Launching Automation Orchard “Automation Orchard Logo”){.image-right} I’ve been working on a project for a while – a place to find all of the automation content for Mac, iOS, Web and even your home, and it’s finally ready!

Automation Orchard is where I’ve collected every article, podcast and even video I’ve found regarding any automation topic related to Apple, from Workflow to IFTTT, and Automator to AppleScript. It doesn’t have everything – yet, but it has a lot. So if you were trying to find a Workflow workflow to work with Trello, you could search and find a lot of options. All of this content links back to the original website. “Automation Orchard”)

There’s also a forum, this is split up into sections:

  • Learn – housing lessons, challenges, and questions based on language.
  • Mac – for questions and posts about automating things on your Mac, including using AppleScript, Keyboard Maestro, et. al.
  • iOS – for automation on iOS, including Workflow and more.
  • Web – the place to talk about IFTTT, Zapier, Microsoft Flow, and other cool web automation services.
  • Home – where you can discuss home automation.
  • General – for everything else. “Automation Orchard Forums”)

Why? I love to automate, I love to help people automate. The website has become my Wikipedia – if I want to find a DEVONThink Workflow then I know where to search, and I know I’ll probably find helpful related content too.

The forum only has a few posts in it right now – started by me. I hope to see many of you there, asking questions, sharing your automations, and discussing why we automate!

My personal posts will still appear here – Automation Orchard is to collect content from around the web, including from here! There will be some blog posts there too – predominantly about the why of automation, you can check out the first post here.

P.S. Yes, the name is a play on my name and the focus on Apple!

iOS App Review: Sidefari “Sidefari – Web browsing companion for Safari”){.image-right} Sidefari is a small utility which has had a place on my iPad since shortly after it’s release. It’s a very simple browser which uses the Safari engine, and it’s purpose is to allow you to view two different web pages at once. This feature has been built into iOS since Sidefari was released, but it still has it’s place for me.

Sidefari wins over the built in Safari split screen for me in two ways: I am not required to have 50/50 split of the two web pages, and I can take one of those apps to a different space entirely if I wish to do so. This really helps me to work effectively on iOS. You can also use Sidefari as a browser with no tabs – useful if you are trying to avoid being sucked down a rabbit hole.

Sidefari – Web browsing companion for Safari is available for free on the App Store.

Workflows for Project Planning With Trello and OmniFocus

Trello is a lovely service which offers Kanban boards for planning – and I often like to plan out projects there, especially ones that need to be done in multiple stages or have many areas of focus. OmniFocus is my task manager of choice though which means I need my tasks to end up in there to have any hope of accomplishing them. To this end I have created a few Workflow workflows to get the data out of Trello and into OmniFocus, they’re not very sophisticated – but they function very well.

Single Trello List to OmniFocus workflows-for-project-planning-with-trello-and-omnifocus/workflow-trello-list-to-omnifocus.png?cropResize=100 “Trello List To OmniFocus”){.image-right} Maybe you just have one list in Trello and you want to get the tasks and put them in OmniFocus. This workflow does exactly that.


You can get the workflow here: Trello List To OmniFocus

Multiple Trello Lists to OmniFocus workflows-for-project-planning-with-trello-and-omnifocus/workflow-multiple-trello-lists-to-omnifocus.png?cropResize=100 “Multiple Trello Lists To OmniFocus”){.image-right} If you have several lists on a board you want to get into OmniFocus then this Workflow will allow you to do that. It will create a task or action group for each list with sub tasks for each card in that list in Trello.


You can get the workflow here: Multiple Trello Lists To OmniFocus

Trello Board to OmniFocus workflows-for-project-planning-with-trello-and-omnifocus/workflow-trello-board-to-omnifocus-project.png?cropResize=100 “Trello Board To OmniFocus Project”){.image-right} If you have planned your whole project in Trello and want to move it over to OmniFocus then this Workflow will help you do so. It makes the whole board into one project, with each list becoming an action group and the cards becoming tasks inside of those.


You can get the workflow here: Trello Board To OmniFocus Project

These Workflows are very helpful to me – and get more use than I thought they would! I hope you find a use for them too.

Workflow: Taskpaper to OF “Taskpaper To OF”){.image-right} This is a very simple Workflow which allows you to add TaskPaper formatted tasks or projects to your preferred place in OmniFocus


You can get the workflow here: Taskpaper To OF

Using Drafts 5 Taskpaper with OmniFocus

I have created an any action group for Drafts 5 which is meant to help you create Taskpaper formatted projects or tasks and then send it all along to OmniFocus afterwards.

The first thing you will want to do is to create a Draft with the Taskpaper format. This is the last but one action in the action group – the reasoning being you’re not likely to need it as often as some of the others! It simply opens a new Drafts with the format set to taskpaper – you can do this yourself by tapping the + icon if you’re in a Draft, and then using the Aa button to set the Syntax Highlighting of the current draft to Taskpaper.

The first action in the group is a tab, this is for iPhone users and iPad users without an external keyboard and it simply inserts a tab wherever the cursor currently is.

The next action is Placeholder, if you have text selected it will wrap the text in «» characters, and if no text is selected it will insert them. This is ideal for dates in templates you will want to update later.

The first Due action takes advantage of the natural language parsing that OmniFocus has available via URL Scheme. Again, if you have text selected it will wrap it in @due(), otherwise that will be inserted empty for you to fill in the brackets.

The Defer, Estimate, Tags, and Context actions work the same way as Due. Tags and context are both available so if you’re on the OmniFocus 3 beta or simply want to prepare your templates to work for both 2 and 3 you can already.

Tags (suggest) offers a list of tags for you to choose from, allows you to choose more than one of them, and inserts them inside @tag(). You will need to edit this script to make it work for you – the "one", "two", "three" is the part that needs changing. Bear in mind that a long list of tags will be annoying to look through most likely. If you want any tags to be pre-selected for you (e.g. you usually add the evening tag to tasks created via Drafts), you can put that into the [] after the tag list.

Autodone asks you if you want the task or project to be automatically completed when the tasks inside of it are completed and inserts @autodone(true) or @autodone(false)as per your choice.

The Repeat Method allows you to choose how the task should repeat, and inserts @repeat-method(fixed), or whichever the relevant choice is.

The Repeat Rule is very simple, but allows you to choose if a task should be repeated every X days, weeks, months, or years.

Parallel works the same way Autodone does, if the project should be parallel (actions able to be worked on at the same time) then @parallel(true) is inserted, if not @parallel(false) appears.

Flagged just inserts @flagged when it is run – which adds a flag to a task.

Due and Defer are here again – but this time with date and time pickers. This allows you to choose an exact date and time when your task or project is due. I’ve used European date formatting, but you can modify that to any other date formatting by replacing the "dd-MM-yyyy hh:mm" (for example in North America you might prefer "MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm").

Estimate makes another appearance, this time it asks you to choose how many minutes, hours, days or weeks something will take and fills in the @estimate() for you.

The final action in this set is Taskpaper to OF. This will ask you where you want to save your Draft (as a new project, a new project in a folder, as tasks in a specifc project, or the inbox), go through any «placeholders» you have and help you replace them (important cat is always going to be replaced with whatever you tell the script when it asks you about it, so make sure you to use unique placeholders where necessary!), and then send everything off to OmniFocus. Once you return if it did have placeholders to replace it offers to make a new Draft, update your current Draft, or do nothing.

This action group is set up as a keyboard group, which should make quick entry easier. You can get the action group from the Draft 5 Action Directory: OF Taskpaper