Greetings techies, it’s that time of the week again! Today’s App Of The Week is Workflow. As always, I wouldn’t recommend an app that I didn’t use myself.
If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably used or at least heard of Automator. Automator is a Mac app that lets users program simple workflows, apps, and folder actions on the fly, using drag-n-drop features. Workflow is essentially Automator, but for iOS.
Workflow is for automation. Out with friends at a restaurant and trying to figure out a tip? There’s a Tip Calculator in Workflow, where all you have to do is enter the bill, and it will automatically calculate the tip. You can create simple apps like this in a similar way that computer programmers do it. Instead of code, you drag and drop Actions into your workflow. In the Tip Calculator example, the workflow looks like this:
Ask for Input > Set Variable > Calculate (operation “X = multiply; operand = 0.18) > Format Number (two decimal places) > Set Variable (variable = “tip”) > Show Alert (“Your tip is $tip and your total is $Input”)
Looks complicated, but Workflow helpfully provides a gallery of pre-made workflows for users. There are so many different combinations of actions that you can create almost anything you can think of. Want to make a Gif? There’s a pre-made workflow called Photos to GIF, or you can create one yourself on the go, using this workflow:
Select Photos (multiple) > Filter Images (sort by Date Taken; order = oldest first) > Make GIF (seconds per photo = 0.25; Loop Forever = on; Auto Size = on) > Quick Look
iOS 8 really radicalized this type of thinking; that instead of apps being isolated sandboxes, maybe they can talk to each other via app extensions, thereby removing complicated workarounds. Workflow is similar to IF (formerly IFTTT), but it’s more localized to your device instead of relying on the cloud.
You can turn your workflows into simple apps that you can put right on your home screen, or action extensions that form a bridge between regular apps. A feature that I’d like to see is having workflows automatically run at a certain time. For now you can only run a workflow by manually pressing the “Play” button.
Workflow is available for iOS and watchOS for $2.99.