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OmniOutliner 4 is finally available

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 20, 2015 at 08:59 AM

 

Well, OmniOutliner for iOS is now a “Universal” app (pace Alexander!), and has been somewhat streamlined.

But I am struck, after using a plethora of other outliner or outliner-like tools, by just how, well, old-fashioned OmniOutliner now appears - especially on the desktop. It’s too fiddly, fussy and messy to be an efficient information organisation option, unless you’re prepared to roll up those sleeves. Probably still great for writing, mind.

MagicalPad is another app that’s allowed itself to become too fussy. It used to be a lovely, streamlined little app. Now it’s something of a monster. Shame, because it’s always been very promising.

Ulysses for iOS is growing on me. Especially since it runs very nicely on my iPad 2. But I’ve had problems with tags on my iPad Mini 2. The interface, nesting etc. are gorgeous, despite the lack of folding (grrrr!)

There’s still a need for a capable Workflowy-style outliner that syncs across platforms. Robin, are you listening? OutlineEdit would be a good starting point.

I’ve also urged the team behind Outlinely to produce an iOS version, since they also produced the (excellent, if somewhat quirky) SlickTasks, but they seem to have gone very quiet…

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 20, 2015 at 08:05 PM

 

I will make the intentionally provocative claim that OmniOutliner is not primarily an outliner at all, but more of an hierarchical spreadsheet. (Okay, I don’t fully believe that, but it sounds good.) I say this because its greatest strength is in the columns of data you can add to your items and notes. This feature is still not nearly as well implemented in any other “outlining” application that I’m aware of. If OmniOutliner is going to be useful, it will be because of this and not because it creates hierarchical lists. For that OutlineEdit or Outlinely are better (at least on the Mac. OO is still a pretty strong outlining contender on iPads, just because there isn’t a lot of competition. (Although you can make wonderful outlines in NoteSuite and Thinkbook, but those outlines live on pages and are not the primary organizing scheme for those apps.)

Anyway, just tossing this thought out there to see if it makes sense to anyone.

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Prion
Mar 20, 2015 at 08:17 PM

 

Love your opening statement, Steve :-)

But Neo, which happens to be an outliner I really like, features columns, too.
I am sometimes puzzled that Neo2 is not more widely known. It may not have the extremely polished looks that Oo4 has but it is more powerful (e.g. clones!) and costs a fraction of Omnioutliner. I have licenses for both but find myself using Neo almost exclusively now.
Prion

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Mar 21, 2015 at 01:51 AM

 

If “OmniOutliner is not primarily an outliner at all”, then what is a canonical outliner?

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 21, 2015 at 04:14 PM

 

I will justify my comment (even though I don’t fully believe it), just for the sake of examining our ideas of how software is defined. Many apps have multiple functionality. For example, Tinderbox, which is a really fine outliner, but which would never be called “an outliner.” Or, as another example, Word, which can also be used to do light document design, but we would never call it a desktop publishing app, because its real strength is desktop publishing.

So my theory of OmniOutliner is that—though it is in fact an outliner—it is more accurately called a hierarchical spreadsheet, because that best describes its strengths. So I didn’t mean it isn’t an outliner—I meant it is not primarily an outliner.

To put it another way, if I wanted to simply create an outline, I would surely choose OutlineEdit over OO. If I needed a table of data, I would choose a spreadsheet. But if I need a table of data that also has hierarchy, I’d choose OO, because it does that very well.

Anyway, this is all just intended as food for thought.

Steve Z.

Paul Korm wrote:
If “OmniOutliner is not primarily an outliner at all”, then what is a
>canonical outliner?

 


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