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Trying to like OmniFocus, but ..... Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Originally Posted by DrJJWMac View Post
Yep. Everything on a Mac should be as easy as "turn it on, tell it what to do, walk away ... (have it wash your car)".
+1, Doc, Siri = total let-down.
Originally Posted by Jpatrick View Post
So development company spends most of their money
on support instead of development? :) I'm not sure if it's good for the product
which is stuck in 90s.
I wouldn't buy a car unless I knew that there is a very reliable mechanic or garage that can work on my car.

I wouldn't want to buy software and find out that there is little or no tech support to answer my questions or record our feature requests.

Tech support is essential to any product (software or hardware) and is usually included in the price of the software.

If I buy a cheap Made in China mp3 player for $20, I don't expect it to last long and I don't expect the great features that I can find on my iPod touch.

There should be NO learning curve for the productivity software especially on Mac. Macs are here to help us too! That's why I'm so disappointed. I repeat - I tried every GTD software available with no luck. Existing computerized GTD solutions don't make sense until they:
1) adopt simple tools that at least exist in physical lists world - like markers, or paper color
2) have zero-learing curve
3) extend GTD, adding existing concepts like Reminders, Smart Lists (don't say it's OF's Perspective - it's not), Calendar
4) allow sharing and collaboration
Wow... I would love productivity software that had zero learning curve. I'd have mastered Adobe Suite in a heartbeat. Or it can telepathically read my mind and tell me what to do. Unfortunately, Siri is still a long way off from that. Telepathy is a whole other 100 years away at this point.

Computers were supposed to make life easy for us and create this utopian "Paperless Office." Unfortunately, the laws of unintended consequences just generated even more paperwork, more glitches (like a banking error or mistyped billing statement). So computers don't necessarily make life easier.

Come on! It's web 2.0 century! We have multiuser environment and projects become more and more complex. Even one-man project is now much more complex comparing to 5 years ago. Look at the modern shiny todo apps like Wunderlist! They are "simple" todo lists which have more functions and more convenient and clear than overpriced omnifocus "professional" app.
Yes, it is the web 2.0 and OmniFocus, as it exists today, is missing out on the multi-user environment. At this moment, I'm part of a team that is using Asana to assign tasks for the whole team. I'm not liking it but it works OK for our team. But even Asana seems to pale in comparison to something more full featured like OmniPlan.

From what I gather, it appears that OmniFocus may remain a single-user program for individuals to manage their tasks and OmniPlan would be the heavy duty project manager which can send tasks that are assigned to individual OmniFocus users. Think of OmniFocus as the client program and OmniPlan as the server program. Not all of us needs a server package. So it may be kept separate.

For those of us who don't need the multi-user capabilities, OmniFocus would be fine. But for those of us who need multi-user workgroups, then adding an OmniPlan would be the next option.

Only the flies on the wall at Omni HQ know what is going on. But even the Omni crew are probably adjusting plans, goals, and ideas along the way.

Remember, there was a tremendous shift for many software companies when the iPad first came out. Shortly after Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, many developers had announced new plans to take advantage of the iPad phenomenon. That definitely threw Omni's road map up in the air when they had to allocate resources to iPad versions. Yes, not everybody has unlimited resources and can just do everything and still have time for a slice of pumpkin pie.

The introduction of multiple on-line web apps in the project/task management will probably influence what Omni does. I can't imagine that Omni isn't taking notice of web site likes Asana.

Omnifocus is stuck in 90s. Even the design is so weak.
I think what is holding Omnifocus from developing is the absence of real competition on the market.
But I'm afraid when they face a real competition that will be too late.
I don't necessarily think OmniFocus is stuck in the 90s. We've had many improvements such as the new Omni Sync Server that allows us to more easily share tasks between computers and iDevices. We've had the introduction of the iPhone and iPad versions of the iPad. This is showing that Omni Group is definitely not keeping still.

Now the design and workflow may have become 90'ish because it has its roots in OmniOutliner. OmniFocus 2 is probably the opportunity to break away from the outliner mode and introduce a different workflow.

