Posting on Postach.io from iOS

After a lot of tests I finally find some convenient ways to publish on my blog from my iOS devices (iPhone/iPad).

This necessity made me encountering the iOS automation, which is a huge chapter, with a lot of apps, tricks and methodologies. Fortunately, I love the automations so I discover an entire new world of possibilities in my iOS daily usage.

But, we’re talking about Postach.io, Evernote and iOS.

Kind of posts

As you’ve probably noticed, there are two kind of posts on this blog (this is a pure personal split, for Postach.io are the same). - Plain post: generic posts I write just for fun and loving to share (like this) - Link post: posts which are based on article I share, which can contain a quote from the original article, and a personal comment by me.

What I need to post

This is the list of apps you need to install in order to replicate those steps:

  • Evernote - This app don’t need any introduction. I’ve wrote a lot of posts about Evernote
  • Launch Center Pro - This is one of the coolest app I’ve ever used. The slogan is “Launch actions, not just apps.
  • Drafts 4 - Seems a simple and quick text editor, but with actions you can perform a lot of cool things
  • Safari - Seriously, if you don’t know you’ve Safari already installed on you device, are you sure you using an Apple device??
  • An IFTTT account - For free, you can put the internet works for you by automating a lot of things. For example, I use it to saving in Evernote my favourite tweets and YouTube videos.

Plain post

As you can imagine, plain posts contain just text (ok, sometimes I embed images and videos), in markdown syntax (why Markdown? Because yes). A post is made by: - A Title - Some tags (Markdown, share and published are always present) - The content So, what is better than an editor like Drafts? Now, I’ll not explain how to create custom actions in Drafts because there is a plenty of tutorials about that on internet. Launch the app and play with some actions: you’ll love it.

First of all we need to define the structure of a post draft. I’ve adopt this method: - First line is title. In this way, also when you see the list of drafts in the app, you see the title of your post - Second line empty - Third line is tags. A comma separated list of tasks - Fourth line empty - From the fifth line the post starts. This is pretty simple but, manage the lines in this way, we can easily extract the parts of draft to use in the action for publishing. Now we can start building our action: - Make a new action called “Post to Postach.io”, choose color and fancy icon. - Add the first step: HTML Preview. This is cool because in this way, you can preview your markdown before publishing. I choose the Foghorn style with Markdown conversion turned on. - Add the second step: Evernote. Here we create the magic. Here my options:

Drafts

  • *Title: [[line 1]]* - This will pick the first line of the draft, and set as note title in Evernote
  • Notebook: Postach.io - This set the target notebook. If you use a different notebook for you Postach.io blog, adapt this value to match you configuration.
  • *Tags: [[line 3]],Markdown,share,published* - This pick the third line of the draft, and set as tags for the note. In addition, I add the three tags I use in every post
  • Write type: create - Because we want to create a new post
  • *Content: [[line 5..]]* - This pick the lines from the fifth to the end of our draft, and set as content for our post.

So, at this point, I can compose the post directly from Drafts, launch the Post to Postach.io action, review my Markdown and publish directly from my iOS device. Cool.

Link post

Making link posts are a little more tricky than this and, for doing this, you need to setup a trigger in IFTTT, bind Launch Center Pro to your IFTTT account, and write a bookmarklet (which is the worst readable things in the world).

The first thing you need it’s to enable the Launch Center Pro channel on IFTTT. Open Launch Center Pro and, from app settings, choose Launch Center Connect and bind it with IFTTT

Now we need an IFTTT recipe: - Go to IFTTT website, register (or login) and select “Create a Recipe” - Choose Launch Center as trigger channel - Select “Trigger” as action - Enter “Postach.io Link Post” as Trigger Name - Select Evernote as action channel - Choose “Create a Note” - Click “Create Action” (we will customize the behaviour later)

Now edit your recipes and configure the action as the image:

IFTTT

The placeholders “Value 1”, “Value 2”, … are parameters passed from Launch Center Pro. As you can see this will follow my structure of link posts (here my logic structure for a link post).

Ok, now the unreadable part. Open the Safari browser, add one random bookmark to your favorites bookmarks, then edit it.

Give it a cool name, I named mine “Quick Post to Postach.io”. Change the address and put this:

[gist url=”https://gist.github.com/mcappadonna/a0edf7c64b57ad683a60”]

This perform some things in sequence: - Open Launch Center Pro app - Launch a trigger to IFTTT named “Postach.io Link Post” - Generate the following values: - - Value1 - The title of the page - - Value2 - The URL of the page - - Value3 - The current selection in Safari - - Value4 - Launch Center Pro will prompt you for additional comments to post - - Value5 - Then it will prompt you for tags - Then the trigger will be sent to IFTTT, which create the note in your Evernote account, generating the note on your blog. - If the trigger runs without error, Launch Center Pro relaunch Safari, and switch you back to the original page.

So, now, making a link post is easier than ever on iOS. While browsing in Safari, if I see an interesting article, I can select directly in Safari the text I want to quote, then tap the address bar, select “Quick post to Postach.io” from my favorite bookmarks, and continue to browsing!

Conclusion

Now posting for my device became super quickly and handy. iOS Automation made me enthusiast again about the platform I use every day, and I constantly playing with more and more automation.

You can reply or suggest some additions via twitter.

Written on December 1, 2014 - #Automation #iOS