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
---

Now that Drafts — a versatile note-taking app that sends your text to a variety of iOS applications and web services — supports Dropbox Actions, you can literally write a post in Drafts, and take action within the app to publish it.

Before you do anything, of course, you need to create an account at Pancake.io and give it permission to access your Dropbox account.

How to Set up the Dropbox Action in Drafts

To set this up, go into the Settings and tap on Dropbox Actions:

Then, set up the action:

You can’t see the entire template in the above screenshot, but here it is. I’m simply parsing out the [[title]] from the [[body]] of the [[draft]]

---
title: [[title]]
header: [[title]]
---

[[body]]

 

This takes the first line of your draft and makes it the filename, the title and the header (read more about Pancake’s Page Configuration options.) Then the rest of the draft is the body of your post.

Import This Dropbox Action

If you’re reading this on your iPhone, just tap here to import this Dropbox Action into your version of Drafts.

How to Create a Post

Just put the title in the first line, your Markdown-formatted text in the rest of the draft, and tap on the pancake.io action. (You can use Draft’s Markdown Preview to preview your post before you publish it.) It will save your draft as a text file to Dropbox and immediately publish to your Pancake.io account.

If you want to share the URL of your new post, all you have to do is take the URL-encoded [[title]] and append it to your Pancake directory: for example, my first post would be http://pancake.io/8c342a/my%20first%20post — the key here is to substitute spaces with %20.

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