Vitamin-R progress

In my last blog entry, I announced that Vitamin-R, my very own solution to the productivity problems of people like myself who need to balance their scatterbrained creativity with “delivering stuff” on time and within budget.

I asked you to tell me whether my baby is ugly or not.. well, I asked for it, so I can’t complain.

The highly polished user interface of the first beta missed the mark somewhat.. far too much text and too “application”-y.

Initial Design

Initial Design

This lead to a late-in-the-day dash to get an interface that is minimalist and doesn’t get into the way of accomplishing your task. The idea was to make the application into a “menu bar item” that is always available:

Vitamin-R 0.4 Interface

Vitamin-R 0.4 Interface

In practice, this worked much better than the initial design and got out of the way when not needed.

It was certainly minimalist, but still not all that pretty. So in the latest 1.06 release you get a Snow Leopard/ iPad call-out type interface:

Current Interface Presets

Current Interface Presets

Better still, you can configure the appearance yourself using the Appearance Panel available under the “Appearance” item in the “Vitamin-R” menu. From there, you can configure background color, opacity, gradients, corner rounding, inner and outer strokes, padding, etc.

I hope that you’ll come up with your own favorite look and if you do so please drop me an email at with a screenshot. I’m thinking of including a number of different presets, so if you come up with something that might be of interest to the user community at large, it could well start shipping with every copy of Vitamin-R!

I can’t believe that version 0.01 beta only shipped on the 24th of March and the program has already gone through such a transformation due in great part to your feedback.. so please keep it coming!

As those of you who have been around since these early releases already know, the pace of development on Vitamin-R has been frenetic and I intend to keep it that way for at least a few more months before settling into a one or twice a month update cycle as with A Better Finder Rename.

In these last 7 weeks, the user interface has changed profoundly, I’ve introduced keyboard navigation, time slice pausing, workflow changes, a re-designed now & later board and fast type feature, fixed some bugs, etc, etc..

The next 7 weeks should be no less exciting. Next week, I will ship the drag & drop integration with OmniFocus which will allow you to drag & drop tasks directly from OmniFocus, click on the hyperlink to go back to the task in OmniFocus and have it ticked automatically when it is logged as completed. The hyperlink feature already works in 1.06.

I’ve solved most of the technical problems with providing the same integration for Cultured Code’s Things application and I’m investigating Task Paper integration.

Vitamin-R will also be able to work as a dock-less application within the next few weeks, as I know that many people would prefer this mode of operation. The current way of working will become optional.

Beyond this the highest priority item is to get the statistics module working. Originally this was supposed to be shipping with the 1.0 release, but with the frenzied development on the user interface front there simply was not time left for it. A rough version of it is already working, so it shouldn’t be too long before it is fully functional. Expect basic graphs and summaries in the first releases with more sophisticated analysis options not too far behind.

I think this will be a massive boost for Vitamin-R as discovering your own work patterns in itself is huge help in becoming more productivity and seeing your progress is highly motivating.

Vitamin-R is already used by many fans of the Pomodoro Technique and support for this technique will be growing in future releases. I’m not a great Pomodoro Technique fan myself, as I feel that with its rigid structure it is too prescriptive for many people and makes few allowances for human foibles and the creative mind in general, but many people do find that they are both capable of exerting that level of self-discipline and enjoying it, so who am I too argue. After all, Vitamin-R is about finding the way you work best rather than prescribing what that ought to be.

Some of you have asked about the lack of a screencast for Vitamin-R on the website and have tried to make me realize that this would be a great asset. Thanks. I’m very much aware of that and there most definitely will be a screencast on the website at some stage. The problem at the moment, is that the product is changing so quickly that a screencast is going to be out of date almost as soon as it is put up. I’m not a great fan of screencast that show a product that has changed beyond recognition in the meantime and updating a screencast a couple of times a month just isn’t practical. My intention is to get Vitamin-R to where I want to be first and then do a screencast that will remain relevant at least until version 2.0 in the far future.

Thank you all for your feedback and support!

Best regards,