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So here's my thinking:

- The whole point of an inbox in GTD is that you just bung stuff into it, to be processed later.

- Given the choice of the iPhone and the Desktop apps, which are you most likely to have to hand when a thought hits you - the iPhone I'd suggest.

- Given the two points above, inbox use on the iPhone should be made as easy as can be, easier than the desktop even, if there has to be a choice.

- It's not ;)

In other words, I'm, well, anywhere, and take a call asking for a quote. I should be able to grab my iPhone, and with the absolute minimum fuss, be able to add "Quote for Acme" to the inbox without having to take ANY decisions there and then, other than what to call it.

So what I'd like to see is:

1) The ability to add a voice note to the inbox without having to go via the full app. I'd really like a separate "mini-app" on my home screen, that does nothing but record a new note and add it into the inbox - tap button on home screen>talk>tap "done">mini-app exits and the new inbox item is there when I next open the full OF. The same mini-app could also offer options for photo and text inbox items, or there could be separate mini-apps for each.

For now the closest I can get is to open OF>tap new inbox item>type "V" in the subject so I can see it's a voice item later (it won't save without something in there anyway)>tap done on the keyboard>tap to record>tap to stop>tap to save. It's not bad, but it could be a lot easier too.

2) The ability to add items to inbox without having to decide whether they are actions or projects yet. "Quote for Acme" might be a single action, but it could be a project just as easily. Either way I should be able to just chuck it into the inbox and decide what it is later, when I process it. This ability exists on the desktop via drag and drop, but is needed even more critically on the iPhone I think.

Obviously drag and drop won't work on the iPhone, but a drop down box or similar, offering options to make the item a task or a project, would.

3) A single tap way to enter another inbox item immediately after entering the first, the equivalent of enter on the desktop.

4) Templates. Type "Acme", choose a template from a drop down list or similar, and it turns into "Quote for Acme", with the appropriate contexts etc set. Even better, it turns it into a project called "Quote for Acme", sets it parallel or sequential, and adds actions for "Send Acme enquiry to Widgets Ltd", "Select equipment for Acme", "Prepare Acme estimate", and "Prepare and issue Acme quote". I then simply add start and due dates when I process it. All of this set up by the user once only.

Mark

Last edited by MacBerry; 2008-07-26 at 08:52 AM..
 
1) For security and stability reasons, Apple doesn't provide us a way to do what you're asking for here. Perhaps at some point in the future, and perhaps in the meantime we can do other things that at least alleviate the issue.

2) I'm not in a position to make a promise, but I believe we will be addressing that soonish. If you haven't already, please email the request in to support at omnifocus-iphone@omnigroup.com so that it will get tracked, and if we're not already planning to do that, it will get raised as an issue.

3) A good thought. Again, please email it in to support so it will get tracked appropriately.

4) We've certainly had requests for templates in the past, and there's a lot to be said for the feature. Again, email support to lobby for the feature, so it will get added to the list of people asking for it, which will help us prioritize the work.
 
It may be a request for a separate application. An OmniInbox application for the phone.

Evernote has a good template for adding items to their inbox. You still need to tap inbox button in their application. And Evernote's text entry is not as polished as OF.

The app might look something like Evernotes.

The workflow would look like:
tap OmniInbox application.
tap text or voice item.
type or speak
tap new item button
or close application.

The application doesn't even need to show what's in the inbox. Just a drop box for things.
 
But since applications are sandboxed on the phone, there's not really a way to share data between applications. There are things we could do such as write an Inbox application that shoved its changes out to a WebDAV server, and then OmniFocus would look for those changes on launch, but that's a lot of effort for implementation and maintenance (and additional user configuration that is relatively prone to error, based on the support email we've been getting) for a user experience that is unlikely to be very satisfactory.

We're not categorically opposed to the idea - certainly we would like to improve the current user experience. But we are relatively limited in what is available to us on the phone. The more immediate priority is to improve performance, which will benefit everyone, and should at least alleviate the desire for a separate inbox application (and then there are other things we might do which could improve that experience further).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
1) For security and stability reasons, Apple doesn't provide us a way to do what you're asking for here. Perhaps at some point in the future, and perhaps in the meantime we can do other things that at least alleviate the issue.
I understand. But how about letting us create a quick voice note, directly into inbox without having to type a subject, hit done, hit record, hit stop, hit save, from within OF if it can't be done as a separate mini-app?

