iOS URL Schemes
I love iOS URL Schemes and x-callback-url. Drafts 2.5 and Launch Center Pro 1.1 have made crazy things possible. Not knowing where I should put these growing interests of mine, I decided to put up a new Productivity and Workflows journal on our site. This journal contains posts related to hacks, small projects and other geeky stuffs that I worked on. As I write other useful URL Schemes, I will put them up there as a new blog post. Feel free to use and modify them as you see fit.
As of today, I have written many custom Drafts and Launch Center Pro actions that I use on a daily basis. These are some of the more generally useful ones that I have shared in the journal:
- Workflow in Drafts: Installing your new custom URL Action code with a single action. This workflow allows me to speed up my code-install-test cycle each time I'm brewing a new custom URL Action in Drafts.
- Workflow in Drafts: How to encode URL using Launch Center Pro's Clipboard action. This workflow allows me to write code easily on my iPhone, as it frees me from figuring out how to encode the URLs manually, and from depending on online URL encoding services.
- Workflow in Drafts 3.0: Recreating the missing Send to Pastebot action. If you're a heavy Pastebot user, you might miss the Send to Pastebot action that is excluded from the built-in Drafts 3.0 action set. This workflow offers you a straightforward replacement for the action.
- Workflow: Logging gas fill up events to Dropbox using Launch Center Pro and Drafts. This workflow allows me to log my gas fill up events from Launch Center Pro in just a few seconds.
- Workflow: Adding an event in Fantastical and a task item in Clear with a single post in Drafts. This workflow allows me to create a single three-line post in Drafts containing the event description to be parsed in Fantastical, the name of the task list in Clear, and the task name that I want to add.
- Workflow in Drafts: Creating multiple events in Fantastical using a single post and a recursive action in Drafts. This workflow allows me to jot down any number of upcoming events in a single Drafts post and have them converted into events in Fantastical. You can learn how Drafts action can recursively invoke itself, and process one line at a time.
- Workflow: Sharing an article from Google Chrome via email to a pre-defined group of contacts using Missives and Drafts. This workflow allows me to share an article that I'm reading on Chrome to my circle of friends via an email function in Missives, and return to Chrome. I also shared an alternate workflow where I squeeze in an action to save the article to Instapaper before returning to Chrome.
- Workflow: Post a Link from Chrome to Tumblr using Draft's clipboard tag. This workflows utilises the new URL schemes in Tumblr. By putting a quote that you want to pull from the article into the clipboard, a simple bookmarklet in Chrome can extract the article's title and URL, forward it to Drafts, and eventually to Tumblr as a ready-to-post link.
I will add new workflows to the list as I create more of which use case might also benefit others. If you want to keep updated with the latest workflows I'm working on, I'd suggest you to subscribe to my Productivity and Workflows RSS feed.
I have also created a few tutorials that might be helpful for anyone who is trying to design their own custom URL actions. Three major topics that I covered are:
- Tutorial: Designing an x-callback-url action with x-cancel parameter. In this tutorial, you will learn to revisit your existing actions and redefine its cancel routes. I cover both Return on Cancel and Continue on Cancel routes.
- Tutorial in Drafts: Designing a chain of actions in Drafts involving other apps that support x-callback-url. In this tutorial, you will learn to design your own long chain of actions which involves three or more actions. I outline six guidelines that you can use to systematically create your action.
- Tutorial: Understanding when Drafts and Launch Center Pro resolve their supported tags. In this tutorial, you will learn how to control the timing of tags resolutions, allowing you to have the actions execute the way you designed them to.
More URL Schemes
Granted, there are plenty of other great URL schemes that go beyond my personal use cases and combinations of apps. I strongly suggest you to create your own custom actions that would fit into your workflow. To keep you inspired and to find other great URL schemes, visit and bookmark the following websites:
- Official Drafts Action Directory
- List of Apps with x-callback-url interfaces
- List of Supported Apps and Actions in Launch Center Pro
- A collection of awesome URL Schemes articles written by the great Federico Viticci
- A collection of custom actions written by Alex Guyot
- Jeffrey Kishner's I Miss My Mac blog