Having a lot of trouble team-sharing OF DB via private WebDAV server

Dear Omnifocus Team,

Probably you won’t answer here, won’t change anything and probably you don’t even care. It’s my emotional scream. It has to be somewhere, I’m just too tired.

So my story is as follows. We’re a small San Francisco-based startup and we use Omnifocus for a long time. We’ve been in your beta testing program and sent you numerous feedback/support requests that have always been answered POLITELY but never taken in consideration. We have constant problems with Omnifocus sync lasting for a couple of years. We have numerous devices (a couple of iPads, iPhones and Macs) and we’re all using Omnifocus as a main task manager across all the devices. We use a local WebDAV server hidden by firewall inside our main office as a mean of syncing due to corporate privacy.

The main problem we have is that at least once in a month we have to kill ALL the DATABASES on ALL the COMPUTERS and resync it from scratch! We’re using the latest versions of Omnifocus but the problem persists since the first version 1.X. A couple of scenarios we face:

  1. One of our guys goes to work from cafe in the city and obviously WebDAV is not available there
  2. Omnifocus is constantly nagging the poor guy that it cannot sync so he turns off the sync
  3. He goes back to the office and Omnifocus now telling him he needs to replace his whole database with the one on server
  4. So he would write down all the stuff he added to a separate text file
  5. REMOVE everything from his local database and replace it

And we have like 1000 tasks on our server. When it happens once in a while it’s OK. But we have 5 (FIVE) people like that.

Another scenario

  1. A guy adds a lot of stuff during his work to his local Omnifocus DB
  2. When he gets back to office after one week the same thing happens again
  3. So he would write down all the stuff he added to a separate text file
  4. REMOVE everything from his local database and replace it

From our experience Omnfocus Sync is VERY unpredictable. It causes a lot of problems and our coders were writing to the support about their problems and never received any solution. I’m not sure what you guys thinking about your product, what is the timeline and I see that a lot of really polished shiny features are added all the time - but the sync remains the same.

I actually see on these forums a couple of people like us. Your software is so pricey and so buggy at the same time. It works in general but there’s too much inconsistency, elusive user support (they always say YES but never really listen) and features that never work the way they supposed to work.


I’m sure you’ve heard this from us before, but I am really sorry about this. I tried to get some more context on the conversation it sounds like you’ve been having with us, but I wasn’t able to find any support tickets from the same email address your forum account is tied to. Apologies in advance if any of the following duplicates or complicates those other conversations.

We do really appreciate how hard it sounds like you’ve tried to make OmniFocus fit your workflow, but based on your description, it just doesn’t sound like it’s the right tool for what you’re trying to accomplish.

We’ve tried to be clear over the years about the fact that the app is designed and intended to be used by a single person. When folks ask us if they can deploy it in a team environment, our answer these days is ‘it’s technically possible, but it’s not supported. There are significant drawbacks - and you’ll have more trouble as your team grows.” I know there are posts on this forum to that effect, as well as on the older ones we’ve retired, but if we said something other than that along the way, it was a mistake and we’re really sorry.

Collaborative workflows are something we’ve wanted to work on for quite a while - and that’s still the case, but that doesn’t help in the short term. I imagine that’s part of your disappointment - it sounds like this is something you’ve wanted for a long time. Part of me wants to post a list of the other things we’ve been working on and the reasons why - but I don’t think that will help you feel any better today.

Bottom line, I don’t think that I’d be doing you any sort of service if I recommended that you continue to try and make the app do something it hasn’t been designed to do. I feel the best course of action here is to open a support ticket with us so we can help you find the best option for transitioning your team’s tasks into a tool that will work better for your team.

It doesn’t seem right that we could end up profiting from selling you a tool that doesn’t work the way you need it, so we should probably investigate a refund, as well.


Taking Brian’s response into account, I think you’d be better investigating something like Trello or Asana, both of which I’ve used for collaborative task-based working. They each have limitations, and there are other products that might in the end be a better fit, but I mention those tow because (a) I’ve actually used them (b) they’re very flexible and easy to set up and © they’re not expensive (for small teams, you can get Trello for nothing).

I think Brian’s correct - OF isn’t the product for you and trying to twist yourselves to fit it will only cause you further aggravation