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Learning from the competition ? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
OO has been on my iPad for a long time, and it's clear that a lot of thought went into it, but somehow, I always end up dropping it and going back to the OS X app.

Why ? The iPad version lacks the scriptability of OO3, and also seems to built on a theory that "taps are cheap" - a slightly uphill ratio of encumbrance to effect.
Also, for my taste, the top and bottom bars are a bit high-contrast and intrusive, and can't (I think) be made to go away.

I do suddenly find, however, that an (indirectly) competing app is enabling me to write productively and without distraction on the iPad. Key differences ?
  • Scriptability,
  • coherent and low noise visual design,
  • and simple and powerful gestures (taps are never treated as cheap). Swipe to left to see local and network file lists, swipe to right to see preview, scripting console, and in-app browser. Swipe left and right along the extended keyboard row to move the cursor.

It's a different model - Markdown rather than OO's excellent and distinctive outline + columns, and Python rather than Applescript, but there's something to be learned there I think. Not only that an iOS app can be as scriptable (or more) than OSX OO, but also that a really fluid and unintrusive UI can make the difference between actively wanting to use a thing and feeling slightly encumbered by it.

Competition is no bad thing :-)
 
FWIW I the think the most intrusive encumbrance for me in OO for iPad is having to continually activate and exit a separate glowing blue text field for each node in the outline.

It's especially noticeable when working on the iPad with an external keyboard. Tapping the cursor keys to move up or down a line simply doesn't work – you have to reach over to the screen and tap the outline node that you want to work on next.

No, screen taps are not cheap :-) Not for the user. Especially when their hands are on a keyboard.

Markdown outlining feels faster and more fluid. You can quickly move with the cursor keys, and go on typing, in a very familiar and undistracting way. A much more encouraging ratio of effort to effect – productivity in short.

To block indent or outdent in Editorial for iPad, for example, I can select a few rows with cursor keys or touch, and use two buttons which I've added to its bar. Should I be able to do this in OO ? Probably, but I haven't yet discovered how to - I end up indenting or outdenting each line individually.

For other block operations, in OO, the sequence of Edit > Check a box for each line > choose an operation icon > Done feels unfamiliar and cumbersome to me ...

For screenshots of a visual design which I already find unintrusive, coherent, and flexible on iOS6 (light and dark versions) see, for example:
http://www.macdrifter.com/2013/08/ed...t-editors.html
 
I'm a fan of OO on iPad, but I also recognise the limitations you describe and hope that they’ll be addressed, particularly the keyboard navigation, which I would guess (hope) to be fairly straightforward to implement. It might be a small thing which makes a big difference. I don't find the edit>select>move sequence too troublesome, but YMMV.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coconino View Post
I also recognise the limitations you describe and hope that they’ll be addressed, particularly the keyboard navigation
That would certainly be good – the OO outline + column model is more or less unique.

Another iPad OO glitch is that outlines copied from it to the clipboard are ill-adapted for pasting directly as iThoughtsHD mindmap diagrams - each node is preceded by a redundant hyphen and space which clutters the diagram text.

From any MarkDown editor I can just copy and paste a clean tab-indented outline. From Editorial for iPad I can automatically capture any Markdown outline (any combination of hash headers and indented lists) to a plain tab-indented form in the clipboard, and thence directly paste to an iThoughtsHD diagram.

The OmniOutliner clipboard output is not uncleanable, but I have to run it through a Pythonista script to do that, which is really more trouble (or less productive) than it's worth.
 
Keyboard navigation or any custom shortcuts are just not possible with the current iOS. We would have gladly added it if it was possible.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekM View Post
Keyboard navigation or any custom shortcuts are just not possible with the current iOS. We would have gladly added it if it was possible.
I guess you probably mean custom keyboard shortcuts ?

(Editorial for iPad, for example, allows you to assign shortcut buttons to a bar across the top of the screen – the shortcuts are built from macro actions, and/or defined in Python)

(it also enables us to use up and down arrow keys to move from line to line)
 
Yes, sorry :) We can do whatever we want on screen!*
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekM View Post
Keyboard navigation or any custom shortcuts are just not possible with the current iOS. We would have gladly added it if it was possible.
Now you mention it, the only app I use regularly which uses any kind of keyboard navigation outside text fields is Apple's Numbers. I’ve read that using the built-in Voiceover feature provides keyboard navigation but at the expense of completely changing the method of touch navigation. I've only tried it briefly, enough to realise that it requires a bit more learning time than I have at the mo.
 
Agree totally and unreservedly with RobTrew on this one.

I bought OO for iPad expecting to get a great tool for rapidly putting down my thoughts, but it's the polar opposite. Powerful, but slow and cumbersome to use, especially the comedy file browser.

Editorial exemplifies the kind of attention to detail and inspired design that I'd expect to find in a $30 app, not least one from Omni.

Heck, it's actually faster to just get stuck in with iThoughts than start with OO: you can dictate into iThoughts with Siri and it will split the dictation into nodes based on when you say, "comma", e.g. if you say, "beans comma eggs comma beer comma pies", you get:
  • beans
  • eggs
  • beer
  • pies

Why doesn't OO have these kind of cool and immensely useful features?
 
 


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