Tag Archives: Schemes

Schemes — URL Actions, Finally Simplified

Text and screenshot by Phillip Gruneich (One Tap Less).  

Let me share a secret with you: url encoding sucks. Some actions I post rely on verbose urls, undecipherable code you just ignore and seek for the button to install the action and call it a day. If you ever tried, you know it is hard and inevitably down to trial and error, but those days are over. Schemes is an interface to build url actions with drag and drop, just throw apps in the canvas and link them in any order to build workflows from the simplest to the most complex imaginable.

Upon iOS 8 announcement, I assumed the days of x-callback-url were over in favor of native extensions. Apart from remarkable integrations, such as 1Password, the new feature didn’t knock me off my boots. Then came Workflow and proved there was still room for automation on iOS and it nailed by being as powerful as it is simple.

Making url actions appeal to regular users has always been an itch for developers, The latest releases of [Launch Center Pro][4] and [Drafts][5], for example, brought many interfaces to what previously would only be achievable with cumbersome urls. Schemes is the interface to tie all these apps together and build url actions as easy as you draw a mind map.

Read the whole article here.


Workflow Review: Integrated Automation for iOS 8

Workflow Review: Integrated Automation for iOS 8 – MacStories

Text and workflows by Federico Viticci

In the years I’ve spent covering iOS automation, I’ve often asked for a mobile version of Automator. Workflow, released today, tries to bring the deep system integration of Apple’s OS X utility to the iPhone and iPad, taking advantage of extensions in iOS 8 to make its automation features ubiquitous and compatible with any app.

Readers of MacStories and iOS power users may be familiar with Drafts and Launch Center Pro, the apps that kickstarted iOS’ small revolution with shortcuts and automated chains of actions that let apps communicate in ways the system didn’t provide out of the box.

In late 2012, Ole Zorn showed how native iOS functionality could be scripted with Python – a concept that he expanded in 2013 with Editorial. Zorn’s text editor (which became even more powerful with version 1.1) went beyond the typical feature set of a Markdown app, offering a comprehensive set of visual actions that could be combined in workflows highly reminiscent of Apple’s Automator.

In spite of the community’s best efforts to bring iOS automation to a broader audience, however, all those apps were ultimately limited to text, URL schemes, or third-party services (like IFTTT) that automated data outside of traditional iOS features.

Workflow – first teased by Ari Weinstein and team in January 2014 – takes another approach: instead of relying heavily on a specific functionality (such as text editing) or third-party apps and services (like IFTTT and Dropbox), Workflow is primarily aimed at automating native iOS apps and features.

Workflow can automate Calendar events and Reminders, it can parse and extract data from webpages in Safari, and it has full support for Photos and sharing services. It even works with iCloud Drive and extensions. Workflow’s first version lacks some obvious features like backup and sync, but what it does today is an extremely powerful proposition – from both practical and conceptual standpoints.

Read the whole article and workflows on MacStories

8 Reasons to Love the New Workflow App

8 Reasons to Love the New Workflow App for iOS – Productivity and Workflows – Geeks With Juniors

Text and workflows by Eric Pramono

1. Workflow is Easy to Create

Workflow is designed to help you create automation workflows visually and easily. You don’t need to understand how URL Schemes and x-callback-url work to create your own workflow. Everything is drag and drop. And, it can support as many actions as you want to include in the workflow.

If you install the app for the first time, you will be greeted with a nice tutorial that will guide you through the features. As a bonus, you get to create a cool workflow that lets you create a GIF from three or more photos that you just took with your camera.

The app has two main tabs: My Workflows and Gallery. The first tab consists of all workflows that you have created. And, the second tab consists of all workflows that are available in the official Workflow Gallery. These are workflows created by the developers to showcase the app and some user submissions that the developers decided to feature.

To create a new workflow, tap the + button on the top right corner of the My Workflows tab. Then, you can switch to the Actions tab to select which action you’d like to add first. Workflow includes plenty of actions, grouped into several categories such as Calendar, Contacts, Documents, Maps, Music, and Photo & Video. Tapping the category will show all available actions within that category.

To learn more about an action, tap the action name. Workflow will show the action description underneath, complete with the kinds of input data that it can receive and the kinds of output data that it will produce. For example, in the sample workflow, a Make GIF action receives various input data (such as images), and produces a GIF file.

To select the action, drag it to the right hand side of the screen. The app will automatically navigate you to the Workflow tab and let you drop it on any part of the workflow sequence. Some actions may have parameters that you can set, such as how many photos you want to take or which phone number you want to select. Once you’re done, you can go back to the Actions tab and select the next action you want to include in your workflow.

To test your workflow, simply tap the Play button on the top of the screen. It will go through all the actions that you have put into the sequence. You can stop at anytime by tapping the Stop button. And, once you’re done testing, tap the Done button to return to the list of workflows you have created.

You can change the name and icon associated with each workflow by tapping on the Settings gear icon inside each workflow. Then, you can choose whether to have the workflow accessible from within the app, make a shortcut on your Home Screen, or even inside Launch Center Pro.

Read the whole article here.