OmniFocus for the Web Adds Support for Custom Perspectives

by Ken Case on October 27, 2020

Many busy professionals choose OmniFocus because of its power and flexibility, helping them tame the chaos and focus on the right tasks at the right time. We have some exciting news to share today for OmniFocus for the Web users, but first I’d like to talk about where we started and our progress to date.

When we launched OmniFocus for the Web, we included the core set of built-in perspectives from our first iPhone app. These built-in perspectives let you work with task lists from your inbox, project lists, and tag lists, giving you different ways to slice and dice your tasks.

We also included basic support for filtering those lists, so you could focus on:

  • your remaining incomplete items,
  • available items (that aren’t blocked by an earlier task or a defer date),
  • the first available items from each project (so you can see the next action that will move those projects forward), or
  • the entire list (including completed and dropped tasks) so you can view the full history of a project.

After launching OmniFocus for the Web, we immediately turned our attention to adding our trademark Forecast perspective, which displays upcoming tasks on a calendar so that you’re not surprised when a due date arrives.

We’ve done several other minor updates since then, but today marks the moment many of our web customers have been waiting for—the day we take the web app beyond those basic features and add support for our most important Pro feature.

OmniFocus for the Web now has support for viewing custom perspectives!

With custom perspectives, you can customize your own views in OmniFocus to truly make the app your own. You can set up personalized combinations of filter rules to show you the items you’re most interested in, and those custom perspectives are synced to all your devices. Want to see every flagged task related to work that hasn’t been completed, grouped by when you last edited those tasks? Or perhaps you want to pull up a list of everything you have finished, grouped by completion date? Or see everything in your Family folder tagged with Errand or Groceries, but not if it contains the word “egg” or belongs to a project tagged Birthday?

OK, that last example is a bit ridiculous, I know, but all of these views are easy to define using a custom perspective—and now that custom perspectives are supported in the web app you can access those perspectives from any desktop system.

(I should note that it’s not yet possible to create or edit custom perspectives using the web app: that process still happens on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. We do want to support that eventually, but being able to view custom perspectives everywhere is a much higher priority than being able to edit them everywhere.)

Custom perspectives can be marked as favorites so that they always appear on your sidebar, and can even be bookmarked in your browser for direct access.

Because custom perspectives are much more flexible than the built-in perspectives we were previously displaying, we ended up building a whole new set of back-end APIs to support them. These newer APIs are more flexible, allowing more types of content in the presented outline to allow grouping by date and so on. And they also have much better performance for large databases. Even when testing large perspectives with tens of thousands of items, our new custom perspectives will display results in a blink of an eye.

This update is free for all OmniFocus subscribers (thank you for your support!). If you would like to give OmniFocus for the Web a try, you can start a free two-week trial at web.omnifocus.com. Cross-platform OmniFocus subscriptions are $9.99/month. If you already own OmniFocus for Mac, iPhone, or iPad, add a web-only subscription for just $4.99/month.

Enjoy!


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