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Adding start date to project removes actions from Context view Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi there -

I am new to OmniFocus and have searched the archives but haven't found this issue described.

If I create a project that contains a bunch of actions and assign a start date to the project itself, none of the actions show up in context view no matter what setting I use for the status filter. I've tried this with actions that don't already a context assigned and ones that do. They'll appear in the proper place if I delete the start date from the project and disappear if I add it back in.

Example: I have a project called "Photo Shoot Prep" that contains the actions Pack gear, Call location to confirm availability, Call talent to confirm start time, etc. All these actions need to happen on the same day. If I assign a start date to the project "Photo Shoot Prep" then the actions (e.g. Call talent) don't show up in Context View no matter what I set the filters on and regardless of whether they already have a context (e.g. phone) assigned to them or not.

Have I found a bug?
You don't mention what the start date is that you've assigned to the project, but I'll assume it is in the future. If you assign a start date to a project, all actions for that project are considered unavailable until the start date. Changing the status filter will have no affect on this, however if you change the availability filter to 'Remaining', I expect your tasks will be visible.
I agree that Greg's theory is probably correct here. To expand on what he said, start dates, due dates, and flags all pass their characteristics down to any children of their row. If you have a project with a start date, all the children will be treated as if having that same start date, if they don't have a later one of their own. Similarly, a project with a due date will cause all the children to be treated as if they are due on the project's due date if they don't have an earlier one explicitly set. Flagging a project will cause its actions to be treated as if flagged. The same thing happens with action groups (or sub-projects as some like to call them).

For the most part, this behavior is what you want, but it can complicate life a little bit at times. For example, if you want to bring up a view that shows all of the actions which do not have their own due or start dates set, you can't use the group by due or group by start options in the view bar, because they are treated as if the parent's due or start date is present.

The project's start date should be the earliest that anything in the project can be worked, and the due date should be the date at which the job is finally done. There's nothing preventing you from having intermediate start and due dates for the various components of the project, and if the project is set to sequential execution, you won't see subsequent actions ("send proofs to client for approval") on your available actions list in context view until the necessary prerequisite(s) ("process images from shoot") have been completed.
Hi again -

Thank you so much for the quick replies and suggestions!

@whpalmer - the behavior you've described is what I would expect. This is a project where all the children have the same start date which is why I attached it to the project, not the individual actions.

@Greg Jones - I originally set up the project with the date it needs to start (7/22/10), but when the actions didn't show up, I tried changing the start date to Today and to Tomorrow. No matter what I make the date, the actions don't show up in context view. I've set the status filter to every setting: Remaining, Due Soon, Due or Flagged, Next Action, Available, and Completed. The actions don't show up no matter which is selected. I've got my time filter on Any Duration and my Flag Filter on Any Flag State.

The only thing that seems to get the actions to appear in the context view is removing the date from the project.

I truly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions!
Now that I think about it, I vaguely recall that Context mode screens out actions from projects with future start dates. I haven't found any mention of this in the documentation or on the forum, but it seems to explain the behavior you are seeing.

You can set start dates (or anything else you set with the inspector) for multiple items simultaneously by selecting the bunch, opening the inspector, and making the change. If you want them visible now even though the project hasn't started, you could do that to set the start dates on the actions and remove the project's start date or set it in the past.

Perhaps Brian will comment on the behavior and the rationale behind it...
Looks like the original design was that Context mode only showed items from active projects (unless you're including completed actions in the list), and projects which start in the future aren't considered active.

Feature request filed to modify the Remaining filter to show projects like this in context view - folks that want to see this added should email the support ninjas and vote for the change. Thanks!

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