Cross Platform support via file system

This request probably cuts across several other threads, and it may in part be answered by the upcoming Mac Drafts release, but for what it’s worth here are my thoughts.

Like many, I exist in a multi-platform world. My days are spent on a PC at work. At home, I have a Mac and everywhere in between I have iPhone and iPad (iOS)

Drafts is my tool of choice (to a certain degree) on iOS devices, but unfortunately, I cannot rely on it completely because the other 66% of my time are on unsupported platforms.

Now I appreciate Drafts is an iOS-based tool (currently), but for me, its major shortcoming is not being able to access files in shared locations that I may have created elsewhere.

Whilst Drafts allows me to save to and append to various Cloud services, I cannot see a way of opening and editing these files easily.

If I was able to use Drafts to save AND open files from OneDrive/DropBox/GoogleDrive etc, then I could use other tools on other platforms to carry on working. For example SublimeText on my PC.

Then open the file back up in Drafts and continue.

I’m no developer so maybe I have a simplistic view of the work and changes this would entail, but it appears to me that by adding this ability Drafts would be able to be used over a wider range of platforms and scenarios.

I fully understand that you would miss the automation and workflow features that make the Drafts app what it is, but the ability to work on files externally to Drafts and then read them back in would be invaluable.

At least to me :grin:

It is relatively straight forward to open a file from cloud storage in Drafts.

Tap and hold on the “+” icon to display the new draft options.

Options Screenshot

Select the Import File option and then your file to import.

Compatible storage providers are displayed

The hiccup comes in that you need to export it back out rather than just saving it back to the same file automatically. In that sense Drafts 5 is not a direct file editor. That’s reason for me to have Textastic on my dock along with Drafts. I tend to just leverage Drafts processing with a bit of copy & paste when it’s for an existing file; but maybe that’ll change in time?

File access is a complicated story in a Sandboxed world. I’ve explored different ways to incorporate direct file editing over the years, and never been satisfied I could deliver something that didn’t come with far too many trade offs.

By design, Drafts tried to eliminates a lot of the complexity of files and folders. That was part of it’s appeal - no need to create files, name things, decide where to put them, etc., just to type some text.

It would be difficult to create a way to incorporate direct editing that didn’t require significant compromises in how those files and their content were treated in actions and how they differed across sync between devices/platforms. Lots of issues.

Not saying it would never happen, but it’s not a focus for Drafts at this time. Just import-export for now.

1 Like

@sylumer - cheers for that. I had never of long hold the + option

(Suppose should go back and RTFM to see what else I’ve missed. :grinning: )

This is a great help, but as you point out doesn’t quite resolve the last part of being able to save the file back.

@agiletortoise - thanks for the response.

Completely appreciate and understand your reasoning. It’s always a battle between whats possible, how you envisage usage and how end users want to ‘bend’ usage.

I’ll watch with interest, but otherwise please consider this a +1 vote for this feature, as I’m sure others will have asked.