HACK / MAKE

Notesy and Launch Center Pro

Notesy, my favorite iOS plain text note app, updated to version 2.2 today. With it includes support for iPhone 5, improves some Markdown handling, and most notably, adds a URL scheme for controlling the app with Launch Center Pro. Notesy has implemented this scheme in a very intelligent way allowing more than just popping open the app. You can open, create, and append to notes all from Launch Center Pro. Here’s what the basic scheme looks like:

notesy://x-callback-url/[action]?[x-callback parameters]&[action parameters]

Your main options for action are open and append. There are a few other things like restore and render-markdown (which is cool) but I won’t cover them.

This is my main action:

notesy://x-callback-url/append?name=[prompt]&text=[prompt]

That will pop up two prompts. The first is the name of the new file and the second is the body of the note. Notice that the action is append even though you are making a new note. If the name that you enter matches an existing file it will append the entered text on a new line at the end of the file. If the name is unique, it will create a new file.

To append text to a currently existing file, the URL would look like this:

notesy://x-callback-url/append?name=Things%20to%20Wiki%20%E2%80%94%20runx%20learnx&text=*+[prompt]

That will open my note titled “Things to Wiki — runx learnx” and append to the end of the file the text I entered with an asterisk and a space before it to format it as a Markdown bullet list item. If you’ve got some weird characters in your titles, you may want to use this URL encoding tool to easily get the encoded file name you need for Launch Center to find your note. One of my favorite things about the implementation of this URL scheme is that once the note gets passed to Notesy, it is automatically saved. I don’t have to tap Done to save the note.

In a recent update to Launch Center, support for TextExpander was added so you can use snippets to easily created tagged and time stamped notes. I’d love to see Launch Center support expanding snippets within the URL scheme so I could create or append text to a consistently named but date-stamped Scratchpad. I could put something like Scratchpad_$date in as the name within the URL and whenever I tap a button it would expand to open the file named Scratchpad_12-10-12.

All of these little features add up to make iOS increasingly efficient for power users to be productive away from their Macs.

Thoughts or comments? Let's talk on Twitter or send me an email.