Thread: OO Pro 4.0?
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I am happy to see Len Case ask for what we would like to see in a "theoretical" OO 4.0- it is something I have been thinking about for a long time and this seems like the perfect invitation.

There appears to be two basic user camps for OO- the writers/ researchers and those who use it as a task/ project management system. I fall into the later category, so I can not say what is mssing software-wise for the writers. But, there are a number of things I would love to see in the next major release of OO for task management. Things get further complicated by the fact that I know Omnigroup is developing a Kinkless version and I do not know how the new software will affect/ change the user base of OO (maybe what I am writing should go into that forum).

Anyway, here is my list of features that I would love- no, need to see. This list has been developed through months of using programs such as OO, Mori, DevonThink, Merlin, Journaler, Yojimbo ... the list goes on and on. I have also spent countless hours scouring user forums and blogs (and I keep seeing the same group of people in each) looking for the perfect software solution. My conclusions are the following: 1. there is no perfect off-the-shelf solution (too many different people w/ different needs), 2. everyone is looking for the same basic set of core features (and the various companies are not delivering for whatever reason). For OO, it is smart folders, for Journler it is the lack of custom columns, etc.

All of the software I tested will have everything I need except one thing, and then the other software will have that one thing but will be missing something else that the first one had. It's a never ending cycle of trying to bend the software to do what I want it to do- I eventually give up and just do what the software wants me to do. I guess in that sense it is very similar to marriage, but that is another topic. If the various companies listened to what their users where saying, someone would be making a killing- I think the company that will make a killing is going to be the first company to come out with the software with the full set of core features.

What I envision is this- I would set up a basic outline (w/ custom columns) as my "database". Once the outline is set up, it would become almost secondary to the smart folders. I think that the smart folders should essentially become the program- smart folders, or a version of it, is where things are heading. Think iTunes, but with outlining capabilities.

Core Features:

1. Easy and intuitive outlining capabilities - OO is there and no major improvements are needed, in my opinion.
2. Custom columns- Again, I think OO is already there with the current columnar data types, but here are a couple more things that would further extend the existing capabilities.
- w/ auto-fill capabilities
- w/ non-destructive sorting (see: Mori)
- w/ the ability to add aliases (example: I could have a pop-up column with resources to assign to a task. I could assign a person, click on the name and it would take me to that person's smart folder that has all of the other assigned tasks). See: SailAlong Software ActionItems
- ability to add actions to- an example would be that the specific line would archive itself after it has been checked, or make private (see below)
- Privacy option per line- another checkbox?
3. Robust smart folders
- option to search by any column- this is where I think that strength of a program like I am describing would come from (in combination w/ custom column information).
- ability to edit smart folder contents (and would update info in the main outline)- smart folder would maintain the hierarchal structure and would editable

Secondary Features:

1. A floating palette for column "views"- this is where I think "sets" of user-defined columns should reside. Instead of being able to hide/suppress an individual column I think that you should be able to put together groups of columns (columns could end up in more than one group). I also think that this should be a hierarchal list.
2. Custom column views (similar to iTunes)- every "window" can be customized to show different columns.
3. Different views
- flattened table view- removes structure and allows total sorting by column
- iTunes (genre/ artist/ album)- also see: Merlin. This could replace the existing Utility Drawer?
4. Move to/ Duplicate to/ Clone to- see: DevonThink

Tertiary Features:

1. sync to Address Book- this feature would be great to use with the pop-up column type I described above when assigning tasks.
2. sync to iCal- for obvious reasons
3. able to network with other users on a network- this would be huge for our office
4. Export to OmniPlan

Anyway, there it is in a nutshell (a big one). There are many other little things I would like to see (and i may add ore if I think of any), but these are all of the key features that would make me very happy and productive. If anyone on your end is interested, feel free to contact me via email and I would be more than happy to have someone in our graphics department put together some simulated screenshots for you that would better illustrate what I am talking about.

By the way, I think that there needs to be a separate forum for feature requests. It is too hard to sort through all of the postings of people asking questions vs. those that are asking about features or have feature requests.