Agile Tortoise

Drafts 4.0.6

Drafts 4.0.6 is now available on the App Store.

Changes

  • All the great new stuff from Drafts v4.0.5.
  • New: Today widget. Now back with the addition of recent drafts summary. Thanks to the help of some fine folks inside Apple for sorting this out.
  • New: “New from selection” option in document creation options (tap and hold “+”).
  • Fix: Hack to fix display issue in drafts list after showing a draft detail.
  • New: URL action steps now have “URL encode tag output” option. This allows for the creation of URL output directly from a line in a draft, for example.
  • Change: More improvements to background refresh and sync handling.

Feedback and issues to info@agiletortoise.com. To keep up with tips and news, follow @draftsapp on Twitter/Facebook. We always appreciate you taking the time to review or rate Drafts on the App Store!

Get Drafts on the App Store.

Drafts 4.0.5

Drafts 4.0.5 is now available on the App Store. A minor version number, but some pretty cool new things come along with the bug fixes.

Don’t forget to visit the help center for an ever growing list of articles and documentation.

Today Widget (Gone, but not forgotten)

UPDATE: The Today widget is back in Drafts 4.0.6 and above!

As some of you may have heard from various outlets, this update was rejected by Apple over concerns about the way Drafts’ Today widget provided links which opened the app. I have hopes that Apple will reconsider its position on the functionality of the Drafts widget, and I will be resubmitting an updated version of the Today widget soon in hopes of getting it back in the app, but in order to be able to ship this update, I have removed the Today widget.

Sync Improvements

There are a significant number of improvements to sync in this version. Issues with iCloud on 8.1 sidetracked work on sync, and some of the workarounds shipped actually made things worse. iCloud seems to have stabilized for most users (but not all) on iOS 8.1.2.

In this update, sync is quicker, more robust and better handles merge conflicts and temporary connectivity issues in this version. Version histories are also more frequent. Background refresh is more efficient.

I expect some edge cases remain and please get in touch with details when you see issues. I am actively working on hammering out any bugs so that sync is rock solid moving forward.

iCloud Drive Action Steps

This update adds support for iCloud Drive with a new iCloud Drive action step. Create, replace, append and prepend to iCloud Drive files, with similar configuration options as the existing Dropbox action steps. iCloud Drive action steps have the additional benefit of being able to work offline and automatically sync in the background without having to launch Drafts. You can read the full documentation on iCloud Drive actions steps, or get started by installing these sample actions:

Print Action Step & HTML Preview Printing

Printing has returned to Drafts in two forms. First, the HTML Preview action step now has a print button at the bottom of the preview window. This allows for easy quick print of Markdown or other previews.

Second, a fully configurable Print action step is now available. This step will print as plain text, Markdown or fully customizable HTML to AirPrint printers. Read the docs for more details, or start with one of these ready to install examples:

Google Doc Conversion

Google Drive actions steps can now save as Google Docs. In addition to the existing options to create, append and prepend to plain text files on Google Drive, steps which create files can be configured to convert the uploaded file to the Google Doc format for editing and sharing in the Google Docs web interface. The output of the action step can also run through Markdown conversion or generate custom HTML for conversion to create rich text formatting the resulting Google Doc.

For details read the Google Drive action step documentation, or start with these sample actions:

Evernote Action Step Improvements

The initial release of Drafts 4 added a lot of flexibility to Evernote action steps for advanced users by allowing the generation of raw ENML (the X-HTML like markup Evernote uses to format notes). This is a great feature, but in the process it became much more complicated to create simple actions, especially for Markdown conversion to Evernote. This update fixes that by simplifying the options. There is now a “Markdown” template output format option configuring Evernote steps. Selecting this option tells Drafts to run the output of the template through the Markdown conversion for you, without requiring the cumbersome %% %% markup in the template.

