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Hi all -

I've been using flags in OF to mark the things that I intend to finish during any given day. During a quick morning review, I browse all my lists and mark items that either *must* get done or that I'd like to get done. At the end of the day, I make sure there's nothing that needed to get done that didn't, and for any that weren't mission critical, I simply remove the flag. In essence, I use flags as my next actions list.

The problem is that when I use View >> Flagged, marking off an item that's the only item flagged in a certain project removes that project from the view - despite the fact that I'm looking at Actions >> Any Status and Projects >> All. In this situation, shouldn't flagged items that are completed remain in the view no matter what?

It's helpful to me to look at a list of completed items at the end of the day and review the completed items to make sure there are no loose ends I neglected to mark. Plus, I have to track my client time, and this is a nice way to make sure I didn't miss any billing opportunities.

Is this a "bug" or am I just missing something?

Thanks for your help!

Yes I'd agree they should stay in view if those were your settings, but there is no "any status" option as far as I can see? Where do you see that, as I'd like to have it too?

The only choices I can see are to either see ONLY completed tasks, or to see ONLY uncompleted tasks (either remaining, next, due soon or available).

You can uncheck the option in data to immediately hide completed items, but that will still only show them until you next clean up.

Ah, I see now that "any status" is available in projects mode only, and yes I'd agree it should work the way you say. Maybe you're setting it in projects view, then switching to contexts?

So a separate question - why can't I show "any status" when in contexts view, and why can't I show "due soon" when in projects view?
Nope - I'm not setting it in Contexts view. Though that's even *more* curious that the "any" status doesn't exist in context mode. I wonder why not ... ?

Does anyone from the Omni staff have any insight?
A workaround might be to group your projects by date changed.
Originally Posted by mattdawson View Post
Nope - I'm not setting it in Contexts view. Though that's even *more* curious that the "any" status doesn't exist in context mode. I wonder why not ... ?

Does anyone from the Omni staff have any insight?
I'm not from the Omni staff, but I've been using OF since May 2007. I think the reason is that, except for the "Completed" status filter, Context view shows only actions that are in active projects. If there were an "any" status choice, Omni would have to either limit it to active projects (in which case it would not really be all actions with any status), or expand the implicit project filtering.

They did that with completed actions, because of the straightforward idea that people who wanted to see completed actions in Context view also wanted to see actions they had completed in projects that were completed, dropped, pending, or on hold. It's not so obvious what a user might want to see when choosing any actions in Context view.

That's how it looks to me, but I'm sure if I'm barking up the wrong tree, someone from Omni will chime in!

It's very possible I'm just not understanding the concept yet, but to me the whole "context vs planning mode" thing is incredibly confusing, and seams to unnecessarily limit what I want to do. I'm finding OF quite restrictive when it comes to setting up views the way I want to see them, mostly for no apparent reason.

In principle, I see no difference between wanting to view by project, and wanting to view by context, so don't understand why I'm forced to live with different possibilities in both modes - why not give the user the choice so he can decide how to set up his perspectives?

I'm sure there must be some logic behind the restrictions placed on the user in each mode, but for the life of me I can't work out what. I'm certain that to most new users, the result is unnecessary confusion.

Setting aside the design details, which could all be overcome with some thought, what I'd expect to see as a new user would be:

1. A sidebar with contexts and projects in it in a simple tree, like this:


--No Context
--Context 1
--Context 2
---Sub-context 1

This would do three things; remove the confusion and (apparent) inconsistencies between the two modes, allow filtering by context AND project (e.g., see only items in projects one and two, that are in context 3), and allow me to drag items to new projects and contexts. I'm constantly frustrated by not being able to drag to a new context or project because I happen to be in the wrong mode.

2. A view bar with a full set of options.

3. A full set of info available inline.

4. When development resources allow, multi-level sorting and grouping, AND/OR/NOT filtering, ascending/descending sorting, and the ability to remember my sort settings for the sidebar.

This would give a full grid of options, so the user could set up the views the way he/she wanted, and the ability to have pre-set modes for planning etc wouldn't need to be compromised.

Maybe someone can explain the benefits of the current system to me, as I'm not getting it so far.


Last edited by MacBerry; 2008-09-04 at 11:22 PM..
Here's just one example of someone suffering the same thing - he's restricted by the fact that the mode he's in makes assumptions about what he wants to do.

Thanks for sharing your design idea. I delayed in responding so I could ponder it a bit.

I think the intent of the current OF design was to strongly segregate planning from doing. I also think it's likely that the current design reflects OF's conceptual heritage from Kinkless in OmniOutliner, where the context views were generated by transforming the main project-based organization of the data.

That said, I don't see any major problems with your proposal and agree that such a design would allow greater customization. I do wonder whether it would be more or less confusing to novice users. I think a larger variety of built-in perspectives would go a long way to simplifying either design for novices. A second benefit is that the built-in perspectives would provide ready-made examples and starting points for custom perspectives.

Omni has mentioned that smart groups are coming someday. Perhaps a design like yours would be a good way to specify smart groups.

Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I do wonder whether it would be more or less confusing to novice users.
One of the reasons I like it is that it's closer to what people expect on a Mac these days - just take a look at iTunes, iPhoto or Finder for example. The sidebar is a source list that doesn't have to change even if the way things show up in the main window does. Think coverflow vs list vs by album etc in iTunes.

I think that works beautifully in a programme like OF, which is essentially a list manager, all-be-it a specialised one. You select a source or sources there, then filter and arrange them from the view bar.

I think my arrangement is familiar and hence less confusing to users, whereas the current arrangement has no precedent from elsewhere, and in the absence of any obvious advantage, is therefore confusing.

I like the idea of inbuilt perspectives very much, but don't think they are at odds with my idea. They certainly shouldn't be used to compensate for a confusing design - instead they should complement a simple one.


Last edited by MacBerry; 2008-09-05 at 12:44 PM..

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