Or, how about if OF could be set in an option to start up with an opening screen, with say 4 buttons: "New Voice Note", "New Photo", "New Text Item" and "Open App". The database would only load if the fourth button was tapped, if that's possible technically, to speed thing up when all you want to do is bung a new item into OF.

I just think the iPhone fits most peoples visualisation of what a physical electronic inbox would be like if David Allen had been able to make one.

Quote:
2) I'm not in a position to make a promise, but I believe we will be addressing that soonish. If you haven't already, please email the request in to support at omnifocus-iphone@omnigroup.com so that it will get tracked, and if we're not already planning to do that, it will get raised as an issue.
Will do.

Quote:
3) A good thought. Again, please email it in to support so it will get tracked appropriately.
Will do.

Quote:
4) We've certainly had requests for templates in the past, and there's a lot to be said for the feature. Again, email support to lobby for the feature, so it will get added to the list of people asking for it, which will help us prioritize the work.
Will do.

Thanks.

Mark

Last edited by MacBerry; 2008-07-26 at 12:35 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBerry View Post
I understand. But how about letting us create a quick voice note, directly into inbox without having to type a subject, hit done, hit record, hit stop, hit save, from within OF if it can't be done as a separate mini-app?

Or, how about if OF could be set in an option to start up with an opening screen, with say 4 buttons: "New Voice Note", "New Photo", "New Text Item" and "Open App". The database would only load if the fourth button was tapped, if that's possible technically, to speed thing up when all you want to do is bung a new item into OF.

I just think the iPhone fits most peoples visualisation of what a physical electronic inbox would be like if David Allen had been able to make one.
I didn't meant to imply that we won't consider ways of improving quick entry - it's definitely something that has gotten some discussion internally. I just don't want to commit to any particular solution or any particular timeframe.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
But since applications are sandboxed on the phone, there's not really a way to share data between applications. There are things we could do such as write an Inbox application that shoved its changes out to a WebDAV server, and then OmniFocus would look for those changes on launch, but that's a lot of effort for implementation and maintenance (and additional user configuration that is relatively prone to error, based on the support email we've been getting) for a user experience that is unlikely to be very satisfactory.
I was thinking syncing out to the webDav server... well... iDisk server, I'm not using a webDav.

Since only one application can be running at a time on the iPhone, you wouldn't have any syncing conflicts between the OF inbox app & the OF iPhone app.

There could be a lag. But all the inbox app is doing is writing a text item into a new task. No project, category or any of the other support for the inbox app. Just task name. Like throwing a piece of paper into an inbox. The inbox app doesn't have to load the entire omnifocus application, just send a new task to the inbox. (course, I'm not sure if this could work with the OF app. For example, the quick entry app on the desktop doesn't work unless the OF document is open.)

I guess I'm thinking of opening a file and just writing to it... no reading. Just write a record at the end of the database. Not sure if it can be done with OF. It can be done with a text file... as long as you know the end line. And in SQL you can write a record to the end of the table without reading the entire table.

Maybe it would need an inbox file that gets written to. The OF file isn't being accessed. Then when the OF file is opened, it looks to the inbox file to see if there are any items that need to be appended... or synced into the OF file.

Audio would be a bit more problematic as far as speed.

If a user closes out of the inbox app before an item is synced... then it stays in the inbox app and a number appears on the icon to let the user know there are items pending to be synced in the inbox. A user opens the OF iPhone app, and the OF app checks for new items and syncs just as it does now.

Just brainstorming here... not sure if any of this could work. :)
 
In re-reading my post... I think I said all that you said... only different. :)

I agree, first priority should be getting it stable and faster.

Thanks for the response.

Last edited by SpiralOcean; 2008-07-26 at 02:53 PM..
 
In thinking about the iPhone sandbox... somehow, the Google App is able to search the iPhone contacts. Maybe the contacts is a different type of application. I wonder how it reaches into the iPhone's contacts?

When I had a Palm... many moons ago... one of the coolest features was the search function. It could search across all applications. I almost never opened an application... it was faster to hit the search button and search for what I wanted. Click on the result and be taken to the item in the app.

To compare the palm to the iPhone is silly... but that was a nice feature.
 
SpiralOcean: Yes, contacts is a different type of application -- it's made by Apple. They seem to be able to do some data sharing and background stuff that isn't available to the rest of us. (That might sound bitter, but I don't mean it to be.) However, if you see two third-party applications sharing data without a sync out to a webserver or something, we'd really like to hear about it!
 
 


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