SwiftUI success story
One of the articles which caught my attention at the beginning of this year is the Omni Roadmap 2023. Where Omni says that they decided to stick with SwiftUI. Yesterday they shipped OmniFocus 4 on four platforms — Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. The major update focused on UI changes and relies on robust data and sync models which were developed earlier. I haven’t used the iPad version, but I installed the Mac version today, and it made version 3 look old and dated. I like the polished iconography, higher contrast colours and refined layout of OmniFocus 4 for Mac. OmniFocus 4 for Mac gained Back/Forward toolbar buttons which previously were available on iOS. Using the Back/Forward buttons is useful and guarantees that I am never lost and can come back to any screen from my navigation history. It took me some time to get used to the iOS version, it got much more stable and reliable in the past couple of weeks, so now I am settled and happy, benefitting from more powerful features on mobile which I will go into later.
OmniGroup is not the only company which invested in SwiftUI as a new foundation for their products. Here’s a quote from the Photomator developer included in the press release for their App Store Awards success story.
To start adding Photomator to their portfolio of Mac apps back in 2020, Bastys and his team of engineers decided against porting over their UIKit and AppKit code. Instead, they set out to build Photomator specifically for Mac with SwiftUI. “We had a lot of experience with AppKit,” Bastys says, “but we chose to transition to SwiftUI to align with cutting-edge, future-proof technologies.”
Interestingly AgileBits went into opposite direction and started to use Electron web technology for their flagship Mac app.
OmniFocus 4, personal impressions
I spent a couple of months using the TestFlight version on my iPhone. Thanks to hard work from developers at Omni the mobile app now has tremendous power, it is faster to navigate. There are fewer taps to make because of the bottom tab bar navigation. Quick entry is accessible from any tab. I have to say, I am not a fan of floating buttons because they cover the content behind them, but being able to enter new action from any tab is useful.
I also discovered that OmniFocus 4 can integrate with Apple Mail when using drag and drop. I made a video to demonstrate the feature. Previously it worked only on a Mac: OF4 drag action into email.mov
I use OmniFocus on my Mac the most, and I rely on it since version 1. I am quite nostalgic about OmniFcous 1 for Mac, and I was thrilled to be able to change the app icon to its rich original design.