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Merlin2 or OmniPlan2 Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi Guys!

I run a chance to be cast out :-) but I do want to hear from you why did you choose one over another.

I'm trying both programs now and Merlin looks more pleasing to the eye (I like the way the lines in charts looks slim and nice, font is small, all looks really slick on my 13" MacBook), they seem to be more geared towards big teams and big projects (server version, iPad/iPhone version, Daylite integration).

But the most appealing is the price. It used to be more expensive than OmniPlan and it was the main stopper when I checked it before OP2 came out. Now it's the same.

I don't need big team features at the moment, but when I do (hopefully soon) I don't want to buy new s/w, even though M2 seems to be capable to import OP's projects without problem.

I have only came across one thing that is annoying in M2 - I can't get a project created with undetermined start date. I went through their forums and saw that I'm not alone in this. Omni allows for that and it's great for estimates when I need to give client the idea how long would a project take.
I like the way you can easily group items in OP2.

Please, Omni give me smaller fonts by default (I know I can change it using Cmd+F, but it's awkward), GANTT elements (I want it slim and as nice looking as in M2), duration of each activity in the GANTT chart (I know I can see it when hoovering over each one on the chart, but if I take a screenshot and paste it into email, it's not there) and I fall in :-)

I'm user of OF and OG Pro and love your products and especially you ninjas :-)

Last edited by amarkelo; 2011-11-15 at 12:15 PM..
 
Anyone?

Another thing that I noticed (maybe it's Lion thing) is that OP2 crashes on Cmd+Z. Not all the time. When I try to repeat (after app restart) what I was doing before it crashed, it seems to be fine - undo works without crashing.

I wonder if it's something that sleep may contribute to?

I'm getting to know both apps a bit more. I like the way notes for every task accessible in OP2 without going into Inspector (not as easy in M2). I can put clickable links to DevonThink documents and folders into the notes - very handy! Can't do the same in M2.

My complain about font size - this can be done by using templates and changing font size in Inspector for the whole document.

There are some minor display glitches every now and again. For example, tasks at the end of the project may overflow past the all encompassing group. I think it happened when I changed project start date to undetermined and the deleted/added few tasks inside the project. I'm not sure if that was the sequence, unfortunately, I didn't capture the exact moment when elements shifted out of place. I was able to fix it by changing to specific date and then back to undetermined.
Another one was when after creating a baseline alternate rows colours have disappeared for dates before today's. If I undo the last action, the colours go back to normal.

All these little problems leave me with a feeling of a beta rather than version 2.0.2.

Edit: forgot to mention an interesting thing - ProjectWizards seems to be a bit ahead with OmniFocus and OmniGraffle integration. I can send project right into either one using "Send to" AppleScripts provided from their website. Keeps me wondering why Omni is not providing this functionality? I can send project to OF, but it shows there as a list of items in the body of a new task created in Inbox. M2 creates a project in OF that mimics the project. Maybe I haven't found yet how to do this in OP2.
I have another 8 days of trial period left (another thing that M2 is more generous about - there is no limit on trial days, they limit you in a number of activities you can put into your project). I'll keep posting my findings here in case someone finds it useful. Hopefully someone tunes in and give a feedback and maybe show me the way around all this cons I found so far. I hope someone will.

For the record, I'm not working for ProjectWizards and not associated with them in any way. Just an ordinary user, trying to find the right product. In case someone feels that I'm trying to promote one product over another here :-)

Last edited by amarkelo; 2011-11-16 at 02:55 PM..
 
