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Can multiple people/phones sync to the same database? [Answer: Yes, with caveats.] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Okay, so I've been here for a while and it might be lack of coffee or something but I haven't found a clear statement saying that OmniFocus is capable of syncing its database on 2 or more Macs on a network.

(I need it to sync with 5 Macs, all of them opening the same database at the same time. Plus, I need the same database to run on 3 iPhones)

I really like this application and I have personally been using it for some months and I think it could solve some "Getting Things Done" problems for my office. The thing is I have been using 1.1 which won't let me open the same file in two different computers.

You see, in total honesty I am between buying Daylite or OF for my office workflow. I have studied Daylite for a while but it seems to... "anal" for me. I see it is very complete but a little too complex and I think it will never be up to date because of its complexity.

Now, the thing I need to know is if the OF database can be opened and edited in this 8 devices at the same time (and I really don't care for MobileMe syncing, we can sync todo entries made on the iPhone when we get to work).

If IT IS possible, I have more dumb questions:

1. Five licenses are needed for Macs?
2. Are they sold in a cheaper bundle pack for five?
3. Is there a bundle price for iPhone?

Last edited by jchaac; 2009-01-08 at 08:23 AM.. Reason: Describes the discussion better
 
I don't know of any hard limits, though there may be some practical limits depending on how the devices are used. For the database auto compaction to happen, all the devices need to periodically be synced together, and that might be a bit inconvenient to make happen. I don't think it needs to be a showstopper, however, as you can force the compaction to happen manually if necessary.

You do need to be careful about how you use this system. Everyone will be using the same database, and it is a "last one in wins" system, so if two or more clients change the same item, the last version of the change to be synced is the one that will be kept going forward, and there is no warning of a collision, or logging of who contributed the change. It really isn't intended as groupware at present. If everyone is going to have their own folder of projects and never do anything but look at other people's projects, this may not be as much of an issue, but even then I'm not willing to bet that there won't be some bumps. I think your odds of success would be higher doing this with 8 people that really understood the program and how the sync works, and with 8 people that didn't quite get it, Murphy might make an occasional appearance.

How much data are you planning to have in this system? It has been suggested that about 1,000 actions is a good target to stay under for best performance, and if you have 8 independent users of this database, that's an average of only 125 or so. The system shouldn't suddenly fall over dead at 1,001 (Omni's CEO mentioned at one point that he had 1200+ actions in his without undue difficulty on the iPhone), but the iPhone client will be working up a bit of a sweat as the database grows :)

If you are using the Bonjour syncing, you'll want to be sure that the machine hosting the database (one of the desktops) is always on and running OmniFocus or no one will be able to sync.

As for discounts, you'd be eligible for the standard discount -- each license you buy after the first, for any Omni product, all in the same purchase, knocks 5% off the total price of the purchase, up to a 30% discount. So you'd pay 5*$79.95*(1-(.05*4)) = $319.80 for the desktop part. I'm not exactly sure how bulk licensing for the iPhone client works, you might only have to buy one client if you sync all the iPhones to the same iTunes account. Email sales@omnigroup.com for definitive answers on this stuff.
 
Hi jchaac,

I don't know if it's something for you. But I put a little service called Spootnik (http://www.spootnik.net) together which synchronizes Basecamp directly with OmniFocus. Have a look here http://www.spootnik.net/faces.html showing some possible usages.

It is currently in private beta. If you like to test-drive it you can sign up here http://www.spootnik.net/signup.html and join the private beta crew.

Best regards,
Lars
 
Well. Even before your answers I went on and bought the Desktop licenses and so far one for the iPhone.

I have to say I am really impressed with the sync times, even for iPhone. I have about 350 tasks and it synced in less than 5 seconds flat. Last night I was a total nerd by trying to explain to my wife how are we going to work with OF software and what a cool company Omni is. She told me we needed to stop for eggs.

Now, about your comment:

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
OmniFocus really isn't intended as groupware at present
I completely understand this. This is not a groupware software and I am forcing it a little bit. The thing is that my priority is to look for simple before "adequate" and I think your software is simple enough for everyone to use.

So, having this in mind, I would like to make a request: private items. If in my organization people know their duties and what folders should they modify and what folders not to, then I'll have no data loss problems when syncing, as you said. That is up to us and not up to Omni.

The thing is some users may want to enter data that does not sync with others. Maybe personal errands that do not involve a group. If every user could locally have a way to restrict syncing some folders or if a "private" folder would be in every user, then that would be solved.

One step after that is creating an administrator and user logins and I think you might not be going on that direction (yet).

The bottom line is I really like how this OF software works versus others that I tested (Things 1.0 and Daylite 3.7) and I will be an Omni client for long. I will also participate to try to make it better.

