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OO iPad - Sync vs Import/Export? [A: Import/Export; mail ninjas to request sync.] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I just had a look at the screenshots for OO iPad and I'm trying to clarify whether the Import/Export to WebDav / iDisk functionality is equivalent to automatic sync. I'm worried it's not. Can someone clarify if this functions the way OmniFocus does and allows for you to update a copy on the ipad which automatically updates the Mac / iphone version as well? Or do you have to make a change on the ipad version, "export" it to your webdav/idisk and then "import" it again in OO3 Mac version? I'm guessing this may well be the case (like Omnigraffle) with sync support coming later on. Can anyone confirm that? (or even if I'm on the right track with my thinking?)

WebDAV export/import lets you write files to (or read them from) a server, but you're correct; OmniOutliner handles this pretty much the same way OmniGraffle does.

A sync feature like OmniFocus has would be a much more complicated affair; it wasn't really something that we could fit in version 1. If you email the support ninjas with info on how you'd like to use this, we can make sure your request gets to the rest of the team so we can think about it for future releases. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the clarification Brian. I appreciate it would require a lot more effort to implement a solution like the OmniFocus sync than that which you are going in to a 1.0 release for OO ipad, but was just after some understanding of whether this functionality was on a roadmap in any sense for future development. I thought it might be a consideration for OO v4 perhaps. It must be hard conforming to the new paradigm everyone (me included) wants for same version automation across different versions of an app on different platforms.

Whilst manual import/exports do complicate workflows when you continually swap from mac / ipad versions of applications, it's still better than no option of sharing at all. So whilst a bit disappointed about this manual requirement, I have faith in Omni. Keep up the good work.
There's also the question of whether you mean "get me the most recently edited version of the file" or "merge all changes from any versions that have been edited" when you talk about sync. For most people, simply having the latest version of the file appear to be at their fingertips, no matter where they are, is what they want most. Having a sync mechanism that attempts to merge independent changes made in two or more versions is a level of complication that many probably don't need (or want, if it means a substantial delay in getting the former).
I've seen a good compromise approach in the iThoughts mind map tool:

Whenever you open a document from dropbox it downloads it and caches it - much like OmniGraffle or any of the Apple apps like Numbers.

However, it remembers where the doc came from and maintains a sync relationship with the source.

With a single sync operation it compares the versions (probably date based) of ALL the files you have in your cache and uploads/downloads the most recent as appropriate.

Thus after a sync the latest version of all the files you care about are replicated on the device and on remote storage.
Yeah, version control would be good enough for the majority (if not all) people I would imagine. Merging of data sounds like an overly complicated scenario and beyond what most people would want from an outliner. That certainly rings true from the heap of people requesting Dropbox support.

psidnell, that implementation in ithoughts does sound like a good (and clever) compromise.

I'll go through the proper process though and post the feature request through the right channels.

A nice consequence of simple file syncing based on modification date or version is that it doesn't matter what's in the files, thus Omni could "easily" put the same sync engine into their other iPad apps, like OmniGraffle.

OmniFocus has to be the gold standard for syncing but the downside is that the approach requires all clients to read/write via a complex proprietary file based transactional mechanism rather than just having to cope with a simple flat file.

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