OP2 unfortunately still crashes on me regularly as well. But one of the most important things for me is that their mpp import is more correct than Merlin's. It is still not 100%, but the error in days are less than with Merlin. Also, OP2s XML export is usually more correct than Merlin's export.
I can see the graphical quirks you mention as well, the graphics engine still has some bugs I guess. Also I keep complaining to the Ninjas that a very reasonable hook is not remembered by OP2, the one for Update completion of tasks, to apply only for selected tasks, I never want all tasks updated without me manually doing it, I would lose oversight then. So every time I update a tasks for its completion, I need to set that hook, annoying!
Otherwise I have to say that OP2 just has the right amount of complexity for me, I do not need 2 constraints per start AND 2 per end date. The work time planning is done more fluently in OP2 as well, I believe.
And then of course the Apple script interface! I recently created a very beautiful Swimlane diagram in Omnigraffle by dragging out the data out of OP2 and creating shapes in OG. I learned how to do that from the script that is floating around that does the same for OmniOutliner to OmniGraffle. This way I can completely work from OP2: Get tasks into OF, get nice presentation drawings via OG.
No program is perfect, and even with the existing quirks, OP2 wins for me currently.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
And then of course the Apple script interface! I recently created a very beautiful Swimlane diagram in Omnigraffle by dragging out the data out of OP2 and creating shapes in OG. I learned how to do that from the script that is floating around that does the same for OmniOutliner to OmniGraffle. This way I can completely work from OP2: Get tasks into OF, get nice presentation drawings via OG.
No program is perfect, and even with the existing quirks, OP2 wins for me currently.
Michael, would you mind to share the script with me? I'm new to AppleScript, but eager to learn.

I agree that there is no perfect s/w :) I just need the one that works better for the same money.
 
I would also be interested in that script.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
Otherwise I have to say that OP2 just has the right amount of complexity for me, I do not need 2 constraints per start AND 2 per end date. The work time planning is done more fluently in OP2 as well, I believe.
It looks to me that many people agree that OP2 is less complex and lighter version of the two. I think (and hope) Omni would do a great deal better by lowering the price of the product.
In fact I think ProjectWizards have delivered a nice punch here lowering price of Merlin2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
And then of course the Apple script interface! I recently created a very beautiful Swimlane diagram in Omnigraffle by dragging out the data out of OP2 and creating shapes in OG.
Merlin people say that AppleScript support is no less extensive in Merlin.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptPat View Post
I would also be interested in that script.

I just heard about that script. Color me interested.
 
Ok, I can not deny so many requests. ;)
Find my script on Github, it's called draw_swimlanes_from_OP.scpt in my project op2og:
https://github.com/michaelaye/op2og
Have fun!
Michael
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amarkelo View Post
It looks to me that many people agree that OP2 is less complex and lighter version of the two. I think (and hope) Omni would do a great deal better by lowering the price of the product.
In fact I think ProjectWizards have delivered a nice punch here lowering price of Merlin2.



Merlin people say that AppleScript support is no less extensive in Merlin.
And the fact, that the mpp file import is bad for Merlin (and their support get's fed up with reverse-engineering the problems) does not bother you? At least for me they stopped responding to my requests of improving the mpp import, always pointing to the XML export. Even so that's legitimate and understandable from the point of view of the poor programmer, the 'mpp' format still seems to be the standard for exchanged schedule information.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
And the fact, that the mpp file import is bad for Merlin (and their support get's fed up with reverse-engineering the problems) does not bother you? At least for me they stopped responding to my requests of improving the mpp import, always pointing to the XML export.
As far as I understand OP2 also has some limitations when it comes to mpp export/import and they suggest the same - use XML. At least what I read in the manual (page 73):

"Documents created in Microsoft Project XML, MPX, or MPP formats can be opened by OmniPlan, with a few limitations. Note that while OmniPlan can read MPP files, it can't write them. For the best compatibility going back and forth between OmniPlan and Microsoft Project, use the XML format."

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelaye View Post
Even so that's legitimate and understandable from the point of view of the poor programmer, the 'mpp' format still seems to be the standard for exchanged schedule information.
Microsoft is well known for keeping formats badly documented to keep developers struggling and keep users from migrating to competitors. As long as both Omni and ProjectWizards do not hide the fact that it's not all perfect when it comes to export/import, I'm pretty happy. Nothing is perfect and when I know the limitations it's just another risk.

Back to comparison... -1 to Merlin for no easy way of subscription to resource's calendar. The only way they seem to have is to import calendar from a file, which is a pain. Calendars do change and it's easier to subscribe and forget, than to keep pinging the person for updated file.

-1 to OP2 for no integration with Daylite and Billings. I asked about Billings in this forum and haven't got an answer yet :( (except for some gibberish post in unknown language). It's handy when you plan a project and then send an estimate to client based on the plan. I'm puzzled as of why Omni didn't think about that. Maybe they did and someone will answer the question soon.
 
 


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