Drafts Version 20 Provides Support for Links
Version 20 of Drafts for macOS and iOS was released today. This version provides support for links. Drafts is a powerhouse application, and is now additionally a very capable alternative for a digital ZK.
I've learned a great deal from use of The Archive, but after several days with working with the beta version of Drafts V20, there is no doubt in my mind that Drafts has leapfrogged existing TA capabilities.
Drafts can be thought of as a superset of TA. There is no missing functionality, but there is a great deal of added functionality. Making full use of Drafts for a ZK requires a Pro subscription, which I believe is $20 per year -- well worth it IMO.
A few advantages: (1) Drafts has both a macOS and iOS version. It syncs through iCloud. (2) Drafts is highly scriptable, and provides excellent options for Shortcuts on iOS. (3) Drafts is extendable through use of "Actions". Literally hundreds of useful Actions can be downloaded from the Drafts Directory -- contributions from a very active user community.
In addition to providing link support, the developer provided example actions with Version 20, collected in an Action Group that can be downloaded and assigned to a ZK-related workspace. (What TA refers to as files, Drafts refers to as drafts). These new actions (activated by press/tap on an icon or assignment to a keyboard shortcut) include:
- Insert a link in "this" draft to a selected draft
- Back links: Find all drafts that link to "this" draft
- Open the last draft
- Create a new draft that is cross-linked to "this" draft
- Create a new workspace - a workspace is a method of organizing drafts
- Insert a special kind of link that loads a named workspace
A useful navigation option added with v20 is: Display a list of recently opened drafts.
I've added a couple of additional actions related to date and time stamps and one that opens a draft at random from those with a selected tag. I'm looking forward to getting access to additional actions that will no doubt soon appear as the community begins to use the added functionality and added scripting options. Actions sync through iCloud. All of the actions described above work on both macOS and iOS.
The remainder of this post describes how I migrated files from TA to Drafts. It looks complicated, but took only about 15 minutes. My description assumes that you will, where necessary, refer to the Drafts documentation. One advantage of Drafts is that its documentation is extremely good.
- Import: In Drafts on macOS use File > Import to import files from the folder used by The Archive. All links should immediately work.
- Workspace: Select all the drafts that were just imported (a file in The Archive is called a draft in Drafts) and use the File > Tags menu to assign the tag "colors" to all of them. Then create a "Colors" Workspace that includes all drafts with the tag "colors." Configure the workspace to sort Flagged drafts on top. Choose what information to display in the drafts list (left-hand panel). I only display title and tags, but whatever works for you. (Optionally) set a Flag on each structure note -- flagged drafts will appear at the top of the drafts list (left-hand panel). More on Workspace configuration options later.
- Tags 1: Tags are handled differently in Drafts. The first step is to assign the tags "red" "white" and "blue" using the Drafts methodology. To do that I shifted to my iPhone, opened Drafts and selected the "Colors" workspace. All of the imported files were immediately available - Drafts syncs through iCloud. In the drafts list (left panel, analogous to the left panel in TA) use a search for #red to display only drafts with the #red tag used in TA. Then, press (not tap) the Select button to "select all". Use the Operations option to add the tag "red." Repeat with "white" and "blue." Total time to do this is about 15 seconds per tag.
- Tags 2: The files are now correctly configured, but you will have superfluous entries of #red, #white and # blue in your newly imported drafts. You can leave them as is without causing a problem. But, I wanted to get rid of them. (If you don't want to get rid of them, skip to step 6). I therefore stayed on my iPhone and opened the Shortcuts app. I created a new shortcut with three actions: (1) From the Drafts actions (there are lots of them) choose the action: "Get Drafts from..." Drafts makes use of four "folders" Inbox, Flagged, Archive and All. I think of "Inbox" as being "Not Yet Processed" and "Archive" as being "Processed and Filed for Future Use." To be safe choose the All option for the workspace "Colors" - or whatever workspace name you used. (2) From the Scripting options choose "Repeat with each item" -- the default "in Drafts" will be added and is correct. (3) From the Documents options choose the action: "Replace #red with in ... The default Repeat Item will be added and is correct. You are replacing a # formatted tag with a blank. Drag this third action above End Repeat. You will obviously use something different from #red, but I'm sure that you get the idea. It took me much longer to write this description than it did to actually create the three-step shortcut.
- Tags 3: Give the shortcut a name and run it. Change the tag name and run it a second time. Continue until you eliminate all the old #tags that you no longer need.
- Workspace Configuration: You can have many different workspaces in Drafts. We recently moved into a new house, so I have one devoted to "Warranty." I have another called "Dogs" and one called "Books" - etc. These workspaces are not ZK-related, but can exist alongside a ZK-related workspace. A particular strength of Drafts is its use of Actions. Actions are organized into "Action Groups". You can assign two action groups as the default choices for each Workspace. You can easily get access to other groups, but the two groups you assign will show up by default. I assigned my "Markdown" action group to my ZK-related Workspace. I also assigned a new "ZK" action group. If you start working with Drafts you'll soon find that organizing the very large number of available actions into relevant groups and assigning them to different Workspaces is a key to success.
I know this sounds complicated, but the migration took me less than 15 minutes, most of that time sitting in a recliner playing with my iPhone.
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