But if this happens, I can only imagine the backlash when existing customers have to re-adjust their workflow to fit the new workflow and features in version 2.
I'm sorry, wilsonng, but I think most of Jpatrick's criticisms are valid, IMHO OmniFocus is incredibly dated. It's possible that a new coat of paint may help, but the OmniGroup do have a tendency to leave bits-and-pieces of unfinished or badly implemented features littered across their apps whilst fixes and updates occur at a glacial pace, if ever. Unless, of course, they're chasing after one of Apple's shiny new toys such as beta-Siri!

OK, a zero-learning curve is somewhat optimistic, but I've just seen another post asking yet again when will the manuals be updated. I recall that it took 6-months last time just to update the in-app user guide on the iPhone after a UI change, which left new users hopelessly confused.

I understand the frustration at the lack of integration and I'm not sure that patching OF to OP is going to do anything but add another layer of complexity. In fact, OP for iPad is probably the first offering from OG that I won't be buying into. That said, OG never stated there would ever be a multiuser version of OF, even though Policarpo, myself and others field-tested it as such. OK, it needed record-locking but it worked. However, making a single-action list shareable shouldn't be beyond the wit of the OmniFolk. I always wondered if OG didn't miss a trick with OmniSync Server, with a paid-for subscription version with added features, a la Evernote et al.

If OG continue to flog OF as a shopping list, to-do, errands app, then they should expect such criticism, even as the only GTD® app that doesn't make it automatically fantastic, as one of my colleagues (whose a former long-term OF user) commented when I mentioned that I was returning to OF for a project: "it's a niche for nerds". I sometimes find it hard not to agree with that ringing endorsement.

Last edited by endoftheQ; 2012-06-06 at 02:35 AM..
I've already agreed that there are deficiencies in OmniFocus as it exists today. It has outgrown its roots as an outliner-based program and grown into its own monster. With an ever-evolving world, I'm betting that Omni Group is not standing still. They're taking small steps towards the future. iOS versions of OmniFocus and Omni Sync server were laid out as pieces of the puzzle that will eventually inform us of the bigger picture.

Here is an article with Ken Case with a quote from him about the future direction of OmniFocus and OmniPlan:

The new syncing back-end is also designed to work with OmniFocus, which will let individual team members sync tasks assigned to them with either the desktop, iPhone, or iPad versions. “All three versions use the same underlying engine, so once we have that update in place, we’ll be able to roll out OmniPlan syncing to all versions of OmniFocus,” Case told Ars.

The current version of OmniPlan allows syncing via CalDAV, but the new engine will offer much better integration with OmniFocus. For project team members who don’t need to see what all other team members are working on, they’ll be able to see just the tasks assigned to them. When tasks are marked as complete in OmniFocus, the project manager will get a notification of the change in OmniPlan.
This gives a hint at the possible future direction for OmniFocus and OmniPlan.

This is another article:

When OmniPlan for iPad ships, it will complete Case's original 2010 plan to bring five unique apps to the platform. With that line item crossed off of his OmniFocus task list, full attention will go back to Omni's Mac software. Specifically, Omni developers have been hard at work planning OmniFocus 2 and OmniOutline 4. Updating those apps will become the top priority of the development team once OmniPlan for iPad is launched on the App Store, according to Case
I didn't say anything about a multi-user OmniFocus. This is what I have tried to surmise from the two articles:

OmniFocus is a great tool for the single user and will probably remain a single user program. This is the client program and is used by most folks who don't need collaboration facilities. Some of us won't be using the multi-user capabilities. So that would be one layer of complexity that single users won't have to deal with.

OmniPlan will be the server software. It gives everybody an overview of complex projects, timelines, goals, resources, and tasks. This is a whole other ballpark for people who need collaborative facilities. It will probably send tasks to your OmniFocus database and start to appear in your task list as needed. Start Dates will most likely be used for this. Or it might appear in your user account in your copy of OmniPlan.

Ramping up to a multi-user version of a program does take make considerable care than one can imagine. It's not as simple as "record locking." There's a lot more work to be done because Omni Group probably wants to get OmniPlan to play nicely with OmniFocus. That may not be the direction you may want. It is what it is.

Besides, I think people may want to share more than a single-action list.

I personally use OmniFocus on my iOS devices and my Mac. I knew my sister wouldn't want to spend time figuring things out. So I got Things for her and it works for her.

