[For those who didn’t catch this on our blog…]
New OmniFocus extensions for iOS 8
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three months since Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. We had just finished shipping OmniFocus 2.0 for Mac—a huge release for us—and suddenly we were on the receiving end of a firehose of information from Apple about iOS 8 and Yosemite and Swift. All three were incredibly exciting, but the one which would immediately change our app development was iOS 8.
With iOS 8, Apple gave us new ways to interact with the operating system and with other apps. For the first time ever, we could provide extensions which could run inside other apps. We could add Today extensions to Notification Center. We could build new Sharing options to easily capture content shared by other apps. We could share documents between apps without making extra copies that get out of date. And even in places where our code wasn’t running, we now had more flexibility—like the ability to provide interactive notifications with multiple choices. All that and much more. Far more than we had time to adopt in one summer—particularly since we also had two major app upgrades to ship for iPad: OmniFocus 2 and OmniGraffle 2.
Fast forward a few (very busy!) months, and iOS 8 is finally right around the corner—and the iPad and iPhone editions of OmniFocus 2 are both ready with two great new extensions. The new OmniFocus Sharing extension will let you capture content from Safari and other apps, and with the new OmniFocus Today extension it’s easier than ever to get a grip on your day’s commitments:
These new extensions are just a taste of what’s now possible with iOS 8. I’m looking forward to doing even more with extensions in our apps—and I’m also looking forward to seeing what other developers have been cooking up over the summer!
This extension desperately needs an option to display “planned” tasks (flagged or custom perspective) rather than simply due tasks. Most of my tasks rarely have a hard due date, but there are many that I flag for “today”. I also have a custom perspective that is “important and urgent” that is often something I’d like to see on my lock screen. For me “flagged” on the lock screen is enough, but I know there are many different workflows for different users.
But generally — especially in a GTD environment — “today” tasks often include tasks that are planned but not due, tasks that are on our current plane of focus (however we might set that up) in addition to the ones screaming to get done right now (due dates).
As it stands, I have about 8 things I’m cranking through today and none of them are showing up on my lock screen because they don’t have a due date assigned. And they never will. But they are still a priority.
Thanks for the hard work and the cool new app extension. I want it to work for my workflow so bad, but unless it is tweaked it just isn’t useful to me :(
Enjoying the new OF2 extensions.
I’d like to have the same view options as OF2 for Mac:
Show events that were deferred to today
Show due events
Personally, I’d rather have the ability to show a user-specified perspective. I already have a customised “Today” perspective that shows available tasks that are due or flagged. I’d love to see this in my Notification Centre.
Submitting my feature request to the feedback e-mail now.
I noticed the extension shows all tasks due today, even if the defer/start date is later on in the day (e.g., task due at 11 p.m., deferred to 7 p.m., will show up at 8 a.m.). I think this is a bug.
The idea is really nice @wilsonng, but right now the Today extension is unusable to me.
Showing onlyDue is not ideal (agree to @dcbenji), but showing all due, including not available (but except overdue), is really bad (agree to @JBB).
I’d also like to be able to configure what shows in there. Maybe better than being able to select what perspective to be shown on iOS’ Today panel, it would be awesome if I could select what items show in my default Forecast/Today perspective (essentially making my Today perspective not necessary): I’d love Flagged + Due + Available to show up in there (obviously, configurable with focus/filters/etc as any other perspective)
Submitting a feature request via email now.
I’d also love the Due notifications to be interactive: e.g. Swipe Left and I could check them off, right there.
Thanks for getting on this so soon and creating the extension, but for me too it doesn’t work. I also think that it’s somewhat against the spirit of GTD in general. If you’ll remember, GTD is supposed to stop you putting items in your calendar and then just shifting them forward every day. I can’t help but feel that this extension orients people towards an analogue of that - setting a due date of today for everything that they think they will get done, and then moving the stuff that they don’t get done forward to the next day. I think that the flag approach is more in line with the GTD method - we’re not setting hard deadlines and constantly shifting them but rather creating a sub-list of flagged items every time we run out of something to do. I know that everyone has their own way of doing GTD and you could interpret this as “wah wah, I want my way to work”, but I think you can see from the reasoning I have provided here that the current implementation pushes people towards bad habits that GTD is supposed to prevent.
