OmniFocus for Mac v2.4 ready for a Push

by Derek Reiff on December 7, 2015

Today we’ve released updates for both Mac and iOS that bring Push-Triggered Sync to every copy of OmniFocus. Due Soon also includes a new option—“Today”—which includes only items due before midnight instead of over “the next 24 hours.”

A Brief History of Sync

We added sync to our v1.5 betas in 2008. We were using Apple’s .Mac (soon-to-be MobileMe) service and were spurred on by the introduction of the App Store. Data needed to propagate!

A few years later, in 2010, we started building the Omni Sync Server. Fleets of Mac Minis were deployed, stacked beside each other in a rack. Over the years we made a lot of optimizations, and it worked very well.

Soon we started moving towards what some might call real server hardware. (We’re currently using FreeBSD and have been experimenting with SSDs.)

Then, we started looking at how sync actually worked—for OmniFocus that’s individual transactions going back and forth so that no data or edits are lost—and how we could improve server and client performance. Obvious: send them to all devices as soon as they happen.

Implementation wasn’t trivial, but that’s essentially what we did when implementing Push-Triggered Sync for iOS. Using Apple’s Push service and a backend of our own, both Omni Sync Server and custom WebDAV servers just work. Sync times improved and they happened in the background. We were initially concerned that we’d need to slow our rollout to not overwhelm our servers, but it went smoother than expected and everyone got it the first day.

Your data is there when you open the app, unlock the screen, look at your Today Extension, or glance at your Watch complication.

Adding Mac

But we can’t use Apple’s Push Notification Service to deliver sync triggers to Mac because most of our customers buy directly from us—those copies aren’t eligible to use Apple’s service.

So, over the past few months, we built our own service for Mac to match what Apple’s APN provided us on iOS. And it’s in the latest update waiting for you right now.

Omni Magic Push Service, or OMPS, is just as anonymized as the iOS counterpart we described in our Push Sync for iOS blog post, so we’ve turned it on by default for sync users. For even more details check out our support article.

OMPS is still in its youth, but with around 2,000 copies of OmniFocus for Mac using it, its held up extremely well!

Near-instant data propagation across the suite

So when you finish entering a new task on your watch with Dictation, it’ll be on your Mac and iPad Pro within a few seconds.

A lot of hard work went into this by many people at Omni! If you’re interested in learning more about the technical aspects, continue reading here. Otherwise, update and enjoy!

Ready to go with iPad Pro

by Derek Reiff on November 10, 2015

We’ve heard rumblings that this is the iPad for serious productivity, so we’re really looking forward to getting our hands on one. (Though we’ve found iPad to be productive for quite some time.) We don’t know firsthand how novel or different an iPad Pro is, but we’ve been excited for awhile now and have been making changes in our apps so that they shine on the new size!

Omni Apps Were Born Ready (as of last week)

Each of our apps, as of the latest updates released last Monday, support the new display size of the iPad Pro, and we’re very excited to introduce full hardware keyboard support in each! As with all applications that adopt keyboard support, simply hold the Command, Option, or Control key to see this sort of popup:

Hardware keyboard support popup in OmniGraffle on an iPad Pro

Chances are high that many of you do things repeatedly that we don’t—let us know if we missed a shortcut or two!

Introducing Automatic Shape Recognition in OmniGraffle for iOS

We’re extremely excited to show off shape recognition! Designed for Apple Pencil—but also available for the simple finger—shape recognition makes prototyping even faster. Sketch out a rough shape and OmniGraffle will figure out what you meant.

If the shape OmniGraffle recognizes is correct, continue on with your work! Or if you decide to go rustic after all, just hit Undo.

iPad Pro—tomorrow, November 11

We can hardly wait.


If you plan on using an iPad Pro in the next few months with any of our apps, let us know how it goes and what else you’d like to see!

OmniOutliner v4.4 Gains External Linked Folders

by Derek Reiff on November 9, 2015

OmniOutliner v4.4—which rounds out El Capitan support across our entire Mac line—is available for direct customers starting…now. Available in the Mac App Store as soon as it’s approved.