Details in the Evernote action step documentation, or install sample Markdown to Evernote actions from the directory:

Additional Changes

  • New: Duplicate action option (next to edit button when swiping right on an action). Makes it easy to make a copy of an existing action to make a few changes or test new ideas.
  • New: Added “Hide extended keyboard” setting to disable the keyboard row for the space conscious.
  • New: Add “Print” button to HTML Preview, this allows quick printing of previews. A more powerful and customizable Print action step is planned soon.
  • New: Added some additional action icon choices. More coming.
  • Fix: Trim whitespace in Evernote step notebook, note and tag strings to prevent bad names starting with spaces.
  • Fix: Improvements to handling of text scrolling/insets with external keyboards.
  • Fix: Select contact button could get hidden if long values were entered in recipient fields when editing action steps.
  • Fix: [[selection]] tag should default to full content when called in /runAction URL.
  • Fix: Better handle presentation of some action steps requiring user inteface (such as Open in) when those actions were called via URL scheme on the iPad.
  • Fix: Template processor could misinterpret % sign and break markdown processing wrapped in %% %%.
  • Fix: In Dropbox action steps, do not add “.” at the end of the filename if no file extension is defined.
  • Change: Added warning if Twitter step generates a tweet longer than the 140 character limit.
  • Fix: Arrow keys on extended keyboard should force scrolling when cursor leaves visible area.

Feedback and issues to info@agiletortoise.com. To keep up with tips and news, follow @draftsapp on Twitter/Facebook. We always appreciate you taking the time to review or rate Drafts on the App Store!

Get Drafts on the App Store.

App Santa Holiday Sale

Agile Tortoise is excited to participate in this year’s App Santa holiday sale. Visit the App Santa site for great deals, up to 60% off, on dozens of award winning iOS and Mac apps from leading independent developers.

All these apps, our own included, will be on sale from December 16th through the 29th. So fill in the gaps if you haven’t picked up any of our apps or gift them to friends and family!

Thanks for your support and happy holidays!

iOS 8.1.1 Available

Apple has released iOS 8.1.1. This update fixed a number of issues, but most notably the iCloud hanging issue which has been affecting sync for many Drafts 4 users running iOS 8.1.

I have been testing Drafts 4 extensively on the iOS 8.1.1 beta release and can confirm that the issue is resolved in this iOS update. If you have been seeing random hangs (both in Drafts and other apps), sync failing to update other devices quickly, or seen a “iCloud not Available” message in Drafts’ Settings > iCloud screen, you want this update.

I highly recommend you backup your device and upgrade as soon as possible to better reliability with all apps (including Apple’s own) which use iCloud.

Apple’s iOS update instructions →

I very much appreciate the frustration this issue has been causing for many Drafts customers and I thank you for your patience.

Also, be on the lookout for Drafts 4.0.5, which should make it through Apple’s review process in the next few days. The update fixes a number of remaining issues, as well as add new iCloud Drive actions, the ability to save to Google Drive in Google Doc format, a quick way to duplicate actions and lots of other improvements!

Drafts 4.0.4

Drafts 4.0.4 is now available on the App Store.

About iCloud and Sync

If you have been experiencing trouble with sync in Drafts 4, it is likely due to an iCloud issue in iOS 8.1 which is effecting a significant number of iCloud accounts. I have written about this issue on my personal blog. If you are affected by this issue, you are likely also seeing random hangs in other apps that use iCloud. For the most part, Drafts 4.0.3 works around this issue hanging the app (not completely, but in most cases), but when it occurs sync cannot happen and is temporarily disabled. If you are not seeing data sync and go to Settings > iCloud in Drafts 4, you may be told iCloud is not available even though you are signed into iCloud on the device.

Apple is aware of this issue, and is working on a fix which will hopefully ship in an iOS 8.1.1 release soon. Until then, this 4.0.4 release improves the workaround somewhat and is more agressive about trying to re-establish an iCloud connection, but still cannot avoid it completely for those seeing the problem.

