The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > OmniFocus 1 for Mac
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

 
OmniFocus reference material and PDFs Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I have been storing reference material in OmniFocus, often attached to projects, for years now, and it is working very well for me. The reference material I store OmniFocus only consists of text, but I have an increasing number of PDF and images (e.g. screenshots) to deals with. I can imagine multiple ways of dealing with those binary files:

1. Storing them in Dropbox or Google Docs, and include a link to the file from OmniFocus. This is what I have been doing for the past year or so.

Upsides: it keeps the OmniFocus database small; Dropbox or Google Docs are systems I trust not to loose my data.
Downsides: this separate uploading/linking takes time, especially when you have quite a few of those files (say PDF of receipts for an expense report); also the file can't be seen right there, from OmniFocus, which is more of an annoyance when using OmniFocus on an iPhone/iPad.

2. Storing them as attachments in OmniFocus.

Upsides: it's fast, both to add an attachment (copy a PDF in the Finder, paste it in a note) and it's easy to look at it (just open the note), including on an iPhone/iPad; everything is one place, reducing the number of systems used.
Downsides: I'm not sure if I can trust OmniFocus not to loose attachment, or to continue to work reliably with lots of attachments.

Did anyone experiment with #2 for a significant period of time? Are there any other approaches to deal with PDF reference material, assuming you already store textual reference material in OmniFocus? Other comments?

(For those wondering, for my reference material in OmniFocus, I am using an artificial context called "Reference", marked as "On hold". Again this is working really, really well for me, even of OmniFocus isn't designed for this. This being said, I don't necessarily advocate this technique; the right "reference material" solution for you might be Evernote, or something else.)

Alex
 
I'd also know the opinion of this from the folks at Omni. Additionally, if you do keep your attachments in OF, does all that get sync'd to your mobile? That could be an issue if the DB gets large.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peedy View Post
I'd also know the opinion of this from the folks at Omni. Additionally, if you do keep your attachments in OF, does all that get sync'd to your mobile? That could be an issue if the DB gets large.
Yes, if you embed the files on the Mac, they are copied into the database and synced to mobile devices. This has the advantage that they can be viewed directly from the app on the mobile device, but if the files are large, your database will be also and that can make for some syncs being slower. It does work, and it is supported, but I try to remove large items from the active database as soon as possible.

It is also important if embedding files to understand that if you change the file after embedding it, your change will not be reflected in the embedded file unless you remove the old embedded copy and embed the new one. That will cause a slow sync for your next sync, as the large file will have to be written to the network again.

Only you can decide what is acceptable performance for your needs. Get some files like you might want to embed, make a test project, and embed away! Do some syncs, see how it behaves with your computer, your iOS gadget, your network connectivity.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peedy View Post
I'd also know the opinion of this from the folks at Omni. Additionally, if you do keep your attachments in OF, does all that get sync'd to your mobile? That could be an issue if the DB gets large.
Running of storage space, even on a mobile device, isn't something I'm worried about. I have about 500 MB to 1 GB of new reference material per year. This will most likely go up year after year, but today an iPhone has 16 or 32 GB and this double about every 3 years, so I am not worried about the phone I'll have 5 years from now not having enough storage for my attached documents. I am more worried about possible performance and reliability issues in OmniFocus.

Alex
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
It does work, and it is supported, but I try to remove large items from the active database as soon as possible.
Have you notice any particular problem leaving those large files attached, or are you removing them to be "on the safe side"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
It is also important if embedding files to understand that if you change the file after embedding it, your change will not be reflected in the embedded file unless you remove the old embedded copy and embed the new one. That will cause a slow sync for your next sync, as the large file will have to be written to the network again.
Most of the attachment I have in mind won't change, as those are mostly PDF scans of paper documents. Regarding bandwidth usage, do you know if OmniFocus ever needs to retransfers unchanged attachments files it already synced in the past? Assuming you progressively add attachments, synching just the delta won't be a problem, but if your database grows to, say, 1 GB, and OmniFocus decides to re-sync the whole thing, then you might be in trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Get some files like you might want to embed, make a test project, and embed away! Do some syncs, see how it behaves with your computer, your iOS gadget, your network connectivity.
Yes, I think this is a good approach. Test, and see how well it works for yourself. I will do that, and maybe will have something to report a few months from now.

Alex
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by avernet View Post
Have you notice any particular problem leaving those large files attached, or are you removing them to be "on the safe side"?
Well, probably mostly the latter, but see below. I did have to spend quite a while trimming down my database when I first started using it on the 2G iPod touch (it would crash at start up, presumably due to running out of RAM), but it is unclear to me whether the bulk of the blame might have been more fairly assigned to the > 8k actions and 500 or so projects I had in my database before the forced pruning. As I recall, it was about 10 MB in size (when compacted).

