My Workflow Thoughts

Firstly let me say how the iPad pro has rekindled my joy in computer tinkering, after years on a mac I think I have it pretty well bent, tweaked and otherwise tamed to work the way I want, various extra little apps and utilities like bartender and Default Folder X enhance the MacOS for me on a daily basis. However a mature system has largely ironed out all the problems, cleverer people than me have built apps to enhance it and it just feels "done".

The iPad however feels like a device at the start of its journey, the challenge of bending it to your specific needs is still a challenge and that for me anyway is the fun, the delight and of course the frustration. Apps like "Workflow" have opened up a huge range of possibilities, the operating system is still evolving, in fact iOS11 due to be premiered next week carries a lot of hopes that at last the OS may evolve into a more professional system with abilities such as drag and drop and a decent file manager, things on MacOS we take for granted, and it's the frustrations that I would just like to talk about.

My day to day work as a very small business owner, developer, designer, little bit of everything person means I get involved in a wide range of different tasks daily, some like writing (Ulysses), research, and administration are equally well if not better done on the iPad. E-mail, is of course the staple of most communication these days and third party e-mail apps like airmailer, spark, and many more make most e-mail tasks easy on any platform. I tend to go for apps which a) integrate with other services, either directly or through scripting, and b) have both MacOS and iOS versions, it is just easier to maintain a consistent workflow when you can just pick up where you left off, no matter which OS your using.

Cloud services make storage and accessing files trivial, GSuite makes standard office docs available everywhere etc etc. However the design and development part is not so rosy. I regularly receive pictures from clients which i need to resize, watermark and add to their CMS (they prefer I do it and pay me for the privilege), attachments on iOS generally go into Photos, and certainly when uploading the default is to upload from Photos. Pixelmator on iOS handles the resizing cropping and watermarking, it's a pain but it’s doable.

The rub sets in when coding however, like most developers I write my style sheets using SASS and this requires Ruby to compile and on iOS I am stymied. I believe I could use cloud based editors but I do not really want to do this when on my Mac, nor do I want to keep my working code where I can not get at it without an internet connection. I also need several apps open, Codekit, MAMP pro, a code editor and a  browser, and this would given the current state of iOS even if these programmes existed would be horrendous. Therefore for now anyway I am still using my mac for really what accounts for 70% of what actually generates me the money to live.

is the current setup ideal? Yes probably if I am honest i get by pretty much OK, but what I would like? Of course ideally I want the flexibility to do everything on anything largely probably because I can't, however this is just human nature I guess. Will it come? I believe it will, Apple need to make the iPad OS a separate but related version of the phone OS, more powerful and geared more towards power users with better product interaction. The possibilities are there, although I am not sure given Apples recent history if the will is though.