Automating notes on iOS

I’ve finally started using one of the big features of Drafts properly: Actions. For the longest time I just did some basic reformatting: adding a Hugo-compatible frontmatter to drafts before moving them manually into WorkingCopy. Since I’m now using notes on here more and more to collect links, comment on other people’s posts etc. I grew tired of creating all these folders in the Git repository manually.

Turns out, WorkingCopy (the app I use for any interaction with Git) has quite extensive support for automating such things either through Siri Shortcuts or through x-callback-urls. Drafts, at the other end of the workflow pipeline, supports calling x-callback-urls as part of an action and so I now have the following steps automated:

  1. Pull the latest upstream changes for my website’s repository
  2. Create all the necessary folders within it based on the current date
  3. Create a new file and put the content of the current draft in it
  4. Commit and push using the name of the draft

I originally wanted to show you just the action consisting of various “Callback URL” steps but I thought it might be more useful to present the JavaScript version 😅 An hour later and here you go:

function guessTitle(content) {
    const titleRe = new RegExp('^title: "?(.*)"?$');
    for (let line of content.split('\n')) {
        let mo = titleRe.exec(line);
        if (mo) {
            var raw = mo[1];
            raw = raw.toLowerCase().replaceAll(/[^a-z0-9]/g, '-').replaceAll(/--/g, '-');
            return raw;
        }
    }
    return null;
}

function prepareCallback(cmd, apiKey) {
  const cb = new CallbackURL();
  cb.waitForResponse = true;
  cb.baseURL = `working-copy://x-callback-url/${cmd}/`;
  cb.addParameter('key', apiKey);
  return cb;
}

(function() {
  // Ask the user for their WorkingCopy API key and store it
  // for later calls within Draft:
  const credential = Credential.create("WorkingCopy", "Working Copy");
  credential.addTextField("apiKey", "API key");
  credential.authorize();

  const repo = 'zerokspot.com';
  const wcBaseURL = 'working-copy://x-callback-url';
  const wcKey = credential.getValue('apiKey');
  const dateFolder = strftime(new Date(), '%Y/%m/%d');

  // Try to get a good slug/filename based on the title of
  // the post but let the user override it:
  var slug = guessTitle(draft.content);
  const slugPrompt = new Prompt();
  slugPrompt.addTextField('slug', 'Post slug', slug);
  slugPrompt.isCancellable = true;
  slugPrompt.addButton('OK');
  if (!slugPrompt.show()) {
    context.cancel();
    return
  }
  slug = slugPrompt.fieldValues['slug'];

  // Now let's fetch the latest changes from upstream:
  var cb = prepareCallback('pull', wcKey);
  cb.addParameter('repo', repo);
  if (!cb.open()) {
    context.fail('Failed to pull from upstream');
    return;
  }

  cb = prepareCallback('write', wcKey);
  cb.addParameter('repo', repo);
  cb.addParameter('text', draft.content);
  cb.addParameter('path', `content/notes/${dateFolder}/${slug}.md`);
  if (!cb.open()) {
    context.fail('Failed to write note');
    return;
  }

  cb = prepareCallback('commit', wcKey);
  cb.addParameter('repo', repo);
  cb.addParameter('text', draft.content);
  cb.addParameter('path', `content/notes/${dateFolder}/${slug}.md`);
  cb.addParameter('message', slug);
  if (!cb.open()) {
    context.fail('Failed to commit note');
    return;
  }

  cb = prepareCallback('push', wcKey);
  cb.addParameter('repo', repo);
  if (!cb.open()) {
    context.fail('Failed to push note');
    return;
  }
})();

This was also the first time that I did anything with x-callback-urls, a mechanism I didn’t know even existed before wanting to implement this automation and now … I know that it exists and also to some degree how to use it 😅

Do you want to give me feedback about this article? Please send it to comments@zerokspot.com.

Alternatively, I'm also experimenting with Webmentions. If you write a post on a blog that supports this technique, I should get notified about your link 🙂