Open for Feedback: the OmniOutliner 5 Public Test

by Derek Reiff on November 16, 2016

Let’s talk about OmniOutliner! After a few months in private testing, we’re excited to open up OmniOutliner 5 to a broader audience—specifically, we’re looking for feedback about its new Pro features and updated interface.

How we got to 5

We released OmniOutliner 4 for Mac in early 2014 with several new highlights: a modern design, a brand new outlining framework (which happens to be, more or less, house cleaning and code cleanup), document zooming, the new resource browser, theming, and more.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve added interface updates based on OS changes, row linking to reference other sections or documents, extra export options, and customization when printing.

Our goal is to continue along the path that has made OmniOutliner an app you trust to make you more organized and productive. And now we have something new to share.

A call for early feedback on OmniOutliner 5 for Mac

Much like our Public Test for OmniGraffle 7, we want to make sure we’re still heading in the right direction with cheers—or meaningful and constructive jeers—from a larger audience.

In this release, we’re looking for feedback on:

  • OmniOutliner’s new sidebar design and functionality
  • Rebuilt Inspectors
  • Row Filtering
  • Full Screen improvements
    • margins
    • auto-hiding sidebars and inspectors
  • Keyboard Shortcuts panel
  • .ooutline file format
  • Password Encryption (coming to a build soon!)

Wait, why haven’t you referenced Standard here?

Standard isn’t actually included in the initial test period! We’re still working on it, so right now you won’t be able to switch down to the Standard set of features.

More on that down the road.

And if you’re using OmniOutliner for iOS…

You’re going to need to sign up for TestFlight. Though we’ve built in support for the new file format we’re using with OmniOutliner 5, we haven’t yet started working on OmniOutliner 3 for iOS. If you do run into any problems with opening, saving, or using any of the documents you create, let us know!

Downloading the preview build

We’ve opened up the floodgates over on our Preview page. From there, click the download button and start using the new, better than ever, OmniOutliner Pro.

How’s everything feel? Did you find a bug? Or, do you have a suggestion on filtering or Distraction-free mode?

If you’re interested in chatting with others, we put together a special category over on Discourse for discussion; we’ll be there, but if you really want to make sure you’re heard, email us. (And email us if you have any questions about functionality, too.)

Cheers!

OmniGraffle 7.2 for Mac adds Touch Bar support

by Dan Walker on November 10, 2016

Looking for apps that support the Touch Bar on your new MacBook Pro? Add OmniGraffle to your list!

OmniGraffle 7 is easier than ever to use, but at its heart are a lot of features. Apple’s new Touch Bar allows us to surface the most common tools used for the work you’re doing. For instance, you’ll see text controls when editing labels or manipulation controls when working with shapes.

Touch Bar state when nothing is selected

We think the Touch Bar provides a great opportunity to help people discover the app. Without anything selected on the canvas, the Touch Bar options are focused on adding content: add a shape, a stencil, or an image.

Touch Bar state when a shape is selected

When something is selected, the Touch Bar buttons follow along. You’ll get the most common actions for that type of object, something mechanical keys could never do. By default you’ll see fill and stroke controls, shapes, vertical and horizontal flip, rotate, bring to front and send to back.

Touch Bar state when choosing a color

Some controls take it a layer deeper and offer ways to interact with and adjust your content directly from the Touch Bar. The color controls allow you to slide your finger across the Touch Bar while watching the color change on screen. Tap the mini slider with the checkerboard (on the right) to expand the transparency slider and use you finger to dial in just the right effect.

Customizing the Touch Bar

Like Toolbar buttons, you can customize what controls you see in the Touch Bar. Look for “Customize Touch Bar…” in the View menu to drag in or remove buttons. Also like the Toolbar, controls are automatically disabled when they don’t apply and invert or swap actions when holding the option key.

OmniGraffle 7.2 with Touch Bar support is a free upgrade for existing OmniGraffle 7 users. If you don’t have a license yet, you can try OmniGraffle’s Touch Bar controls and all the other OmniGraffle features by downloading our free 14 day trial. We’re excited to see how OmniGraffle and the Touch Bar can work together to maximize your productivity!

OmniPresence for Mac v1.5 now available with Sierra fixes

by Derek Reiff on October 20, 2016

Yesterday we released OmniPresence 1.5, an important update for macOS Sierra users. It focuses on one thing: playing better with Sierra, iCloud, and other sync services.

In this release, we’ve disabled the ability to place a synced OmniPresence folder inside the folders that iCloud could sync: ~/Documents/ and ~/Desktop/. (We disable those locations even if iCloud Desktop & Documents Folders is turned off.)

We also exclude the default sync locations for a few more file syncing services: Amazon Drive, Box Sync, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SpiderOak Hive.

So! That means the default location for a new synced folder is right inside your Home folder.

