Without a doubt, the power of smart devices lies in what their applications are capable of doing. In sections like this one that we opened a few months ago at Apple, the idea was precisely that: to reach certain applications that discover new possibilities for us and make our daily life more comfortable, or more fun.
The Apps are everything, but not all of them usually reach everything: the characteristics of each one of the applications are defined by the scope of the developer or the coverage of the user’s need, and that from time to time they contribute something more. However, Apps like Workflow are a big exception: it is not a new App because it has been in the App Store for a long time, but it is still too unknown for what it is capable of.
That is precisely why I decided to highlight it as our App of the Week, there is already little – if any – competition to what Workflow can do for us . The limits, almost as if we were setting them ourselves: this is an application that, by treating other applications as services, and also using operating system tools, we can “program recipes” to manage to automate certain actions.
Beyond conventional applications
With Workflow we will be able to combine applications and services of the system to automate actions, which we will also be able to share and download from your own “recipe shop”.
As I was saying, one of the reasons I talked about Workflow is that even for the people who knew it, they had not been able to explore it thoroughly. The power of this App is not only everything we can ask it to do, but also to go through everything that other users have programmed and shared in a kind of global “recipe” store . Just starting there, we already have great recipes for creating a GIF from one of our videos, combining images into a single PDF and mailing it in, or creating various widgets for the Notification Center or Apple Watch with shortcuts to our daily actions.
Sharing and customizing recipes easily is one of the key points of Workflow
For any of these recipes, we can edit them, review them and adapt them to our needs : they are all a great starting point for something much more useful and customizable thanks to the very useful – and simple – recipe editor built in. It’s all about bringing together the different parts that make up each one of them, both applications ( like Todoist, Trello or Apple Music ) and system services ( geolocation, health, etc.. ) and try it until you find the expected result.
The utilities are almost infinite: with each upgrade they add more services and applications and make the utility multiply. One of my favorites is the integration with Ulysses , the popular text editor that we often love to write… Going through the recipe shop we can find more than one utility that we probably hadn’t fallen into, and that can become a must in our daily life . The App has a price of 2.99 euros in the App Store, fully justified by all that we can do with it. If you are still not convinced, check out the article that Cristian published in Apple last week, nothing more and nothing less than 53 of the best recipes that the App can offer you.
We interviewed Ari Weinstein, co-founder of Workflow
We always like to talk about the fashion App by contacting the team that carries it out, in this case with one of its co-founders, Ari Weinstein, who has kindly answered some questions in order to get to know Workflow a little better:
Pedro Aznar: How was Workflow born?
Ari Weinstein: We built the first version in a hackathon called MHacks in Michigan. We were only four students at the time, and we were thrilled with the idea of building something that could automate things on a phone and connect your applications at the same time. At the end of the hackathon (which lasted 36 hours, we only slept three hours each), we had our first working version. It was very basic, but a good starting point to start building on.
PA: How is the process of adding new services to Workflow? Is it easy to contact the team and get them up and running soon?
AW: Depends entirely on the service. We get a lot of requests and have dozens or hundreds of integrations that we’d like to build, but it takes time. We want to work on ways to make it faster in the future!
PA: What are your plans for future upgrades? Any features we haven’t seen yet?
AW: Oh, we have a lot… but you’ll have to be careful 🙂
Workflow was born in a 36-hour hackaton, designed by four students excited about the possibilities
PA: How many people make up the Workflow team?
AW: There are five of us right now, four in San Francisco and one in Ohio.
PA: What are the steps you think Apple can take to make iOS or MacOS more advanced, talking about automation?
I think what iOS needs most is a better and more direct communication between Apps, so that they can “communicate” with each other. It would be great if App developers could create their own Workflow actions and have them displayed in our application – if you have installed the corresponding App – allowing it to run in the background instead of through URLs. In general, the more APIs Apple adds, the more Workflow actions we can build!
Workflow (2,99, App Store)
En Apple A must for productivity and convenience.