The Joy and Pain of Drafts 4

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The Joy

Drafts 4 is a huge update. Drafts 4 (which is now universal for the iPhone and iPad) sports a new look, allows you to group actions with much more control, improves the creation of new actions and includes the ability to create your own extended keyboard keys using JavaScript. The JavaScript capabilities alone are worth the upgrade price. You’ve got access to the JavaScript standard library (including regular expressions) which means you can manipulate text like a pro.

The Pain

The first problem with Drafts 4 isn’t its fault. I, like a lot of others I imagine, have built up quite the library of actions and URLs that incorporate Drafts over the last couple of years. Drafts 4 lets you import your actions from version 3 into version 4 quite easily, but once they are in there, you’ve gotta place each one in a group (if you want to be able to access them quickly) one by one. This could be solved with the ability to assign actions to groups in batches.

The second problem with Drafts 4 is that it has a new URL scheme. Where as your old Drafts actions could be called with drafts://, you now have to call drafts4://. This might seem like a minor problem, but when you’ve cultivated a deep catalog of actions that call on Drafts, like a lot of us have, this requires you to do a lot of editing. I spent quite a bit of time in Launch Center Pro editing my existing actions to switch over to drafts://. This new scheme allows you to run old and new versions of Drafts side-by-side, but for those that are just moving along to version 4, it’s a pain in the ass. It only has to be done once though, so it’s not that big of a problem.

Overall, I’m super happy with Drafts 4, and I can’t wait till the first time I have a need to write my own JavaScript script keys. Drafts will really allow you to do some serious programming.