Selection is NOT possible without on-screen keyboard

Request: please consider to fix:
The most annoying “feature” (or lack of) in Drafts’ iOS/iPad editor:

Selection is NOT possible without on-screen keyboard.

This makes selection and copy/share/speak/look-up very difficult except on shorter paragraphs.

Also selection you have with keyboard open, get lost when you collapse it.

Would it be possible to implement the following behavior?

  • Long pressing on screen or a word, to start selection or show menu, without keyboard popping up and hiding most of the screen,
  • user should then be allowed to expand selection by dragging.
  • “select all” should be on the selection menu even when text is already selected, see “Notebooks”! (Select All menu can sometimes be very difficult to trigger, have to tap and hold on blank line.)
  • with keyboard still collapsed, none-editing commands like Copy, Share, Speak, Look-Up, and Select All should be on the selection menu.
  • Also, you should not loose a selection when collapsing keyboard, so that you can continue to expand it on a full screen.

Some notable apps that does this right are:

  • Apple Notes.
  • Textastic.
  • Notebooks (by Alfons Schmid).
  • Editorial and Pythonista.
  • This forum’s editor in Safari

But I love Drafts and hope it’s possible to implement this here as well.

Thank you, and keep up the good work.

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When tapping into the editor region it is enabling editing by default, seemingly much in line with Drafts’ quick capture mission, but if you switch to link mode that puts you in read only and I think provides at least some of the selection behaviour you describe.

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Thank you @sylumer, that’s a neat solution.

Bear and Ulysses is suffering from the same issue, except for Ulysses’ sheets in trash. But deleting a sheet and restoring it afterwards is not an easy workaround.

Not sure exactly what Apple is doing in their apps…as they often have access to private APIs for these things, but a little technical explanation…

Text entry controls on iOS have toggle for isEditable and isSelectable. If both are off, it’s static text and the control will not get cursor focus.

If isSelectable is on and isEditable is off, you can select text, but it is not editable, so the keyboard will not appear. This is the state enabled by link mode.

Naturally, if both are on, tapping in the field give it’s cursor focus for editing - thus showing the keyboard. This is handled by the OS, and there’s no way to intervene that I am aware of to prevent an editable text control from gaining focus when a selection is made.

Thank you.
I got a workaround for Draft by activating link-mode to disable keyboard when I need to select and copy larger blocks of text. So I’m fine for now.

But to understand this a bit further: does the keyboard have to pop up even if editor is in focus?

In Textastic, Notebooks (by Alfons Schmid), Editorial, and Pythonista you can ‘tap and hold’ on the screen to activate selection with selection menu (Copy, Share…, Look Up, Speak, etc.) and you can expand selection by dragging, and all this can be done without activating on-screen keyboard.

This menu is more restricted then (without paste etc.), and seems to be configurable by app developer, since I have seen various implementations in this mode, even between app versions.

So it seems to me that there must be a way to have isEditable and isSelectable without expanding on screen keyboard, or get isSelectable on and isEditable off, only if you ‘tap and hold’, while other actions like tap and double-tap will enter normal edit mode.

Any comments on this? :nerd_face:
Please feel free to not reply,
I’m sure you are busy with other more important tasks and updates :sunglasses:

Hey all. I am a long time Drafts user and devotee, but relatively new to these forums. I completely agree with how distracting it is when the keyboard pops up and blocks the very word/words you are hoping to select. That said, despite hoping this issue is resolved, I believe the link mode workaround will work for me, for the moment. Tangentially, as I am not that familiar with markdown, and hence, link mode vis-a-vis markdown, I am wondering if its possible to convert link mode links into rich links?

Thank you. Stay safe everyone!

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I’ve just noticed the double tap to select behaviour. Every other app I’ve used responds to touch and hold for select. It took me ages to find this gesture. This is the same in link mode.

And mysteriously it’s started working again.