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As much as I like OF and Omni in general, it's become pretty clear to me after fighting to get WebDAV synching to work for the past 3 days that this feature is not ready for prime time.

At first I thought there might be a couple bugs left that the sheer number of new users uncovered, but by now it's pretty obvious that it's more than a couple bugs... It's totally beta quality.

Which is fine... I understand that the way Apple setup the App Store makes it more difficult to beta test because you can't get people to download beta preview versions. BUT they were a few things that sort of ticked me off in the "read me first" sticky:

- Don't tell me to buy a mobile me account. Just don't... I backup all my work every night via cron and rsync, I wrote my own photo gallery, and cube mail works just fine. I'm sure mobile me is great but I didn't wait for Apple to get this functionality on my Mac... It's fine to mention it once, but stop being pushy about it. I don't need it, don't want it, and no I will not get it just to synch OF.

- "There are a lot of factors that are out of our hands" is I guess the one that compelled me to write this post... Don't make it sound like WebDAV is super tricky and there was no way you could have avoided the initial problems. WebDAV is a standard protocol used all over the place. If you have difficulties setting it up with OF, maybe you can contract the guys at Panic... Transmit (FTP app with WevDAV capability) connects fine to any WebDAV disk you throw at...

In short: a "WebDAV support is still beta, we'll let you know when it's ready for prime time" disclaimer on launch day would have been plenty for me, as opposed to a "There are a lot of factors that are out of our hands" 3 days later.

I'll keep on beta testing for you and sending bug reports... but seriously, the problem is not WebDAV, it is Omni Focus, so don't try to shift the blame...

Thanks.
 
Ken is infinitely more qualified than I am to explain the details of what's happening here, but keep in mind that there are multiple web servers out there running their own implementation of WebDAV; each have their own idiosyncrasies that we're in the process of working around.

That's why we're having problems with some providers and not others; different web servers behave differently, even when they're implementing the same WebDAV specification.

Some of these problems may in fact be our fault; I'm certainly not asserting that we're blameless here. But it's an oversimplification to say "if there are problems, it's OmniFocus' fault".

The goal of the post you're responding to was not to shift blame; it was to point folks who don't care about the technical details of WebDAV in the direction of getting up and running with a minimum of fuss. If it sounded like blame-shifting, I'm certainly willing to re-word or re-phrase. Suggestions welcome.

The instant we start hearing from folks that are having success on box.net or one of the other free WebDAV providers, I'm happy to link to them in that list, as well. But right now, the free services appear to be the ones we're having the most trouble with.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yann View Post

- "There are a lot of factors that are out of our hands" is I guess the one that compelled me to write this post... Don't make it sound like WebDAV is super tricky and there was no way you could have avoided the initial problems. WebDAV is a standard protocol used all over the place. If you have difficulties setting it up with OF, maybe you can contract the guys at Panic... Transmit (FTP app with WevDAV capability) connects fine to any WebDAV disk you throw at...
Uh, maybe it does now, but it didn't when it first came out. TCP/IP is a standard protocol used all over the place, too, and it took a lot of work on the part of all the major vendors in interop sessions before it really became "plug-n-play" to the extent it is today. It's a fact of life that whenever you have a bunch of different groups implementing against a specification there will be some interoperability issues at first, especially if they don't all get to test against each other and/or the spec is in flux.

That is NOT to say that I don't think they couldn't have done better. In my experience, it does seem to work quite well with the WebDAV implementations I know they tested against. I'm sure they wish they'd tested against a wider variety, but there doesn't seem to be any lack of interest or urgency on their part as far as fixing the bugs that turn up.
 
Most of the complaints I've seen have been with cPanel-based WebDAV servers, which unfortunately we didn't test against. (In fact, I'd never heard of cPanel before; we tested against the built-in apache web server, and against Apple's iDisk server.)