In regards of the comment by Lars:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lars.steiger View Post
I don't know if it's something for you. But I put a little service called Spootnik (http://www.spootnik.net) together which synchronizes Basecamp directly with OmniFocus.
I do find it interesting. However, I would need it in Spanish and working with iPhone.
 
I am totally on board with the "Private Items" idea as I am in the same situation with the OP. Except that I'm not sharing my OF database...

I manage 4 people, but I let them manage their own projects (which in our case, are not long-term with hard deadlines). But I do want to make sure that things don't get lost, so keep all my questions and comments I have about their projects in OF which get reviewed each Monday. This list can get pretty large (20 items maybe), and it would be nice to somehow share just that project with them. Otherwise, each Monday we are going over the same issues again and again. The problem is, I don't want to touch the data I've already entered into OF again.

I know there are specific programs out there for bug tracking, or whatever else, but there is a human issue that comes into play: I have trained myself to put information info OF - period. Once it's there, I'm faced with moving the data to a bug tracking software package, or some other package - why? I would much rather pay for OF licenses for the office, and share what needs to be shared.

The OP's wonderful idea suits my situation, but without a private area, I won't be following it. It's almost like I'll have to have 2 different To Do programs. Bleh.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your ideas... I'll definitely be keeping this one in mind should I be able to find a way to make it work.
 
I am a little lost here... what is OP?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jchaac View Post
Well. Even before your answers I went on and bought the Desktop licenses and so far one for the iPhone.

I have to say I am really impressed with the sync times, even for iPhone. I have about 350 tasks and it synced in less than 5 seconds flat. Last night I was a total nerd by trying to explain to my wife how are we going to work with OF software and what a cool company Omni is. She told me we needed to stop for eggs.
Yeah, some people just don't know how to express their excitement, do they? :)
Quote:
I completely understand this. This is not a groupware software and I am forcing it a little bit. The thing is that my priority is to look for simple before "adequate" and I think your software is simple enough for everyone to use.
It's not MY software, I'm not an Omni employee, just another user. I do like the software, and do what I can to help people use it successfully.
Quote:
So, having this in mind, I would like to make a request: private items. If in my organization people know their duties and what folders should they modify and what folders not to, then I'll have no data loss problems when syncing, as you said. That is up to us and not up to Omni.

The thing is some users may want to enter data that does not sync with others. Maybe personal errands that do not involve a group. If every user could locally have a way to restrict syncing some folders or if a "private" folder would be in every user, then that would be solved.

One step after that is creating an administrator and user logins and I think you might not be going on that direction (yet).

The bottom line is I really like how this OF software works versus others that I tested (Things 1.0 and Daylite 3.7) and I will be an Omni client for long. I will also participate to try to make it better.
For best results, you need to send your suggestions directly to Omni with either Help->Send Feedback (inside OmniFocus) or email to omnifocus@omnigroup.com. That way, your suggestions get entered in their development database and considered for future versions. The number of "votes" an idea has is taken into account when planning where to apply their development resources. Forum discussion is good, and it helps others to realize that maybe they should send in feedback as well, but the forum is read by Omni employees on an as available basis, and the only way to be sure that your request is considered is to do as suggested above.

And to answer your question from another post: OP = Original Poster, you in this case.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jchaac View Post
In regards of the comment by Lars:

I do find it interesting. However, I would need it in Spanish and working with iPhone.
Hi jchaac,

Spootnik works with iPhone, too. It interacts with OmniFocus and OmniFocus for iPhone/Touch over WebDAV (as e.g. MobileMe does).

Spanish: You're right. Basecamp and Spootnik don't speak Spanish, yet. But it synchronizes your "Spanish Tasks" between different OmniFocus databases :)

Best regards,
Lars
 
My small R&D team just switched to the suite of Omni products.

We are using OmniPlan and OmniFocus. Actions & milestones for projects are grouped as projects in OmniFocus.

Is there a way to sync to different servers on a project basis?

We are trying to keep all goals in a database, but want to avoid individual "home to-do lists" ending on the server, plus not everyone is on the same set of projects.

We are also using Outliner and Graffle Pro...

-- Harald
 
OmniFocus 1 was designed with a single-user workflow in mind; you can adapt it to work for the purposes you'd like, but as you've discovered, it's a stretch. (There's no support for multi-server syncing, or for syncing only a subset of your database, in other words.)

We have gotten requests for workflows like the one you'd describe; if you'd like your feedback to be added to those feature requests, shoot the Support Ninjas an email (under the help menu) so they can do so. One of the metrics the development team use when planning out future releases is the number of folks who would like to see a given change.

Last edited by Brian; 2009-01-21 at 06:11 PM.. Reason: forgot to mention how to email the ninjas
 
 


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