See How Many Facebook Fans You Have on Panic’s Status Board

Inspired by this Stack Overflow discussion, I have written some PHP that allows you to add a “Do It Yourself (HTML)” widget to Panic’s Status Board app for the iPad.

This works well for a 4×1 grid (which is the smallest size panel).

To get your Facebook business page’s ID, you need to go to click on “Edit Settings” and grab the number in the address bar (e.g, https://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=0123456789&sk=permissions)

Save this as something like fans.php. Unfortunately, you cannot run PHP scripts in a public Dropbox folder, so you will have to upload it to your own server. Then, in Status Board, tap on the < > icon and add the URL for this script (e.g., http://yourdomain.com/fans.php).

Send a Task from Drafts to Trello with the Help of Zapier

Although I’ve been getting geeky with text-based todo lists (like TaskPaper), the rest of my family does not share my passion. Fortunately, I finally found a collaborative task-based system that both my wife and I like: Trello. This is a visual tool which appears to be inspired by Kanban boards. Basically, you have boards which contain lists, and each list contains cards. And each card can be labelled or have checklists or attached docs or assigned members, and so on. It’s easy to drag cards around, and the dragging effect on iOS devices is kinda fun.

Granted, this web app is far from text-file-friendly, but there is a way to, say, jot something down in one of my favorite apps — Drafts — and get it into Trello. And that’s with the help of Zapier. Zapier is like IFTTT on steroids, or at least an IFTTT for business. It’s a freemium product, and for free you get 5 “zaps” (like IFTTT recipes) and 150 performed tasks. Because Trello has an API, Zapier can combine it with email.

I’ve created a shared zap that allows me to send an email to a secret address. The subject line of the email become the title of a card in the “Inbox” list of the “House” board in my Trello account. Because Drafts supports background email actions, it can send your draft to your secret Zapier address from drafts-mail@agiletortoise.com.

If you’re reading this on your iOS device, tap on this import action to add the Email Action. Then edit it to replace SECRETEMAILADDRESS with your secret Zapier address.

After you’ve set all this up, just create a draft, tap on the House Trello action, and your task should be immediately added to the board and list of your choice, where your family members can view it.

Schedule a Tweet for Later with Due and Drafts

There are many apps that let you schedule your tweets, but if you have Drafts and Due on your iPhone (plus Tweetbot or the native Twitter app), that’s all you need.

The following is adapted from Nathan Henrie who wrote a Drafts URL Action to send a time-delayed text message. Please read his post first if you want to understand the logic (but you don’t have to “get it” to have the action work).

In my “Tweet Later” URL Action, you enter the day and/or time in natural language on the first line of Drafts, and then enter your tweet on the second line (and thereafter). Hit the “Tweet Later” action, and you will be sent to the Due app, where you tap twice at the top of the screen to parse the time and then remove the language from the title. (If you were to enter “Buy eggs at 4pm” in Due, tap the top twice to automatically set the alert for 4pm and reduce the title to “Buy eggs.”) You will then be prompted to return to Drafts.

When the alarm goes off, tap on the checkbox and it will prompt you to open the URL. Tap on it, and Tweetbot will open with the text of your tweet.

Here is the URL Action:

and if you are on your iPhone you can tap here to import the action into your version of Drafts.

Make sure to substitute SCREENNAME with your Twitter handle.

Prefer the Native Twitter App?

Alternatively, you can use Drafts’ native Twitter actions:

If you are on your iPhone, tap here to import the URL Action.

Once again you will have to sub in your username. Please be aware that this action automatically posts your tweet in the background.

Bookmarklet to Save a Link and Title in Markdown Format and Copy to Clipboard

Inspired by Federico Viticci over at MacStories, I have created a bookmarklet that allows you to grab the title and URL of a web page in your mobile browser, have it formatted in Markdown as a link, and then copied to the clipboard so that you can paste it into the iOS text editor of your choice:

 
This bookmarklet relies on the Drafts URL scheme (which means you have to have it installed on your device). The page title is surrounded by URL-encoded brackets, and the link is surrounded by parentheses, as follows:

[MacStories](http://www.macstories.net]

 
This text string is then copied to the clipboard using the action parameter. (Visit Drafts for Developers to learn more.) “Copy to Clipboard” is a built-in action, so you don’t have to fiddle with Drafts to make this bookmarklet work.

Bonus!

If you would like to immediately jump to your iOS text editor of choice (provided it has an URL scheme of its own), you can add something like the following immediately before the final single quote in the bookmarklet:

&x-success=byword:

 
By adding the above to the bookmarklet, Drafts will automatically open Byword after it has copied the link to the clipboard. If you use a different app than Byword, just insert its link after the = sign.

How to Create a Bookmarklet

If you have never created a bookmarklet before, do the following:

  1. Copy the above script to your iOS clipboard.
  2. In mobile Safari, bookmark any page, and call it something like “Markdown Link.”
  3. Then go to bookmarks, tap on Edit, then tap on the bookmark.
  4. Tap on the URL of the page you actually bookmarked, then tap on the X to delete it.
  5. Paste the script into that field and hit Done.

