After what felt like a truly epic July, August has been a little quieter. It is the school summer holiday season in the UK, and I took the opportunity to decompress a little and dial back on what I’d been doing the previous month. I still dipped into the usual online fora, and turned out a few brief blog posts, but beyond that I haven’t done a great deal content-wise. I have done a few things behind the scenes, but in the main these have been more housekeeping and documentation tasks. There have also been a few unexpected personal things that have taken up my time, so I guess I have been busy, just busy doing other things.

ThoughtAsylum

There were just a small number of posts on my website this month. The first of which is actually an article I wrote for my day job on the H1 2022 update for SuccessFactors Employee Central Service Centre. Its publishing late as our corporate website gated the access this last release, but it had been several months and it is a rather niche posting, so I’ve now published it. It still links back to the original, so at this point all it is doing is probably adding a bit more Google Juice to the source.

At the end of the month I posted a couple of brief pieces. The first was to try and share a bit of my personal view on keywords vs tags in Obsidian. I am a fan of tags in general, but for Obsidian, I find myself drawn inexorably to using linked keywords rather than tags in Obsidian.

The second post was a Keyboard Maestro to swap the clipboard with the current selection. It is just a bit of clipboard shuffling really, but I have had a few situations where I want to swap what I have on the clipboard for what I have on the page, and this macro makes it super easy to do.

Forums

I purposefully took a step back on my usual forums this month. I needed to spend my time elsewhere, so sometimes I would just hold off and respond only if others had not, or where I felt there was still scope to add value. Hopefully, I still added to the conversation where I did join in.

Drafts

  • The “Quit menu inactive, can’t quit” issue from last month resurfaced, and I made some suggestions for additional information that are still pending a response.

  • One person wanted to hire a Drafts expert for an hour to get an overview of the app. I pointed them to the freely available videos and suggested just asking on the forum if they had any questions. Trying to cover Drafts in an hour isn’t going to get anyone new to it further than the videos.

  • A query from mid-July also resurfaced as the post about the issue was rather ambiguous in terms of if there was an issue or not with some code. I outlined everything I could see was going on and explained why, but again I’m still waiting on the response as to if the explanation did indeed explain everything they needed.

  • Yet another blast from the past with a five month later reply on some points relating to Markdown and rich text.

  • Another ongoing discussion around the trust and use of my action groups and code for Drafts continued. I think it is very much part of a wider discussion, and there was a discussion with some parallels on the Automators forum. Fundamentally, computers and software are like so many things in our lives. We have to have a certain level of trust in those who made them. Did you make the bricks for your house? Did you mine and process the metals used in making your car? No? How can you trust that they are suitable? Well, there’s a chain of trust that forms and that’s what things always come down to. Do you trust those making something? If you do, great, use what they made. If you don’t, no problem, there’s nothing to see here, so just move along. It’s all good, but just be aware there is no magical solution to trust and perfect creation is something that’s left to higher powers than any mere mortal such as myself could possess.

  • The usual clarification on what workspaces in Drafts are (and are not) helped answer one user’s query on how to move draft to a specific workplace and add a tag.

  • One forum user wanted to know if they could trigger an action by draft content. It isn’t possible, but I suggested some alternatives. The question for me is always when would that trigger occur? As soon as you type the final letter of the text being hunted for? unless you are using a snippet trigger, constantly scanning content seems ill advised and fraught with potential misfires to me.

  • I prefer dealing with files directly for Obsidian, but using URLs for using Obsidian with Drafts is another option and I set out how you can tailor the differences between URLs on different platforms.

  • A query about getting started with importing from Fantastical to Drafts led to a little discussion about calendars and checking your data.

  • Greg Pierce (Drafts' developer) posted some news I’d missed about TextExpander Changes Coming on iOS. After a bit of an issue with sign-up, I’m now beta testing the new TextExpander keyboard on iOS/iPadOS and have already provided some feedback on some reproducible buggy behaviour.

  • When you deal with Drafts Template tags, ensure that you take account of implicit encoding!

  • I provided a bit of advice on modifying a Markdown Footnote action another Drafts user had posted to the directory and fixed a bug with it to boot.

  • A new forum user asked the question “Is there a library of Templates?”, which was an interesting question and I also gave me the opportunity to set out just how many different things “templates” can refer to in the context of Drafts. Maybe some sort of draft content templates would be useful, but given they are going to be plain-text-based, there seems little benefit to holding them exclusively to Drafts, and rather, more beneficial to pull them in from the multitude of other places into Drafts.

  • A question on autocompletion in Drafts got me wracking my brains to recall a utility I used on Windows over twenty years ago. I was even able to track down its current incarnation.

  • A forum user was having trouble with their regular expression to match a set of emoji that I was able to rectify for them,

  • A request to create an action to add “==” around selected text resulted in several suggestions. The one I added towards the end of the topic I think offers the most robust operation (do + undo, and cursor positioning), as well as being designed in a way to allow it to be easily duplicated and used for prefixing and suffixing as well as wrapping (of matched or mismatched content). If you haven’t downloaded this action, I’d recommend grabbing a copy as if you use Markdown, I suspect it could prove rather useful.

Automators

Other

As I noted above in the Drafts forum activity, I have been testing the new TextExpander keyboard for iOS/iPadOS. This is important as it heralds the end of the TextExpander SDK and TextExpander enhanced applications. There are pros and cons to this and while it will mean switching to the TextExpander keyboard to get the benefits when using a hardware keyboard, it will also bring that functionality to every app. TextExpander enhancement has actually been a critical factor in my selection of apps in the past, so it will be interesting to see what this might open up for me in the future.

Upcoming

There is one thing I did this month that actually took a good chunk of my time and effort to prepare. I really hope it turns out well. It feels pretty significant to me as it fulfils something that’s been aspirational for some time now.

I’m not going to spoil the surprise here, but pretty shortly after this publishes there may be some rather special news that happens to tick off an item on my geek bucket list.

As always, thank you to everyone who has bought me a coffee. I really appreciate it, and your generosity continues to drive my creative early morning weekend sessions at my computer in my local coffee shop.