Life without Workflow

From originally not knowing how I would ever use it, Workflow has become such a big part of how I do things that I'd be pretty lost without it. So, just like a lot of others I had a moment of panic when the app was bought by Apple.

Acquisitions of that type tend to be for specific functionality or for the team with the app itself often falling by the wayside or being removed altogether.

Luckily, that doesn't seem to be the case so far but doesn't rule it out in future. I, therefore, started thinking about what I do and how I could do it differently.

First step: looking through my 'flows' to see what I use Workflow for

  • microblog posts to WordPress
  • longer status type posts to WordPress
  • Likes and Replies
  • Posting microcast episodes (including a flow to check the latest episode uploaded to iCloud Drive)
  • rename, convert and resize photos
  • joining images

Second step: how could I do things without Workflow?

Images can be processed by other means so that's not an issue. I have a few image apps I use on a regular basis (Enlight, Phoenix, Photo Joiner) so that is covered.

I use Ulysses for posting long form pieces with titles, and posts with images regardless of length so could use it for any normal post - it just feels a bit heavy for microposts.

I've never really liked the WordPress app for iOS (or Android for that matter) as it always seemed unreliable and messy. Still, I've not used it for ages so quickly installed it. It has definitely improved but still feels a bit clunky - maybe it's just something you have to get used to.

I could post using Drafts using an action to go via the WordPress app (without actually having to use it) but would then need to switch to wp-admin in some cases.

The app supports the core functionality, including post formats, so 'status' can be chosen for microblog and title-less posts. It doesn't, however, appear to support custom fields which is a problem for me.

Both 'Likes and Replies' and microcast posts rely on being able to add data to custom fields. Being unable to do this kills automation for me and forces me to post via the WordPress backend - which I hate doing.

Ulysses also doesn't support custom fields and, according to the last feedback I had from the team, doesn't intend to.

Maybe the WordPress app can support them via the wordpress:// URL scheme although I doubt it, or another app, otherwise I'd be stuck. But I don't really want to buy yet another writing app just for that feature.

Conclusion: where would I be?

Without Workflow I would be stuck in various multi-staged processes. It's perfectly doable but very fiddly compared to the ease of automation that we just take for granted.

It's good to know where you stand.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog