It's no secret that I've been trying to get into iOS automation for some time. In fact, between my haphazard use of Drafts and Launch Center (Centre!) Pro on my iPhone and an urge to find a way to reduce the number of taps and swipes it takes to do things, iOS automation has become possibly my main area of focus of late. Now admittedly I do tend to go through these phases. There was the phase when I was going to lean Objective-C as well as the time that I wanted to install all kinds of fancy Hypervisors on my home server, but the latest thing to catch my eye is definitely iOS automation.
The problem that I have faced in my quest to get my head around URL schemes and the like is that the information needed to get started is just so hard to come by. Yes, it's no doubt out there, but it's strewn across the vast expanse that is the internet, with no proper source offering the building blocks to at least get your feet wet. Nowhere that sits you down and talks you through some examples, with the end result being something that not only makes sense, but can be built upon going forward.
No, this isn't the part where I say that I'm now an iOS automation God and that this is that source of which I type. Instead, I'm going to point, as is becoming rather regular, to an article over on MacStories. Specifically, this one, written by Alex Guyot of The Axx.
Now, Guyot starts out by pointing out the same thing that I've just mentioned - there's just nowhere online where an aspiring iOS automator can go to get the required knowledge to make all this voodoo and black magic come together. So he wrote it. And it's awesome. Really awesome.
In fact, it's so awesome that I'd say I'm finally starting to understand a) what all the fuss is about and more importantly, b) how to actually do it myself.
It is of course fitting that this post lives over on MacStories. The site's founder Federico Viticci is something of a pioneer when it comes to living on an iPad rather than a Mac and, as a result, knows all this automation malarky inside and out. Between 'ticci and Guyot, there's not that much you can't pick up. Now it's all in one place, that's doubly true.
So, armed with my newfound knowledge and a starting point I set off to do some automation. The first ports of call were actions that would automatically turn Amazon and App Store links into affiliate codes. I'll go through that in another post.
If you're new to the whole iOS automation thing then you might want to get hold of Launch Center Pro and Drafts first and then get reading.
It'll be worth the effort.