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Hi all,

my OF installation is getting slower and slower - it takes a few seconds to bring up the quick entry window and changing from contexts to projects takes much too long as well.
Indeed I have a lot of projects and tasks because I "misuse" OF for the purpose of collecting example sentences for a linguistic project. "Project" is the grammatical feature I examine and collect examples for, and "context" is the source where I found the sentence. I have over 1500 "next actions" now, meaning example sentences, and I am afraid this might have something to do with OF being so slow. But I thought 1500 is not so much, when you compare it to the amount of data some SQL databases have to hold.
I found OF very convenient not only for GTD, but also for the purpose of this collection - when I discover a new sentence I just open quick entry window and key it in. It would hurt if I could not continue doing that.
Is there a way for me to continue my collection in OF or do I have to look out for a separate tool? Any suggestions?
Any help very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Sorry for the trouble this is causing! I know that the 1.7 release we're working on includes a performance improvement having to do with switching between project and context views. That should help.

As for the lag in bringing up the quick entry window, I'm not sure exactly what's causing that. I'm sure my archive database includes more than 1500 actions - I've been using OF now for several years - and with the archive open, I still see the Quick Entry window appear in less than a second once I hit the shortcut. I don't have 1500 projects active with their own next actions, though. I'll try setting up a test case like that.

(True, there's a SQL database under the hood, but there's a lot of code that makes sure each of those items haven't hit their due date, applies styles to them, and so forth.)

It would be helpful to know what version of the OS you have installed, and what hardware it's running on. That's one possible factor that may be influencing this.

Probably the best thing you can do is contact the support ninjas so we can gather more information about the problem.
Okay, setting up a test database with just over 2000 projects, I can see what you're seeing here. For what it's worth, a database with 3000 actions is far more responsive than one with 2000 projects, so rearranging things in some manner should help.

(For each of those projects, we have code that looks at it, figures out which action is the next action, apply the style, and so forth. Actions have a lower resource overhead associated with them, basically.)

I'll write this up as a performance issue, but yeah; this use case definitely stretches what the app was designed to handle a bit. :-)
I've also been hoping for some performance improvements in OmniFocus. At about 2750 actions and 350 projects, things are still quite good on my mid-2009 MacBook Pro. But searches across the whole database and switching between perspectives could be snappier. Bringing up my quick entry window takes about 1.1 seconds according to the stopwatch on my iPhone -- yeah, I know, not very scientific. :-)

Bumping this to the top. I have 445 projects, 3851 action and 306 files, sync with 4 systems and an iPhone. All sync continuously throughout the day. For a variety of reasons I don't want to archive too often. I am running 1.7.5 and on a 3ghz iMac with 4GB of RAM. It takes about 4-5 seconds to switch from context view to planning view. Since I make this switch 100's of times a day, I would like to see this improve.

I am willing to throw hardware at it but not sure if that will help. The new iMacs run at 3.3 ghz or I could do the quad core at 2.8. I don't know if or how OF would take advantage of the additional cores. Both systems take 16GB of memory, will throwing memory at it help?

Any guidance is welcomed.

Last edited by gcrump; 2009-10-27 at 08:51 AM..
Your number of zip files is a bit high, but that's to be expected when you have 4-5 sync clients. Besides, I don't think that number of zip files is actually high enough to greatly impact performance.

I can't imagine OmniFocus is even pegging a single core of your CPU either, so upgrading in that regard probably won't help much.

As for memory, as long as your iMac isn't swapping to disk (writing memory contents to disk to make room for new data), I don't think adding RAM will help much either. With 4 GB, you should be fine unless you've got some other memory-intensive apps running, like VMware Fusion or maybe Logic Pro. And even then, you'd probably be okay. I'm running 8 GB of RAM and didn't notice any change in performance in OmniFocus when I upgraded.

You could look into a faster hard drive, but you've probably already got a 7200-rpm drive in your iMac. So maybe an SSD or 10000-rpm drive might help. But those are expensive options for likely a very small performance gain in OmniFocus. Your launch times would probably improve though.

I don't know much about OmniFocus' internals or what obstacles the Omni developers are working against, but it seems to me that software optimization is likely where we'd find the greatest opportunity for significant performance improvements. Unfortunately, that's largely out of our hands. About the only thing we can do is let the Omni Group know that it's important to us and hope they give it some attention.

Have you sent feedback yet? If not, I strongly encourage you to do so. Performance improvements are my top feature request at this point.


Last edited by Toadling; 2009-10-27 at 09:26 AM..
You might also consider trying this hidden preference (paste into Terminal and hit Return):

defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniFocus LeaveEmptySelectionEmpty -bool yes
This will make OmniFocus show nothing in the main content area when you have nothing selected in the sidebar (instead of showing everything). Then save your perspectives with no sidebar selection.

With this simple change, I can switch perspectives instantly. Of course, nothing is displayed in the main content area, so I have to make a second click to manually select an item in the sidebar. But even with the slightly annoying two-click process, OmniFocus still feels much snappier.

I'll also point out that this "no sidebar selection = empty content area" behavior is the way many other Mac apps behave as well (e.g. Apple Mail and Yojimbo).

If you don't like this setting, it's easy to undo too:

defaults delete com.omnigroup.OmniFocus LeaveEmptySelectionEmpty
BTW, you should relaunch OmniFocus after setting the hidden default (or better yet, just quit OmniFocus while you make the change).

Toadling, Thanks for the suggestions. I kind of thought that either upgrade would not do me much good. I do have an SSD drive on my MacBookPro. As you indicated launch times are dramatically faster, but "switch" times are about the same. Also I did send feedback and I am with you performance is by far the number one issue for me. Well that and the ability to switch from action item to project on the iPhone like I can on the Mac, but that is for another forum...

Oh, to be forced to make do with such hardware -- think of how snappy it is on my 2 GHz 2 GB MacBook with 50% more actions :-)

I'm sure there's plenty of room in the code for performance enhancements, and as more of us send in requests and sampling data, Omni will (continue to) give it some attention.

One thing that I've found helpful is not asking OF to redo all of those computations over and over. Instead, keep another window open in your alternate view. It probably makes everything slightly slower having to update multiple windows, but I don't notice that -- I do notice the multi-second pause when bringing up a different perspective or switching between project/context modes. Dennis' suggestion about the LeaveEmptySelectionEmpty preference is a good one, too.
whpalmer4 - fair point, but imagine the frustration of being able to throw more power at it and getting minimal return. I'm not saying I don't love Omnifocus, I do, I just was asking a question to understand if I was willing to throw even more power at it would it help. The answer seems to be no.

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