Apple Releases iOS 7.1
Tweetbot 3.3 Adds Avenir Font Option, Large Thumbnails
CloudyTabs Puts iCloud Tabs In Your Mac’s Menu Bar
Apple’s “iOS in the Car” Renamed CarPlay, Coming This Year
Documents 5 Brings iOS 7 Update, New “Add-On” Features for Inter-App Communication
When Launch Center Pro 2.2 was released last month, I mentioned the addition of Dropbox actions for creating and modyfing text files, but I didn't share any action example because I couldn't find a possible use of the feature in my workflow. This morning, I realized that my old workflow to generate and share text files with Dropbox could be simplified with Launch Center Pro, so I rewrote it using the app's new Dropbox functionalities.
I often need to create text files and share them quickly with Dropbox. These are usually notes that don't fit in a Twitter DM or long crash reports for developers of apps I'm testing. In my old workflow, I used to type file name and file contents in Launch Center Pro, then, with two steps of inter-app communication, upload the file with Drafts, get the shareable link back with Launch Center Pro, and start a new tweet with the link in Tweetbot.
The workflow still gets the job done but the new version is simpler, faster, and more flexible. It's just three steps:
- Type file name;
- Type file contents;
- Get public link to text file in Dropbox.
With a single action that doesn't involve switching between apps, I can type a file name in a Launch Center Pro prompt, insert contents manually or by pasting, and hit Done to create a text file in Dropbox. Launch Center Pro gets the link of the just-created file and presents an iOS share sheet with a series of options for the file's public link so that I'm not limited to Tweetbot anymore; I discovered that I often needed to DM or email a link, and with the old workflow I was forced to start a new tweet then select and copy the link manually from it. With the new action, everything happens inside Launch Center Pro in seconds and I can pick the best option for me (it's usually “Copy”).
I was skeptical as to whether I would need Dropbox actions in Launch Center Pro, but this workflow shows some clear benefits of Contrast's app – keyboard prompts and a native share sheet combined with Dropbox text features make for a quick and elegant note-taking and sharing experience.
You can download the action here.
I listened to the latest episode of Mac Power Users, where David, Katie, and my friend Bradley discussed their photo management workflows, the limitations of iPhoto and iCloud, and shared some tips on how to get the most of modern third-party photo services and Apple's Photo Stream. It's a great episode and a solid complement to our photo management episode on The Prompt, always with Bradley (he's the photo management guru these days, having written a book on the topic). For both follow-up reasons and because it's the new year and hence a good moment to re-evaluate how technology is supposed to be working for us, I thought I'd give an update on my photo management workflow.
I’ve been keeping my photos in Dropbox for over a year now. I’ve remained loyal to a folder structure that organizes photos in years and months (Bradley would be proud of me) and I still use Hazel and CameraSync to upload my photos. While I’ve been happy with the uploading/organizing process of this photo backup workflow, the experience of browsing photos was never great. And I’d rather not talk about my brief, emotionally intense, and ultimately sad affair with Everpix.
Unbound by Pixite is a photo viewer for people who keep their photos in Dropbox. Unlike recent App Store trends, it comes as separate purchases for the iPhone and iPad priced at $2.99. The app is built for iOS 7, and it comes with viewing and sharing features that, right now, make it my best option to browse photos I’m storing on Dropbox. (more…)
Released today on the App Store, Dropbox 3.0 is a complete redesign that gets the app ready for iOS 7.
Two months after the release of iOS 7, the new Dropbox shows the work of designer Tim Van Damme, who left Instagram to join the Dropbox design team earlier this year. “Dropbox 3.0 is all about your content. We stripped out as much branding as we could, just so you can focus on what’s important”, Van Damme told me. Noting how several functionalities and interactions have been simplified in this update, he mentioned how, for instance, documents and photos are easier to enjoy in full-screen: “On your iPad, it used to take two taps to see a photo full-screen. Now, a single tap will let you enjoy your photo full-screen, and this also works for most other file-types”, Van Damme added. (more…)
From the Dropbox blog:
We thought about this from scratch and designed a solution we’re excited to share: connecting your personal Dropbox to your Dropbox for Business account. This’ll give you a personal Dropbox and a work Dropbox on all of your devices so you’ll never have to choose between them. It’ll be like having your house keys and your work keycard on the same keychain.
But this is about more than having two places for all your stuff. Take the mobile app — once you connect your Dropboxes, you’ll be able to get to both Dropbox folders from the same Files tab. Dropbox is also smart about making sure your stuff goes where it’s supposed to. For example, photos you add via Camera Upload will instantly show up in the Photos tab, but they’ll stay for your eyes only.
This is probably a smart choice considering that people tend to find a way to access their personal files on their work devices and vice versa, likely compromising the security standards required by IT departments in large businesses.
More interesting to me is the iOS 7 app update shown in the screenshots. I don't know if Dropbox will manage to add the kind of functionality found in Boxie into the official client, but a new iOS 7 design and features (background fetch?) are needed.
In Tweetbot 3, Tapbots removed the ability to post tweets longer than 140 characters using built-in services for text upload. While I understand that it wasn’t one of Tweetbot’s most used features, its removal got me thinking: would it be possible to replicate the feature using Dropbox and plain text files in an automated iOS workflow? I came up with a solution that requires Launch Center Pro and Drafts, and I’m quite happy with it.
In my Boxie review yesterday, I mentioned the role of the official Dropbox app on my devices:
Boxie is so feature-rich, I want more from it: there’s no iPad app at this point, and I would love for Tapwings to consider an automatic upload feature for photos that would allow me to completely eschew the official Dropbox app. Right now, the only reason I keep Dropbox on my devices is for the iPad client and automatic background uploads, but, for everything else, I’m doing just fine with Boxie and I enjoy the increased efficiency made possible by the app’s feature set.
I should clarify two points: the Dropbox app is also the easiest way to authenticate with your credentials for third-party Dropbox-enabled apps; and, in a sweet coincidence, CameraSync has been updated today with a new design and bug fixes for iOS 7, which means I have turned off Camera Uploads from the Dropbox app again. (more…)
Dropbox is my filesystem. Every file that I need to have available across devices and that doesn’t require the rich text and search capabilities of Evernote goes into my Dropbox account: screenshots that I share with coworkers; PDF copies of my receipts and invoices; articles written in Editorial are stored in Dropbox. Even my photo backup workflow relies on Dropbox as an archival system that’s always in the cloud, readily available and easily shareable. With the Packrat feature, a $39 yearly add-on, I get access to the full history of my deleted files and file revisions, which have saved me on several occasions in the past.
The official Dropbox app for iOS is good, but it’s not great for power users and it hasn’t been substantially enhanced for iOS 7 yet. That’s what Italian developers Matteo Lallone and Gianluca Divisi (together, Tapwings) want to fix with Boxie, a $1.99 third-party Dropbox client for iPhone packed with advanced features and navigation options. I’ve been testing Boxie for the past month, and I think that it’s off to a solid start. (more…)