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Nice drawings. A bullet list might have been easier to understand.

The best way (only way) to achieve what you want is to use some sort of server to coordinate the distribution of projects, tasks etc amongst the clients. This is why the apps that do what you want are mostly web based. This is way outside the scope of Omnifocus. What you are requesting is turning a single user productivity app into a multi user client/server app.

Sure you have almost got there using syncing, but syncing wasn't designed to do this. I wouldn't have expected the Omni guys to have thought too much about simultaneous changes to the same tasks so, as whpalmer4 pointed out, this might cause you problems.

It's certainly never going to provide you with the permissions based control that you are talking about.

What Omnifocus does have though is a reasonably good scripting interface. I've been doing a bit of work with it lately ( and it wouldn't be too difficult to write a server app to do what you want using scripting.

As an example of what can be done with this approach check out
These guys have written scripts that keep Omnifocus synchronised with various bug tracking systems. The master list of tasks are managed by the bug tracking systems, the individuals manage their own sets of tasks using Omnifocus and the scripts take care of synchronising everything.

Last edited by henry; 2010-06-02 at 08:29 PM..
Originally Posted by henry View Post
Sure you have almost got there using syncing, but syncing wasn't designed to do this. I wouldn't have expected the Omni guys to have thought too much about simultaneous changes to the same tasks so, as whpalmer4 pointed out, this might cause you problems.
I think they actually gave it quite a bit of thought, and reluctantly made the design decision to do sync conflict resolution on a per-record basis only because the original iPhone hardware didn't have the power to do otherwise. For typical single-user use, it isn't an issue, but if you try to use it as workgroup software, the odds are both higher that you'll have a conflict, and that you won't realize it because it won't have been the same person making both changes and later wondering "hey, I thought I updated that due date..."
wow you invested quite some time. those mindmaps look sweet.
What if we could get this Collaboration and Notification feature via the concept of Sharing like we do in iTunes with the new HomeShare feature.

Here's the setup and how I envision it:

. I open OmniFocus
. Open Preferences
. Activate Sharing
. Select the Project Folders I want to Share
. Hit OK
. I look @ my Shared Projects tab and see the 3 people are sharing
- Bob
. Design Library
. Web Site Redesign
- Jennifer
. Today Stuff
- Richard
. Inbox
. As the project lead, I decide to give Bob a new Task
. I assign a task in my InBox, "Look @ using Red instead of blue in the header graphic"
. I drag this task to Bob's Design Library Project folder
. The task is immediately tagged with the name BOB in my inbox
. On Bob's side, he gets a Growl notification that I have sent him a new task to his Design Library folder
. He is asked to Accept or Reject the task
. He accepts it
. The Task is assigned a tag of my name so Bob can quickly access it in his sorts
. Bob finished the Task and checks it off as complete
. I receive a Growl notification that the Task has been completed, and it is check off in my InBox

So, I was thinking, could this be achieved thru some sort of Bonjour mechanism?
If I decide to share my Projects and people want Read Write access to them, they would request a Key from me (kind of what you currently do when connecting the iPhone as a remote to AppleTV or iTunes). This key allows users to read/write to shared databases.

I am just thinking about different solutions here.

I just looked @ The Hit List, and while it doesn't offer this Sharing notion, it does offer the ability to have nested Projects...I wonder if they would be interested in extending the potential of their app to include Sharing, so work environments could use it in a very collaborative nature.

Thanks as always for taking the time to review these thoughts of mine. :)


i put together a quick comps of what this might look like (i know it's Things, but it's all I had on this laptop @ home)

Last edited by policarpo; 2010-06-03 at 02:46 PM..
I've done some more thinking and have narrowed my focus on Sharing & Delegation in Omnifocus.

Here's the visual map of my thinking:
I've been using a similar workflow for a TV series I'm directing. I have a context for each dept... eg, Art Dept, Locations, Casting, etc.. but it is all one way ☹ I use it to let them know about upcoming issues and have that context open when I meet or talk with them and tick off each one on my MacBook or iPhone (soon iPad)... but I would love for it to be a two way collaboration with more sophisticated feedback loops.
policarpo, how do you achieve the step "They append notes and check off when completed" - what electronic mechanism do you use for this?
It works via BusyCal on the desktop. Each user must have it installed in order to see the published calendar that I publish from my desktop.

They can then view their ToDo actions in any of the following on their side:
iCal (notes can be modified and ToDos can be checked off)
mail (in the ToDo section)
BusyCal (required in order to see the LAN published calendar which is hosted on my machine)
or Anxiety (which I like because of it's minimal HUD)

we're setting up a machine with a static IP to run iCal server off of in hopes that we can omit the BusyCal step.

Wish us luck ;^)

Thanks policarpo, we're using OF's sync to iCal and then iCal's publish & subscribe to disseminate each OF action as an iCal to do. But it is all one way. The part I'm missing is how you achieve feedback the other way to say an action / to do is completed. Do you have a method for two way collaboration? just seems to work. I don't know if it's because of BusyCal that the checking off of the task and editing of the Notes field in the ToDo works and updates in OmniFocus.

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