Table of contents
- What is Drafts?
- What is Alfred?
- About Doctor Drafts
Drafts is an application for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac that allows you to quickly capture and process text. It works with plain text (or plain text formats such as Markdown and Taskpaper), and through inbuilt functionality and extensible actions you can transform text and output it in a wide variety of ways. The application also includes many ways to help you organise, search, filter and manage your text.
The basic app is free, but there is a pro subscription that opens up additional functionality. Some of the pro subscription features are automation features that Doctor Drafts uses. Therefore to make use of all of the Doctor Drafts functionality, you would need to be a pro subscriber.
Alfred is a utility application that allows you to enhance your productivity. With a main interface very similar to Spotlight, you can carry out the usual Spotlight actions, but also many more besides. Alfred also supports hot key triggers, text expansion, clipboard management, and a broad array of customisable options.
A paid upgrade to Alfred, known as the Power Pack, is also available. The Power Pack unlocks more Alfred features and functionality, including Alfred workflows, arguably the most powerful feature of Alfred.
A workflow in Alfred is a set of actions that Alfred will carry out on your behalf when triggered. Built in a flow chart like way, using blocks and connector lines, workflows enable Alfred Power Pack users to create their own automated processes powered by Alfred.
You will need to have Alfred’s Power Pack to make use of Doctor Drafts.
Doctor Drafts is a relatively sophisticated Alfred workflow. It enables you to interact with Drafts via the Alfred interface, though is also built to be extensible to meet your own needs too. It allows you to do things like create new content within Drafts without having to switch to the app. Everything Doctor Drafts does can be achieved in more manual ways, or even fully with automation in other tools. But, Doctor Drafts brings everything together to make things quicker and easier to access, for your convenience.
Doctor Drafts helps you to work with Drafts in a number of ways, and it is designed to be extensible so that you can define your own simple workflows that leverage the power provided by Doctor Drafts.
Here are some examples of what you can do:
- Create a new draft with content entered via Alfred.
- Search for a draft containing a piece of content and open it in Drafts.
- Copy a link to a draft.
- Copy the content of a draft.
- Find and open a draft based on its title.
- Add log entries to a running draft or a daily/weekly/monthly draft.
- Create a new draft with multiple tags.
- Install the latest beta version of Drafts.
- Copy a link to Drafts documentation.
- Run an action after creating a draft.
- Trigger Drafts’ dictation.
- Open a pre-populated search/quick search/action search in Drafts.
I realised in building this workflow that there was a lot to it and that if there was no documentation for it, people would be unlikely to get as much from it as it can offer. To that end, I created this entire web site just to document the features and guide you through using it.
If there are questions that are not covered by the content in this web site, you can always jump over to the Drafts Community Forum and ask on there. I’m active on those forums (as @sylumer) if you need to ask me something only I could answer for some reason.
The name came from the Alfred commands all beginning with
dr. Initially this was just an abbreviation for drafts, but as the workflow grew it became more prominent and it seemed like such a natural fit for something that allows you to understand and work better with the Drafts app. Just like you might seek out a medical or academic doctor for support and guidance.
The Doctor Drafts logo is based on the Drafts logo, but also to give it a cross-like symbol. The intention is for it to be reminiscent of both Drafts and a medical cross.
I’m Stephen Millard, and I’m the creator of Doctor Drafts. My day job is in IT, but not working with Apple technology. Out of work, I dabble in a number of areas of technology and can regularly be found helping out others online with my writing and my contributions on a number of popular community forums.
Doctor Drafts began as a few separate Alfred workflows that I was using to trigger adding content to individual drafts, jumping straight to particular draft, updating the beta app version, and bookmark-like work with common Drafts-related URLs I would use to regularly answer Drafts-related queries on Twitter and the Drafts Community Forum. After creating some shell scripts for working with Drafts and my own Keyboard Maestro Alfred workflow, I wondered how far I could go with Alfred and Drafts given Drafts’ limited support for AppleScript. I took what I had from the existing workflows, scripts, did some additional research, dabbled in various scripting languages, and over the course of a few weeks, grabbing time here and there, I built out what eventually became Doctor Drafts.
Many things you could simply build yourself as an extension of Doctor Drafts and there is a Beyond the Basics section on doing that. But, if there is something that you would like to see built into the core workflow, then reach out to me on Twitter, or via the Drafts forum. I’m always open to suggestions, and as new options in Drafts come up, I’m sure I’ll continue to expand Doctor Drafts’ range of functionality to take advantage of them.
Do also check out the roadmap page, which lists out some of the areas that are definitely on my list of things to get around to building in. It may be that your idea is already planned. There are no time lines on the roadmap as I do just get around to it when I have the time and am in the right frame of mind to work on it. It has to compete with a fair few other endeavours I undertake.
Certainly part of it was to see what was possible, but I find that as I develop solutions, they open up opportunities for me to do more, through gains in efficiency, or simply making things possible that were not previously so.
In addition, I try and share as much of what I create and discover as I can. If something takes me a day to create, and saves me a day, I break-even time-wise and maybe benefit from learning some things along the way. But if I then take a little bit more time to share it, ten people find it and use it, and it saves them a half a day each, suddenly the benefits begin to scale and that’s fundamentally why I create stuff like this. I want to try and help others who perhaps aren’t in a place to help themselves, and to inspire those that can to do so.
Doctor Drafts is free to use, but if you want to thank me in a more tangible way for this, or any of my other projects, you can always buy me a coffee to fuel my next creative coffee shop coding session.