Other updates and fixes

  • Fix: Force trailing slash (/) on Dropbox path to prevent erroneous creation of new files on some append/prepend actions. If you were seeing Dropbox action steps create new files when you expected them to append/prepend, this will prevent it.
  • Fix: Background email body could get clipped and sent empty.
  • Fix: Fix for cases where a draft change was not marked for sync. This was the cause of issues where deletion/archiving of a draft might not sync to other devices.
  • Fix: Certain action steps could cause a hang when they were not the first step in a multi-step action. If you created multi-step actions, particularly with Dropbox steps which were not the first step in the action, you may have seen this issue.
  • Change: Some improvements and additions to built in Markdown style sheets, including blockquote styles for the Swiss style.
  • Fix: Open button VoiceOver label in Today widget.
  • Fix: Settings > Export Actions not properly generating export file for all actions.
  • Fix: URLs which fired an action could fire callbacks before the completion of the action. If you were trying to fire actions like a foreground email from other apps and Drafts was not waiting on completion – here’s the fix.
  • Change: /create URL should enter editing and not create a blank draft if no text is passed. This fix mostly makes the “+” button in the Today widget more useful.
  • Fix: Misc. small crashers.

Feedback and issues to info@agiletortoise.com. To keep up with tips and news, follow @draftsapp on Twitter/Facebook. We always appreciate you taking the time to review or rate Drafts on the App Store!

Get Drafts on the App Store.

Drafts 4.0.3

Drafts 4.0.3 is now available on the App Store. Thanks very much for your patience with launch issues. Most major (and minor) issues discovered in the initial 4.0.1 release, including a workaround for an iOS issue in 8.1, have been included in this build. The issues that have not been addressed, will be soon.

  • Migration Fix: If you received an “Import Failed” error migrating drafts from Drafts 3, please try again with this update. Issue is resolved for all sample data sets I’ve been able to test.
  • Fix: Workaround for hang on launch on iOS 8.1 related to iCloud system hang. More details about the crash. Understand that this is a workaround, not a fix. Drafts should no longer hang and/or crash when it encounters this bug. iCloud may still randomly be reported as unavailable, however, and cause sync to pause. This will not cause data loss, and sync can resume when the system again reports iCloud as available.
  • Fix: Significant sync improvements across the board.
  • New: Sync debug logging and ability to email logs to support. If you continue to see sync issues, please contact us. We have now built in a logging facility to better troubleshoot specific sync cases and will walk you through how to enable and use it.
  • New: Redesign of Today widget. Now takes up less space and adds “Open” button to return to app without forcing creation of a new draft.
  • Change: Request full Dropbox privileges. Requesting “File type” only privileges seemed like a good idea but caused problems for users using non-standard file extensions, and caused issues locating files for append/prepend acitons in some cases – resulting in the erroneous creation of new files.
  • Change: Relocate “All” button in action list to far right.
  • Fix: Draft sort order did not persist across app restarts properly.
  • Change: Improve performance of recursive callback URLs within the app.
  • Fix: Deleting an action did not trigger a save of actions as it should, causing deleted actions to reappear if no other action changes were made and effecting action sync.
  • Fix: Displaying and hiding notification center while in Drafts would trigger “new draft” creation.
  • Fix: “After Success” defaults did not get applied properly in some circumstances.
  • Fix: Google Drive action step specifying a parent folder did not identify parent properly in some cases.
  • Fix: “Pinned” label in Drafts Export should be “Flagged”.
  • Fix: “1 min” setting not sticky for “Create new drafts after” setting.
  • Fix: Crash reordering keys and properly refresh edit view if new key is imported.
  • Fix: Crash with invalid action import data.
  • Fix: Handle background email with empty body without generating error. If you saw errors with background emails in the prior release, these were likely due to this problem and the app now behaves as Drafts 3 did for empty bodies in emails.
  • Fix: Refresh current draft content in editor properly if it “commit(draft);” is called in a script step.
  • Change: Update Evernote SDK to roll in a few of their bug fixes.
  • Fix: Added a few missing VoiceOver labels.
  • Fix: Much more reliable tapping for delete/edit buttons in draft and actions lists.
  • Fix: Timing issue determining network availability when running action via URL if the app was not already running. If you were launching Drafts actions from Launch Center Pro or other automation app and saw a “Network not available” message, this fixes that issue.
  • Fix: allowEmpty=NO parameter on URL was showing warning, but not stopping execution.
  • Fix: Do not add text params to x-success callbacks for /append, /prepend.
  • Fix: Restore button in version detail not working properly on iPad.
  • Fix: [[time]] tag with format option did not expand properly.
  • Fix: Force reset of theme exiting link mode to prevent links from dissappearing in dark mode.
  • Change: Tone down saturation of tint color in dark theme.
  • New: Improved support for right-to-left languages in editor.
  • Change: Some startup speed improvements.
  • Fix: Lots of other little fixes and improvements.

