simplifying!

I've asked elsewhere for an explanation of the benefits of the two modes, which appear to do nothing but confuse new users. I accept the GTD argument, but the UI doesn't have to be confused to achieve that - it can easily have the sort of UI I suggested elsewhere, with "plan" and "do" modes added that take advantage of that UI without restricting the user.

Yes context and project lists are meant to be separate in true GTD, but as it is now I can't create those lists the way I need them to be.

MacBerry 2008-09-05 05:23 AM

Put another way, contrary to concentrating on stability and data security, OG appear to have spent a lot of time second guessing what the user may want to see, and so have ended up restricting those of us who want more flexibility. Not putting a context column in context mode while having one in projects mode undoubtedly took more work than simply making the same choices available in both modes.

If they'd spent less time doing that, and instead said "let the user decide what he/she sees", the programme would be a lot better and more flexible now.

Bottom line Brian is that I [I]keep[/I] running into brick walls that appear to have been put in place deliberately, and so far I've seen no explanation of why?

Gardener 2008-09-05 10:59 AM

[QUOTE=MacBerry;46515]Not putting a context column in context mode while having one in projects mode undoubtedly took more work than simply making the same choices available in both modes.[/QUOTE]

I don't follow this assumption. The two views are very different, so I don't think that you can safely assume that they both come from some common view from which the Context column was removed for Context mode. I realize that you may be saying that you don't _want_ the two views to be very different. In my case, I find many of the other differences to be valuable.

In any case, while I would like the option of a Context column in Context view, I would want it to be optional - I'm already having a problem with getting enough screen width for my project names, so I wouldn't want to be forced to give up screen width for a Context column that I may or may not want in a given Perspective.

So I'd want this column to be optional, which I'd guess would be a good deal more work than just leaving it out. To me, it's a "would be nice" feature - I certainly wouldn't have considered it a drop-dead requirement before delivering the first version, and I wouldn't have put it before synchronization features.

Gardener

MacBerry 2008-09-05 11:14 AM

From where we are now I'd agree my assumption may be wrong, but from what I think would have been a logical starting point for this kind of programme, I think it's valid.

Of course the context column would have to be optional, just as it is now in project view. I think that goes without saying.

I really would like someone to explain to me the benefit of the two modes. Not so much which specific feature of each you value, as the concept behind them; when am I meant to use each; what's the thinking behind creating them? I.e. someone [I]please[/I] explain "modes" to me.

At the moment I see nothing but disadvantages to the setup, but there must be some design logic to it surely? Some explanation that would have me saying "ah, I get it now".

Mark

curt.clifton 2008-09-05 11:54 AM

[QUOTE=tswartz;46486]
I use the general context view to see a basic picture of what I have due this week, drilling down into different contexts if necessary. I can't see what context a task is in using this format, though (unless I'm in the context, of course).[/QUOTE]

As you may have gathered from the ensuing discussion, this isn't currently possible. Besides Will's suggestion, two other work-arounds that you might try are:[LIST][*] Double-click the bullet next to an action to open a new window focused on the actions project and showing context information.[*] Leave the inspector open so you can see the details for the selected item.[/LIST]
Both of these are far from ideal, since you can't see the contexts for all the items at once. Be sure to use [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=3734"]Help --> Send Feedback[/URL] to submit your feature request.

xmas 2008-09-05 01:41 PM

I think that people will commonly use the sort, then click on the sidebar to see what is due for each context...

But I'll be honest, this is the first time I've seen this pointed out. So...I guess most people aren't using that particular view very much, or they're getting by some other way.

In the meantime, I'd recommend following the advice of making sure that your actions are sentences, so that even on their own its clear as to what needs to be done.

A bug has been file though, and thanks for pointing this out.


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