Agreed that the today extension should be more customizable. @dunk is correct in that marking items “due today” to insure they show up in the extension is not in keeping with GTD principles: the idea is that only hard-and-fast commitments should be marked with a due date.
One approach would be to allow users to specify a perspective to display in the extension. Another would be a app preference that affects which items are displayed in the extension, similar to the App icon badge counts setting (Overdue, Due Soon, and/or Flagged).
Essentially, the Today extension has replaced the home screen badge as a way to convey OF information from outside the app, so it should also be customizable.
I agree with a number of the folks’s comments here. Right now, the extension shows ONLY tasks that are due today. And by “today” I mean EXACTLY TODAY. Tasks that were due today, and I didn’t do, roll off the screen a day later as they were due “yesterday.” The use case where there are 5 tasks due within an hour to show something is, if not contrived, nothing that would indicate how I use OmniFocus.
It’s the first version that uses Notification Center, and iOS 8 is BRAND NEW, so let’s just say that for now this shows promise, but that I’m really hoping it can be enhanced (substantially).
This sounds like people are looking to work out of the Today extension rather than in the app.
I like it how it is. If I want more complex views, that’s what perspectives are for within the app.
I couldn’t disagree more :D
I don’t want to work from the Today view, not I think anyone here wants that. The point is If there is any point in using the Today extension, it should be useful.
I see it can be useful to some and, what I’m saying here, it’s just not useful to me… and so, not thinking just about my use case, I suggested it to be configurable.
What I said is:
- if it shows me only tasks due today (but not overdue), I really see no point of having it enabled – for my use, obviously.
- same is valid for showing me tasks which are due today, but not yet available. Why would I see them, especially ones what would come first in the list?
- last, and this is MY personal desire, I’m much more interested in (available) tasks Flagged showing up there than Due tasks.
My two cents ;-)
As others have stated, the extension is a good start but it needs to be customisable to enable even the intended current purpose.
Right now it may “work” if your day means you wake up around 6am and you try to be in bed before midnight, but what about people with non-standard days?
I often work a night shift from 7pm till 7am. With the current version of the extension, it will only show me tasks I have set to be done before midnight (which aren’t many when I’m on a night shift), and then will only display the tasks I have remaining to be done, for the last 7 hours of my shift.
As others have already said. This extension sadly gives no utility to my life until we can choose what it displays.
I’m with you. Love the idea but what’s due today isn’t enough. Would like to have control as if it were a perspective.
I don’t think it’s possible for Omni to choose a view/configuration for the Today extension that makes everyone happy.
I know they like to keep Settings/Preferences fairly minimal and have sensible defaults, but this is an area that (to me) screams for an option… for the Pro version of the app, let me choose which Perspective is used to populate the Today extension.
Any idea on when the option to show flagged items in the today view might be implemented, from staff? There are a lot of ideas going around here regarding perspectives and other possibly complex-to-implement things, but it strikes me that having an option to show flags in there could almost be done in someone’s 20% time…
An option to choose what perspective to use in the Today view doesn’t seem unreasonable.
I think there are memory limits to putting widgets into the Notification screen.
The PCalc developer wanted to have customisable calculator button layouts in the PCalc widget but ran into memory limits and had to pass on that idea.
I think using a customised perspective would be nice but it would probably have to be limited to perhaps the first 10-20 next actions in the selected perspective.
@wilsonng I think that limit makes sense, not just for memory, but for usability, too. To me, Notification Centre should be very explicitly “what do I need to know about so badly that I don’t even have to open an app”. That shouldn’t be a list of 30 things - it should be a list of, like, five.
What I would like to see, like @psidnell, is the ability to pick which perspective is shown in Notification Centre based on the overall context (see what I did there?) of my day. In other words, if I’m in motion for most of the day, an errands perspective makes more sense to be a swipe away. If I’m in a day-long workshop, a people/agendas perspective is more sensible. If I’m cranking through work at my desk, a projects perspective is most appropriate.
In the absence of user choice, to me, a blend of due, overdue, and flagged seems to me to be the most sensible universal choice for the widget.
Just spitballing here :)
That’s what we’re building for v2.5.