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A vote against the "library" Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
First of all, I think OmniFocus is the greatest thing ever, including sliced bread. I would make sandwiches with it if I could.

That said, I'd like to voice a strong vote against the terminology changes implemented in the latest alpha update. Specifically, I think Projects is a far better name for the list of containers on the left side of the interface.

I understand the motivation for changing the name. You the developers now see the left sidebar as containing two things (projects and lists-of-single-actions) so you feel the need come up with an abstraction that covers both entities. From a system-building standpoint, this makes sense.

But what you gain in hierarchy, you lose in clarity. The problem is that you've added a not-that-useful layer of abstraction, which means that instead "the left sidebar contains projects" (which is nice and clear), we now have "the left sidebar contains one of two things..." followed by an explanation. Which is not.

It seems like the justification for all this definition-expansion is the desire to rename singleton projects as lists-of-single-actions. This conceptual splitting necessitates the more ambiguously-named sidebar. Is renaming the Singletons so important as to justify the bulky terminology you're now adding? Is anyone really getting so confused by the concept of Singleton Project that it's worth making everyone else deal with terminology bloat?

Things should be named after their functions. The sidebar contains projects. So call it that! By naming it Library, you introduce a slowdown between glancing at a UI element and understanding what it does. Short-term memory is precious. Don't waste it.

What makes OmniFocus so great that I'm willing to entrust my life to it in alpha form is its simplicity and, well, focus. I say axe the abstraction, return the left sidebar's name to "Projects", and tell the people who are offended by the name singleton project: tough noogies.

Mike

Last edited by MichaelShapiro; 2007-08-31 at 10:39 PM.. Reason: grammar tweak
 
I agree. Library doesn't sound right, and I too have had that momentary pause when I look at Library and think, 'oh, yes, this is where my projects are'.

BTW, I get around the need for a place for singleton actions by having more generally named projects.
 
Me three… I think that a change of terminology for "singletons" is fine, but in the end a "list of single actions" is still, effectively, a project in all but name. The clear distinction between "Inbox" (i.e. "you still need to figure out what to do with these") and "Projects" (i.e. "you've decided what to do with these, now just DO them!") is, IMHO, the correct one to have.
 
Well, we're back to the "projects" issue again. A project is a container for related actions. If I recall correctly, GTD (Allen) doesn't make a big deal of projects. Sometimes I think we're so "project" oriented, that we feel the need to have all actions in projects. If something isn't in the inbox, that shouldn't mean it's in a project. So I'm glad to see a move away from the "Project" divider in the left panel.

However, getting on to the name, "Library."

It looks like Omni is taking a page from the iTunes (and many other apps) that use a "Library" top level. In OF, "Library" seems to mean anything that isn't unprocessed (inbox). Thus the library doesn't comprise everything (as it does in iTunes) - perhaps "Library" isn't quite the right word.

But I think we do need some divider separate from inbox that contains projects and singletons. I'm wondering, would it make sense to allow singletons to be at the same level as projects? In other words, in a "Library", if we are to use that word, we'd have projects and singletons at the same level. I'm still bothered by having singletons in a project-like structure.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
In OF, "Library" seems to mean anything that isn't unprocessed (inbox). Thus the library doesn't comprise everything (as it does in iTunes) - perhaps "Library" isn't quite the right word.

But I think we do need some divider separate from inbox that contains projects and singletons. I'm wondering, would it make sense to allow singletons to be at the same level as projects? In other words, in a "Library", if we are to use that word, we'd have projects and singletons at the same level. I'm still bothered by having singletons in a project-like structure.
Folders can also go in the Library, and many of us use folders to organize projects and lists-of-single-actions based on life roles. This is especially handy combined with the Focus command. So if folders could join projects and lists-of-single-actions at the top-level of the sidebar, I think that would be great. Then Inbox would just be a special list-of-single-actions that haven't been processed. This exactly mimics the behavior of the sidebar in Mail.app, so should be easy for people to understand.

The only concern I would have is that a top-level Projects/Library item is a handy way to easily display all my stuff, except for the Inbox. I don't have any ideas for that use case if the top-level item goes away.

<tongueInCheck>I wonder if the top-level item should be named "Stuff". George Carlin would approve.</tongueInCheck>
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
I think that a change of terminology for "singletons" is fine, but in the end a "list of single actions" is still, effectively, a project in all but name.
Your mind might work that way. Mine certainly doesn't. A list of single actions that include 'change car oil' and 'get milk' is effectively not a project in any way, shape or form.

Quote:
I'm wondering, would it make sense to allow singletons to be at the same level as projects?
I, and others, had suggested this earlier. But since omnifocus allows singleton buckets in any folder it doesn't really work. To keep singleton buckets outside of projects and on the same level would disallow that behavior.

I'm not sold on the library yet, but I'll see how it goes.
 
I agree that "Library" isn't really the right word. i can see where they're coming from, though.

I'd rather see a "Planning view" structure of:

Inbox
Projects
Single actions

with both single actions and projects being able to be grouped into folders. Perhaps some clever coding could allow folders with the same name in the single actions and projects categories to be optionally linked, so when you focus on one folder you see both the projects and singletons associated with it.

Alternatively, we could go back to the way it was, which seemed fine to me (even though I'm in the "groups of single actions aren't projects" camp). :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f View Post
I'd rather see a "Planning view" structure of:

Inbox
Projects
Single actions

...

Alternatively, we could go back to the way it was, which seemed fine to me (even though I'm in the "groups of single actions aren't projects" camp). :)
I think either of these are great suggestions. The first solution would preserve the referential quality of the UI elements; you'd look at a top-level group and instantly know what it contains.

I still lean towards simplicity, and keeping things the way they were. I generally put my singleton tasks in a project called Misc. And I defend the semantics; it's a project to do all the tasks that aren't in a project. :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
Well, we're back to the "projects" issue again. A project is a container for related actions. If I recall correctly, GTD (Allen) doesn't make a big deal of projects. Sometimes I think we're so "project" oriented, that we feel the need to have all actions in projects. If something isn't in the inbox, that shouldn't mean it's in a project. So I'm glad to see a move away from the "Project" divider in the left panel.
Amen. I do like the trend away from the Project orientation.

I've been chided here for using "Projects" in an unorthodox way, though my reading of David Allen doesn't cause me to brand myself a GTD heretic.

The use of the word Project has caused many of us to thing of OF as a Project planner, with Singleton buckets added to take care of "the piddly stuff". But in my life, 95% of everything is Single action, or something I don't need to record as a multi-step Project. [Clean out cabinet is enough; I don't need to list each shelf as a separate action.]

I'm sure other people have lots of piddly things they aren't putting into OF, because the actions "just aren't Projects". These things can get forgotten, and not done.

I feel comfortable calling this list "Projects", but I understand how it can confuse many people. So I am in favor of renaming it. "Library" isn't quite right to me, it seems too static and unchanging. Stuff describes this section well, but is a bit, um ... cute. Planned Actions might work.

--Liz
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f View Post
I'd rather see a "Planning view" structure of:

Inbox
Projects
Single actions

with both single actions and projects being able to be grouped into folders.
Please, no. Then any of us using folders to group things (e.g., by major life roles or goals) would have to duplicate the folder structure under both Projects and Single Actions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPF
Stuff describes this section well, but is a bit, um ... cute.
Life, the Universe, and Everything? ;-)

(Sorry, I'm a bit punchy today.)
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
 


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