Another bonus: completely new documentation accessible via the sprocket in the OmniPresence menu.

Check for updates via the sprocket, read the release notes, or download OmniPresence 1.5.

Meet OmniGraffle 7

by Derek Reiff on October 10, 2016

This is OmniGraffle 7: a major upgrade focusing on quality of life improvements and new features, each making work faster and easier for anyone who thinks about UI, UX, graphics, or diagrams every day. And it’s pretty great.

 

When we introduced OmniGraffle 7’s public test phase, I talked about what we wanted to accomplish with this major upgrade:

OmniGraffle has had success over the years by being a very powerful, customizable, and reliable app for a pretty expansive set of use cases. In more recent years we’ve gotten feedback from UX and UI folks that said their jobs (and needs) are changing. This set of users were requesting features specifically to help design for high-density screens and multiple platforms, showing interactions, working on smaller screens, and more.

OmniGraffle 7 is the first in a line of steps aimed at improving and speeding up workflows for UX and UI folks, and Graphic Designers. The bulk of new features—and enhancements to older features—come by focusing on getting work done faster: less clicking, more focused tools, a polished interface.

In the past few months, many of you have downloaded and provided valuable feedback. We’re really grateful for your feature requests, ideas, and workflow suggestions and excited with how they affected the finished product! In the last several weeks we’ve been clarifying many of the new tools and interactions, and we think we’ve gotten most of it right. (That’s not to say we think we’re done adding and advancing features!)

What’s New in OmniGraffle 7?

There are a lot of features worthy of more than just a sentence or two, but here are a few words about our favorites:

  • Infinite Canvas: In 7, toggle the direction in which your canvas grows. It’ll expand automatically whenever and wherever you need more room.
  • SVG Support: When we first implemented SVG export in OmniGraffle, there were very few other apps that did the same, so we didn’t worry about Import. In 7, you can paste SVG code directly on to your Canvas or drag in a file.
  • Artboard Layers: Artboards not only fix the problem of multi-resolution assets, but they also make organizing and moving your artwork intuitive in OmniGraffle. (Artboards affect anything above them in the stack inside its bounds or overlapping—sort of like a container or group, without group behavior unless you want it.)
  • Convert Line to Shape: Convert any line to a shape in 7. Once you have a shape, add a gradient or work with its Bézier points to tweak line endings!
  • Convert Text to Shape: Though we didn’t build in a font editor, we did add a great way to style or tweak your text’s characters. When converting a set of text to a shape, you’ll have access to fill, blends, stroke—everything you already use OmniGraffle for.
  • Point Editor: A brand new tool for 7, the Point Editor makes it easy to access each point on every object. Bounding boxes no longer get in the way.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: We get a lot of email about keyboard shortcut preferences. In 7 you can choose your own shortcut for each and every menu bar command or setting, and we included a few sets from other apps: Illustrator® and Sketch.

But there’s even more! Our release notes tell even more.

Trying and Buying OmniGraffle 7

For the first time ever, our 14-day trial is available in both the Mac App Store and the version you download directly from us—it’s never been easier to buy OR try OmniGraffle.

Late last month our CEO, Ken, wrote a blog post about the big change for the Mac App Store version:

The app is now a free download. When you first run the app, you’re asked whether you’d like to start a trial or purchase a license. But before you purchase anything, we also explain that discounted pricing is available to existing Mac App Store customers.

You should read more about why this was important for us to do, but at the heart of it is being able to offer both a 100% free trial and the exact same discount that we’re able to offer on our own store.

For new users, the price is exactly the same as OmniGraffle 6: $99.99 for Standard, $199.99 for Pro. Already own OmniGraffle? Current customers get a 50% discount. (And recent purchasers get the upgrade for free. More details about all upgrade options here.)

OmniGraffle 7 Live Workshops

We have a few Facebook Live events planned to show off OmniGraffle 7 workflows. Head to our Facebook page, Like or bookmark the page, and come back at showtime! We’ll do our best to get the word out right before it starts, too.

Introducing OmniGraffle 7 on October 18th at 11am PST:

OmniGraffle Product Manager, Dan Walker, takes you on a tour of the new features in OmniGraffle 7, from Infinite Canvas to Artboards, the redesigned Sidebar, and more.

Artboards in OmniGraffle 7 on October 19th at 11am PST:

Dive deep with Dan Walker into the new Artboards features in OmniGraffle 7, and learn how their flexibility can make your workflows more efficient.

UX Design with OmniGraffle on October 20th at 11am PST:

UX Designer Andrea McVittie shows how to design a small iOS app, moving your sketches and app ideas into OmniGraffle to create mockups to share with your team.

More Tips on Inside OmniGraffle

There are millions of ways to get your point across in OmniGraffle, though we’re positive we don’t know them all. We’re launching a brand new website, Inside OmniGraffle, to show off as many of those millions as we can. From the basic tips like drawing an orthogonal line, to more involved processes, like setting up artboards and Artboard Layers.

