Interested in testing Omni’s iPhone and iPad apps?

by Ken Case on November 7, 2014

Are any of you interested in helping us test our apps before they’re ready to submit to the App Store? We’re working on bringing all of our iPad apps to the iPhone, so we have a lot of testing to do! And with Apple’s new TestFlight Beta Testing program, we’re able to invite up to 1,000 of our customers to test our apps while they’re still under development.

If you’re interested in helping us, please send email to testflight@omnigroup.com letting us know which iOS devices you use, which version of iOS 8 are installed on each, and which Omni apps you’re looking to test. For example, you might write something like this:

Devices: iPhone 6 Plus [iOS 8.1], iPad Air 2 [iOS 8.1]

Apps: OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan

It would also be helpful to know which of our apps you already own and how long you’ve been using them, so we can get a wide range of customer experience for each app in addition to a wide range of test devices.

P.S. — If anyone reading this is looking for a paid position in Seattle working as a full-time tester, please check out the Software Test Pilot opening currently posted to our jobs page!

Introducing OmniFocus 2 for iPad!

by Ken Case on September 17, 2014

UPDATE: On September 26th, OmniFocus 2 for iPad “expired”—it shipped with our test build expiration still in place. Version 2.0.1 was submitted that Friday to fix the issue, and was approved Saturday afternoon. The full timeline of events is available here.


How times change! When we introduced OmniFocus for iPad in the Summer of 2010, it was widely considered to have the best, most modern design of the three OmniFocus editions. So much so that when we set about building OmniFocus 2 for Mac, our top priority was to bring the design lessons we’d learned from the iPad app back to the Mac app.

But then Apple inspired us with iOS 7, and our priorities changed. We completely redesigned OmniFocus 2 for iPhone, then OmniFocus 2 for Mac. We started getting rave reviews for these new designs—and now, instead of constantly getting questions about how soon we would make the other editions match OmniFocus for iPad, those questions flipped to ask when we were going to update the iPad app to match the new designs in the other apps.

I’m very pleased to announce that the long wait is over—that (for the first time!) all three editions of OmniFocus have the same design language:

Screenshot of the Forecast perspective

Screenshot of the editor

Beyond its new design, OmniFocus 2 for iPad offers two great new iOS 8 extensions, interactive notifications so you can immediately complete or snooze a reminder, improved searching, and background syncing. And, of course, all of the great features pioneered in the original iPad app, such as the built-in Forecast and Review perspectives.

It’s a great upgrade—but we didn’t stop there! On the Mac, one of the features we offer in the Pro version of OmniFocus 2 is the ability to go beyond the built-in perspectives by creating your own custom perspectives. Customers have often asked if we would ever provide similar capabilities for iOS, and I’m pleased to share that we’ve finally done just that, in the optional Pro upgrade to OmniFocus 2 for iPad:

Screenshot of the Perspective editor

With Pro, you can create your own combinations of view settings, searches, and filters to see your work in exactly the right way. You can also arrange the top-level sidebar however you like, for quick access to your favorite perspectives.

Whether or not Pro is for you, we know you’ll enjoy all of the other new features OmniFocus 2 has to offer! OmniFocus 2 is now available for just $29.99, and its Pro upgrade is now available as an optional in-app purchase for $19.99.

For those of you who purchased the first version of OmniFocus for iPad, we have a very special deal: we appreciate the support you’ve given us through the years, and we’re showing our appreciation in a very concrete way by giving you the $19.99 Pro upgrade for free when you purchase version 2. Thank you for your support through the years!

New OmniFocus extensions for iOS 8

by Ken Case on September 17, 2014

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three months since Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. We had just finished shipping OmniFocus 2.0 for Mac—a huge release for us—and suddenly we were on the receiving end of a firehose of information from Apple about iOS 8 and Yosemite and Swift. All three were incredibly exciting, but the one which would immediately change our app development was iOS 8.

With iOS 8, Apple gave us new ways to interact with the operating system and with other apps. For the first time ever, we could provide extensions which could run inside other apps. We could add Today extensions to Notification Center. We could build new Sharing options to easily capture content shared by other apps. We could share documents between apps without making extra copies that get out of date. And even in places where our code wasn’t running, we now had more flexibility—like the ability to provide interactive notifications with multiple choices. All that and much more. Far more than we had time to adopt in one summer—particularly since we also had two major app upgrades to ship for iPad: OmniFocus 2 and OmniGraffle 2.

