Drafts for iOS 7

iOS 7 is now shipping, and Drafts is ready. Drafts and Drafts for iPad 3.5 are now available on the App Store, bringing with them a fresh user interface and some great new features. Both versions are free updates for people who have purchased the apps in the past.

A note about iOS 7

First thing to know is that Drafts now requires iOS 7. This is an agressive move, as not everyone will be running iOS 7 right away. As development progressed it becamse clear that moving quickly to iOS 7 was the best move to keep Drafts moving forward while maintaining quality.

That said, for the near future at least, Drafts on iOS 7 will remain compatible with prior versions running on iOS 6 for both synchonization of drafts and backup and restore of actions and settings. This means it will be possible to use an older version of Drafts alongside the new version on different devices.

iOS 7’s initial release is not without its issues as well, particularly around text editing. I have worked around these issues as best I could – but there may be a few janky issues for a few weeks while I sort out better work arounds, and Apple fixes issues in 7.0.x releases. So please be patient!

A note about TextExpander Touch

Drafts has always had support for Smile Software’s TextExpander Touch, a great utility that allows you to create text shortcuts that expand when typed. Changes in iOS 7 have required TextExpander to change the way they go about sharing data other apps that integrate with it. Be aware that for TextExpander to work on iOS 7, you will need to update to the latest version of TextExpander and re-share your snippets. TextExpander will request access to Reminders and store its snippet data there. You will also have to be sure you have allowed Drafts access to Reminder (iOS Settings > Privacy > Reminders) and have turned on the new “Expand while typing” setting in Drafts.

Once you have done these steps, TextExpander integration should work well in Drafts 3.5. For more information on iOS 7 and TextExpander, visit Smile Software’s blog.

New stuff

  • “Post to Google+” action. This uses the SDK provided by Google. It is not quite a seemless as Twitter/Facebook posting, but it is the only method currently supported. When you run this action you will leave Drafts (either to the Google+ app, or Safari if the app is not installed) and get a share screen, you will still have to confirm the post (and select circles, if desired), but you will return to Drafts when done.
  • Magic + Button. The new draft button still functions as it always did, but now you can tap and hold on the “+” button to get new draft options, including the ability to create a new draft with the contents of the clipboard, or using the current selected text.
  • “Import from Dropbox”. If you have the Dropbox app installed, when you tap and hold on the new draft button (see above), you will get an additional “Import from Dropbox” option which allows you select files from your Dropbox and create a new draft with their contents.
  • Most actions can now be run on an empty draft. This is useful for a number of circumstances, such as a case where you have actions that rely only on the [[clipboard]] tag, or if you simply want to use Drafts a launcher for other apps, quick emails, etc.
  • “Show status bar in editor” setting allows hiding of the status bar on iPhone.
  • Tags now work in Email Action recipient (to, cc, bcc) fields, so you can use values in the lines of your drafts to address messages for actions.
  • “Notebook” field in Evernote actions now supports tags, so you can dynamically route notes to different notebooks in Evernote based on values in the draft.
  • New action tag: [[selection]]. Inserts the last text selection used when editing the draft, or the full draft if there was no selection.
  • **[[line n]] tag now supports ranges using the “..” range syntax.** Such as [[line 2..4]] for lines 2, 3 and 4, [[line 2..]] for line 2 through the end of the draft, [[line ..3]] for lines 1, 2 and 3.
  • Option to show number of drafts in the inbox as an app badge.
  • Settings > Sync and Storage > “Archive Inbox Drafts” function moves all drafts currently in the inbox to the archive.

Misc. changes and improvements worth mentioning

  • “Copy” buttons in tag help views now dismiss tag help after placing tag in clipboard.
  • Allow tweets with >140 characters if they contain URLs that will be shortened by Twitter and result in a total of less than 140 characters.
  • Added Helvetica Neue-Light font, because, you know, iOS 7.
  • Added OpenDyslexic font.
  • Added tab key to extended keyboard.
  • “Markdown: Preview” action now works properly with URL callbacks. It always should have, but didn’t. Useful if you want to use Drafts as a Markdown preview tool from another app.
  • Improve Markdown preview with new CSS.
  • Setting to disable/enable TextExpander expansion as you type.
  • Improved accessibility in several areas of the app, partially due to VoiceOver fixed in iOS 7.

Get Drafts and Drafts for iPad at the App Store.