Use a Recursive URL Action in Drafts for iOS to Create a Public Note in Dropbox and Tweet a Link to That Note

The x-callback-url spec allows apps to communicate with each other, and takes URL schemes to another level. My first exposure to URL schemes was via Launch Center Pro, which enables you to to, for example, enter prompts within the app and then send this text to Omnifocus to automatically create a new task with a note.

omnifocus:///add?name=[prompt]&note=[prompt]

 
The callback lets you take yet another action, like return to an app (more possibilities below). In a previous post, I outline how I composed the following to send the contents of the clipboard from LCP to Drafts to Dropbox and then return to LCP:

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[clipboard]&action=Save%20to%20Dropbox&x-success=launchpro%3A

 
To summarize: I entered this URL in the Action Composer in Launch Center Pro. When I tap on the action, it takes the contents of the clipboard and sends it to Drafts. It then performs the action Save to Dropbox and after that has been successfully completed, it returns me to Launch Center Pro.

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Hide Future Start Dates in TaskPaper

I was recently listening to the Generational podcast in which Gabe Weatherhead talks with Jeff Hunsberger about task management. Their preferred task management app is Omnifocus, and they were discussing how Omnifocus hides tasks before their start dates. (For example, if you have a project you don’t even need to start thinking about until 2 months from now, you enter the start date as such, and Omnifocus won’t show you those tasks until that date hits.)

I have been using TaskPaper, and started thinking about how this can be accomplished using the app’s query language. (I can’t find the iOS user manual online, but here’s the Mac app user guide. The section about searching TaskPaper starts on page 14.)

TaskPaper supports tags with values in parentheses. So if I have a tag @start I can include a date: @start(2013-05-01). (Here I am using the date format YEAR-MONTH-DAY: YYYY-MM-DD. This is useful for search because 2013-02-04 is < 2013-04-01.)

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Use Trunk Notes as an App Launcher

Launch Center Pro made a big splash because it allows you to launch many apps from a single place, instead of having to swipe through many home screens, or to find the group in which you placed a particular app. However, it’s main strength is its ability to let you take actions with apps, such as entering text to search in google or IMDB, or to send a task to Omnifocus.

I tend to use LCP more for the latter purpose, as it feels like to much hunting to dig down into a LCP group just to launch the app I’m looking for.

Fortunately, there are other ways to launch an app. To work in LCP, an app must provide an URL scheme, which is like a link for that particular app. For example, Google Chrome’s URL scheme is googlechrome:. If you type that into the address bar in mobile Safari, it will launch this alternate browser. Neat, huh? And that will work for any app that provides an URL scheme.

Of course, typing out an URL scheme into the browser’s address bar is cumbersome. And you could create a bookmark much like you would for creating a bookmarklet, by bookmarking any page and then editing the link and replacing it with the URL scheme. But there’s a more convenient way: a wiki page on your iPhone.
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Add a Task to TaskPaper with Drafts Using Dropbox Actions

TaskPaper has long been my todo-list iPhone app of choice, because it stores its data in a simple text file, not an XML file or some proprietary format. Oh, and the text file syncs with Dropbox, so I can edit my todo list in any iOS Dropbox-friendly text editor, or on my Mac. However, instant capture is not TaskPaper’s strong suit. It does not have an URL scheme that allows you, say, to enter some text in Launch Center Pro and have it added as a todo in TaskPaper. I have in the past come up with various hacks, from using Launch Center Pro to prepend a task to a text file in Nebulous Notes, which I sync with my TaskPaper Dropbox folder to using Drafts to send an email to IFTTT to add a task to my TaskPaper file in Dropbox.

Now that Drafts — a note “capture” app that lets you send your text to various iOS apps and web services — supports Dropbox Actions, I can finally send a task straight to my todo list from Drafts.

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Post to Pancake.io with Drafts for iPhone Using Dropbox Actions

Pancake.io is a service that lets you quickly create a web page by saving a text file (formatted in Markdown) in a Dropbox folder. Unlike other “Dropbox blog” services like Calepin and Scriptogr.am, you don’t need to go to a web page to hit a “publish” button after you’ve created your post. (That always seemed to negate the point — after all, if your blog posts are just text files sitting in a Dropbox folder on your computer, going on the web to hit a button seems like an annoyance.) With Pancake.io, literally the moment you save your file and it syncs with Dropbox, your post is live on the web.

Here is an example page that’s installed in the Dropbox/Apps/Pancake.io/ folder. The filename is example.txt and the entire post is written in Markdown. To create the title and the header of the post, you just need to include the following meta info at the very beginning of the text file:

---
title: Example
header: My First Page
---

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Send Your iPhone Clipboard Contents to Dropbox in Three Taps

Before the release of version 4.5 of Drafts for iPhone, I wrote about ways to move text between your iPhone and your desktop or laptop. Now that this awesome app supports URL Callbacks and Action Triggers, you can now use Launch Center Pro to send the contents of your iPhone clipboard to Dropbox even faster than before.

First, follow these instructions to allow URLs to trigger actions. (If you don’t toggle the URL Security button, this trigger won’t work.) And of course, link Drafts to Dropbox in the Drafts settings.

Next, go the Action Composer in Launch Center Pro, tap on Custom URL, and enter the following in the second field (you can name it “Clip to Dropbox” or whatever you like):

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[clipboard]&action=Save%20to%20Dropbox&x-success=launchpro%3A

After this is all set up, you can use the following steps to send the (text only) contents of your iPhone clipboard to Dropbox:

  1. Press the home button.
  2. Tap LCP icon.
  3. Tap “Clip to Dropbox” action.

LCP will send the contents of the clipboard to Drafts, which will send it to Dropbox, and then Drafts will send you back to LCP. Then visit the /Apps/Drafts directory in Dropbox to find your note, the title of which will be the date and time, such as 2013-01-10-11-51-14.txt.