I would love OmniFocus with multi-user project sharing to share tasks with others. But only if the user interface and/or workflow were changed significantly to the point where I can let my sister use it.

I'm not buying OmniPlan for iPad either but I am looking forward to OmniOutliner 4 and OmniFocus when it finally gets finished.

We are all just eager to see the next generation of OmniFocus. But for now, we can all chug along with OmniFocus, The Hit List, Wunderlist, Things, or whatever program we are using.
Originally Posted by endoftheQ View Post
+1, Doc, Siri = total let-down.
Just to be clear, my original statement was to be read as though contained in <sarcasm></sarcasm> tags.

In essence, I agree with you wilsonng, at a GTD® level. However, if OG continue to flog OF as a shopping list or to-do app then they deserve serious criticism from those who find it doesn't compete in that marketplace, UI-, share-, feature-, implementation-wise, hence the plethora of 1-star reviews, most of which appear to accuse OG of running some kind of bait-and-switch scheme.

As far as OmniPlan integration to facilitate multi-user OF goes, it was never on our agenda, as multi-user OF was all we needed. OG didn't provide it, so we abandoned OF, en-masse. I'm sure there's a market for the complexity of OP with OF clients, but it's certainly not us!
Originally Posted by DrJJWMac View Post
Just to be clear, my original statement was to be read as though contained in <sarcasm></sarcasm> tags.
From the TV ads, the least I expected was a clean car! :o
Originally Posted by endoftheQ View Post
... I think most of Jpatrick's criticisms are valid, IMHO OmniFocus is incredibly dated. ...
Allow in this consideration that, the pace of OS development from Apple has outstripped many legacy developers efforts to keep up. Consider these changes, just in the Mac OS : sandboxing, updated touch gestures, full-screen support, built-in version support, and dropping carbon support. I can state three apps including OF that are in the process of major revisions just to make use of such advances going from 10.6 to 10.7. In the meantime, their standard products are holding on with, in one case, no updates or bug fixes over the past year. Then, in three months or so, we'll have 10.8 on the doorstep, with its own offerings.

Sooner ... cheaper ... better are the three legs of product design, and the development cycle on OF is running now toward a new curve rather than the existing one. All things considered, it is easy to cry for "signficantly better" while forgetting that this will require us to accept "later" or "more expensive".

Originally Posted by endoftheQ View Post
... As far as OmniPlan integration to facilitate multi-user OF goes, ... I'm sure there's a market for the complexity of OP with OF clients, but it's certainly not us!
My own brief look around at multi-user project-managment apps gave me the immediate impression that this was a road that OG would likely have difficulty traveling from where they are now. Too many apps are already on the market (Teamwork, Clinked, Basecamp ...) that offer way more features specifically designed for team-work approaches than can be mish-mashed or retro-fitted in to OF. The OP <-> OF link may be the only venture that they will/can allow themselves as a nod in this direction.

I would rather see an app target a specific need well and then integrate outward with companion apps as demanded by its users than to see an app bloat or crumble under its own limitations while trying to become something different.

I appreciate what you're saying, Doc, but many of these issues are of Omni's own making. If I'd only bought OF, why would I would happy that its development gets put on ice every time OG decides to concentrate on their other offerings? There isn't really any excuse for out-of-date documentation or lack of compatible file formats, such as opml or svg, nor missing iOS functions such as copy-and-paste or Document Interchange. If they can find time for beta-Siri, they can find time for these.

In regard to the progression of OSX, many of us are wondering if Apple is preparing to go consumer-only. It wouldn't come as a big surprise to see OSXI being an entirely sandboxed buy-from-the-app-store only offering.

I don't know the project planning market, I bought OmniPlan out of evaluation and curiosity. I can't imagine there's a big consumer demand for it. We're holding off purchasing hardware at the moment, given that it's been over two years since the Mac Pro was last updated. If it does get the heave-ho as some commentators expect, then many of us who use Macs in a professonal environment will be have no option but to migrate to PCs.

I guess Omni will then have to decide whether to follow Apple's lead and port their products to other platforms where necessary or hope that there is sufficient consumer and SOHO demand to support them?

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