OmniFocus’ IOS 7 Implementation for the iPhone

OmniFocus can be considered almost iconic as a task management system. It is one of the best known and respected on the market. Considered a pure GTD system it certainly lives up to its name. However, this system is more than flexible enough to be used in a very loose manner. Yet, if you need something that follows the rules of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” principle this is certainly the one.

Omni is no slouch where it comes to leading edge technology and staying up with the times. Recently, they just released one of the best implementations of an IOS 7 app for the iPhone. It was prominently featured on the iTunes store the day IOS 7 was launched.

I bought the app as soon as it hit the store shelves I was so excited about it. It hasn’t disappointed. The app before was a great IOS app that worked well with the OmniFocus suite. However, with the new design principles in hand, the old app was just that: old. It didn’t fit the new design at all.

It Just Works

The new app just works and it works beautifully. The original IOS app for the iPhone also worked well but the new one for IOS 7 and onward has been nicely crafted. Following the design guidelines of IOS 7, I’m amazed how productive I can be just on the iPhone alone. It is fast in both performance and the way in which you use it.

Simply put, I just find it’s very fluid. You just easily flow through the app. I didn’t even need to watch the getting acquainted with the product video to get going. I was up and running in no time. I felt productive from the get go. And all from the iPhone.

Systems Architecture

The new IOS 7 app of OmniFocus’ for the iPhone follows carefully Apple’s vision of Deference, Clarity and Depth. It is a UI design principle that puts the user’s content first and the interface second. The idea is that the interface steps out of the way so the user can deal with the content more clearly. Omni has done an excellent job with their IOS 7 product to meet this the interface requirement.

One might wonder how all the  products can work so seamlessly together when each product has such a different interface. That is, how can they all work on the same database when they are so different.

The reason for this is the system design architecture employed by Omni to allow this. The systems architectural framework is such that all components regardless of UI can work on the data from very different interfaces.

The iPad interface isn’t built on IOS 7 principles precisely but it is considered one of the nicest designs in the industry. Then, for the Mac, you have an interface which is severely out of date, old and lacking in design principles intended to allow the user to work fluidly with the system. Yet, all these products work together. It would be so nice if the Mac product was anything like the design principles behind Mavericks and IOS 7 yet you can still work with it in the product suite handily. This all has to do with their data architecture.

Must Have Upgrade

If you’ve got or are thinking about upgrading to IOS 7 and are an OmniFocus user you definitely should upgrade to the IOS 7 version of OmniFocus for the iPhone. You won’t regret it. A little different at first, you’ll get onto it fast and find yourself flying through tasks and projects. I find it remarkable how powerful it is for an iPhone product.

If you’re thinking about getting the entire OmniFocus suite my only reservation is the Mac version of OmniFocus. Omni is working on a new product to replace  and it can’t happen soon enough as it is a bit of a killer to an excellent suite. Frankly, if you can do without a desktop product for now I wouldn’t buy it. It’s definitely not worth it.

With that said,  OmniFocus itself is a superb implementation of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology. In my view and I’ve tried just about everything it is the best of the bunch. If you want to do a pure GTD implementation then my feeling is OmniFocus is the best way to go. There are other GTD based systems but I just don’t like the way they’ve been implemented.

The iPhone product is superb and the iPad product is excellent. If you do need a desktop product though I have a real problem here. I cannot recommend OmniFocus 1 for the desktop as it is so antiquated, out of date and difficult to use. It does not fit in anyway the design principles nor goals as Apple has envisioned them and as I personally present a workflow model and strategy.

For all current OmniFocus users, you won’t regret upgrading to OmniFocus for IOS 7. For any new user that will just employ the IOS products from Omni you will have to buy the IOS 7 product for the iPhone and this is a very good thing. For any new user that requires a desktop version of the suite, if you can do without till the new desktop version of OmniFocus comes out then do that but don’t buy the desktop version. Finally and this is the hard part of this analysis, should you absolutely need a desktop version to round out your suite I would recommend an alternative suite. If you are totally sold on Omni and can deal with OmniFocus 1 that would be your choice.

To conclude, OmniFocus for the iPhone is a model application of where we are going. It’s excellent in both design and implementation. Get started on a good footing. If you’re new to GTD and want a system that is a pure but good implementation of the GTD principles then OmniFocus is for you. The IOS 7 version OmniFocus for the iPhone is the icing on the cake.

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