Good news everybody, OmniPlan 2.3 is ready for public testing and we’re inviting everyone to take it for a spin!
“What’s new in this release?”, you may be asking. Great question!
- OmniPlan now runs in the App Sandbox to keep your computer safe and support for OS X Auto Save and Versions has been added. We employ security features which are new to OS X 10.8, so this version will not run on earlier releases of Mac OS X.
- A lot of work has gone into improving our handling of Microsoft Project file formats, specifically MPP import. Please let us know if you come across any issues and send along the Microsoft Project file, if possible.
- We’re introducing a new feature to help answer the question, “Why did OmniPlan schedule this task on that date?”. It’s called Scheduling Influences, and you can enable it under the View menu when you have a task selected.
- Support for new constraint types like ‘start no later than’ and ‘end no later than’ constraints have been added. The old constraints are still there and are referred to as ‘start no earlier than’ and ‘end no later than’.
- By popular request, gantt chart date headers are now printed at the top of every page.
Of course, no release is complete without a healthy serving of bug fixes. You can read more about them in our release notes.
Standard warning: Our Public Test releases are not for the faint of heart. There will be bugs. We want to know them.
Still interested after all that reading? If so, head on over to our Public Test page to grab the latest OmniPlan 2.3 Public Test release!
In my last blog post, I reflected on all the things we accomplished in 2012 here at Omni—in particular, the completion of our huge “iPad or Bust!” initiative. But as Professor Hathaway said to Chris Knight, “That was yesterday. What have you done for me today?”
With “iPad or Bust!” out of the way, we’ve been able to move some of our projects off the back burner and here are some highlights of what’s coming: OmniFocus 2. OmniOutliner 4. Automatic document syncing. Sandboxing. Accessibility. Visio and Microsoft Project compatibility in our iPad apps. Upgrade pricing from Mac App Store apps.
Let’s start with OmniFocus 2! For OmniFocus 2, we’re bringing back to the Mac all of the design and innovation that went into our iPad edition of OmniFocus: dedicated Forecast and Review modes, clearer navigation, and a fresh look and feel. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you! At 6pm on January 31, you’re invited to join Merlin Mann, David Sparks, and me for the first public debut of OmniFocus 2. This will be a free event, hosted at the Cartoon Art Museum (a short walk from Macworld/iWorld), and anyone who attends will get early access to the OmniFocus 2 private beta. Space is limited, so if you plan to attend please let us know.
Next up: OmniOutliner 4! I know many of you have been waiting for this upgrade for a long time—I know I have been waiting for this for a long time! For those of you who might not know the history, OmniOutliner 3 shipped in January, 2005—one year before Macs transitioned to Intel processors. And OmniOutliner 3 certainly hasn’t sat still over the last eight years: we’ve ported to Intel processors and added support for Spotlight, dictionary lookups, LinkBack, Automator workflows, Quick Look, custom toolbars, Word 2008 export, Auto Save, and Versions. But other than a few tweaks to the inspectors and toolbars, its design has mostly stayed the same: it’s starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. So… it’s due.
What’s coming in OmniOutliner 4? We’ve completely rebuilt the outlining engine to support zooming text, showing and hiding columns, and we’ve improved link handling and attachments. We’ve designed a new style system which emphasizes named styles and simplifies the styles interface. And it’s built on a modern 64-bit architecture, with a fresh new look and feel. OmniOutliner 4 isn’t finished yet, but it’s getting close: it’s now at the point where I’m using it to edit all my outlines rather than OmniOutliner 3, so I anticipate we’ll be ready for public beta sometime in the first quarter.
Automatic document syncing is almost here! We call it “OmniPresence”: your documents, synced everywhere you want them to be.
We’ve designed OmniPresence around open web protocols, so you’re welcome to use our free Omni Sync Server or to host your own cloud server. We think that the option to host your own cloud is important—not just because of concerns with respect to privacy and security (though that’s key for many businesses), but because it means you can keep that cloud running as long as you want to keep using it. As we saw with MobileMe shutting down earlier this year, individual cloud services can easily disappear as business models change. Building a solution around open standards means that our customers have a choice of hosting providers rather than being tied to a single ephemeral cloud solution.
OmniPresence is not limited to syncing with a single cloud, either: you can choose which folders to sync with which clouds. This means that teams can set up separate folders in separate clouds, and you can access files from any of them on each of your devices.
Because it’s open and you can host your own cloud, OmniPresence is designed to sync any documents you want: it’s not limited to syncing documents created by our apps. In fact, on the desktop OmniPresence is completely independent of our other apps: if you wish, you can use it to sync TextEdit documents! (But when using OmniPresence with non-Omni apps, we’ll ask that you limit the amount of space you use on our Omni Sync Server since we can’t provide infinite storage to everyone for free. On your own cloud server, though, do whatever you want!)
On iOS, OmniPresence isn’t quite that independent: the sandboxing environment requires that each app embed the OmniPresence logic within its own codebase. We will be publishing our source code for free so other developers can add it to their apps.
OmniFocus 2, OmniOutliner 4, and OmniPresence. Three major upgrades, all coming your way in Q1, 2013.
