Omnifocus in the 2020 roadmap - VERY disappointing


#1

Unfortunately the “killer feature” promised for OF last year is not even mentioned this year: decent iPad keyboard shortcuts support. (there is a hint of it, but only barely)

The iPad is my main device and OF is almost non-functional on that platform.
I was hoping it would be fixed sometime this year, but I will now seriously look at switching to Things, after many years of OF.

A real shame…


#2

How can you claim that OF is almost non-functional? I’d suggest either you’re using the wrong product, or using the product wrong.


#3

I’m leaning more towards @Janov’s view here, to be honest. With the current keyboard support on iPad, it’s really hard to do anything efficiently. When brainstorming and adding a bunch of tasks, it’s a mess. Especially if the tasks have different tags, due dates, defer dates… you know, any of those features that make OF functionally more useful than, say, Reminders.

(Actually, I just did a quick test, and it’s significantly easier to input multiple tasks with different due dates in Reminders than it is in OF on the iPad)


#4

The iPad has been my main driver for OmniFocus and I’m still able to work efficiently. Of course, some of us can take the first post as a personal opinion and not necessarily a blanket statement for everyone.

The Roadmap did talk about the amount of work that went into getting OmniFocus ready for iPadOS. That was a killer feature in itself with multiple split windows being a key feature for me. For others, OmniFocus for Web was the killer feature. Subscriptions is another thing that took up a lot of development time as well.

If you feel like taking the road towards Things, there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing so.

Of course, we would love keyboard support in 2019. But things like WWDC 2019 happened that necessitated holding back on keyboard support until later. WWDC always throws everyone for a loop and the best well-laid plans are often set aside to handle the new developments that are shown at each WWDC.

Better keyboard support is still on the roadmap. Hopefully, I’d like to see it before WWDC 2020 in June. If WWDC 2020 arrives, the roadmap will be adjusted to take into account whatever iPadOS changes appear.


#5

Do we really think keyboard support should’ve been in the roadmap post - which was already quite long enough?

I’d bet not everything in the roadmap - at least pre-WWDC 2020 - is in the post.

But I agree keyboard support is important.


#6

I’ve used omni products for GTD since Kinkless GTD.
It’s been my only GTD option for a long time.

As my workflow switched over the past few years to the iPad it became evident that Omnifocus has changed to accommodate some of the iPad relevant options, but has lagged behind in development to keep up with the changing workflow for most users. (navigation, drag and drop, views)

For me it’s all about speed and plowing through capture/clarify tasks/review and being able to fully use/navigate the interface from the keyboard in seconds, move tasks and projects around, paste links etc. and all without having to touch the screen. I can do that on the mac, but on the iPad just is not there.

My use of OF on iPad / iPhone has stalled and is now viewing / checking off only, my main work in OF is now back on my macbook and macOS.

I had high hopes for the 2019 roadmap, which specifically mentioned better keyboard support on iOS. And believe me, I completely understand the curveball thrown by Apple in the WWDC keynote.
I understand you cannot do everything with a limited set of resources.
(Even though you should know you’re in the Apple software business, and curveballs do happen)

My comment is based on MY workflow, and MY preferred method of plowing through my weekly review and capture / clarify times. I live in OF almost the entire day, and have done so for years.
It is my “trusted system” to work effectively all the time.

But: I cannot do that on the iPad, I need my macbook to work quickly and efficiently. (and I don’t want to)

So yes: I am really, really disappointed that the promised improvement from 2019 did not even get a specific mention for 2020. I understand the focus on Javascripting the UI, but that’s a 100% niche feature. It will work for the <1% of users that even understand what that is. A much larger percentage of OF users that work on an iPad with a keyboard attached can easily use keyboard shortcuts if they had them. So yes: very disappointed, and for me non-functional.

As an example: looking at Things 3 keyboard shortcut support:

OF is lagging way, way behind.


#7

I am still asking myself whether the trash-bin function or a simple “command-delete” alternative option for tasks will arrive. Asking for it for years.


#8

also way overdue


#9

So the sense I have is that folks who want expanded keyboard support carry around an iPad and an external keypad?? Or is this a misreading of the request?

I personally do not care one whit about having expanded keyboard support on the iPad. I want support to work effectively with multiple items without the need for a keyboard. By example

  • collapsible sub-groups for cleaner views
  • expanded context menu options relevant to improving efficiency for multiple items
  • select multiple items in effective manner


JJW


#10

I’m not quite sure what you mean? I’m talking about IF you have an external keyboard you don’t have good OF keyboard support (= not on par with other iOS apps)


#11

OK. IF you have an external keyboard. I do not, nor do I intend to. I therefore prefer that OmniGroup improve on the features that I need for efficiency before attacking additional features for those with (optional) keyboards on their iPads.

Or, at least do the developments in parallel.


