Macworld reviews OmniPlan

by Linda Sharps on May 3, 2007

“OmniPlan has a clean, smooth interface, and all of its controls are available from easily accessible control panels. You can control and tweak almost every aspect of the design; this makes for a superior on-screen experience. The program offers the core, basic feature you’d expect to see in project-management software: the ability to easily create project schedule outlines in Gantt format, with activities and milestones indicated. You can also add and track resources (both people and things) and view a workweek calendar. The application’s set-up and tracking functionality is solid and straightforward, allowing you to quickly and accurately schedule an entire project.” more.


Reviewed 4/13/2007.


OmniGraffle 4.2 beta 4 is now available

by Joel on May 3, 2007

Look, I realize that this post isn't concerning OmniFocus (I am seriously considering the idea of referring to OmniFocus as “Marcia”, but I cannot bring myself to refer to Graffle as “Jan”), but I don't want anyone to panic.

Really, I don't want any panicking.

Especially of the Kernel Panic variety.

A very small number of users have been reporting kernel panics on their Intel-based Macs in Mac OS X 10.4.9 when saving files with the OmniGraffle 4.2 beta releases. We are investigating the issue and of course would very much like to fix it if it's a problem in OmniGraffle. Therefore, it's recommended that if stability is absolutely crucial, you should run OmniGraffle 4.1.2, available at our Download Page . However, if you are a brave soul who would like to hazard a kernel panic, we'd also very much like to get your feedback, so that we can look at the data as well as pass it along to Apple.

That said, among the various bug fixes and crashes addressed in this release, OmniGraffle 4.2b4 also sports a significant change to how it handles its autosave backups—Now that it requires Mac OS X 10.4, we're taking advantage of storing that information in a more proper location, with the added benefit of newly-created documents that have yet to be saved gaining a backup as well.

Please to read the release notes.

As ever, the scary beta download page awaits.


Ethan Schoonover's OmniFocus overview video

by Linda Sharps on April 30, 2007

Our good friend Ethan Schoonover—the mastermind behind Kinkless GTD—has not only been helping Omni for the last several months with our ongoing OmniFocus development efforts, he's also created a very, very nice OmniFocus overview video for us to share. If Ethan glowed in the dark and also had a giant pair of leathery wings, there's a chance he could be even cooler than he already is, but I'm saying it would be a stretch.

The video is about 26 minutes long (25 MB), and does a great job of covering a bunch of the features and functionality in OmniFocus. Click to behold Ethan's work:


One small note: although Ethan uses the term “enter key” on multiple occasions in the video, it's the return key that he's referring to. I myself use a PC keyboard so I didn't even notice the discrepancy, but I suspect a few of you might be a little more vigilant.

We want to extend a huge thank you to Ethan for taking the time to put this together, and we hope you enjoy getting a closer look at OmniFocus!

Currently our biggest engineering priority with OmniFocus is working on forward compatibility—developing a file format that will work with future versions of OmniFocus. We want to have this in place before a beta, so nobody's information gets hosed in the process of updating to a new release. The plan is to have this finalized and an early beta (likely feature incomplete) available in the next couple of weeks.


OmniPlan 1.1.1 beta 1 is now available

by Molly Reed on April 25, 2007

OmniPlan 1.1.1 beta 1 is now available, localized for Japanese, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish and Simplified Chinese.  If you use OmniPlan in one of these languages, please let us know of any problems you see so that we can get the issue corrected as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind that this release is still under development. Your feedback will help us improve the software, and we apologize if it crashes, corrupts your files, or otherwise misbehaves. A more stable release that does not include localizations is also available.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. You can contact us directly via our support page or by using the Send Feedback feature in your copy of OmniPlan.

Download the beta now!


OmniFocus screenshot and feature overview

by Linda Sharps on April 20, 2007

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.