T-Shirts, Mugs, and More: Profits Go To App Camp for Girls

by Brent Simmons on November 8, 2018

Reminder! We’ve got a bunch of very cool T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and more for sale — and the money we make from these will go to App Camp for Girls.

The crowd favorite is the OmniFocus T-shirt with a three-eyed purple cat carrying his friend who’s a snake covered in roses.

T-shirt with a three-eyed purple cat carrying his friend who’s a snake covered in roses

And we’ve also got three cool cats…

T-shirt with three cool cats who use OmniFocus

…and more classic designs.

T-shirt with a purple OmniFocus checkmark and with the OmniFocus 3 word mark

Enjoy! And know that profits go to a great cause. :)

OmniGraffle 3.8 Supports New iPads and New Apple Pencil

by Brent Simmons on November 7, 2018

OmniGraffle 3.8 for iOS supports the new iPad Pro and the new Apple Pencil.

With the new iPad Pro, your OmniGraffle canvas extends edge-to-edge, beautifully.

With the new Apple Pencil, you can make your graphics precise with even less effort — it’s a great companion to OmniGraffle for iOS. And you can customize the double-tap gesture: set it to switch to the previous tool or toggle the Navigation Sidebar, Inspector, or full-screen mode.

Read the release notes for more details.


The Omni Show: How We Built OmniFocus for the Web

by Brent Simmons on October 31, 2018

In the latest episode of The Omni Show we have a big panel — including Ken Case — and we talk about how OmniFocus for the Web came to be, both its history and how we’re actually building it.

The service is made up of several components: a front end written in React, coordinators in Python, a (previously-built) push notification service in Go — and OmniFocus itself, which is written in Objective-C and Swift.

How did we manage all this? How does it all work together? What’s next? Listen to the podcast to find out! (Or read it, because we always provide a transcript.)

Business Licensing for Omni’s iOS Apps

by Ken Case on October 29, 2018

We’re working on making it easier for businesses, schools, and other organizations to license and deploy our iOS apps.

In 2016, we started switching our apps over to free downloads with in-app purchases. This solved a lot of problems for consumers who purchase our apps through the App Store, by enabling free trials, upgrade discounts, and free upgrades for recent purchases. Unfortunately, switching to in-app purchases made it much more difficult for businesses and schools to purchase our apps through the App Store, since Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (which lets organizations purchase apps) doesn’t support in-app purchases.

For the last few years, we’ve been working around this limitation on Mac by simply avoiding the App Store for sales to businesses and other organizations. Our apps all predate the Mac App Store, so customers have always had the option of purchasing and downloading those apps directly from us with options for volume and educational discounts. But our iOS apps are exclusively distributed through the App Store, and until now the only way to unlock our iOS apps has been to use in-app purchases.

Looking around at how other people have solved this problem, one of the better approaches is to offer a single sign-on based licensing solution. (This is an approach Microsoft supports for licensing Office 365, for example.) The idea is that an organization will purchase licenses for use by a team, and the app will offer to let team members sign in with a set of credentials which will be verified by that organization using their single sign-on server. This lets the organization be responsible for purchasing and distributing their team’s licenses—including redistributing licenses when appropriate.

We’re currently working with some of our large enterprise customers to make sure this solution works for them—and we would love to hear from any other businesses or schools who might be interested in licensing our iOS apps so we can make sure this approach will work for you as well.

So if you work for a business or school that might be interested in purchasing the iOS edition of any of our apps (OmniGraffle, OmniPlan, OmniFocus, or OmniOutliner), please get in touch! Our solution to this problem isn’t finalized yet, and we’d love to work with you to make sure that we solve this in a way that will work for you. You can reach us by emailing sales@omnigroup.com or by calling 800-315-OMNI (or +1 206 523-4152)—and you’re welcome to cc me directly, at kc@omnigroup.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Omni Roadmap 2018 — Q4 Update

by Ken Case on October 29, 2018

Welcome! What an incredible year we’ve been having!

Back in January’s roadmap, I shared our plans for 2018. The big news from that roadmap was OmniFocus 3—which shipped for iOS in May, and for Mac in September.

Now that isn’t all we’ve been doing: we also shipped a number of major updates to OmniGraffle (improving SVG import/export, line routing, auto layout, mouseless editing, and adding Dark Mode), OmniPlan (making it easier to sync and share projects, and improving its integration with Google Calendar), and OmniOutliner (with version 3 for iOS). And, of course, we also shipped some major updates to support iOS 12’s Shortcuts, Mojave’s Dark Mode, and the new Apple Watch Series 4.

With the release of OmniFocus 3 came a lot of new OmniFocus customers, and I’m afraid this means we haven’t been able to respond to OmniFocus queries within one business day the way we usually do. Let me offer our apologies to anyone who has had to wait longer than usual for a response! Our sales and support teams have been working overtime to catch up, and we’ll get back to each of you as soon as we can. But in the meantime, if you have an urgent issue which is blocking you from using the app please don’t hesitate to escalate your problem to urgent@omnigroup.com so we hear about it sooner.

So what’s next?

If you review our January roadmap and this year’s blog posts, you’ll see that we’ve shipped a lot of the things we’d planned—and a number of things we didn’t. But we’re not done with 2018 yet! The OmniGraffle team is currently working on a number of improvements to our text support. OmniOutliner has a Dark Mode update in public test which is nearly ready to ship. OmniPlan also has a Dark Mode update ready to go, but has been waiting as they try to squeeze in a few last fixes before dropping support for macOS 10.12 (Sierra). And the OmniFocus team is working on adding support for background notifications on Mac.

OmniFocus for the Web has been coming along well, and this week we’ve been sending 1,000 invitations a day to people who have volunteered to help test it at scale. (I anticipate that people who sign up today will be receiving their invitations to help test on Wednesday.)

We’re also working on new options for licensing our software, to make it easier for businesses to buy and deploy our apps. Switching our apps over to free downloads with in-app purchases solved a lot of problems for consumers who purchase our apps through the App Store: enabling free trials, upgrade discounts, and free upgrades for recent purchases. Unfortunately, those changes made it much more difficult for businesses customers to purchase our apps through the App Store, since the Volume Purchase Program (which lets businesses purchase apps) doesn’t support In-App Purchases. We’ve been working on solving this problem, and I’ll be sharing more about that in my next blog post!

Some other items mentioned in January’s roadmap, like OmniFocus automation and collaboration, are still very much in our plans—but we can only work on so many things at once, so they’re unlikely to be done by the end of the year (which is now only two months away!). Stay tuned for more news on those fronts early next year.

Thank you for all your support in 2018! We have some more great releases coming your way in these last few months, and I look forward to sharing our 2019 roadmap in January.

(Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on twitter at @kcase, or send me email at kc@omnigroup.com.)