For years now, many of us have had a standing “Yeah, but” for IFTTT. It’s an excellent service that reliably connects things on the Internet for simple automation. BUT, it has never embraced the complexity that you start looking for about 10 minutes after you first try the service. I’ve lamented the lack of conditional logic and triggers for multiple events so many times. I’ve stated on the blog and podcasts numerous times that if only they give me more complex tools, I’d gladly pay for the service. This week IFTTT called my bluff.
IFTTT Pro has now launched with all the features I’ve been pining for:
If you buy in during the next four weeks, you can even set your own price. I’m now an official IFTTT Pro subscriber, and I’ve got time blocked to play with these new tools. Expect more on this to come, but if you are interested, I recommend subscribing in the next month to get it at a price that makes sense to you.
Cloud-based automation tool, IFTTT has been taking the approach on iPhone and iPad of adding “applets”, small apps that plug into pieces of their service. Today IFTTT announced a few more of these.
The new Calendar Applet lets you plug into your calendar to both grab and add events though IFTTT’s pipes. One thing I like about this is that it lets me get events into IFTTT even though I don’t use Google Calendar. There’s also a new applet for the App Store that I don’t see as much use for but it does give you an idea how deep IFTTT is going on iPhone and iPad.
We’re planning a future MPU episode around cloud-based automation tools and I’ve been doing a lot of testing. I’m increasingly a fan of IFTTT and Zapier for getting more work out of iOS.
On a recent episode of Mac Power Users, I talked about my workflow that uses IFTTT to send articles from Pocket to OmniFocus based on tags. A lot of people have asked me to explain further. Here is how you do it.
I wanted a way to tag an article in Pocket and have something specific happen in OmniFocus. The below example takes any article tagged “post” and creates an OmniFocus task titled, “Write Post about” and inserts the URL name. I use this all the time.
As seen with the below screenshot, this recipe grabs Pocket articles tagged “post” and then processes them through my Gmail account. Gmail is required here because you’ll need to customize the message in a way that only Google can in IFTTT. For this step you’ll need a Pocket and Gmail account and have their channels connected to your IFTTT account.
This step looks for a specific tag in Pocket. Because you can use multiple tags in Pocket, you could duplicate this recipe and have it perform different actions on different tags.
Action: Send an Email
The Omni Group has this great feature call OmniFocus Mail Drop. You can send an email to a secret link and it adds the email to your OmniFocus inbox. You do have use the OmniSync service but the ability to create tasks via email is really handy.
This step is just sending an email to that super-secret mail drop location. You’d have to substitute your own mail drop email address.
Name the Task
Next I set a custom subject line, “Write post about ” *Title*. This inserts the article title so, as sent, it may say, “Write post about hemp Apple Watch bands.” OmniFocus will take that subject line and make it the task name. This is why I use the Gmail account for this recipe.
Flesh Out the Note
Next I have IFTTT send through further details to the email body. This gets added to the note in the task. This recipe isn’t particularly difficult to create or earth shattering. In some ways, it may be outdated by iOS 8 and Pocket’s ability to add tasks to OmniFocus right inside the app. That lets you avoid pushing items through the Internet pipes. However, I’d argue that there is no way faster for me to create these tasks than simply tagging an article “post” and moving on.
I’m thinking there is a pretty good story behind this that none of us will ever know.
I’ve been fiddling with If This Then That (IFTTT)’s new iPhone app and I like it. They just didn’t bring the web experience to an app but added some functionality including the ability to link to some of your iCloud data and notify you as rules engage. Katie and I did a Mac Power Users on web automation and talked about IFTTT at some length. I continue to use this service and iOS access makes it even better. For a big launch day review, look no further than MacStories. (What did we do for big launch day reviews before Federico came around?)