Fast forward a few (very busy!) months, and iOS 8 is finally right around the corner—and the iPad and iPhone editions of OmniFocus 2 are both ready with two great new extensions. The new OmniFocus Sharing extension will let you capture content from Safari and other apps, and with the new OmniFocus Today extension it’s easier than ever to get a grip on your day’s commitments:

Screenshot of the Today extension on iPhone

These new extensions are just a taste of what’s now possible with iOS 8. I’m looking forward to doing even more with extensions in our apps—and I’m also looking forward to seeing what other developers have been cooking up over the summer!

Just a short bit about a few apps and iOS 8

by Derek R. on September 12, 2014

It’s been a few months since we pulled OmniFocus for iPad and OmniGraffle for iPad from the App Store, but we’re less than a week away from the big iOS 8 launch.

What are we doing, and where are the apps?

Well, we’re very happy to share that OmniFocus 2 for iPad and OmniGraffle 2 for iPad have been submitted to Apple for review. And they’re both incredible. OmniGraffle 2 is super fast. And there’s a lot that’s new: inspectors, drawing tools, AirDrop support, shape combinations, Visio support, and more.

OmniGraffle for iPad

OmniFocus 2 for iPad has some great new features and a brand new look. We’ve added a few useful extensions, too, like Sharing and a Today view. You can even create perspectives in Pro.

OmniFocus for iPad

And finally. Expect each of those extensions in OmniFocus 2 for iPad in OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. As a free update, of course.

We’re really excited to get this stuff out there to you!

Oh: shout out to my friend OmniGraffle 6.1 for Mac. Dangerously close to a Public Test!

Summertime Reading from The Omni Group

by Chuck on June 20, 2014

Or, “What’s New in Documentation Land”.

Last December, we started packaging the in-app documentation for many of our OmniApps and distributing those in EPUB3 format through Apple’s iBooks Store. These books are DRM-free and freely available to anyone—not just users of our apps. To date, nearly 30,000 copies have been downloaded; thank you!

Earlier this week, we reached a new milestone by publishing the OmniFocus 2 for iPhone User Manual, in the following languages:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish

These, too, are freely available worldwide on the iBooks Store. We decided that, rather than limiting distribution to the countries or regions in which these languages are predominantly used, that we would make them available to everyone.

This is just the first step; a trial to see if this is doable (and to see how our customers react to these releases). Meantime, the Documentation Wranglers are busy at work at packaging up the translations for all of our apps with the goal of making these available on the iBooks Store as they’re ready to go (pending Apple approval, of course).

Can’t Find Our Books on Your iBooks Store?

Apple allows us to distribute our EPUBs in 51 countries, and we promise to make our books available in every iBooks Store to which we have access. However, a number of you have let us know that, while you can purchase our apps from your local App Store or Mac App Store, our books aren’t available in your country’s iBooks Store. We have been keeping track of the countries as you let us know (thank you!), and want to provide that list here again:

  • China
  • Croatia
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Israel
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Turkey

While the iBooks Store is our preferred download method (we’ll get to that shortly), we want to ensure that all of our users can get to the EPUB versions of our documentation wherever you are. If you reside in one of the above countries, or if you can’t find our books on your country’s iBooks Store, you can download any of our books from our downloads site:

http://www.omnigroup.com/ftp/pub/software/MacOSX/Manuals/EPUB/

Within that directory, you’ll find region folders (for example, de for German, es for Spanish, and so on) for the various translations we have published.

Direct Download vs iBooks Store

So, you’re probably wondering whether you should just use our downloads site instead of the iBooks Store. Sure, you can do that, but there are a few huge advantages to getting our books from the iBooks Store:

  • If you have “purchased” your copy from the iBooks Store (they’re free!), you will receive a notification in iBooks whenever we release an update. If you are getting our books from the downloads site, you’ll have to check that regularly, or keep an eye out on Twitter for when we update a book.

  • One of the many reasons why people want our documentation in a different format is so they can make notes and annotations to things they regularly refer to. And while you can do this with a PDF, once you’ve added a bunch of notes to a PDF file, all of your notes and annotations are stuck in that one file. There is no easy way for you to take the notes and annotations from one PDF file and inject them in another. When you download an update from the iBooks Store, iBooks preserves your notes, annotations, and bookmarks from one version to the next.

  • The final advantage of using the iBooks Store is iCloud Sync. If you are using iCloud to sync books across your iOS devices and with your Mac, all of your notes, annotations, and bookmarks are also synced. This means that a bookmark you make in iBooks on your Mac will show up as a bookmark in the same book on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

We ask that you first look to the iBooks Store in your country to see if our books are available. If so, please download them from iBooks. If not, then please feel free to use our downloads site.

A Final Note About PDF

As you may have noticed, we have slowly phased out distributing PDF versions of our documentation. The advantages of EPUB (as noted above) far outweigh what you get with a PDF. We are continuing to work on our documentation process and toolchain, with the goal of making our docs more accessible—and printable—soon.