Q & A: Omni answers, take two

Happy Halloween, Omni blog readers! Troy is wearing a purple wig today, James is sporting some bright orange socks with bats on them (although for James that's a fairly typical fashion choice), Ken is wearing a lab coat, and Greg's son Miles has been transformed into…well, Darth Toddler:


Hee. I love the thumbs up gesture, there.

Okay! On to more questions, before all our pumpkins turn into…uh…chariots, or something.

Dan asks, Is there any sort of official list of ideas and feature requests for future releases? Have you ever thought of doing something like an “OmniProduct Focus Group,” or is this something that would be completely unnecessary?

We definitely have an internal system for tracking ideas, feature requests, and bugs, and assigning things to specific target releases for all of our products. I'm guessing you're wondering more about a publicly available list, so you can see what's already been suggested? We don't have such a thing, exactly, but you can see what other people are talking about on our forums, and add your input there. Otherwise, we always welcome feedback via email, so please feel free to send us your requests.

As for a focus group, we've never hosted a formal type of group (the kind where you get free soda and people with clipboards peer at you from behind one-way mirrors), although we have asked people to join an “Alpha Brute Squad” where they get a really early look at our software (sometimes when it's in a mildly terrifying, devouring-its-own-tail state of bugdom!) and have a chance to provide feedback on features and UI before it goes into public beta.

I don't yet know what we'll be doing for OmniFocus, but I'd recommend signing up on this mailing list if you're interested in potentially being tapped for Brute Squad duty.

Kirk wonders, Any chance of transferring an Outliner license to Focus when it comes out?

Sort of. We will be offering discounted OmniFocus licenses for OmniOutliner customers, so while you won't be able to transfer one app license to another, you won't be charged full price either. We haven't made any final pricing decisions, but we definitely recognize that we need cross-product discounting.

David asks, How do I enter curved text in OmniGraffle? That is, if I want a line of text to follow a curved path (like a squiggle or around a circle/arc), can it be done […]?

Sorry, you can't created curved text in OmniGraffle (although you should be able to copy and paste it in from a graphic created elsewhere). If you don't have Illustrator, as you mentioned, maybe something like LineForm or EazyDraw would work?

Dan asked another question: is there a story for the change in the status of Omni's apps that come bundled with most Macs, with the switch to Intel? (Specifically, the addition of OmniOutliner to all consumer Macs and the loss of OmniGraffle.)

If there's a story, only Apple knows it. We don't really have any influence over what Apple decides to include, or not include, in their hardware – we just review what they ultimately propose and decide if we want to say yea or nay. The expanded bundle deal for Outliner has been great, although in general I wish our software were easier to discover. You know, instead of being all tidily tucked away in the Applications folder, maybe it could be…sitting in the Dock? (Apple? I'm just sayin'.)

Nik asked several questions, most of which I've sent on to tech support, but here's one for the blog: Is it possible to save an OmniOutliner document so that it's JUST the XML file and doesn't have the bundle “wrapper” around it? (Then I could check it into source control and stuff.)

You can check it into source control, I'm told. OmniOutliner supports CVS and SVN, so you can check it in as is, folders and all.

All righty then! This concludes today's Q&A With Omni. I may follow up with a third and final post on Thursday, so if you have any more questions, leave them in the fancy comment box.

And now, I'm off to help my son trample large metropolitan areas. RAARRRRR!