The bugs we've found are mostly places where cPanel isn't following the WebDAV spec: for example, unless you specify "Overwrite: T" they won't overwrite on a move, even though the WebDAV spec clearly states that "T" (true) is the default. Obviously we can't fix all the cPanel servers out there to make them follow the spec, so the only way we can fix the problem is to make OmniFocus deal with cPanel's quirks. We're working on doing just that, but it does take some time! (We've only had one business day since these problems were reported—though yes, we're continuing to work on it over the weekend.)

Last edited by Ken Case; 2008-07-13 at 10:14 AM..
 
Hi - new user here. I just thought I should pipe in with a complaint (sorry) and a request.

I was recommended your software byPaul Boag, who runs a rather successful podcast on web design ( www.boagworld.com ), I even heard about the iphone GTD software there and that was pretty much what sold me into getting this half broken piece of apple hardware (no sync over bluetooth? madness).

Anyway.

1) Cpanel - everyone uses Cpanel, it's one of the most popular default control panels for any linux/Apache systems, in my capacity as a web designer for the past 10 years, I have rarely come across anything else.

2) Excuses aside - when will we have an update as to Cpanel compatibility? I have already bought the ipod software, without checking the sync situation, so now I can't go ahead and buy the desktop version until I know when things are going to be fixed. I appreciate it can be a problem bug testing, but an ETA would be great :0

Thanks - I hope your software turns out as good as I was promised it would be ;)

Last edited by Tetsugaku-San; 2008-07-13 at 11:28 AM..
 
I just signed up for a free trial of mobileme and added a "single action" to OF: "cancel mobileme account in 59 days"...

Hopefully the WebDAV situation will have been smoothed out by then...

@Ken: cPanel is pretty ubiquitous in the hosting world. What you're saying is roughly equivalent to launching a new website without testing it in Internet Explorer... ;)

That said, OF synch via WebDAV didn't work either on Virtualmin:

http://www.virtualmin.com/

That would be the "Firefox" equivalent: less popular but more powerful and "standard compliant." I can setup a user for you to test on that setup if you'd like, just let me know if that would help...

I don't have any Plesk setup, but that's another Hosting control panel you might want to check (not sure if it has WebDAV integrated though, I never used it...)
 
I just committed a fix for the latest cPanel issue (in r102781) and started a new build, so it should be available for download within half an hour or so. Here are the release notes for this fix:

Quote:
Fixed another sync incompatibility with cPanel WebDAV servers (such as those hosted by bluehost.com).

The fundamental issue we've been facing is that cPanel doesn't preserve the names of files uploaded by the client, so when OmniFocus goes back to look for something it isn't where it put it. (In fact, if you try to browse to those files using a web browser you'll find that they can't download them either.)

We've hopefully worked around this by tracking the WebDAV URL independently from the transaction name, so we can use the URL when we need to fetch data from the server but use the original transaction name when deciding how that data fits together.

Please note that the iPhone version 1.0 of OmniFocus doesn't yet have these fixes; they'll be in version 1.0.1.

Last edited by Ken Case; 2008-07-13 at 12:55 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yann View Post
I just signed up for a free trial of mobileme and added a "single action" to OF: "cancel mobileme account in 59 days"...
Me too, I just can't be bothered to be someone else's beta tester, I have enough of that to do on my own. I can now sync no problem at all using my idisk. However now my iphone version of focus won't load!!

Ah dear. I bought an iphone and a macbook pro to get away from this, I suppose I was being too optimistic.
 
Look. OmniFocus 1.1 is currently ALPHA software. It's not even beta yet. While I've found OF 1.1 to be remarkably stable for alpha software, it is NOT YET GM. If you don't like it, your option is to wait.

Of course I guess that gives you more time to whine.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatOne View Post
Look. OmniFocus 1.1 is currently ALPHA software. It's not even beta yet. While I've found OF 1.1 to be remarkably stable for alpha software, it is NOT YET GM. If you don't like it, your option is to wait.

Of course I guess that gives you more time to whine.
When I saw Omni Focus on the App store I presumed that it and the desktop version were tested and ready to roll - that's not me being presumptuous - that's just standard practice.

And As I've already pressed that handy buy button - I have no choice other than 'to wait' do I?
 
 


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