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"Stalled" vs "without any available actions" Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I notice that there is some tension, at least in documentation, between the concept of "stalled" projects (as in the project view sidebar filter) and that of "projects where the number of available tasks is 0" as in the OF 1.8 Applescript library.

An applescript search for "projects where the number of available tasks is 0" currently yields 25 matches in my database.

In contrast, clearing all other filters and activating the sidebar "stalled" filter only yields 2 matching projects.

It turns out that projects where the number of available tasks is 0 finds projects which simply have no actions, are marked as completed, are on hold, or are dropped. I find this useful, and a good match for the OF help file's account of "stalled" which is "projects without any available actions"

The sidebar "stalled" filter, however, seems to implement a much less inclusive definition of what "lacks available actions" - in my database it is only finding the two projects assigned to a context which has been placed on hold. It misses many of the projects identified by the applescript property as having no available tasks. I personally find this less useful.

Is this difference by design ?

If so, perhaps there is room for a slightly more specific definition of "stalled" in the help file ?

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2010-08-13 at 04:05 AM.. Reason: typo
 
It's a bit difficult to exactly describe the behavior of the stalled filter in the applescript language because there are some missing pieces!

Try coming up with a query that shows just those projects treated as dropped because they are in a folder which is marked dropped, the project otherwise being active. The stalled filter will not show these.

If you solve that, then come up with a query for projects which have no available actions but do have future actions (number of tasks - number of completed tasks > 0). I didn't succeed in getting such an expression through your script, but I didn't spend much time at it.

I think what the stalled filter gives you is this:

projects where (completed is false) and ((status is not dropped) and (not contained in dropped folder)) and (status is not on hold) and (status is not pending) and (number of available tasks is 0) and (number of remaining tasks > 0)

The first 5 clauses (through "not pending") collect the subset of projects yielded by the position of Stalled in the sidebar filter: remaining - on hold - pending. The remaining 2 clauses are the meat: which projects are stuck because I can't work any of their actions?
 
Thank you !

That's very helpful, and an impressive exercise in inductive reasoning :-)

The four words defining stalled projects in the help file ("without any available actions") probably do need a bit of expansion. They don't reveal much of what the filter really does, let alone of the distinction between it and the applescript library's number of available tasks is 0

Your draft query already reveals much more, and I am empirically getting the same results as stalled (in my database, and this morning's build of OF 1.8) by expanding your search to include active projects which simply lack any kind of task at all, and restricting it to exclude singleton holders. Thus, in applescript, the fairly baroque:
projects where status is active and ((number of tasks is 0) or ((its number of tasks > its number of completed tasks) and (its number of available tasks is 0))) and singleton action holder is false and ((hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value))
or in English, for the help file, something like:

"Active projects which have no tasks, or which have remaining tasks which are unavailable. (Does not include empty single action lists, or projects in dropped folders)."

I can see the value of the 'stalled' filter, and I might be more inclined to make use of it now that (I think) I understand it, but I suspect that I will personally be sticking with simpler and clearer filters for my own day to day work :-)

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2010-08-12 at 05:08 AM..
 
As a PS to this, I have added a simplified 'stalled' search:
projects where status is active and ((number of completed tasks < number of tasks) and (number of available tasks is 0))
to my search library in Where in OF
I'm finding it a useful complement to a couple of other simple and specific house-keeping searches:
projects where number of available tasks is 0
and
projects where number of tasks is 0
(All enabled by the excellent enhancements in support for Applescript which Omni has made in OF 1.8)

More generally, I think it might be very helpful to be able to see (and adjust, or reset to default, if necessary) the definitions of the drop-down filters in the OF graphic user interface.

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2012-07-17 at 06:54 AM..
 
One point of contention (for some) is the definition of available.

Is a project stalled that has one action, with a future start date?

OmniFocus considers this a stalled project.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
One point of contention (for some) is the definition of available.

Is a project stalled that has one action, with a future start date?

OmniFocus considers this a stalled project.
What would you really like to be able to list ? Is it mainly projects with a context that is dropped or on hold ?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
Thank you !

That's very helpful, and an impressive exercise in inductive reasoning :-)

The four words defining stalled projects in the help file ("without any available actions") probably do need a bit of expansion. They don't reveal much of what the filter really does, let alone of the distinction between it and the applescript library's number of available tasks is 0

Your draft query already reveals much more, and I am empirically getting the same results as stalled (in my database, and this morning's build of OF 1.8) by expanding your search to include active projects which simply lack any kind of task at all, and restricting it to exclude singleton holders. Thus, in applescript, the fairly baroque:
projects where status is active and ((number of tasks is 0) or ((its number of tasks > its number of completed tasks) and (its number of available tasks is 0))) and singleton action holder is false and ((hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value))
or in English, for the help file, something like:

"Active projects which have no tasks, or which have remaining tasks which are unavailable. (Does not include empty single action lists, or projects in dropped folders)."

I can see the value of the 'stalled' filter, and I might be more inclined to make use of it now that (I think) I understand it, but I suspect that I will personally be sticking with simpler and clearer filters for my own day to day work :-)

--
Rob,

further investigation reveals that the following seems to be a more accurate description of the 1.7.5 Stalled filter:

projects where status is active and ((number of tasks is 0) or ((its number of completed tasks ≤ its number of tasks) and (its number of available tasks is 0))) and singleton action holder is false and ((hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value)) and ((its start date is missing value) or (start date ≤ today))
Your characterization of "fairly baroque" is fairly applied, I think :-)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Further investigation reveals that the following seems to be a more accurate description of the 1.7.5 Stalled filter:

projects where status is active and ((number of tasks is 0) or ((its number of completed tasks ≤ its number of tasks) and (its number of available tasks is 0))) and singleton action holder is false and ((hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value)) and ((its start date is missing value) or (start date ≤ today))
Your characterization of "fairly baroque" is fairly applied, I think :-)
Excellent ! That does look more like it.

Perhaps I should add an abbreviation to Where in OF for people who want reproduce the older list ? What would one call it ? [OldStalled] ? [1.7.5-Stalled] ?

(I'm personally happy with the simpler version in OF 1.8, though I can see why some found the old version useful, and I can quite understand a sense of transitional alarm at finding that a familiar element of a toolkit has changed).

Does it look to you as if the OF 1.8 stalled is properly captured by:
[Stalled-projects]->((number of tasks is number of completed tasks) and (status is active) and (singleton action holder is false) and ((effectively hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value)))
?

(I did ask the support Ninjas whether they could persuade anyone in Omni to check the draft interpretations of the OF 1.8 filters, but I think everyone is a bit too busy for that to register as a priority at the moment).

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2012-07-17 at 07:37 AM..
 
 


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