Collaborating on Projects with Publish & Subscribe (PRO)

On a large project where team members are spread across different teams, projects, or even time zones, you need the ability to provide access to a project plan. OmniPlan Pro makes multiuser collaboration possible by providing powerful Publish & Subscribe capabilities. Paired with a robust Change Tracking system, OmniPlan Pro makes it possible for everyone on your team to access and update project files with ease.

This chapter takes you through the process of setting up OmniPlan Pro—both as the project publisher and subscriber—so you can quickly get to work on your project.

Publish & Subscribe requires the upgrade to OmniPlan Pro. To see whether you have purchased and installed OmniPlan Pro on your device, check OmniPlan’s About box, accesible from the Gear menu on the Locations screen.

How Publish & Subscribe Works

Once set up, Publish and Subscribe works like an infinite loop. The Project Manager and the Resources assigned to the project are both capable of publishing and subscribing to everyone’s updates to the file. The key to making this work is the plan file itself, which resides on a Server Repository:

A diagram showing the infinite loop of publish and subscribe. On the left is the Project Manager, who publishes the file to the Server Repository. On the right are the Resources, who subscribe to the project.

When you initially publish an OmniPlan file, a copy of your file gets pushed up to the designated Server Repository. The file on the server then becomes the “One Truth” to which everyone subscribes. The people (Resources) assigned to the project then subscribe to the file, which places a copy of the OmniPlan file in their On My [device] folder.

As people assigned to the project update their local file, they in turn publish those changes to the file on the Server Repository. The server then pushes those changes to everyone so their local file is always up to date.

Both the Project Manager and Resources use the View menu to receive and review changes which, when accepted, are published back up to the server.

Connecting OmniPlan to a Server Repository

With OmniPlan Pro installed, the App Menu in the document browser adds a Server Repositories item for setting up a shared server repository.

To create and connect to a server repository account, do the following:

  1. From the App Menu, tap Server Repositories:

    The Server Repositories item in the App Menu
  2. Next, choose the server that hosts your OmniPlan files. Tap Add Omni Sync Server Account if you are syncing files with Omni Sync Server, or tap Add WebDAV Account if you are self-hosting or using a third-party WebDAV server:

    The Server Repositories screen has two options for adding references to Omni Sync Server or a WebDAV server.
  3. On the Server Details screen, enter the information to access your account:

    The Server Details screen provides spaces for you to enter the Username, Password, and an optional Path to where your OmniPlan files are saved on the server.

    After entering your account information, tap Connect in the window’s upper-right corner. Using the information you provided, OmniPlan attempts to connect to the server, and displays a message letting you know that the connection was successful.

    An image of a cloud with the word Connected underneath.

    If you encounter an error at this point, re-enter your Username and Password, double-check the server address and any Path you may have provided and try again. (Leave the Path field blank if you are syncing via Omni Sync Server.)

    If you continue to experience problems connecting, contact your server administrator. If you are syncing to Omni Sync Server, contact our Support Humans for assistance.

You are returned to the Server Repositories screen, which lists available sync server locations:

The Server Repositories screen lists available sync servers that you can use for publishing or subscribing to an OmniPlan project file.

Next up: publishing your project.

Publishing an OmniPlan Project

To share an OmniPlan project, follow these steps:

  1. Open the OmniPlan project that you need to share.
  2. In the toolbar, tap the Info button to open the Inspectors.
  3. Tap Project to view the Project inspector.
  4. Tap Publish & Subscribe:

  5. Turn on the Active switch to make the project available for publishing and subscribing:

  6. Choose the Repository to publish to, and then choose whether you want to Publish and/or Subscribe to resource loads by turning on or off their respective switches:

    The key to balancing resource loads across projects is that individual resources be tagged and identified by a unique email address that is shared across all projects. This can be set in the Resource Info section of the Resource inspector.

  7. Tap ❮ Back at the top of the inspector to return to the Publish & Subscribe pane of the inspector:

  8. Tap Auto-Update Interval to set how frequently OmniPlan looks for updates to the synchronized file on the server:

    By default, this is set to Never, which allows you to manually check for updates in the Project inspector. Depending on how active your project is, however, you may consider choosing one of the available options (1, 5, 30, or 60 minute intervals).