Have a trick you’d like to show off? Send it to us—we’d love to include them.

What a year!

If you need help with anything OmniGraffle, contact support by email at omnigraffle@omnigroup.com, by telephone at 1-800-315-6664, or on Twitter at @OmniGraffle. Have purchasing or upgrade questions? Email our sales team or reach them at the same number above.

We hope you enjoy OmniGraffle 7! Tell us about the weird (or perfectly normal) things you’re making with it.

We’re so excited to pull the cover back on this one! A ton of work from everyone here at Omni made it happen, and we’re already hard at work on its first free update. Expect to see even more new features out of this release.

Providing the best possible App Store experience

by Ken Case on September 29, 2016

From the dawn of the App Store, it’s always been our goal to provide the best possible App Store experience that we can for our apps. We were there with our apps on the day the store launched, so that you could make your own choice about how you wished to purchase our software. And three years later, we finally solved the problem of offering upgrade discounts to our App Store customers, an offer which started with OmniGraffle 6 and continued through the rest of our product line.

But even with those discounts, the experience of buying our apps on the App Store still had some limitations when compared to buying directly from our own online store:

  • On our store, we offer an upgrade discount on the base price of the app. On the App Store, we had no way to discount the base price—the best we could do was charge that full price again, but offer our Pro upgrade for free.
  • On our store, we offer customers free upgrades to the next version of the app if they’ve purchased within the last 30 days. Since we couldn’t make a similar offer on the App Store, the best we could do was stop selling the app for a while (like we did with OmniPlan last summer) so that customers wouldn’t get stuck with the old app.
  • On our store, we’ve always let you try our apps for free before asking you to decide whether to buy them. On the App Store, you get charged for the app before you can download it.

All of these limitations stem from a single underlying problem: they’re all due to the fixed cost of the original download of the app. If that download didn’t have that fixed price, all of these problems would be within our power to solve.

“Well, that’s sad,” some might say. “But that’s just the way the App Store works, isn’t it? At least you do offer customers a choice to use your own store, so it’s not like they’re forced into that experience if they don’t want it.”

I guess that’s true enough, at least for our Mac apps. But it’s still not ideal. And while customers can choose to buy directly from us on Mac, our iOS customers don’t have that choice. There’s no way for them to ever try our apps before buying them (unless they’re lucky enough to visit an Apple retail store when our apps are being featured). Or to get the price protection that we try to offer all our customers. Or to get upgrade discounts on the non-Pro edition of the app.

We’ve been asking Apple to extend the App Store to support all of these capabilities, of course. And they’ve certainly made changes to the App Store over the years to offer more flexibility in the way people buy software there, even if they haven’t addressed this specific problem.

Or… have they?

The underlying problem, as noted above, is that downloading the app has a fixed cost. We’ve always set that cost to be the standard price of our app, leaving us no way to charge less. But what if we take a fresh look at this problem, and make our downloads free? You know, like every iPhone app in the Top Grossing List has already done? It’s not that they don’t sell anything—or they wouldn’t be on that list. They just don’t sell the original download. (Which we’ve never done on our own store either.)

With the original download free, we can implement any pricing options we want to offer customers through In-App Purchases. We can offer our standard unlocks of Standard and Pro, of course. But we can also offer a free 2-week trial which unlocks all of the features of Pro and Standard, letting you freely choose between them. We can offer a discounted upgrade to the new Standard. And we can offer free upgrades to the new versions to any customers who recently purchased the old app.

Well, I’m pleased to share that that’s exactly what we’re going to do—starting next month, with the App Store edition of OmniGraffle 7:

Screenshot of the In-App Purchase screen

The app is now a free download. When you first run the app, you’re asked whether you’d like to start a trial or purchase a license. But before you purchase anything, we also explain that discounted pricing is available to existing Mac App Store customers. If you check for discounts, validating your previous install, we either offer you discounted upgrade pricing (50% off) or—for recent purchasers—a completely free upgrade to the new version.

As a bonus, this free download of the app now also works as a free document viewer. You don’t have to buy anything to use the app as a document viewer; you can just dismiss the licensing dialog—in which case you’ll only be able to open documents in read-only mode. This means that our customers can send OmniGraffle documents to anyone who has a Mac, knowing that they’ll be able to download the latest OmniGraffle for free and view those documents.

This is just one small corner of what we’ve been working on for OmniGraffle 7. But I believe (and hope you’ll agree!) that this change finally lets us provide our customers with the best possible App Store experience.


P.S. — To be clear, we’re starting with OmniGraffle 7 on Mac, but will be bringing free downloads to all our App Store apps on both Mac and iOS. Also, all of our in-app purchases will remain one-time purchases (as they are today); none of them are subscriptions.

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