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Omnifocus getting progressively more sluggish Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I have Omnifocus 1.7.5 running on Mac OS 10.5.8 on an Intel iMac (2.8Ghz core 2 duo, 4GB RAM) and it's getting progressively more and more sluggish in use.

Switching between perspectives takes several seconds and I see the "Saving to cache" message just about everytime I add a new project or action, which really slows things down. I sync it WebDAV over HTTPS to my MacBook Pro (2.6GHz, 4GB RAM) and iPhone. It's sluggish on my MacBook Pro as well, possibly even worse. The worst offender is switching from Contexts to Projects. It runs OK on my iPhone, but syncs sometimes take minutes even though I've only added a handful of actions since a sync done the day before.

I've tried rebuilding the database and archiving old items. The "Compact Database" option in the File menu is greyed out. The database file is 3.6MB in size. When running, Omnifocus is listed in the Activity Monitor as having an RSIZE of 75MB and a VSize of 1.01GB.
 
It sounds like you might be accumulating a large number of zip files in an uncompacted database. It's also possible that your database is just getting full of completed actions.

On your iPhone, on the Settings page for OmniFocus, in the Database section, what does it report for number of projects, actions, and zip files?

When you run the File->Archive command on your "main" Mac (right now, the Archive is not synced, so you should always use the same machine for the archive operation if you want to be able to easily get to all of your archived data in the same place), how many actions does it offer to archive for you?

If you go to the Sync pane in the Preferences window on the desktop and click the Show Clients button, how many clients are shown? Do any of them have a last synced date more than a day or two ago?

At some point, even with everything working as efficiently as possible, OmniFocus will be noticeably slower if your database gets large enough. One thing that some of us find helpful is to use the Terminal to turn on the LeaveEmptySelectionEmpty option, which eliminates the automatic selection of everything in the sidebar when you switch modes (and thus spares OF the effort of computing the display of most of the contents of your database). Instead, nothing appears in the outline panel until you select something in the sidebar. The time saved not redrawing all the data you didn't want to see more than pays for the time you might spend selecting a project or context in the sidebar. See Dennis' fine post here for the details.
 
Thanks for your help :).

I found that if I temporarily disabled syncing, the "Compact Database" option was enabled. Running this shrank the DB to 624kB, which has improved sync speed to on my iPhone, but OmniFocus on Mac remains just as sluggish as before.

Thanks for the tip re. LeaveSelectionEmpty. I tried this and it speeds up switching from Projects => Contexts, but Contexts => Projects is still just as slow and this is the one that slows me down (i.e. "Show in Planning Mode").

I guess it must just be the size of my database. On my iPhone it says:

99 projects and 890 actions in 789 zip files.

I have three clients sync'ed in total, but they were all sync'ed less than a day ago.

If I do "Show Package Contents" on my OmniFocus.ofocus file (after compacting the DB) it shows 21 zip files.

Perhaps OmniFocus just isn't cut out for someone running their own business! Seriously though, it seems a shame the app is sluggish when it's only throwing around at most a few megabytes of data. There are apps on my Mac which do much more technically demanding tasks (throwing gigabytes of photos, video or audio around) which manage to remain more responsive than this.

Task management isn't exactly rocket science and I'm running this on quite a well spec'ed system. I'd be sympathetic if we were talking about $30 shareware here, but OmniFocus costs more than that and comes from a company that has a good pedigree of quality apps. Thus my expectations are somewhat higher.

Would be grateful if someone from Omni could comment on whether there are plans to improve performance for larger databases? I'm using OmniFocus precisely because I have a tonne of things to do. It should be a responsive tools which helps, rather than being something else which causes more stress.
 
I've got a slower computer (2 Ghz Core 2 Duo MacBook with 2 GB) and a much larger database (500+ projects, 4000+ actions), and while there are certainly actions which are prone to inducing a bit of a pause (anything that causes it to generate a new window with most of those projects and actions displayed), I don't find it to be a problem in the grand scheme of things. One of my approaches is to avoid doing the things that cause the pauses! I've got a couple of main perspectives from which I do my work, and I just have a window open for each one rather than reconstructing them over and over. This does make OmniFocus start more slowly, but I run it around the clock so that isn't a big hit.

It may just be my imagination, but it seems like OF is quite a bit snappier for me when running off my Snow Leopard partition (which is on an external disk and thus at a disadvantage vs. my normal boot partition on the internal 7200 rpm disk). I'm not quite sure how to construct a decent set of experiments to reliably benchmark this, so I'm not going to try. Your mileage may vary.

Brian has commented that lots of projects with few actions puts more of a load on the program than a few projects with many actions, because there is more work to process a project than an action. Sounds like your average number of actions per project is reasonable, however.

You should definitely contact the support ninjas and see if they have any further suggestions, and also have them log a request for some more performance tuning. I've pointed out some examples of what appeared to be grossly inefficient code that have been greatly sped up in subsequent releases, so they do pay attention to such things.

The apples vs. oranges comparison with completely dissimilar apps (likely coded to use multiple cores) is all fine and well, but have you tried any of OmniFocus' competition with a similarly-sized database? If you're looking to buy a convertible sports car and can't decide between a Mazda Miata and a Honda S2000, you should probably compare them to each other, and not ding them both for lacking the luggage capacity of a 18 wheel tractor-trailer combo if you're not going to go into long-haul trucking, right? :-)
 
Andrew - that's not an abnormally large number of projects or actions; I've got 174 projects and 641 actions, myself, but I'm not seeing lag like that when switching between the views. (I do see a bit of a pause, but it's a fraction of a second.)

Please contact the support ninjas so we can figure out what's going on here. Sorry for the trouble this has caused!
 
 


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