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OmniGraffle Pro 3

omnigraffle_pro_icon.gifBuzz over at Sci-Fi Hi-Fi Fe-Fi Fo-Fum really likes OmniGraffle 3.0. While I like OmniGraffle, I'm not sure I'd throw myself into the "I Love It!" crowd. It's always been a bit slow, and my biggest problem with 3.0 is apparently Buzz's favorite:

As a Cocoa developer, I must also admit (over the certain protests of Mac UI purists) that the stunning, custom GUI work Omni did for OmniGraffle 3 is a large part of the attraction for me. I particularly admire the system of collapsable inspector palettes.

I admire, but could they be more bland? And do we really need no less than twenty inspectors? Could Omni not have taken a page from the way Photoshop handles its effects (drop shadows, etc.)? The word "cluttered" springs to mind. The Show/Hide Rulers and some other toolbar items look disabled, Andy pointed out, and I agree.

All told, I like OmniGraffle. Not really "a lot" but then again I've not done "a lot" with it either. The fact that one of my biggest complaints is about a toolbar icon says a lot.

Edit: I take it back. OG Pro 3 can suck my left nut. No longer can I create arbitrarily sized canvases. No sir: now everything must be A4 or Letter sized. Fuck that. OG 2 let me make a document 4 pages wide by 2 high, for example. Am I just missing this option somewhere???

Edit 2:
Vinay: open up the "canvas size" inspector panel
Erik: ah, good

7 Responses to "OmniGraffle Pro 3"

  1. I think it's too expensive... Great app though, especially if you're forced to do flowcharts in class like I am.

    Yes, those inspectors are freaking annoying. Especially the whole drop-down menu controls it all so I never know where the hell stuff is.

  2. Looks like you can adjust the canvas size with the canvas size inspector in the inspectors menu.

  3. Well, what can I say--I guess I'm just a sucker for neat-looking UI stuff. All of this is pretty subjective, but I don't see what makes OG's palettes much worse than, say, Photoshop's or Office's (except that I personally think that Omni's implementation is much nicer looking and much easier to manage).

    Regarding the charge that there's too many--I say just close some of them! I don't need all of them at all times, and I doubt most people do either. Or, get rid of all of them temporarily by clicking the "inspect" toolbar icon. Or, take advantage of the multiple workspace functionality to have different sets of palettes for different document needs. It's all pretty flexible.

    Another cool thing is that you can close an entire "clump" of docked palettes by cliking on the round button that appears on the top palette. I also like the fact that the keyboard shortcut to open/close a palette is clearly labeled on the right. In my opinion, they really thought the whole thing out very well.

    OG 3 is definitely not without its weaknesses (and I will admit that price is one of them), but to me it has no worse problems in terms of UI than other applications with tons of functionality (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.). In fact, as I said, I think it has one of the most "humane" palette-oriented interfaces I have ever seen.

  4. Buzz, you're missing the point (and assuming that I don't know how to close a window?). Are you better at finding the right icon on your desktop when you have four choices or when you have forty?

    Photoshop does the best it can to move some of its functionality out of your way and into separate windows like the effects window. Double-clicking various places in Photoshop brings up different things: naming, effects editor, etc. Stuff like that could have been done to eliminate the 25 palettes OG wants to shove at you. In other words, I have collapsed and closed many and I still feel it's cluttered.

    As I said, it's not that big a deal. I just don't care for them. They're cluttered. I liked OG 2's popup method better. It worked as the Inspector in Interface Builder works.

  5. Erik,

    Fair enough--I see what you're saying about the distinction between what should be in a palette and what should be in a separate window. Now that I think about it, Omni would probably be well-advised to start thinking in that direction.

    I guess the only other thing that I would say is that what really impressed me (again, as a Cocoa developer) was the Omni palette as a cool custom UI widget. I still stand by my feeling that Omni has "evolved" the palette idiom very nicely.

  6. OmniGraffle 3

    Erik Barzeski has some good criticism of OmniGraffle 3 and its icons. The new palettes look cool, and I was never really a fan of the old Interface Builder–style ones. I think I want something more context-sensitive.

  7. I like it, BUT... I have a problem with the lack of flexability. I am being forced to use Visio because Omnigraffle will not let me apply properties to each object. When I'm building a network map, I want to be able to record the serial number, ip properties, etc, and I can't with omni. argh!