The last time I posted about OmniFocus, I mentioned we were thinking about potential early betas and the like—ways to share what we've built so far, without hosing your data or giving you a terrible first impression of our newest app.
Some of us feel pretty strongly that it's time for you to have more information about OmniFocus, so you have a clearer picture of its features. We want you to be able to make informed decisions about whether OmniFocus has some of the capabilities you're looking for, because none of us want you to wait in limbo for our software when another solution may potentially fit your needs right now.
There are other productivity systems out there, and while I would surely lose my Marketing Weasel badge if I encouraged you to evaluate them, I definitely don't want you to avoid doing so out of inaccurate expectations about OmniFocus—expectations we may have unwittingly helped create by talking openly about OmniFocus's development process over these last months.
Today's blog post is meant to show you what OmniFocus looks like and tell you in general terms how it works. We are really hoping to have a beta (possibly a non-feature-complete version) available soon, but until then, here is a screenshot for your viewing pleasure:
(Click for embiggened, annotated version)
Before I say ANYTHING ELSE, I have to explain that this is a work in progress, and what you see is not necessarily going to be in the final product. Omni's engineers, who are known for their perfectionist attention to UI, are absolutely horrified that this is being shown to the public, I can only imagine that it's similar to how I would feel if a bunch of people suddenly dropped by my house without warning. I'd be running around fluttering my hands and making panicked apologies for all the dog hair, and the clutter, and the—what is that, a banana peel? Oh my god—so let me re-emphasize a very important caveat on their behalf: this is a work in progress.
Some things that will change:
• You'll be able to add columns to the outline for due and start dates
• More styles will be added, to indicate things like completed/on-hold projects
• The Under Construction style bars at the top will be a preference, but included in the default view. (Just kidding.)
Now for the functionality! OmniFocus's main features include:
- Quick entry panel, accessible via keyboard shortcut from any application
- Import for kGTD documents
- Focus feature for opening a specific folder or project in its own window
- Project or context work views, both with extensive filtering and sorting options
- iCal synchronization (enabling you to get to Palm and other devices)
- Printing support that will include printing to index cards
- Project outlines include hierarchical tasks and task groups
- Pop-up calendars for assigning start, due and completion dates
- Project and task filtering by project state, dates, next actions, available actions and more
- Rich text support for project and task notes
- Ability to attach files to any task or project
That's not a comprehensive list, but it covers the big stuff.
We should also tell you a few things we aren't doing in this 1.0 release:
- Automatic synchronization between computers
- Complex (non-sequential) dependencies
- Web interface
- Integration with OmniPlan (part of our long-term road map includes integration with OmniPlan, we just want to get the basics right first)
I know this post doesn't answer the important question of how you'll feel while using OmniFocus—will it integrate with your workflow? will it stay out of your way until you need it, then provide you with the right features in an intuitive way? (we hope so)—but hopefully this information is useful for you. Although posting an early screenshot isn't an ideal way to communicate a product's scope, it seemed important to share what we could at this point.
As for the question of beta timing, basically we are trying to come to some decisions internally about how much beta-ness we can expect you to put up with. There's still a lot of work to be done before OmniFocus is feature-complete, unfortunately, and limited resources to do it. Once again, I encourage you to sign up for the beta mailing list, so you hear from us as soon as we have news.
We're all truly grateful for the feedback and encouragement from everyone who has been following our work on OmniFocus. Thank you so much for your interest, and your patience.