Get Drafts on the App Store.

Drafts 4 Launch Notes #2

I wanted to give an update on the status of Drafts 4 one week after launch. The feedback to the new version has been overwhelming. It is especially fun to see all the cool new user-generated actions and keyboard extensions appearing in the Action Directory.

On the down side, a number of issues have come to light that were missed during the beta cycle. The majority of those issues have been addressed in beta builds of Drafts 4. Most were addressed in a 4.0.2 build that was submitted last week and was waiting on review at Apple.

A significant new issue arrived with the release of iOS 8.1, however. For those interested in the technical details, you can read the bug report, long story short, if you are running Drafts (or other apps that use iCloud) on iOS 8.1, the app may randomly seem to hang and crash – often on launch. This may be tied to specific accounts, as not everyone has seen the issue, but it is widespread. The bug is not specific to Drafts 4, but certainly affects it.

I have been working hard this week to address this issue and believe I have been able to workaround it until Apple can address the system-level issue. I have pulled the 4.0.2 release that was in review and resubmitted a new 4.0.3 release that includes this workaround. I have requested Apple expedite the review of this update, but do not know if and when it will be processed, so please be patient.

I have posted a full changelog of the fixes coming in 4.0.3 for those interested. If you are having a specific issue you don’t see addressed here, be sure you open a ticket with as much detail as possible.

Thanks again for your support and patience with the roughs spots. I am commited to making sure Drafts is one of the most stable and reliable apps on the platform, and I think you will find the rough patches will be smoothed quickly.

Draft 4 Launch Notes

There have been a few issues discovered in the initial public version of Drafts 4. I appreciate your patience with the glitches and wanted to communicate about a few of the issues effecting the largest number of people.

“Import Failed” Error Migrating Drafts

Although migration was tested with dozens of accounts and thousands of drafts, there was a reasonably common scenario with missing data in existing Drafts 3 installations that was not caught during the beta cycle and causes the import to fail with, well, an “Import Failed” error message.

Thanks to those who send sample export files. The issue has been identified and resolved for Drafts 4.0.2, which has been submitted to Apple for review and should appear in the store soon.

Be aware that the migration process will only import new drafts, and it is safe to use Drafts 4 creating new drafts and complete the migration process from Drafts 3 after this bug fix release is out.

Post to Facebook

UPDATE: Facebook has approved and posting to Facebook will work now. There is one remaining small issue. I tried really had to avoid asking anyone for Facebook permissions if they were not actively using the Facebook action. A little too hard, because Facebook errors if you try to ask for basic permissions at the same time as publishing permissions. I changed the handling of this for v4.0.2, but until that is out, edit the “Post to Facebook” action, and tap down to the “Facebook” step once. This will force the request for basic permissions. After accepting that, posting will work.

The implementation of Facebook actions in Drafts 4 does actually work – but Facebook is not currently issuing posting permissions for the app because the Drafts app has not yet been approved for posting by Facebook’s internal review team.

Facebook does not currently provide a good way to ask for this approval before the app was available in the App Store. I submitted the request for review as soon as Drafts was available, but Facebook has not approved it yet (they state it can take up to seven days). The Post to Facebook action should start working as soon as this approval comes through. I have not been able to determine a way to request the review be expedited at Facebook – if any one has any ideas, please get in touch.