But as I noted at the top, that’s not all! We’re also working on sandboxing to help keep your Mac safe; and accessibility (currently in private beta for OmniOutliner for iPad) to make our apps easier to use by those who are visually impaired. And we’ve been working on adding Visio and Microsoft Project compatibility to our iPad apps, so it will be easier than ever to go completely mobile with your work.
Finally, with OmniFocus 2 coming we’ve been thinking a lot about how to implement upgrade pricing from Mac App Store apps. As always, we plan to offer discounted upgrade pricing on our own online store, but unfortunately we don’t have the flexibility to offer selective discounts in the Mac App Store. We’ve decided to treat the Mac App Store the same way as we treat retail stores: it’s a great way to discover our software, and can give you confidence that it’s been vetted by a third party. And, just as you wouldn’t get a discount from a retail store if you purchase OmniGraffle 5 while owning OmniGraffle 4, you won’t get a discount if you purchase OmniFocus 2 from the Mac App Store. But we’re in the process of updating our store so that you’ll be able to register your Mac App Store apps to get a discounted upgrade price when you buy an update directly from us.
OmniFocus 2. OmniOutliner 4. OmniPresence. Sandboxing. Accessibility. Visio and Microsoft Project compatibility in our iPad apps. Upgrade pricing from Mac App Store apps. I hope you’re looking forward to 2013 as much as we are! (And don’t forget to let us know if you’re planning to come to the OmniFocus 2 debut!)
As we approach the end of 2012 (or the world, according to some), I’ve been reflecting on just how much we’ve accomplished this year here at Omni.
We celebrated 20 years of omnigroup.com, of course, and we moved to new offices. But, more importantly, we finished our two-and-a-half-year “iPad or Bust!” initiative by shipping the last of those five apps, OmniPlan for iPad! Version 1.0 doesn’t mark the end of all our work, of course—but it’s a great milestone and I’m incredibly proud of all our team has accomplished.
Finishing up our “iPad or Bust!” initiative has given us the opportunity to start working through a number of other projects on our “to do” lists, so there’s been a lot of news in 2012…
We rolled out our own Omni Sync Server, so you don’t have to become a sysadmin and run your own web server just to sync your devices. (But you can still run your own server if you like: our syncing engine is based on open web protocols.)
OmniFocus has been on speaking terms with Siri since late 2011, of course, but in 2012 we’ve made it more robust and brought support for Siri to the iPad app as well. We also added support for flexible weekly repeats and TextExpander—and just this month we’ve started beta testing our new Mail Drop which lets you email tasks directly to your OmniFocus database.
This year Apple introduced iPads with Retina displays, and we immediately shipped Retina updates for all of our iPad apps. Apple also introduced Retina displays to the Mac with the new MacBook Pro, and we’ve already shipped Retina updates for OmniGraffle and OmniPlan (and are busy working on Retina updates for the rest of our Mac apps).
Behind the scenes, we’ve also been updating all our Mac apps to leverage the latest fundamental advances in OS X: this year we shipped Developer ID-signed updates for all our apps, 64-bit updates for OmniGraffle, OmniDiskSweeper, and OmniDazzle—and we expect to ship 64-bit updates for the rest of our apps soon. We’ve also been hard at work adopting OS X’s new App Sandbox.
Even before we finished “iPad or Bust!” one of our top priorities has been to build automatic document syncing into OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, and OmniGraphSketcher—we want it to be as easy to sync all our apps as it is to sync OmniFocus and OmniPlan. We’ve been working on this for over a year and a half now, and at the start we had very promising results: it felt like magic when it worked, and we thought we’d be ready to ship last year. But though our code was finished, we found the back end service we were trying to use wasn’t working reliably, and we felt it would be irresponsible to ship something so critical until we knew the full solution was solid. After a year of trying to help get that solution working, we went back to the drawing board and designed a new syncing solution based on open web protocols. Nobody was more disappointed about the delay this caused than we were—but we knew we needed to find some way to move forward, and I’m pleased to report that the redesign has gone very well (and our new syncing solution is now in internal testing).
Which, of course, leads right into the subject of my next blog post: what’s coming next from Omni? (Stay tuned!)
The #1 requested feature customers sent in for OmniPlan on the iPad has just hit the App Store, so go grab it!
Tap and hold a project in the document browser to email a PDF of the Gantt chart (a full canvas, or paginated) or an HTML report (a task report or a resource report for a standalone web page.)
Instead of emailing, you might also send it over to an app like Dropbox to put it in a shared folder.
If you have an AirPrint enabled printer, you can send your Gantt chart there, too.
Head here if you were waiting for v1.1!
It’s with great excitement we’re able to introduce OmniPlan for iPad — a great new way to manage and create projects on the go. You can get it right now on the App Store for $49.99.
OmniPlan is the last of our core applications to hit the iPad, and we’re delighted with the app you’re now able to use. The first bits were checked in over a year ago—we even showed off a fairly functional app at Macworld this year—but the last few months have brought an absolute flurry of changes.
Learn more about specific features on OmniPlan’s product page. If you have questions, shoot us an email.
Major releases like this one require a lot of effort from everyone, and now we can share it with you. Enjoy, and happy planning.