You won’t see much of a difference—it’s one of those iceberg releases where the bulk is below the surface—but there are some Nice Things we’re really happy to get to you.

External Linked Folders

The Resource Browser brings in what OmniGraffle recently added: External Linked Folders. You can select a folder that lives anywhere on your Mac, like iCloud Drive or OmniPresence, and your Template collection will stay up-to-date from here on out.

Linked External Folder

Sidebar Tint

The one thing you may notice is a change in sidebar transparency. It’s now based on the whole document’s body background color with an opaque tint. We’ve had issues with translucency affecting readability of text, so we landed on this attractive fix!

We tested a wide range of colors to make sure even the most extreme look great, and we think they do! If you see any outliers that affect legibility, let us know.

Exporting

OmniOutliner v4.4 also comes with improvements when exporting: Row links are converted to anchor tags when exporting to HTML and Dynamic HTML, and in OmniOutliner Pro, row links are converted to bookmarks when exporting to Microsoft Word’s docx format. (Essentially they’re identical, so a pretty handy feature!)

It’s a great release! If you don’t already have OmniOutliner 4, download yourself a copy. Full release notes here.

Customizing Columns in OmniFocus 2.3

by Derek Reiff on October 14, 2015

Today’s update to OmniFocus, v2.3, is all about (OK, is mostly about) column customization. OmniFocus 2 introduced the Fluid layout, which turned tasks with a lot of data—defer and due dates, flags, context, project, and notes—into a readable row.

With 2.3’s Custom Columns layout, you can pick and choose what data you’d like to show, which Perspectives show what (Pro), or just flip a switch once to effect change everywhere.

Just want the update? Get it right now by checking for updates in the direct-from-us version of OmniFocus; the Mac App Store update should be approved soon.

When you select Custom Columns from the View Options toolbar button, you’ll also see more rows in less space. Great for putting a tiny window in the corner of the screen for head-down mode.

For Pro users, you’ll be able to make these changes stick a part of individual perspectives.

This update also introduces Title Folding, which collapses an action’s title to just one line to keep row height consistent. Unless the row is selected, of course, in which case it’ll unfold. Turn it on in the View menu (Show Full Item Title->When Selected).

What Else?

  • OmniFocus now looks great and works great on El Capitan: we annihilated a few bugs, crashes, and UI quirks.
  • To help with debugging, the OmniFocus Preference panel now sports a Sync Log, like iOS.
  • Status Circles, to prevent confusion with the new ellipses button in iTunes and Music, now more closely resemble small, repeating status circles.
  • Updated documentation! Get in those pages.

Hello, OmniPlan 3

by Derek Reiff on October 7, 2015

Today we’re happy and very proud to present OmniPlan 3 for Mac—the most advanced way to plan projects, manage resources, and impress bosses.

2015 brought a whole lot of major updates to our iOS and Mac apps, but this is the biggest release of the year: new, advanced features, a whole new style that looks great on El Capitan, and even an entry-level price for customers that don’t need Pro’s more complex features.

One of the new things we’re most proud of (and OmniPlan’s most requested feature) is the Multi-Project Dashboard. Add projects of a particular theme to a central, gorgeous view, and stay on top of progress and resource utilization. Think every company project, Quarter 4’s projects, or each module in the website redesign.

OmniPlan 3 also adds Network Diagrams for project flow and dependency work—a standard feature. In Pro: Earned Value Analysis—the best way to track spending or whether you’re actually earning value along the way, and Monte Carlo Simulation—milestone forecasting made easy.

As is always the case, upgrade discounts are available right now for anyone that purchased any version of OmniPlan in the past from our Online Store, and upgrades to Pro are discounted for anyone that purchased OmniPlan 2 from the Mac App Store.

OmniPlan starts at $149.99; Pro is available for $299.99. (On the Mac App Store, Pro will be available via In-App Purchase.)

Download OmniPlan 3 to try it out free for two weeks, and purchase today from our own Omni Store. OmniPlan 3 will also be available for purchase on the Mac App Store as soon as it finishes App Store review.


Larch needles are turning as gold as an iPhone 6s—we’d recommend you check those out if you live in the north.