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New App Proposal: OmniNotes Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Now that OmniOutliner for iPad is out, I have taken another look at my overall note taking workflow needs.

I find that nothing out there meets all of my requirements.

OmniOutliner is great at structured outlines and columns of data, but that doesn't mean its great for taking notes - not everything fits into meet little rows all of the time.

OmniOutliner for iPad is a great app, and I am going to use it for outlining needs, but I can't use it as my "go to" note taking app - I just tried.


I propose that the OmniGroup start developing a new app: OmniNotes.
Built off of application libraries that you have already perfected:
the structured outlining capabilities of OmniOutliner (and OmniFocus)
the useful Project management interface sidebar in OmniFocus
the drawing/tables support in OmniGraffle
but designed and developed right from the start specifically for managing notes...

...And OmniGroup really knows how to design thoughtfully-developed apps, I think you could do a great job at this and it would really round-out your productivity-app offerings.

I also think there is a large pool of people looking for this type of app.
Just take a look at the number of iPad note taking apps out there; None of them are great (in all areas).
You can also see people in your forums looking for this type of capability


Here are some of the features I would see in a Note Taking app:
- A database-type design like OmniFocus, that stores all of my notes in one place

- Syncing between iOS and Mac devices

- A way to structure and organize the storage of individual notebooks (so that I can have a year's worth of admin meetings in a folder for example)

- A "notebook" should be able to have structure to it, such as sections and tabs (look at Circus Ponies Notebook app on the Mac as an example that you could do better); Perhaps tables of contents; And I do like Circus Ponies Auto-Indexing features

- You should be able to create structured text, such as outlines and numbered outlines with auto styling (like OmniOutliner for iPad)

- But you should also be able to create free-form text; You should be able to quickly apply styles to text (like OmniOutliner for iPad)

- You should be able to do a quick finger sketch and simple diagramming

- You should be able to create tables to hold structured data

- Tagging and search, obviously

- Simple To-Do's should be able to be created

- Ability to "highlight" text (like in iBooks)

- Ability to send an item to OmniFocus Inbox would be killer

- I like the ability to record audio and link the text that I type with the audio recording (but this would be lower on my initial needs)


For a more comprehensive look at what I have been struggling with, you can see my wiki of note taking needs and app comparisons:
http://www.ijoel.com/groups/tech/wik...oteTaking.html
 
This might sound like a daft idea, but Evernote covers a lot of these requirements, why re-invent the wheel, why not just link the Omni suite of products into something like Evernote.

Here are some of the features I would see in a Note Taking app:
- A database-type design like OmniFocus, that stores all of my notes in one place - Covered

- Syncing between iOS and Mac devices - Covered

- A way to structure and organize the storage of individual notebooks (so that I can have a year's worth of admin meetings in a folder for example) - Covered with notebooks and tags

- A "notebook" should be able to have structure to it, such as sections and tabs (look at Circus Ponies Notebook app on the Mac as an example that you could do better); Perhaps tables of contents; And I do like Circus Ponies Auto-Indexing features - More difficult but not required with Tags

- You should be able to create structured text, such as outlines and numbered outlines with auto styling (like OmniOutliner for iPad) - Semi covered

- But you should also be able to create free-form text; You should be able to quickly apply styles to text (like OmniOutliner for iPad) - Covered

- You should be able to do a quick finger sketch and simple diagramming - Not sure how easy it would be to amend later

- You should be able to create tables to hold structured data - Covered

- Tagging and search, obviously - Well and truly covered

- Simple To-Do's should be able to be created - Covered

- Ability to "highlight" text (like in iBooks) - Not sure

- Ability to send an item to OmniFocus Inbox would be killer - Not sure

- I like the ability to record audio and link the text that I type with the audio recording (but this would be lower on my initial needs) - Not sure
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
This might sound like a daft idea, but Evernote covers a lot of these requirements, why re-invent the wheel
If you read the link I provided, you would see that I have tried Evernote.
While it has many great features, it falls short.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
And I do like Circus Ponies Auto-Indexing features - More difficult but not required with Tags
No, not even close. Totally different feature. You did see the word auto, right? Much more extensive. And it does more than simple words.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
- You should be able to create structured text, such as outlines and numbered outlines with auto styling (like OmniOutliner for iPad) - Semi covered
Semi is right. Maybe semi, semi. Only the very basic outlining and numbering provided. No control over numbering style, no ability to style individual levels to help make them stand out.
But the big issue here is there is absolutely ZERO ability to do ANY outlining or numbering of this on the iPad, not even a TAB key.
In fact, you can't even EDIt Rich Notes on the iPad.
Complete Fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
You should be able to do a quick finger sketch and simple diagramming - Not sure how easy it would be to amend later
I have several note taking apps on the iPad that provide drawing features that can also amend them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
- You should be able to create tables to hold structured data - Covered
Are you KIDDING me? Have you used Evernote?
First of all, the only thing you can do do on the iPad is edit the text inside of a table cell. You can't create tables.
But even on the full-fledged Mac app, you can't:
- insert columns or rows in a table
- add a fill color to a cell
- merge cells
- heck, you can't even drag a column/row border to change it
- if you insert a table at fixed size, you can't control its width

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
- Ability to "highlight" text (like in iBooks) - Not sure
Nope


Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
- Ability to send an item to OmniFocus Inbox would be killer - Not sure
Nope



Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
- I like the ability to record audio and link the text that I type with the audio recording (but this would be lower on my initial needs) - Not sure
You can record audio, but it doesn't link your typing to the time.


Also, if you had extensive notes, you would have to pay for the service.


Anyways, my point is I have tried many of these apps, and they all fall short, and I think that OmniGroup would do a fanatic job of this, and it fits in with their existing apps.
 
