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Universal interchange format for GTD apps ? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
After I posted an iGTD to Omnifocus applescript (,
I was asked, on the iGTD site, perhaps a little tetchily, whether I would now write an Omni to iGTD script.

I would personally welcome the emergence of a standard human-readable (XML) interchange format which would allow GTD data-stores to move fairly freely from one app to another, and allow for some easy sharing of project outlines etc.

A candidate format might be OPML. Projects, sub-projects and actions could be readily nested, while Contexts and other action fields could be encoded as attributes of project and action nodes. A distinct subtree could store a Context tree.

If I had the time I might re-write the iGTD importer so that it first exports from iGTD to a GTD OPML, and then imports to Omnifocus from that GTD OPML. It would then be easier to add importers and exporters for additional applications.

It would, of course, be ideal if a standardized GTD OPML were to emerge, allowing developers to build reading and writing routines into their applications ...

Last edited by RobTrew; 2007-06-20 at 05:14 AM.. Reason: Ill-formed URL
Originally Posted by RobTrew
It would, of course, be ideal if a standardized GTD OPML were to emerge, allowing developers to build reading and writing routines into their applications ...
Seems to me you've already started the process. Somebody has to be the first person to think of an idea to develop. Unless someone else has beaten you to the punch already, it looks like you're that somebody.

Perhaps you'll become famous, and rich. Then again, maybe GTD is just the latest fad until the next to-do fad emerges.
We definitely think that XML is the way to go; in fact, our native file format is a series of XML transactions, compressed for efficiency using the standard gzip library.

Rather than trying to map tasks, projects, contexts, and folders to points in an outline, we use object-appropriate elements like <task>, <project>, <context>, and <folder>, which have subelements like <name>, <note>, and <completed>.

If you'd like to see a nicely formatted XML copy of your current OmniFocus data, try running this command in a Terminal window:

gzcat "Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/OmniFocus.ofocus"/*.xml | tidy -quiet -xml -utf8 -indent
I like the approach, and it is certainly reassuring to see that one could always extract one's data with some fairly straightforward XSLT and shell scripts.

For casual movement of data between ordinary users and from app to app, however, a Save As OPML and a File Open (OPML), would, I think, be very helpful.

It might be useful, for example, to get one's Omnifocus data into an Omnioutliner file with the contexts, dates and others details in columns.
That sounds very interessting, if I could be of any help please PM me.

It appears that the contents of the folder is now .zip files. I was able to use the previous command by changing it to:

gunzip -c "Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/OmniFocus.ofocus"/*.zip | tidy -quiet -xml -utf8 -indent

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