February 21, 2018

Things 3.4 Introduces Automation

A robust URL scheme, app integrations, and more stuff I can’t seem to find a use for

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Workflow and iOS automation in general. As an iOS power user”, there’s an expectation that I should use Workflow to speed up various aspects of my daily routine.

Yet try as I might, I cannot find many opportunities where Workflow actually improves my productivity, speeds up my workflows, or helps me accomplish things any faster than I can without it. This is a failing on my part, admittedly, because it seems everyone else gets it.

And that isn’t to say I don’t enjoy trying.

I’ve been spending the past few weeks teaching myself Workflow, largely by de-constructing the Workflows of others and trying to build variations. It’s fun, but beyond the geeky satisfaction of it I’m left with little more than a collection of Workflows that replicate things I prefer to do without Workflow.

Still, I’ve identified a few things I want to be able to do that Workflow could meaningfully improve my approach to…I just don’t have the skills to build them yet. But as I keep learning, I hope to be able to create and share those.

Anyway, Things has automation now!

Once its new URL scheme appeared in beta, I took it as the catalyst I needed to finally tackle learning Workflow, hence the small rant above. The documentation and accessibility of Things’ URL scheme is second to none, and went a long way toward making it feel like something I could learn on my own.

The part I’m most excited about though is the inter-app communication potential, as evidenced by the seamless transfer of information between MindNode 5 (an app I’ll be writing more about as I’ve been using it extensively) and Things.

This alone is worth its weight in gold to me. I’ve gotten into the habit of outlining articles in MindNode, and being able to hand them off to Things in such an effortless way is terrific. I’m not granular enough about most articles to need this, but for long-form pieces with a lot of sections I appreciate having things broken out in Things.

If you want to dig deeper into what doors this can open for you, I highly recommend you take the time to read through Matthew Cassinelli’s magnificent guide on The Sweet Setup, as well as Federico Viticci’s overview on MacStories.

productivity link

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