Drafts has been in the App Store for a long time. It has grown and seen regular updates for its entire life span – and it was time to rethink many core features and improve them. It was time to revisit what makes Drafts great, and also what doesn't, and create a major new version which expands on Drafts' power and simplicity.
There are too many new things in Drafts 4 to list them all, but below is a list of highlights.
- All new Universal (iPad and iPhone) app. Note that as an all new app, Drafts 4 can co-exist with previous versions of Drafts on a device without conflict (though content does not sync between pre-4 and 4 versions - migration instructions are available).
- iOS 8 only, with full support for the latest devices, including the iPhone 6 Plus, with great portrait and landscape support throughout the app.
- Share extension provides quick capture of text from other apps and Safari.
- Today widget with shortcuts to create a blank draft or one based on the contents of the clipboard, plus inbox status.
Draft & Infrastructure
- Location: Drafts can now track location for creation, modification of drafts – along with associated template tags to output the longitude/latitude values. Location tracking is optional.
- Versions: Drafts now keeps version histories for modifications to drafts that can be rolled back/restored.
- Action Logs: Actions can now be logged when performed (per action option) to keep a history of actions performed on a draft.
- Detail: There is a "detail" view (i) that gives access to this additional data about a draft.
- Flags: Primarily a change in terminology to be more consistent with Mail conventions, "pinned" has been changed to "flagged", and flagged drafts still appear (with marking) in the inbox and archive.
- Sorting: The draft list can now be sorted by accessed, created or modified date.
- Sync: Sync of Drafts (and actions and keyboard extensions) is now handled using iCloud's CloudKit service. Using iCloud removes the need to create an additional sync account, and stores your data in a siloed, private data store that is not accessible to anyone other than yourself.
- iOS 8 Document Picker import: Tap and hold the "+" button for full access to import from any locations available via iOS 8 document picker extensions (such as Dropbox, FTP via Transmit, Box, etc.).
The editing experience has been significantly improved. Some important changes:
- Syntax highlighting: Drafts now supports three syntax highlighting modes, selected via the appearance setting screen:
- Plain text: No highlighting.
- Markdown: Common markdown formatting for headers, emphasis, lists, links and other common structures. Not all Markdown features are supported, but the basics are in place and this will likely improve in updates.
- Social: Highlighting geared toward social media use, marking hash tags and mentions.
- Keyboard extension sync: If iCloud is enabled, keyboard extensions are synced between devices.
- Arrange: A new arrange mode has been added, which allows drag and drop re-ordering of lines in a draft. Learn more.
- Fonts: Drafts now provides access to all installed iOS fonts for use in the editor. This includes user-installed fonts. Note that some font families work better than others along with the syntax highlighting features, depending on available font variants.
- Option to hide toolbar while editing.
- Action Groups: Actions can now be assigned to any number of user-created "Action Groups", which replace the four actions panes in previous versions of Drafts. Individual actions can be in more than one group, and each group maintains its own sort order. Learn more.
- Action Icons and Colors: A broad array of icons are available to be assigned to actions, and each can have a tint color associated with it to make easier to quickly identify actions.
- Action Search: The action list is now searchable. Useful if you have an unusually long action list.
- Better Editing: Actions are now arranged, created, editing and deleted directly from the action list, no need to dig into settings.
- Action Sync: If iCloud is enabled, actions are synced between devices.
- Steps: Actions are now made up of multiple steps. Think of anything that was an "action" in previous versions of Drafts as being a step that can exist with many other steps in a single action. There will be no need to create the type of chained actions that were previously needed to execute multiple actions. So, for example, a single action could have steps that post to Twitter, post to Facebook, and log the draft to a journal in Dropbox, etc.
- More Flexible Steps: In almost all cases, the steps are more flexible than before. Everything has be templatized, so even action steps such as "Open in" can have templates that effect the output. The HTML preview step has several stylesheets to choose from, or can use a totally custom Markdown CSS template, and so on.
- New Integrations: New steps (with more on the way) added. For example, the "Export" step allows export via iOS 8's document picker extensions to iCloud Files, Dropbox, FTP via Transmit or any other services which support export in their apps.
- Logging: Actions can now log the results. Options for no logging, logging only errors and logging all executions are available on a per-action basis, and are stored with the draft.
- New Action Directory and "Post to Directory": Along with Drafts 4, we have built and all-new Action Directory. Users can now share actions (and keyboard extensions) to the directory directly from within Drafts, and the Directory supports commenting and discussion of actions as well as Apps that support integration.
- No more built-in actions: A default set of actions ships with Drafts 4, but those can be edited/deleted if they are not of use to you.
- More Powerful Evernote Integration: Evernote action steps will now forward creation location to Evernote, and for advanced users, can use script steps and templates to directly generate raw ENML markup to utility features like Evernote todos.
- New URL schemes: The existing /create has been extended with /open, /append, /prepend actions – and also a new /runAction which allows you to run an action on a text without ever creating a draft. Read documentation for more details.
- List used for the "Import from Reminders" feature can now be customized.
- Lots of other little bits.
There are some features of previous versions of Drafts that are not in Drafts 4. Some may be added back in updates, depending on feedback. If you find something you loved about Drafts missing from Drafts 4, please get in touch and let us know!
There are no doubt a new set of bugs in Drafts 4. Please be patient with issues you find. We will fix them. Drafts provides a lot of open-ended functionality which can be difficult to fully test, because we don't know in advance all the cool and creative things you may attempt to use it for. Please report issues here on the help center, with as much detail as possible about how to recreate the issue.