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What's the best replacement for calendar syncing? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hello, everyone!

As many of you know, OmniFocus currently has the ability to sync with local iCal calendars. Over time, Apple has moved away from synchronizing local calendars in favor of simply storing those calendars in the cloud—and as people migrate their calendars to the cloud, they find they're no longer able to sync those calendars with OmniFocus (or any other app which uses Apple's Sync Services).

We know that a lot of you are using calendar syncing. But we've observed that calendar syncing is usually not an end in itself; it's usually a stepping stone which you're using to solve another problem. With that stepping stone starting to disappear, we could try to build another stepping stone which looks more or less the same—but perhaps it's time to take a step back and ask a more fundamental question:

What are people actually trying to accomplish with calendar syncing, and can we find a better way to accomplish that end?

Calendar syncing in OmniFocus has always been intended a stepping stone, never a destination. iCal doesn't actually do a very good job of handling a large number of structured tasks—if it did, we wouldn't really need OmniFocus! But we thought it was important to be able to take your errands with you on the go, syncing your errands list with a mobile device which supported tasks (such as a Palm or Nokia phone), and the easiest way to do that was to sync with something those devices already knew how to sync with, namely iCal.

But all that was before the iPhone and iPod touch and iPad existed. Now that they do exist, our mobile editions of OmniFocus (for iPhone and iPad) are a much better way to take your tasks with you, synchronizing them through the cloud and giving you much better access to your lists on the go.

So that huge benefit to calendar syncing is gone, but I know a number of you are still using calendar syncing, so... What else are you using it for? Syncing with mobile devices which can't run OmniFocus? Sharing tasks with other people? Is there something we can add to OmniFocus which would solve your needs more directly, rather than trying to shore up this sinking stepping stone?

Please let me know, either here in this thread or by sending me direct email at
Here's how I use iCal for Collaboration & Delegation:
. Create a Calendar on Mobile Me
. Share this Calendar
. Create a Project Folder in OmniFocus with the same name as the Calendar
. Create a bunch of Tasks and sync them to the MobileMe calendar
. Share this Calendar with 'N' User
. Have them create the same Project in their version of OmniFocus
. Have them Sync
. We now have a type of Delegation and Collaborative Task Sharing system in place.

I was doing this with BusySync, but ultimately decided against it since we could only use this workflow via Bonjour. I found myself wanting to Delegate from the iPhone or iPad and didn't want to always have to sync back to my Laptop to push these items to the Shared Calendar.
+1 for delegation it is something that I have always tried (usually unsuccessfully) to implement. I tried with Calendar syncing once and have not used it since then. I use Spootnik to get it done now with Basecamp.
My 2 Cents:
1. Code OmniCal :) to play nice with others. Use the same syncing engines in Focus.
2. Or simply build it into Focus.

Love what you guys are doing.

I use multiple calendars hosted over MobileMe, CalDAV and Exchange at the same time. If OmniFocus were able to sync with my GoogleApps CalDAV calendar task list, that would be nice.

However, I'm not sure how much I would use it since it is so convenient just to have the OmniFocus App on my iPhone and iPad.
I am using BusyCal at the moment as a replacement for iCal. I would LOVE to see better integration with BusyCal if you could work with them...
I would like to be able to use the sync in order to get access to my omnifocus tasks from my Windows pc at work through mobileme online. I don't need access to all the functions, just enough to be able to see what's there and be able to put in a task which I can modify later.
Thanks for everyone contributing, but it's going to be most helpful to us if folks can describe what they're using calendar sync for. Detail is good.

Examples: when folks say that they use calendar syncing to delegate or share information with other folks on a team, or to see their tasks on a windows machine, that lets us know that we should be looking at supporting those workflows better, so those folks don't need to go through the calendar hack they're currently using. It's better to provide folks with the feature they actually want than a way they can kinda sorta get it. :-)

In general, we still feel that OmniFocus and calendars track different types of information - we're hoping to get a better understanding of the benefits that folks are seeing when they mix them.

Thanks, everyone!
I use cal export, to provide view of and reminders for scheduled/end date tasks.
Cal sync, as you state, hasn't worked since the move to CalDAV - which I use with my Google Apps account. It's only use when it did work was same as above, for me.

Would be useful to have a way to easily add the exported cal to google/mobile me... I have cal view on iPhone and mac, but not from google calendar.
OK, so what I'm hearing so far is:
policarpo and BenBrooks are primarily interested in delegation.

I'm not sure what jarrodjob or joeworkman are looking for exactly, possibly an integrated visualization that shows the calendar and task list in the same window? I'd love to hear more!

Xevious says it would be nice if OmniFocus could sync with his GoogleApps list, but he's not sure how much he'd actually use it anyway since the iPhone and iPad apps are so convenient.

marisa8184 wants to be able to access her OmniFocus tasks from Windows.
So I'm going to count that as two votes for task delegation within a team, and one vote for accessing tasks from Windows. Hopefully jarroddjob and joeworkman will chime in with clarifications on what they're trying to accomplish, and I look forward to hearing more!

Edit: woops, while I was editing I missed that post by QuaCKeReD, which looks to me like a vote for integrated visualization. (We have reminders now through our calendar export, which works on all platforms and was affected by MobileMe's changes. Though I find I no longer use calendar export now that my iPhone supports local notifications—it's always in my pocket, so I just rely on getting its alerts.)

Last edited by Ken Case; 2010-10-15 at 02:21 PM..

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