in iPad, Mac

Omni frustrates me

Annoyed to the _n_th degree by yet another Things sync issue last year, I migrated to Omnifocus, as it seemed at least to have working OTA sync. Which it does. It also has a very clear and well designed iPad client, and a basic but functional iPhone one. The highly expensive Mac desktop client, however, is still a dinosaur that has barely changed since I first tried a demo several years ago and thought “this is way too hard to use”.

“But they’ve just written this nice new iPad client,” thought I, “so, fingers crossed, the desktop one must surely be in for an update soon.”

Similarly, I tried OmniOutliner for the iPad when it was released and found it to be easily the best iPad outliner I’d seen. It really is a superb piece of work, and I use outliners a lot, so thought that it was a reasonable investment to buy the highly expensive Mac desktop client as well, given that surely it was going to be updated. The potential OmniFocus upgrade, after all, was just speculative on my part, but they were actively promising that OmniOutliner 4 would be released any day soon, and outlines aren’t much use if you can’t also access them on the desktop.

Neither of the above have happened and I can’t see why. OmniFocus for Mac, I’m sorry, is a pain to use, and remains a pain to use regardless of whether I use it every day, which I do. I still find myself adding blank items that I didn’t want, creating new top level projects by mistake, accidentally completing things which are then annoying to find again and so on. OmniOutliner 3 is even worse – I tried hard to get used to it and simply gave up. Both of them suffer from Flaky Mode Change disease, where the exact editing mode one is in is both inobvious and hard to switch. I could go on at length but what is the point? Neither seem to have any development work associated with them at all any more – it’s hardly going to make a difference what I say.

If I spent a large proportion of my working life on iOS devices then I would happily use OF and OO regularly. As it is, I don’t use OO since I can’t bear the desktop client, and I am looking at the Things cloud sync beta and thinking “you know, maybe I will switch back if this gets to live”. When you are being outpaced in development by Cultured Code you really should worry as a company. (Things cloud sync has been promised for years, and the lack has led a lot of people including me to migrate, but is at least actually testably happening now.)