Posted on Thu 01 August 2013

On its surface, Drafts appears to be yet another note taking app for iOS. Once you dig into it, you begin to realize the power that it yields. After your start it (which is relatively quick even on my aging iPhone 4) you are greeted with a new note or ...

On its surface, Drafts appears to be yet another note taking app for iOS. Once you dig into it, you begin to realize the power that it yields. After your start it (which is relatively quick even on my aging iPhone 4) you are greeted with a new note or your previous note.

http://dl.ryancollins.org/blog/draftsnew-m.jpg

Once you've finished typing your note is when the magic begins.

Drafts has a bunch of built in actions, which allow you to process your note in various ways. The simplest actions do things like save your note to Evernote, or use your note as an email. You can also Tweet your note. I've found the Dropbox actions to be very powerful. You can apply templates to your note. For example, my blog posts while I'm working on them have a distinct format:

Title: This is the title of the post
Date: 2013-08-01 08:00:00
Author: mr.rcollins
Category: Software
Tags: some,great,tags

This is the body of the blog post

To create a new post in Drafts, I start a new note:

This is the title of the post
Category: Software
Tags: some,great,tags

This is the body of the blog post

When I am finished with the note, I use a Drafts Action to save to my drafts folder in Dropbox. The action names the file by the first line in the note, appending a .markdown extension. It then creates the rest of the formatting through the following template before saving it to Dropbox:

Title: [[title]]
Date: [[date|%F %T]]
Author: mr.rcollins
[[body]]

http://dl.ryancollins.org/blog/draftssavedraft-m.jpg

And now I have the blog post formatted correctly. I do have two complaints with the program. The first is that it uses it's own sync service instead of Dropbox or iCloud. The second is more of a pet peeve, the app isn't universal, so I ended up paying for the iPad and iPhone version.

It's now such an integral part of how I work that I put it in my dock, alone, not in a folder of apps. I use it to send tweets, create emails, start blog posts, and append to notes in Dropbox. The price ($2.99 for iPhone, $3.99 for iPad) was worth it to me.


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