Drafts and Workflow - iOS Apps

I have been a big fan of Drafts for years, for me it's the simple clean interface, the fact you can just click the icon and start typing.  You know that the drafts are synced across devices, plus with the actions built in you can quickly capture your notes etc then process them later to your application/system of choice.












 I have created a few actions that have automated some simple tasks, like sending group text messages and actions that will create a file in Dropbox, which I have a script monitoring, and when it sees the file goes off does what I have commanded on the action and sends me the results.

Then there is a great application called Workflow has been released for iOS.  The best description I have heard for this app and the way I describe it its like Automator for iOS devices.  Since this application has been released it has replaced some of the tasks I carried out in Drafts, as now you can save the workflow to your home screen it is basically less key strokes , etc.

The best thing is these apps play very nicely together, being able to combine the two creates an immensely powerful set of tools.

I was reviewing old links the other day which I have had for a while, and I saw this link which showed a great action in drafts which will store your notes into a note within Evernote, and any items that are prefixed with a @ which create tasks in Omnifocus by placing them on a Reminders list (You need to link Omnifocus to pick up from Reminders).

The steps are:

  • Create the note in Evernote, title of the note will be dated, into a notebook of your choosing.
  • Run a small piece of java script, for all lines starting with a @, place onto a Reminders list (mine is called automate)
  • Load Omnifocus so you can organise the tasks.

I decided I could adapt this and it would become very handy, sometimes I open drafts and just bang away to do a memory dump, so I just start creating a list, also just thinking of a shopping list, a stock take anything really.  The only thing I wanted to improve slightly is I wanted a way just to start typing away then process the list after, this is where workflow would come in.  I know that I would be able to tap away and create my lists, then workflow could prefix each line with a @, then go back to drafts to run the code to process all the requests into Omnifocus then I can organise them later.  I also wanted to make this as seamless and efficient (not lazy) as possible.  

What I wanted and have developed is, I can tap away a list of any length, as end up having them all processed into Omnifocus.  To do this I have two drafts actions and one workflow.

The first draft will select all the text in the draft, copy it to the clipboard, then load workflow and run the workflow I created.  The workflow, goes through all the text in the clipboard, prefixes each line with a @ then copies all the text formatted now to the clipboard, loads drafts and runs the second action.

The final action will then loop through the list, copy them to my Automate reminders list which then Omnifocus will pick them up from here are place them into my Inbox.  It then returns to a blank draft ready for me to continue working. 

I will have all the steps listed below, first I would like to thanks http://twitter.com/sylumer for providing the following workflow which gave me a good pointer, as initially I was having problems with it prefixing all the lines, it was getting stuck on one, as I was looking at the same thing for so long I decided to ask the Workflow twitter stream for help.

First Draft

In this action I have two Steps

Replace Clipboard

Run Workflow
Name of Workflow
Tick Return to Drafts after
Input Template

Then I have my workflow which you can grab a copy of here

The final draft also has two actions

// Process Notes to OmniFocus
// Send each task to OmniFocus
// A task is a line with a '@' and a space at the beginning

var lines = draft.content.split('\n');

var s = '';
for(var ix in lines) {
ltmp = new String(lines[ix]);
if(ltmp.charAt(0)=='@') {
  s += ltmp.substr(2) + '\n'


List in Reminders
List : Automate
Note delimiter :

There you have it, so now I can be in a meeting, or whatever is it start merrily type away, then when I am done click on the First action and like magic all the lines will be their own entry into Omnifocus for me to process later.

I am always interested in your thoughts so if you have any comments or feedback then please feel free to add any comments, or you can mail me  here.

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