    After setting a frequency for the Auto-Update Interval, you are returned to the Publish & Subscribe pane of the inspector:

  9. At the top of the Project inspector, tap ❮ Project to return to the main inspector pane:

    As of now, the project has yet to be published.

  10. Tap Publish to publish the project file to the server repository:

    The Project inspector displays the message All Changes Published beneath the Publish and Update buttons.

Once published, OmniPlan updates the local copy of your project file based on the Auto-Update Interval, or whenever you tap the Update button.

Subscribing to an OmniPlan Project on iOS

To subscribe to an OmniPlan project on iOS, do the following:

  1. Add the designated Server Repository to OmniPlan. See Connecting OmniPlan to a Server Repository, earlier in this chapter.

  2. On the Locations screen, tap Server Repositories.

  3. Tap the server that contains the project that you need to access:

    Tap to choose the sync server where the project file has been published
  4. Tap the published file to subscribe to it:

    The next screen shows the files on the server that you can subscribe to. Be sure to tap the correct project file, as directed by the project manager.

    When you tap the file, OmniPlan saves a copy of it in the On My [device] folder (accessible via the Document Browser) on your device.

    The OmniPlan file is available for editing just like any other OmniPlan project, with one important addition: it comes with its server repository settings pre-configured. The project is ready to publish its changes and receive updates from the server, and will by default publish changes to its resource loads and subscribe to those made in other projects on the server.

  5. Tap to open the file.

You only need to run through the previous steps the first time you access the file on the Server Repository. Once the project file is saved to your On My [device] folder, just go there to open the project.

To ensure that your local copy of the project file is always up to date with the latest changes from other team members, we recommend that you follow these steps whenever you open your local copy:

  1. Get updates to the project: Tap the Info button to open the inspectors, tap the Project inspector tab, and then tap Update.
  2. Accept or reject changes.
  3. Make your changes to the project file.
  4. Publish your changes: Tap the Project inspector tab, and then tap Publish.

Managing Server Repositories

Once you have an account set up and have begun publishing and subscribing to projects, you can manage your repository accounts and shared projects on the Server Repositories screen.

On the Locations screen:

  1. Tap Server Repositories.
  2. Tap to select the repository containing the files you want to manage:

    The server repositories screen

    After tapping the applicable repository, the next screen you see contains a list of OmniPlan files on the server:

    The OmniPlan files available on the server repository
  3. To delete a file from the server, you can either Edit and then tap the delete button (the delete button is a red circle with a minus symbol inside):

    After tapping Edit, the files on the server can be deleted by tapping the delete button.

    Or you can swipe left on a file and then tap Delete.

When you tap Delete, OmniPlan presents the following alert:

OmniPlan warns you before deleting a file from the server.

If you delete the file from the server, people who have subscribed to the plan file won’t be able to publish their changes. Meaning, everyone who has subscribed to the plan will be out of sync with each other’s changes. Everyone will still have a local copy of the plan file on their device or Mac; they just won’t be able to publish or subscribe to changes.

Part of the danger in sharing the server credentials is that anyone with access to the shared credentials could potentially delete a project file from the server.

If you are the project manager, be sure to let your team know that they should not delete a shared OmniPlan file from the server.

Change Tracking

You can use Change Tracking to track changes made to the shared project and accept or reject the changes of others.

To turn on Change Tracking, tap the eyeball button in the toolbar, and then tap Change Tracking:

The View menu with the Change Tracking option highlighted

At the top of the Change Tracking pane, tap the switch to turn on Change Tracking for the shared project:

The View menu, showing the switch used to turn Change Tracking on or off

Whenever a change is made to the project (either locally or remotely), that change is logged in the Change Tracking pane of the View menu:

Changes, available for approval or rejection

The Change Tracking screen displays a list of changes made since your last update to the project. Each change includes the relevant task name, the device responsible for the change, the date the change was made, and the nature of the change.

You can approve or reject changes individually by selecting each change and then tapping Accept Change or Reject Change, respectively. You can also approve or reject changes en masse by tapping either Select Local Changes or Select All Changes and tapping Accept Changes or Reject Changes, respectively:

The list of changes selected for approval

If complex interdependent changes have been made to the project, it may not be possible to move back and forth between change states with perfect fidelity. Be sure to double-check the project after accepting or rejecting a large number of changes.