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Originally Posted by GeorgeV View Post
I happen to like chopped liver :) All of it was great. Thanks for your thoughtful reply!
Just giving you a hard time, of course :-)
I didn't realize it when I posted the thread but I do now, that you can't have nested projects in OF for iPad.
Not sure I know what you mean by this. I'm not aware of any structures you can create on the Mac that are not allowed by the iPad.

Here's my sample plan, after some work has been done:

Notice that the initial group is done, and now we are executing a parallel group containing two sequential groups, and one of them has reached a parallel group. I'm showing all actions in the image, but a remaining actions view would show all actions not yet completed, an available actions view would just show the items in black, and a next actions view just the "Ask on town forum" action, as it is the uppermost available action.

But you can simulate this by having an action group inside of a project, which acts like a sub-project. And you can have many levels of this.
I prefer the official nomenclature of folders, projects (and single-action lists, which are just a special sort of project), action groups, and actions. Here's a breakdown of the hierarchy showing what can contain what, and which features are supported:

The key difference to my mind between a project and an action group is the ability to review, drop, and put on hold for the former; as there is no ability to do all of those project attributes with an action group, I find calling it a sub-project to be a route to confusion and delay. A nested project? Is that a project with action groups inside, or a project inside a folder hierarchy?

In your graphic, I notice there are items in black, gray, and purple. I assume purple is next action. Gray is probably future action, and black is available right now.
That's correct. Orange means "Due Soon", red means overdue, and blue means action from a single-action list. The blue and purple colors aren't used on the iPad or iPhone app. The future connotation of the gray color means not available now, not that there is necessarily a specific time in the future at which it will become available. The project might be on hold, or dropped, or that action is assigned to a context which is on hold, or there's a future start date on the action or project, or simply it isn't the leading action in a sequential project or group.

The hard part to this is understanding the behavior when the groups, whether it's a project or action group, are sequential, parallel, or single action, and their child groups can be independently sequential or parallel. There are 6 possible combinations:

Project/Action Group:

single actions/sequential

single actions/parallel
More combinations than that, as you can have groups inside groups inside's turtles all the way down :-)
The actions displayed to the user depend upon the availability filter which has four states:

Next Action
Don't forget about Completed.
The key to understanding how OF works is in understanding the above and I am still struggling with this.

At this point, I don't see the difference between Parallel and Single Actions. What is the behavior of actions between these two types of projects. Note that Single Actions are not available to action groups for some reason that I don't know.
When I answered your question last night, I wondered if you were asking the question I answered, or this one. I decided that no matter which one I answered, it would turn out you meant the other one, so I went with the one that was more fun, and I'm glad I didn't immediately delete the sample project! :-)

There are a number of differences between SAL and parallel project. Perhaps the most obvious at first glance is the icon assigned. Next, actions in SAL's are styled blue by default on the Mac, unless overridden by due soon, overdue, or unavailable styling. All available actions in a SAL are treated as if they are next actions, whereas only the first available action in a parallel project or group is treated as if a next action.

So what is the practical bottom line? Well, if the container really is a catch-all bucket of independent items, you might want to see all of them in your context lists, and a SAL would be an appropriate choice. Projects have outcomes, and SALs do not, so some of use SALs to contain collections of tasks which are related but have no near-term outcome. I have one for taking care of my pets, for example. "Feed the cats until they are dead" just doesn't have the right ring to it :-) Despite the name, you can have action groups in a SAL, so it could be used as an area of responsibility structure, although as you see in my chart above, you don't get the same level of control as you do with a collection of projects.

There are few irrevocable choices made when using OmniFocus. If you set something up as a parallel project and after a few days you think it might be better as a SAL, just bring it up in the inspector and change it! On occasion I've temporarily changed SALs to projects and later back again just to slim down the otherwise overwhelming list of choices. If it works for you, that's all that really matters. Try it both ways, see what you like. The right answer now may not be the right answer later, so take a little time now and then to reflect on what works well and what has a bit too much friction, and alter your approach accordingly. One of my favorite aspects of being a forum participant here is seeing the different approaches people use, and I'm always looking to add some clever new twist that someone else thinks is completely obvious but never occurred to me!