I use iThoughtsHD (MindMap) for notes. Great for brainstorming and has a great developer. Its best advantage is after I have written up some notes or doudled a plan I can export to OO in OPML. Simple
 
I use TrunkNotes sync'd with DropBox.

It doesn't do all that you want by a long stretch, but it is hugely useful, especially being able to link notes like VoodooPad, but much better, uses Markdown. I could go in, but it doesn't compete with your idea, but deserves a mention nonetheless.
 
As a followup, I took the plunge and purchased CircusPonies NoteBook for iPad, which has nearly every feature I needed.

The biggest shortfall right now is there is no support for mobile access of files (DropBox, MobileMe, WebDAV), so everything is via iTunes sync only. (and of course no file sync yet).

Second biggest shortfall is a clunky interface for finding and opening a notebook (kind of like OmniGraffle's early interface of just a long (and slow) scrolling list of large document thumbnails, one at a time...)

Both of these features (remote file access/sync, improved document management) will be added in a new release soon.

I was really worried about the stability and performance of the app based on initial releases of the app and reviews, but I have over a dozen very large notebooks (I have had CircusPonies Notebook on the Mac for years) and have never had a crash or issue with the iPad app, so this version seems to have squashed those bugs.

It really is a very full-featured note taking app, with support for both free-form text and outlining (with auto-text formatting based on level and/or numbering), real text formatting, sticky notes, support for tables, file attachments, drawing AND sketching, audio recording (with time stamp sync to typing), auto-indexing, etc. Notebooks can be large with sections and sub sections (and of course, multiple pages).

When I looked at the screenshots and watched the videos on the iPad app I thought the pencil and ruler toolbars where gimmicky, garish, and maybe even a bit childish. But after reading the documentation and using the app, I find them very useful and intuitive (I was really surprised by this), and even very helpful for indicating which editing mode you are in.

Right now, it is a great note taking app.

When the file sync feature is done (probably now will be built around iCloud), it is going to be an incredible app.

Last edited by joelande; 2011-06-15 at 09:02 AM.. Reason: typo
 
I am also missing something very essential for note-taking, and I am a bit puzzled why Omni hasn't introduced that yet as a special feature for their application set, because what I'm missing is such an obvious part of GTD.

I am sitting so often in meetings that create action-items that I need to track, BUT most of the meeting notes are just that: meeting notes that I need to archive for later reference but not more.
So I (and I am guessing hundreds of other project managers) would need a note-taking tool that automatically can distinguish between mere notes and recorded action items and export these action items after the meeting to your favourite action-item management tool, OmniFocus of course.
My idea how to do that would be a special column in OOiP that may be called 'OmniFocus' column, and when I have a line of text that actually is an action item, I place a hook in the OF column, so that at the end all ROWS that have a OF hook will be exported to a file (or via the OmniSync server?) that OF can then import. Wouldn't that be lovely and extra-efficient?
Oh, I just realise, that at least on the Mac I should be able to do such thing with the scripting interface, no?? (I get excited.. ;)
There are some first iPad applications out there, that do exactly that, but of course I want to use my beloved OmniFocus!
Omni, you better speed up with an implementation of this, because I believe that could be a killer-feature for all us managers out there!
What do others think?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
I am also missing something very essential for note-taking, and I am a bit puzzled why Omni hasn't introduced that yet as a special feature for their application set, because what I'm missing is such an obvious part of GTD.

I am sitting so often in meetings that create action-items that I need to track, BUT most of the meeting notes are just that: meeting notes that I need to archive for later reference but not more.
So I (and I am guessing hundreds of other project managers) would need a note-taking tool that automatically can distinguish between mere notes and recorded action items and export these action items after the meeting to your favourite action-item management tool, OmniFocus of course.
My idea how to do that would be a special column in OOiP that may be called 'OmniFocus' column, and when I have a line of text that actually is an action item, I place a hook in the OF column, so that at the end all ROWS that have a OF hook will be exported to a file (or via the OmniSync server?) that OF can then import. Wouldn't that be lovely and extra-efficient?
Oh, I just realise, that at least on the Mac I should be able to do such thing with the scripting interface, no?? (I get excited.. ;)
There are some first iPad applications out there, that do exactly that, but of course I want to use my beloved OmniFocus!
Omni, you better speed up with an implementation of this, because I believe that could be a killer-feature for all us managers out there!
What do others think?
Check Action Notes, it offers three levels of note priority, I find myself using it for in-meeting notes more than any other app. I am fearful that OO will add GTD features before it finishes the Outliner functionality of OO. I want OO to be the best outliner and THEN add features.
 
Count me in the camp that would like to see Omni do this.

I too use Notebook and have it both on the Mac and on the iPad, but the manual syncing is just something I can't use because the data is too important to risk corruption. Otherwise, that would work for me.

If Omni would do a note taking app that had hooks into their other software (OF, OO, etc...) that would be a winner for me for sure.

J.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I too use Notebook and have it both on the Mac and on the iPad, but the manual syncing is just something I can't use because the data is too important to risk corruption.
I have dozens of very large NoteBooks that I manually move back and forth daily between Mac and iPad using iTunes sync.

And other than the pain of having to do it manually, I have NEVER had an issue with any document corruption through this process (although I am anal to make sure that I manually delete the document from the iPad app if I am updating it with a newer version of the document from the Mac).

It could be that earlier versions of Notebook for iPad had this issue, as I purchased Notebook for iPad relatively late after it was introduced.


That being said, it will be a joyous day when a version that offers sync and an improved document picker a released. Hopefully the developer tools make it easy for developers to take advantage of the new iCloud services.
 
 


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