For those unfamiliar with it, Drafts is one of the most powerful automation apps for iOS. It allows you to input text or URLs and do pretty much anything with it, using URL schemes and the x-callback-URL specification, which was created by the same person who made Drafts, Greg Pierce.
The premise of the app is lightning quick note-taking. It’s not a full blown text editor – heck, it doesn’t even do folders. All you get on launching the app is a distraction free interface into which you just type. You can send it to a variety of destinations – iMessage, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Evernote, Byword, and many, many other places – immediately or even save it for later. I like to think of it as the digital equivalent of a post-it notes. The app’s site asks you to “Try it in your dock for a week, you won’t regret it!”. I did. It still is in my dock.
However, creating URL schemes with Drafts isn’t really as easy as manipulating text with it. Or at least it wasn’t. Back in August last year, Alex Guyot, who then used to write the now retired ‘The Axx’ and it’s rather spectacular Action Page, and ‘Unapologetic’ now tweeted that he was almost done writing his 6,000 word Drafts tutorial. This was right around the time that I had gotten into Drafts, and despite about a half-year’s worth of time that I had spent using Launch Center Pro – another fantastic iOS automation app that also lives on my dock – before that, was feeling very helpless and was almost always unsuccessful while trying to create URL schemes that actually worked.
However, he went quiet about it soon. I thought that maybe the project had gotten sidetracked for some reason, and forgot about it after a while.
Drafts is a really powerful tool, and it’s amazing to now have a way to help beginners understand it and use it to its fullest potential, akin to what Viticci’s 24,000+ word monster piece from last year that crashed browsers all across the internet was for Editorial. It feels really nice to see the article being published right at MacStories, which seems to have become the unofficial de facto place for iOS automation and URL scheme coverage. I’ve now got my fingers crossed for a similar guide for Launch Center Pro too!
My congratulations to Alex on the big break, and hopefully we’ll see more of his work on MacStories now.
I highly recommend that you give the article a read and take Drafts out for a spin. It really has the potential to change the way you use your iPhone or iPad.
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