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1.7 Perspective Changes (and the thinking behind them) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Note: Kaijin's post below includes a great explanation of how the controls in the revamped Perspectives window works. Thanks very much! Click here to jump to it.

As OmniFocus has evolved we've added quite a few new features, and we've done a lot of work on Perspectives. At their core, Perspectives are supposed to make it easy for you to use/access your OmniFocus data in the way that you want to, whether that's adding new actions in the Inbox, planning and organizing your projects in Project mode, working in a context based method in Context mode, seeing your due and overdue actions, or doing a review of your work.

Initially we didn't add any perspectives by default, and it was a little intimidating to get to the different areas in OmniFocus. (For instance, setting up a Review perspective was a lengthy process that required far too much advanced knowledge) We added in some "Built-in" perspectives to address this in 1.5, and we've now revamped those for 1.7.

The problem was that the built-in perspectives behaved very differently from the perspectives users could make.

What we want to do in 1.7 (and we're not quite there yet, which is why we value your input on this matter) is let you define your Perspectives in such a way that they'll do as much, or as little as you want.

Here is a breakdown of the saved information for perspectives in 1.7:

Always Applied
View State (Project or Context)
View Bar Settings (Sidebar Filter, Action Filters, Grouping, Sorting, Flagged)

Optionally Applied
Selection (buggy in some cases right now)
Expansion (might also be buggy)
Columns
Focus
View Bar settings from a Perspective of the other view mode

Only applied when holding down OPTION to open a new window
Size
Position
Sidebar State (this might be buggy)

Not Currently Saved
View Bar visibility
Toolbar visibility


The thinking behind all of this is that your perspectives should be predictable, configurable, and not get in your way.

If you want to just change the Focus and Filters, you should be able to do so, without reverting to some random position on the screen that you maybe didn't mean to save.

However, we weren't happy with some of the inconsistencies in the interface as a result of being "in" a perspective. Which is why anytime your view bar settings deviate from the default they turn a color, and why when you change any of those settings you're no longer "in" a perspective. We found this was confusing, as there wasn't a good way to clearly indicate why things would be blue sometimes and not others, and the only way to show that you were "in" a perspective was to look at the title bar (unless you happened to have the toolbar button on your toolbar).

We welcome your feedback as we continue work on this feature to make it as useful as possible to you, so please feel free to post here and let us know.

P.S. We'll likely be adding in a way to access the saved size, position and sidebar state, since that seems to be a pretty frequent request already.

Last edited by Brian; 2009-08-31 at 01:20 PM.. Reason: add link to Kaijin's post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas View Post
However, we weren't happy with some of the inconsistencies in the interface as a result of being "in" a perspective. Which is why anytime your view bar settings deviate from the default they turn a color, and why when you change any of those settings you're no longer "in" a perspective. We found this was confusing, as there wasn't a good way to clearly indicate why things would be blue sometimes and not others, and the only way to show that you were "in" a perspective was to look at the title bar (unless you happened to have the toolbar button on your toolbar).
Thanks for the post on Perspectives and the thinking behind changing them. I believe the challenge that I will have to overcome with the new behavior of perspectives is the idea that the 'default' view bar setting is not user-configurable and perspective-specific, but rather what Omni has determined should be the default. As the user can now change the built-in perspectives, it's possible for the view bar to always be blue in one or more columns in every perspective that the user has-correct? I'm not sure how valuable the blue feedback is, when something is always blue?

I'm sure I can adapt to the change, and I'll look forward to hearing the thought of others about the new perspectives. But if I were king for today, I would have the 'default' view bar settings to be determined by what is saved in each perspective. If I am 'in' that perspective and make a change in the view bar, I would want the item to turn blue as is now, as well as have the document title change as is now. When I am done with that particular change in the view bar, clicking on the 'x' at the right of the view bar would return me to the defaults for that perspective, the blue item(s) would change back to black, and the document title would change to reflect the selected perspective.
 
Well, the big issue I had with the old way of doing Perspectives was that it was very hard to get "out" of a perspective. And clicking the "X" button would do things differently based on weather you were "in" or "out", and since it was hard to get "out" it felt untrustworthy.

I do think it's worth looking into at least muting the blue until you make a change, since you make a great point that having lots of blue all the time does sorta defeat the point.
 
Sorry if any of this is covered above.

- Make the default perspectives open in a new window (or at least make that an option, without having to hold down the option key).

- Make custom perspectives' default to open in a new window, and restore other mode (or at least make those options to be defaults for one's system).

- Allow perspectives to be linked in notes fields (in 1.6 as a workaround you could drag perspectives as aliases from the perspectives folder in the Finder).

thanks, Bob

Last edited by omnibob; 2009-08-14 at 12:34 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omnibob View Post
- Make the default perspectives open in a new window (or at least make that an option, without having to hold down the option key).

- Make custom perspectives' default to open in a new window, and restore other mode (or at least make those options to be defaults for one's system).
We likely won't be making anything open a new window by default. Having multiple windows is a relatively advanced feature, and can be confusing.

We will likely add an option to open certain perspectives in a new window, but it will be off by default, as it was before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omnibob View Post
- Allow perspectives to be linked in notes fields (in 1.6 as a workaround you could drag perspectives as aliases from the perspectives folder in the Finder).
This is a great idea.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas View Post
Optionally Applied
Selection (buggy in some cases right now)
Expansion (might also be buggy)
Columns
Focus
View Bar settings from a Perspective of the other view mode
I am noticing that Columns might also be buggy as well. The Completed column often stays visible, even though it is unchecked.



More on topic of the concepts of perspectives. Currently there are still two perspectives, or views, that are non-editable. That would be Completed Items and All Items. Would it make sense that Completed Items view/perspective by default includes the Completed column?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omnibob View Post
- Allow perspectives to be linked in notes fields (in 1.6 as a workaround you could drag perspectives as aliases from the perspectives folder in the Finder).
You can do this in 1.7 using the perspective's URL, e.g. omnifocus:///perspective/Inbox.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Jones View Post
More on topic of the concepts of perspectives. Currently there are still two perspectives, or views, that are non-editable. That would be Completed Items and All Items. Would it make sense that Completed Items view/perspective by default includes the Completed column?
This makes sense, I'll file it.
 
Quote:
We will likely add an option to open certain perspectives in a new window, but it will be off by default, as it was before.
Yes please!
 
I concur that having the blue highlights in the View Bar appear whenever a setting deviates from the "Default" view (even if it is defined by the current perspective) is the right way to go. Way more consistent, and easier for the new user to build a mental model around.

That said, I think the point that the "Default" view settings are currently controlled by Omni and not the user is an important one. I believe that the user should be able to configure the Default view settings separately from the Perspectives system. Ideally, this would be a new tab in the preferences window (as much as I know you try to avoid those).

That way, if I wanted Context Mode to group my tasks by due date instead of by context most of the time, I could select that as the default view setting. I might then set up a perspective like "Delegated Tasks" to deviate from that default, grouping tasks by context. That setting would then be highlighted in blue in the view bar when I switched to that perspective.

I realise this proposal creates another layer of complexity, but I think it would make the application easier to understand than it is currently, with seemingly arbitrary view settings that are the “default” for no readily apparent reason.
 
 


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