How Drafts 5 on iOS becomes the hub

Awhile back I could not get what Drafts app offers. I wanted to correct this but first mention some changes in use based on my writing desires.

  1. Drafts appears as a place where text starts in the App Store. This is primarily accomplished by actions. You can send a draft to various apps and services. The default ones in the app are pretty cool but it’s really extending the app with custom actions that make it so much more. I also worked on how drafts can become much more in what I want to do with writing.
  2. There are a number of ways to achieve making Drafts the hub. I focused on the use of actions for the mindmapping app called MindNode and the outliner app called Omni Outline. The desire is to create automation paths that allow information to flow between the apps. Over on the drafts website is a wonderful resource to download and install custom actions for a variety of apps. This creates the links to different apps and thus makes the drafts app a hub and not just the place where text starts. Plenty cool!
  3. When the drafts app becomes the hub, I can create a drafts document and then trigger an action and send it to MindNode. Once there MindNode allows a lot of changes to be made and produces a map of what once was a drafts markdown document. Powerful stuff. From MindNode I can then export to OmniOutline in OPML format and if I want create an outline of the document. Outlining is something I enjoyed for years! At this point I could trigger an automation script and send it back to drafts again as a markdown document.
  4. Another cool use is to take an existing drafts document and use an action to place its contents in Day One. I really enjoy writing in day one daily but sometimes find myself wanting to share an existing note. Sending to day one creates a new journal entry in my one journal.
  5. After any or all of the steps it’s easy to send the outline back to drafts and send it to IAwriter.
  6. What all of this does is start and end the process of creation with text. Instead of starting with a tool like MindNode I feel it’s easier to just write the ideas in text first. Combining MindNode and outlining gives completely different looks to the drafts text and also gives me the chance to use apps which extend the look and function while building a chain of events starting with clear text. One could argue I could just start and end in drafts but where is the fun and challenge in that? I also feel I do need some discipline writing. Drafts becomes the hub and central spoke of the wheel and it’s a lot of fun to take a simple markdown text file and make it into other presentations and subsequently add and change it while still preserving the ability to take it back with changes to drafts. All of it really is a method to me to learn and see as I go but Drafts is much more than just sending email and tweets.

The cool thing about all this is the fun figuring out how it can work and that an app like drafts is not just the starting point for text for sending tweets or text messages. It can become a hub for writing and seed apps that extend and enhance the view and also allow me to see how what I want to do is all so possible on my iPad and iPhone.

All of this needs the central location at least for me. The central place is the Drafts app. It easily accommodates long term document retention, blog posting, and using custom actions within the app to enable the markdown text to become something else. This would be cool by itself, but the real thing is making the information available again with additions from MindNode and Omni Outline back to drafts if I wish. This is the way the Drafts app can be a centralized repository of information and be used to seed other apps but have it all start and end with clear text. At one point I wanted a single app for it all. The ability to extend the Drafts app now lets me work on the next part tomorrow or so. Enabling the outline in IAwriter. Some things like the notes to create the MindNode maps never get that far. Blogposts don’t either.

What I really enjoy is the integration part of things and freely admitting I was so wrong about Drafts. It’s not a start for text though. It’s a repository for text. Give it a look with perhaps a challenge or goal or desire you have around centralizing and building more complex workflows from a starting point like markdown.

August 23, 2020