One of my favorite iOS apps for many years has been Agile Tortoise’s Drafts, and a new version (v5) came out this week. Originally, Drafts was just an wonderfully fast way to enter text, which already made it very useful as a tool for capturing ideas. But it quickly added the ability to automate tasks, using a url-callback scheme it helped pioneer, and also the ability to store and retrieve notes as well.
When you launch Drafts, it assumes you want to write something, and so it is ready to receive text, either by typing or by Siri dictation. If you want to retrieve an earlier note, you can--but why do that, when you can just type your new note, and then append it your already-existing file?
David (MacSparky) Sparks has made a video that highlights Drafts’ speed and flexibility:
It’s a great app; it’s free (with some unlockable features as in-app purchases). Basically, if you ever capture text on your iPhone or iPad--or on your watch (!?!)--you should give it a try. And if you’re already a Drafts user, the 5th version has all kinds of new features--a redesigned editor, even more customizable keyboards, themes, drag-and-drop . . . there’s a lot.
I am not going to write a wildly detailed review, because MacStories’s Tim Nahumck has done a more thorough job than I could possibly do! It’s an app that you can immediately see some of its virtues, and then learn more about it as you go.
I do want quickly to highlight one aspect of this new release that I think speaks to the ethos of Agile Tortoise: the way they’ve handled the update. Drafts 4 is still available for free in the App Store, and Drafts 5 is offered as a separate app. If you download it and it discovers that the previous version is installed, it explains that your data is untouched, and you can migrate it later, once you’re sure you want to make the switch, by choosing the appropriate setting. Then, it walks you through different permissions, each time explaining why: It asks for Location Services, and explains that if you grant the permission it will add that information to each note--and, crucially, specifies that everything will work fine if you don’t enable it. Similarly with Siri: Enabling Siri lets you add notes to Drafts via Siri, but it’s hardly mission critical. You’re never pressured into turning something on “to enhance the experience” in some unknowable way, nor are you forced into making now-or-never decisions about data you’ve accumulated over the years. It’s a nice touch. Why not give it a spin?
Do you have a favorite text-entry app? Let us know in comments!
Photo “Day 27: The 8-Hour Virtual Research Environment"> by Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski / Creative Commons licensed BY-SA-2.0