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[req] Quick entry + menubar item w/o OF running Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
My apologies if this is covered elsewhere, searching the forums yielded nothing useful.

I love OmniFocus's menubar item and Quick Entry thing, but think that the fact that OF has to be running for them to actually work greatly decreases the value of the application (to me). Have you given or might you give any thought to making these available at all times, even if OF is not running?

Cheers.
 
Agreed. A helper faceless app might be a nice addition. Or just a "hide OF when in background" pref.
 
I'd love this as well -- for me, OmniHeaven would be to have a preference setting which hides the dock icon, and just lets you have a menubar to show the application window (plus quick-entry for new items). That way, I could hide OF until I needed it -- I keep my dock very minimal, and dislike having the OF icon constantly visible even though the app itself is hidden. Like Quicksilver, OF should just sit there, hidden away completely, until you need it.

I gather that hiding icons in the dock isn't that hard to do -- but given everything else that Omni have to do in the next few weeks before 1.0 comes out, I doubt they'd be adding new features now. But we can dream, can't we?

- Erik.
 
Someone could try this hint (I think you'd want to have the menubar icon turned on, as I'm not sure you could even command-tab to OF after making this change).

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.p...10701191518268

-P
 
Hi ptone,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptone View Post
Someone could try this hint (I think you'd want to have the menubar icon turned on, as I'm not sure you could even command-tab to OF after making this change).

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.p...10701191518268
Thanks -- that's almost exactly what I wanted. Even better, at the bottom of the hint's comments, there's a reference to a free app called Dock Dodger, which does it all for you. No need to tweak the application's plist at all!

Unfortunately, though, OmniFocus doesn't work right once the dock icon has been hidden. You can show OF by selecting an item from the OF menu, but alas OF starts to misbehave. The window comes to the front, but the OF menubar isn't shown -- so you can't do much with it.

I'll file this as a bug report, as it seems weird that OF should behave in this way.

Thanks again for pointing me in this direction -- if that bug gets fixed, I'd be a very happy camper indeed!

- Erik.
 
Erik, I don't think this is a bug you're seeing, but rather the result of design decisions made by Apple in Mac OS X. This snippet appears in Objective Development's LaunchBar Help file as a word of caution against running that app in the background without a Dock icon.

Yes, LaunchBar is a different kind of app, but I think much of this applies to OmniFocus as well:

Quote:
In general, background applications are not considered to have a user interface or to become active. Thus be aware of the following shortcomings:
  • Background applications do not appear in the Force Quit window. Instead you have to use Activity Monitor (or Process Viewer on Mac OS X 10.2) if you need to force quit LaunchBar.
  • Background applications do not have their own menu bar. LaunchBar overcomes this problem by putting all the menu commands in the LaunchBar Action menu. This results in a quite large menu, though.
  • Due to the missing menu bar, OS X displays the menu of the last active application, although this application is no longer active once you activate LaunchBar. This can be quite confusing. When you click in the menu, nothing happens (since the corresponding application isn't active), when you perform a menu shortcut, e.g. Command-Q, it will attempt to quit LaunchBar instead of the application displayed in the menu bar.
  • Also due to the missing menu bar, the Hide Others command (Command-Option-H) will not work while LaunchBar is active. On Mac OS X there must be at least one foreground application that provides a menu bar. But if a background application - which has no own menu bar - hides all other applications, no menu bar would be left. Therefore OS X simply refuses to perform the Hide Others command when a background application is active.
  • When running AppleScripts via LaunchBar, dialogs (such as used in the built-in Calculate script) cannot be confirmed with Return or Escape. You have to click the buttons with the mouse instead.
  • Background applications are not notified, when you log out or shut down. Therefore you will not be asked to save any unsaved configuration changes.
  • Background applications are not notified, when the keyboard layout did change. If the proper keyboard layout is set too late (e.g. during login, when LaunchBar is started automatically before the keyboard layout has been set), LaunchBar will use the wrong layout.
  • The background mode can't be set individually on a per user basis. If LaunchBar is installed in a multi user environment, the modification will affect all users.
If these limitations still hold true for Leopard, which I believe they do, it seems like OmniFocus is not a very good candidate for a background application. Although, maybe it could work like iChat: Basic info shown in the Menu Bar with nothing in the Dock. Selecting an item in the Menu Bar, however, launches the full OmniFocus application with an icon in the Dock (like iChat launches when you select Buddy List).

Last edited by Toadling; 2007-12-12 at 09:06 PM..
 
Looks like there are two different requests here. To be clear, I'm wanting a helper background app: the menubar icon that is present at all times and shows me what I've got to do + the quick entry box that pops up when I type a global shortcut.

Mind, I'm not criticising the "OF in the background, hidden, no Dock icon" request, that's just not of value to me and not what I was requesting. =)

Cheers.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justG View Post
To be clear, I'm wanting a helper background app: the menubar icon that is present at all times and shows me what I've got to do + the quick entry box that pops up when I type a global shortcut.
That's actually how we originally implemented Quick Entry, but then you had to run two applications (one faceless) with lots of duplicate code to perform the same work, and lots of coordination had to happen between the two.

OmniFocus is nearly as lightweight as Quick Entry was when running idle in the background, so it should be just as easy to have it launch and hide at startup as it would be to have a separate Quick Entry app do that.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
OmniFocus is nearly as lightweight as Quick Entry was when running idle in the background, so it should be just as easy to have it launch and hide at startup as it would be to have a separate Quick Entry app do that.
Wow, that's difficult to believe. (I say that not in doubt, but in awe.) I don't like running apps if I don't have to, but if OF's footprint is that small and memory management that good (an area of testing I pretty much ignore unless it's broken), it seems silly to demand an alternative. Thanks for that, I'll give it a go.
 
 


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