The latest update to Drafts – a “quick note capturing” app that I’ve covered several times on MacStories – adds a series of features aimed at increasing the possibilities of workflows automation on iOS devices. Obviously, this is something I’m interested in.
It seems like enabling users to save time while using apps has been a common thread in the past few months. The success of Launch Center Pro probably “raised awareness” in regards to the whole concept of URL schemes, but it’s been the increased adoption of x-callback-url and interest in automated workflows that proves better inter-app communication is something that (at least) third-party developers are thinking about. Google included a powerful URL scheme in Google Maps and Google Chrome; more recently, Mr. Reader showed how to enable a “services menu” by requiring users to mix URL schemes from other apps with parameters for an article’s title or selected text. These aren’t ideal solutions, but it’s all we have for now.
Greg Pierce, creator of the x-callback-url specification, has improved Drafts in ways that not only make the app more useful to get text onto other services, but also broaden the possibilities for automation through the use of URL schemes.
There are three main new features in the new Drafts: Dropbox actions, URL actions, and an improved URL scheme with support for callbacks and action triggers. I am going to explain how they work and include various actions and bookmarklets to demonstrate different use cases. (more…)