OmniOutliner 5.2 arrives with Omni Automation

by Derek Reiff on November 16, 2017

Yesterday we released an update to OmniOutliner for Mac. It has a few performance and export improvements, but also features a bigger thing: Omni Automation. Omni Automation, you’ll remember, is cross-platform scripting with JavaScript. OmniGraffle arrived with it on both platforms first—Mac and iOS—and OmniOutliner is nearly there; OmniOutliner 3 for iOS is in Public Test, and we’re getting closer to a release!

Check out the OmniOutliner Automation Discourse thread, or join us in our OmniOutliner Slack Workspace to talk automation specifics.

In addition to Word, Powerpoint, and Excel exporting improvements, HTML exports now include inlined PDFs with capable browsers, and we fixed a crash some customers were seeing on Touch Bar MacBook Pros. This release requires macOS v10.12. Full release notes here.

It’s available from the Mac App Store and directly from us.

Sal demonstrating Omni Automation at MacTech conference

by Derek Reiff on November 9, 2017

In this session, Sal will show you Omni Automation — a technology developed by The Omni Group to tackle this problem. Omni Automation delivers dual-platform automation through scripts, plugins, libraries, menus, and user-assigned action triggers. Based on JavaScript Core in WebKit, Omni Automation will ultimately automate all of Omni’s suite of productivity applications for both iOS and macOS with real object-model scripting support rivaling the traditional automation tools of macOS.

There’s a lot of other great talks at MacTech this year that go deep into the system administration side and, of course, scripting and automation. You can still register for the full 3-day conference in Los Angeles.

For those that don’t know, Sal has been providing invaluable advice on our cross-platform automation project for nearly a year now!

The Omni Show Debuts

by Brent Simmons on November 8, 2017

Our new podcast The Omni Show begins with two episodes: an interview with Kristina Sontag, Omni’s Test Manager, and an interview with Curt Clifton, OmniFocus engineer.

The Omni Show’s tag line is “Get to know the people and stories behind Omni’s award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS.” It will be interviews, mostly, since we have such a great group of people. From time to time — after an Apple event, for instance — we might produce a roundtable or other kind of special.

Your host is Brent Simmons, engineer at Omni and podcast veteran, whose experience means he can tell a microphone from a pizza, which makes him eminently qualified (though somewhat hungry for pizza).

We aim to keep episodes around half-an-hour or shorter, with no commercial interruptions, and we plan to publish every two weeks, though not strictly.

You can find The Omni Show on Twitter @theomnishow. Let us know what you think!

Testing Begins for OmniOutliner 3 for iOS

by Derek Reiff on November 3, 2017

Yesterday, we put OmniOutliner 3 for iOS in Public Test. We’ve spent a lot of time getting it to this point, and we’re looking for feedback specifically about new Pro features.

This is a major upgrade for OmniOutliner for iOS, and while the final version will have a focus on simplicity—3 will be the first version to include Essentials for iOS—right now we’re finishing up work on the Pro feature set.

So what’s new in 3? Omni Automation is the biggest addition: cross-platform scripting, using JavaScript, to automate nearly everything in OmniOutliner for iOS. If you’re familiar with the language and could stand to automate common tasks, try writing a script! Sal Soghoian’s website gives a great overview, and OmniOutliner provides an in-app API reference.

This version also includes support for Drag and Drop, encrypting documents with a password, a brand new implementation of our sidebar and inspectors (with major work ongoing for the filtering tab of the sidebar), row focus, section lists, printing, and PDF support.

Check out our signup page to learn about the latest features.

Putting OmniOutliner 3 through your paces

So what are we looking for input on?

  • How’s Pro working, on your iPad and iPhone, as your central repository for how you outline, write, and manage your ideas?
  • What doesn’t it have that you think it should?
  • How’s it working with your keyboard, your shortcuts, and everything that you’ve come to expect from the Mac?

Submitting Feedback: Use the Send Feedback button under the Document Browser’s Gear Menu. Or, say something on Twitter, via an email here, or talk about it on Discourse. (Or join our Slack Workspace! It’s brand new.)

Omni Roadmap 2017 — Q4 Update

by Ken Case on October 18, 2017

Each January we like to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and to share a roadmap of our plans for the coming year. Our 2017 roadmap talked about switching to free downloads for all our products; shipping OmniOutliner 5 for Mac; and introducing OmniGraffle 3 and OmniOutliner 3 for iOS with slide-in information panes and powerful JavaScript automation.

This year’s roadmap also talked about our plans for OmniFocus. About how its new sync format lets us make fundamental improvements to the data it keeps track of—enabling faster syncing of databases with large attachments, supporting multiple tags per item (replacing contexts), and improving the system for notifications and repeats. And how our iOS app can take some design cues from the Mac app to make it easier to see the information you care about and work with multiple tasks more efficiently.

As always, though, our roadmap for the year isn’t the same as the actual journey we end up taking! It indicates the direction we’re headed in, but the future is never certain—and if we actually want to get where we’re trying to go, our plans need to adapt as circumstances change.

This year, iOS 11 gave us a huge opportunity to make all of our apps much better, with strong support for Drag and Drop between apps, Files app integration, and—of particular interest to OmniFocus—Siri integration. With Siri support, we were finally able to add things directly to an OmniFocus list by saying things like “Add dry cleaning to Timely Actions in OmniFocus,” and later to check them off by saying “Mark dry cleaning complete in OmniFocus.” So we put our other plans on hold, worked our tails off, and had some great updates to our apps ready to go the day iOS 11 shipped.

OK, so, what next? Now that our iOS 11 work has shipped, where does that leave us with respect to our roadmap for the rest of the year?

  • We’re still planning to ship OmniOutliner 3 for iOS this quarter; it will start its public TestFlight within the next few weeks.

  • The OmniFocus features discussed in this year’s roadmap will debut next quarter (Q1, 2018) with the public TestFlight of OmniFocus 3 for iOS.

We’ll have a lot more to say about OmniFocus 3 as we get closer to that public TestFlight, but for now let me just reassure anyone who’s contemplating a purchase of OmniFocus that if you purchase version 2 today (for either iOS or Mac), you’ll receive a free upgrade to version 3 on the same platform when it ships. (And, as usual, anyone who already owns OmniFocus will be eligible for a 50% upgrade discount.)


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