OmniPlan for iPad is coming this Thursday, June 7th, 2012.
Cast entirely with card-carrying members of the Omni Acting Guild.
The latest update to OmniPlan is here, and it’s a good one! It comes with new support for balancing resource loads across multiple projects, auto-leveling of resources, localizations for Apple’s Tier-1 languages, and a whole bunch of crash fixes, interface clarifications, and bug fixes.
278 fixes, to be exact! Get your release notes here.
It’s also identifiable by this brand new icon, following in the footsteps of seven new (Omni Group) icons before it.
Resource Load Sharing
One of the biggest requests for OmniPlan 2.1 has been the ability to manage multiple resources across multiple projects. With Resource Load Sharing, we’ve developed a great way to do that.
- Use our Sync Server or your server repository to publish and sync all of your projects.
- Assign an email address to each resource. (This is how OmniPlan keeps track of, say, two John Smiths.)
- Make sure “Subscribe to other projects’ resource loads” is checked in your Publishing & Subscriptions configuration.
And here’s a friendly video about exactly that:
One of the changes that we introduced in the first beta of 2.1 was a switch to a new Microsoft Project importer/exporter. Because of the Mac App Store’s restriction on optionally-installed software, we had to make our converter—the Transmogrifier, as we call it—a downloadable add-on. We decided the best option for everyone was to completely rewrite it.
In the final version of OmniPlan 2.1, it’s turned off by default. If you have the time to try it, please do. We’d love to get a wider swath of test files to really put it though its paces.
To enable the new importer/exporter, use the following hidden defaults (in Terminal):
defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniPlan2 UseNativeMSPFilters -bool true
For the Mac App Store version:
defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniPlan.MacAppStore UseNativeMSPFilters -bool true
If you’d like to go back to 2.0-style Microsoft Project support, replace
Use OmniPlan▸Check for Updates. If you don’t have OmniPlan installed, grab it here. The Mac App Store version will be available after approval.
Howdy, friend-os! Today, I get to do something we’ve been looking forward to for a while now: announce that the Omni Sync Server is coming out of beta.
We’ve had the server up for almost two years now - it launched way back in April of 2010. In that time, the server has been scaled up from a Mac mini here in our offices to a collection of machines in our colocation facility, all working together to help you move your Omni apps’ data back and forth between your OS X and iOS devices, as well as to store backup copies of that data just in case things go totally diggstown and you need them.
When we launched the server, it was an OmniFocus-only affair, but we’ve added support for the server to all of our iOS apps. On the Mac, OmniFocus and OmniPlan have built-in support for the server as well. (The Mac apps that don’t already include support will get it in the future.)
So, to the tens of thousands of folks out there that have been storing your data on the server this whole time: thank you very much for being willing to sign up and help us build this thing. There’s always a seat for you on our little red wagon. To everyone else: if you were interested in using the server but didn’t want to sign up while it was in in a testing phase, we’re rolling out the red carpet for you. Head over to omnigroup.com/sync and set up an account.
Oh, and did we mention that you can have this all for the low, low price of zero? One of the things we learned is that we can build and run a service like this without needing to charge for it. Consider it a delicious after-dinner digestif you get whenever you buy one of our apps. Enjoy!
Users, do we have news for you.
OmniPlan has a new Sneaky Peek* out there for everyone to enjoy — especially if you’re an importer/exporter.
Our Microsoft Project import/export functionality has been rewritten, so we’d love it if you relayed any and all bugs back to us; if you can send us the Project file as well, that’d be even better. We really want to make sure this new process works well.
(For those wondering why it’s been rewritten: with the Mac App Store, we had to move our Project importer/exporter functionality to a plugin—installed separately—because it required Java. We want that to be built-in.)
Also new and notable! We’re getting started on multi-project support.
If you select an Address Book entry (with an email address) for a resource and then publish your plan files to our Sync Server, we’ll determine just how much that person can do for each project they’re participating in. All other Sync Repository projects are leveled as you update them.
Speaking of leveling: we now automatically level resources on the fly. It can be turned off, though, by visiting the Project menu.
Keep in mind that we’re not yet done and there may be issues we’re not aware of. (Issues we’d love to hear about!) If you need help getting it figured out, shoot us an email. Multi-project support has been a popular feature request for a while now, and we’re happy to push out what we’ve come up with so far.
It’s now also possible to resize Gantt chart bars; they’re now equivalent to the “Whole Document” font size.
“Anything else?” you’re asking. Well, sure. We’ve fixed quite a few bugs!
*Standard warning: Our Sneaky Peeks are not for the faint of heart. There will be bugs. We want to know them.
OmniPlan v2.0.3 is a free update to licensed OmniPlan v2.0 users. This release includes a critical fix to project syncing with an OmniPlan server repository. If you'd like to check out the full release notes, click here.
We love hearing from you! You can reach us by tapping using the Send Feedback feature in OmniPlan, sending email to
email@example.com, tweeting to @omniplan, or calling 1-800-315-OMNI or +1 206-523-4152.
To start using the new version, you can use the built-in software updater in OmniPlan v2.0 or you can download it from our website here.