Twitter action

If you give Drafts permission to post to Twitter, and have only one Twitter account configured in iOS Settings, the default Twitter action will work without additional configuration. If you have more than one Twitter account configured, Drafts can’t guess which to use. This means you will have to edit the Twitter action (swipe right in the action list, tap edit, and go into the steps > Twitter) and select which account to use. You can create additional actions with Twitter steps, as well, if you wish to be able to post to multiple accounts (Heck, you can put multiple Twitter steps in one action now for cross-posting, too!)

If you are receiving posting errors after doing this, check that your Twitter credentials at the iOS level are valid by tweeting from a system share sheet, or by logging out and back into Twitter in iOS Settings. These tokens sometimes get expired, or are not valid after a restore to a new device (like a fancy new iPhone 6) and need to be refreshed.

Action Sync & Deletion

There is a bug effecting the triggering the saving of actions after an action is deleted. If no other changes are made to actions to actions other than deletions, they are not saved properly…and also not sync’d properly.

This is also fixed for Drafts 4.0.2, but in the meantime, if you delete actions, make a trivial edit (change the name, etc.) to another draft will force the save to occur.

Misc.

As stated 4.0.2 has been submitted to Apple and resolves the mentioned issues and about a dozen other smaller ones. We are catching up on support tickets, and apologize for letting these issues slip through. I very much look forward to a world where more than 100 devices can be in the iOS beta cycle. :–)

Drafts 4, the Next Generation of Drafts

Drafts 4 is now available on the App Store. Drafts 4 is an all new Universal (iPhone and iPad) app, at a limited time launch price of only $4.99 (USD). Drafts 4 requires iOS 8.

What is Drafts?

Drafts is a quick capture note taking app for iPhone and iPad. Drafts launches ready to type, making it quick and easy to capture thoughts, status updates or anything else on the go. After capture, Drafts provides a powerful array of highly customizable “actions” to send text to email, messages, events, Dropbox, Evernote, social media, other apps – making it an indispensible tool for anyone trying to be productive on iOS.

Originally launched in April, 2012, Drafts has been one of the most consistently developed and popular apps in the App Store productivity category and has garnered top awards, including Macworld’s coveted Eddy Award in 2013 and selection for the Lifehacker pack of essential iPhone and iPad apps.

More about Drafts on the product page

What is Drafts 4?

Drafts 4 is an all new, Universal (iPhone & iPad) version of Drafts, rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of all the latest Apple devices and iOS 8.

Much more than just a visual refresh, Drafts 4 takes Drafts to the next level with more powerful, multi-step actions, locations services integration, JavaScript support, Share and Today extensions, and lots more.

Drafts 4 scales from simple, fast text capture and sharing – up to a powerful toolkit for automation and text manipulation, making it an essential part of any iOS productivity toolkit.

Upgrading

Drafts 4 is an all new app and can co-exist with installations of previous versions of Drafts. Installing Drafts 4 will not replace your existing installation. It has a new sync system (based on iCloud’s CloudKit technology) and significant changes to the amount and type of data stored by Drafts 4 prevent it from sharing data with previous versions directly. There is a simple one-time migration path if you wish to move drafts and/or actions from the old version to the new version. This migration can be done at any time – there is no need to do it before you start using the new version.

Read the migration documentation or watch the migration screencast for details.

Action Directory

Along with Drafts 4, we are also launching an all new Drafts Action Directory. Drafts customers can share their own advanced actions and keyboard extensions created in Drafts to the directory, building an incredible repository of iOS workflow integration knowledge. The directory also has a commenting system and app directory for discussion about app integration.

Thanks!

Thank you for your continued support of Drafts! Please contact us with issues, feedback and questions via our help center. We appreciate your patience in-advance as we work through any issues that may come up with the initial release. It is difficult to fully test an app as open-ended as Drafts, but we are commited to improving it.