Quote:
Most of the attachment I have in mind won't change, as those are mostly PDF scans of paper documents. Regarding bandwidth usage, do you know if OmniFocus ever needs to retransfers unchanged attachments files it already synced in the past? Assuming you progressively add attachments, synching just the delta won't be a problem, but if your database grows to, say, 1 GB, and OmniFocus decides to re-sync the whole thing, then you might be in trouble.
OmniFocus needs to rewrite the entire database back to the net whenever it compacts it. That could take a while if done over a marginal cellular data connection. Murphy pretty much dictates that you'll be in a hurry to do something else when it decides to compact :-) In theory, if you're making changes only on one device, you could end up compacting hourly. In practice, I switch around often enough that I'm not compacting anywhere near that often, but I do know that when I pick up the device I've used least recently, that first sync will take a few minutes.
Quote:
Yes, I think this is a good approach. Test, and see how well it works for yourself. I will do that, and maybe will have something to report a few months from now.
Please do report back. Are you syncing locally via Bonjour sync, or using the Omni Sync Service, MobileMe or other cloud provider? I imagine that doing it locally would probably make those first syncs of big attachments (and subsequent compactions) go a lot faster, but I like remote sync too much to use the Bonjour sync as a regular practice.
 
I have a related question (hope this is not too off topic).

I store attachments that relate to a project directly in OF with no problems.

But I am looking for a sort of reference database that would work well with OF for files, text snipits, URLS, etc., that don't belong to a project, but might.

Currently I use Together, which is OK. My ideal solution would be something that could accommodate 3 types of data. First, a dump bucket for things I just want to capture for future examination, or just to keep around. Second, a "document management" system that has some categorization and tagging abilities (Together works well for this). Finally, a database lite so I could keep some basic records, things like prescriptions to medications, subscriptions, articles I have written with periodical, issue #, etc. I use Bento for this know, but it is just a little TOO "lite" and attachments cannot be stored within it.

I would like to have something that is on or can sync to the web and iOS devices - but that would not be a deal breaker.

I have looked at Yojimbo, DevonThink and a few other solutions.

My question is, is it better to break these functions up into separate apps. And does anyone have any suggestions?

Bryan
 
After trying out several applications over the past year I've finally settled on DEVONthink. I've since upgraded that app to the Pro Office version and recently added a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. Wow!

In my opinion the combination of DEVONthink Pro and OmniFocus represents a "state of the art" solution for the individual professional person. If I couldn't use these apps for some reason I would have to go with the "junior varsity" which would be Things and EagleFiler.
 
I have been meaning to look at this DevonThink Pro Office, as it sounds like it will really fit my needs. I know this is not a forum for DTP, but if you don't mind I would like to ask a few questions.

1) I assume it integrates with OmniFocus?

2) From reading their web site it appears that the Office Pro version includes a web server, so I can access my data remotely from a browser. Can I also edit and add data?

3) There is something about iData integration - I have heard good things about this product. Does this mean I could make simple databases?

Thanks for any feedback you might provide.

Bryan
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Well, probably mostly the latter, but see below. *I did have to spend quite a while trimming down my database when I first started using it on the 2G iPod touch (it would crash at start up, presumably due to running out of RAM), but it is unclear to me whether the bulk of the blame might have been more fairly assigned to the > 8k actions and 500 or so projects I had in my database before the forced pruning. *As I recall, it was about 10 MB in size (when compacted).
I experienced similar problems on my iPhone 2G with > 10k actions, but those crashes went away when I switched to the iPhone 4 last year, presumably because it has much more memory (512 MB instead of 128 MB).

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
OmniFocus needs to rewrite the entire database back to the net whenever it compacts it.
True: this is also what I gathered based on my limited understanding of the OmniFocus database format, and this looks like *show stopper to me. Imagining that the database grows to be 1 GB in 1 year: copying that kind of data over wifi on a regular basis just doesn't seem very realistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Are you syncing locally via Bonjour sync, or using the Omni Sync Service, MobileMe or other cloud provider?
I am using the*Omni Sync Service.

Alex
 
 


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Computer folder for single action reference material? omnibob Applying OmniFocus 1 2011-02-07 12:31 AM
Bento for reference material and/or project support? hypotyposis OmniFocus 1 for Mac 5 2010-01-11 08:18 PM
How do you all handle reference material? Mischka Applying OmniFocus 1 2010-01-08 08:21 AM
Recommendation for reference material: Together 2.0 richlin71 OmniFocus 1 for Mac 13 2009-12-01 01:18 PM
Keeping reference material learned during projects SpiralOcean OmniFocus 1 for Mac 20 2007-06-24 03:04 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:06 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.