David Sparks Debuts 'Workflow Video Field Guide' for iOS Automation

Workflow Video Field GuideDavid Sparks, the newly indie author and co-host of Mac Power Users has announced his latest endeavor: Workflow Video Field Guide, available now for US$9.99. This is a one hour (well bookmarked) tour of Workflow, the $6.99 universal app that lets you build workflows and automate some iOS tasks.

What's been the best about it so far is that like all MacSparky Field Guides, David makes the subject very approachable. He also has a knack for some fun examples that help inspire your own workflows. He uses some fun example images for the photo workflows, and demonstrates some really useful functionality such as sending screenshots to another device via AirDrop, building a basic math workflow (like a tip calculator), and even a basic script that alerts you if your battery is low and automatically dims your brightness.

In one example workflow, he shared a particular image (in this case a receipt) to Dropbox, and casually mentioned saving the image to a particular Dropbox folder, which is the folder that Hazel watches for receipts, so the image snapped on his phone then gets categorized and filed with a minimum of both muss and fuss.

Watching an hour long video is a commitment but you don't have to do it all at once. It is fully chaptered so you don't have to sit through the whole thing and try to remember the beginning. You can pause and work along, or even take inspiration from the example and build your own fleet of mini-apps to shave a few steps off of some of your processes.

Admittedly I have yet to reach the end of the video because the first couple of examples inspired me to build a couple of other workflows, and the mention of Hazel inspired me to build a couple more and then build Hazel rules, so I've been smoothing out some rough spots in my current routines.

Overall this is a great investment, like all MacSparky Field Guides (as if they are Pokemon, I have in fact caught them all). This one in particular is a wonderful introduction to a kind of intimidating looking app. Since Workflow can do so much for you, it's pretty wide open when you get started and it is sort of hard to figure out what you might use it for. David Sparks does a great job of showing on both iPhone and iPad screens the sorts of things you can do, and makes the whole thing far easier to get into.

As a note, if you have a particular Workflow you've built that's particularly clever, please share in the comments since I'm always looking for nifty new tricks to teach my iPhone.