What is Drafts 5?

Drafts 5 is an awesome text editor on iOS that can do much more than just allow you to enter text. It has a slew of automation features — called “actions” — that allow you to send text written in the app somewhere else.

This may not seem like much at first, but coupled with apps that can do natural language processing, it becomes a powerhouse that can allow you to do anything.

As the developers of the app say, it’s where your text begins — where it ends is entirely up to you. Using the builtin actions or creating actions of your own, you can send the text written in Drafts 5 into any other app or web-service that allows integration with Drafts 5.

Drafts 5 also supports markdown, a language that allows you to format your text using special characters on the keyboard. This means that you can format your text without having to move your hands away from the keyboard. This provides a massive speed up over the traditional method of going hunting for formatting options nested in menus.

What I want to accomplish

I recently downloaded Drafts 5, and bought a pro subscription. I have to say, I am very impressed with the app. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find as many ways as possible that would allow me to integrate the app into my my workflows on iOS.

I’ve successed in making it the main entry point for my todo list, my calendar and even my Evernote note taking workflow. The fact that it supports markdown natively makes it a perfect fit for my formatted Evernote notes.

However, Drafts 5 does not provide native support for WordPress. I cannot write a blog post in Drafts 5 and have it automatically post to WordPress using a custom action. Since most of my long-form, none technical, writing goes onto my WordPress blog, this was a bit of a bummer.

The Problem

Before Drafts 5 was released, Drafts 4, the predecessor of Drafts 5, ruled the roost. Drafts 4 could post directly to WordPress by taking advanced of Workflow — an automaton app for iOS that Apple recently purchased.

There were several different workflows and actions that allowed you to post from Drafts to Workflow and from there unto WordPress. Unfortunately, none of them work with Drafts 5.

Trying any of the old published workflows that worked with Drafts 4 always ended up with a prompt to install Drafts 4 on my phone. So I took it upon myself to find a way to post from Drafts 5 to WordPress. In short, my problem statement was: how can I create an automation that would allow me to post markdown blog posts directly from Drafts 5 to WordPress?

The Solution

Since Workflow, to the best of my knowledge, did not seem to hook into Drafts 5 using the same hooks as Drafts 4, I decided that I should probably look at a method that could send my Drafts 5 text to another application that hooks to Workflow.

Once my text was on that application, I could then fetch it using Workflow and post it to WordPress using Workflow’s native ability to do so.

The app that I chose as my intermediary between Workflow and Drafts 5 is Bear. I created a Drafts 5 action that would transfer my note to Bear and then call a Workflow to retrieve the post from Bear and post it to WordPress.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to prevent the note title, which I use as my blog post title, from reappearing in the blog post itself. It’s probably something very simple and a more experienced user of the app can do it in a second, but I just downloaded Drafts 5 a couple of days ago, and I’m still learning. So instead of publishing to the public, I send the post to the “drafts” section of WordPress, where I can log in and remove the extra text from the post before publishing it.


So here is what you need to do

  • Get Bear from the App Store
  • Get Drafts 5 from the App Store
  • Get Workflow from the App Store
  • Download and install the workflow and action linked to above
  • Write your post in Drafts 5, and then run the action you installed in the previous step
  • Log into WordPress (I personally use the iOS WordPress app for this), and remove the extra line at the beginning of the post
  • Finally, publish your post

I hope this post was informative and allowed you to begin thinking about the different ways you can use Drafts to automate what you do on iOS.

I’m still learning the ropes of the app, as I learn more, I’ll post what I’ve learned. If you have any comments or hints on how I can improve this workflow, please let me know in the comments section, I’m eager to learn. Until my next post, bye for now.

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