JJW


#12

I get where you’re coning from, but I do think it’s very reasonable to assume that a large proportion of people who are invested enough in the iPad to pay for OF are also using some form of external keyboard. Personally, I use my Smart Keyboard almost all of the time, but I also have a Brydge external for when I’m really working in laptop mode. Can’t wait for the new Brydge keyboard with the integrated track pad, honestly — I suspect that is going to become a much more common use case in the next version of iOS.


#14

Keyboard shortcuts seem like such a basic feature that I find it bizarre it’s an either/or with things like java scripting.

“Well, we can put in a touchscreen operated nitrous tank, or we can add a steering wheel.”

I’m hoping that this is why it wasn’t explicitly mentioned. It’s so obvious and so basic and so fundamental that it shouldn’t need to be pointed out as a major part of a roadmap.

Right? Right? I’m probably wrong.

I guess OF is best of breed in so many ways that it’s frustrating to see something so basic being ceded to lesser apps.

Help us Obi-Wan @kcase -enobi, you’re our only hope.


#15

It seems obvious that this passage covers adding keyboard shortcuts. It doesn’t read to me as though the importance of adding them got reduced:

We’re also continuing to improve the flow of using our apps—particularly on iPad and iPhone. We want easy navigation, so everything in the app feels like it’s right at your fingertips—whether your fingertips are using the mouse, touch screen, or a hardware keyboard.

That said, I think folks should just go off whether the shipping product works for them, and ignore descriptions of future plans for the most part.


#16

I don’t think that’s a fair assumption at all, I’m lost without my Brydge keyboard, but I see lots of people using iPads (pro and non pro) without a hardware keyboard. I’d estimate that the percentage of iPad users is really small (way less than 1%). A little higher amongst pro users, but not massively, and higher still amongst those using OF. I doubt it’s significant though.


#17

Sorry but could not help but wonder if it’s all about using the keyboard why did you buy a touch screen device in the first place?

I have used OF for a good few years, and for a long time largely on the iPad, like most apps that are multi device some things are better done on one OS, some on another. With all the keyboard shortcuts available in many many apps it’s pretty much impossible to remember all but a small subset, hence the rise of keyboard maestro and the shortcuts app.

I am typing this on an external mac keyboard, yes I prefer typing with an external keyboard, and keyboard navigation may be quicker for a small number of people but an easy to use touchscreen interface must be far more of a priority simply by weight of numbers using each method. I touch the screen to navigate, why? Because it’s a touch screen device, I do not touch my MacBook screen as its not a touch device, simple really.

As for the roadmap I found it interesting as always, but life and business is what happens while you are busy making other plans so what will be will be. Meanwhile I sometimes really wish people would just stop moaning about what they don’t have and be grateful for what they do.


#18

Bravo. We can discuss constructively things we’d like, we can be frustrated about things we think would make life easier… but we can’t put ourselves in Omni’s shoes (much as we try)


#19

The iOS/iPadOS apps added a Dark Mode and Shortcuts for iOS 13, and the iPad app got multi-window support.

Those improvements are significant and benefit most users, so it makes sense to me that they were given priority. Omni have always updated their iOS apps to take advantage of relevant platform improvements (like drag & drop), which is excellent.

Not all iPad users use a physical keyboard. Additional keyboard shortcuts are still planned as far as we can tell from the roadmap post.


#20

You should take a look at the many threads about OF workflow on iPad been a pain, especially if using a keyboard.
I have abandoned OF as a project/task manager in favor of other solutions and only used it as an outliner with some nice features like tagging, perspectives, etc.
As I said OF on ipad has been the subject of many complaints like Omnioutliner has.
In general, imho, Omnigroup’s apps on ipad need a serious rethink.


#21

Sorry, I just can’t agree with that. UX makes a big difference. I’m at the point now where entering a new task on the iPad (which is my preferred input device because of the smart keyboard always being there, making it fast to enter information) takes long enough that I don’t always use the app! Even little interface changes would help — for example, it would be really nice if when you are changing theproject for a task, the autocomplete options came up in order of recency instead of random (relevance?) matching. Similarly, why doesn’t tab switch between fields? Is there anyone who uses tabs in the text of their task? (Even if there is, that seems like it absolutely should be an environment setting)

Also, if you do have an external keyboard attached, adding tasks means constantly switching between the keyboard (because you can’t start specifying a project without typing) and the screen (to switch between task text, project, and then to select the due time.

I feel like I am probably an outlier in my use of OmniFocus — I need extensive nesting capabilities, I have a lot of parallel projects, and I rarely close a project out if there are outstanding tasks. I’m a consultant, and you can never tell when a customer will want to pick up where they left off, so deleting/archiving old tasks is rarely the right move. As a result, I have a couple dozen open projects that haven’t been touched (but which do show up when the project autocomplete is going).