Categories
Shortcuts

How to deep link into Mastodon Lists in Ivory using Shortcuts

As someone who’s a big fan of Lists for managing a larger following on Mastodon, I want as many ways as possible to quickly access my Lists and see what people are saying in each section.

Ivory for Mastodon has a great Lists feature, which you can access via one of the dedicated Tabs in the app (if you give it one of the slots).

Alternatively, you can also swap the main Timeline to show a specific List instead – this works great for saving a Tab slot, plus filtering the whole timeline by default and making your Home feed calmer by default.

Plus, Ivory has Shortcuts support for opening the Lists tab, meaning it’s easy to call a shortcut from any of the many methods and pick from a list to view.

Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a Shortcuts action for opening into a specific list though. That being said, they *do* have a URL scheme. And that means, with some List data from Mastodon and the URL action in Shortcuts, we can open deep links into a List in Ivory — a little Shortcuts ingenuity for the win!

Plus, since there are a few ways to approach this problem, I’ve written up four methods for working with these Ivory deep links – from simplest to most complex. Here’s how each shortcut works:

Ivory’s URL scheme for Lists

When I originally asked about List support on Mastodon, the Tapbots team mentioned they didn’t have official support yet. However, Joseph Duffy saw my message and replied mentioning the existing URL scheme from Tweetbot actually does work if you swap out the app name:

the Tweetbot URLs work in Ivory. If you create a list and get the ID from the web you can make a link like ivory://@josephduffy@mastodon.social/list/54334. Replace the list ID and my account with yours of course. https://tapbots.net/tweetbot3/support/url-schemes/ is the page I've been referencing. I assume this is intentionally supported @ivory?

The pattern—built off Tweetbot’s URL scheme—goes like this: ivory://@{handle}@{instance}/list/{list_id}.

To create your own URL, place your username as the {handle}, your Mastodon instance URL as the {instance}, and the corresponding values at the end of the URL for your List as the {list_id} (like 49309 from the link for my Favorites list: https://mastodon.social/lists/49309).

Putting it all together, the Ivory deep link for my Favorites list would be ivory://@[email protected]/list/49309.

[…]

This post is marked as members-only. Become a member to access the full piece.

Categories
Shortcuts

How to look up a Mastodon account’s ID using Shortcuts

When working with the fediverse and Mastodon links, one is regularly dealing with accounts from a variety of instances, each with its own set of URLs for every account.

That means, when using the Mastodon API, it’s especially important to identify each user by their unique ID rather than dealing with different handles and instance URLs, which would otherwise get very messy very quickly.

Screenshot of Mastodon "Lookup acccount" API endpoint documentation.

To solve this problem, Mastodon has implemented a Lookup account functionality, a public endpoint that allows anyone with a Mastodon link to send a web request and return the ID for that user.

To take advantage of this in Shortcuts, I built Look up Mastodon account ID, one of my shortcuts that accepts any fediverse link as input (or gets one that’s been copied to your clipboard) and returns the account ID value – here’s how it works:

Categories
Shortcuts

How to save Mastodon accounts to Lists using Shortcuts

As you’re building out your Lists experience on Mastodon, being diligent in adding new accounts or going through your following can make the process much easier.

The only downside is, when working with Mastodon posts and accounts across various interfaces on the web and in client apps, there is often an inconsistent experience in the ability to quickly add whoever you’re look at to a List.

On the Mastodon web interface, for example, when looking at a your timeline or even a post, you can’t add the person to a List at all…

…when looking at their profile view, however, the option shows up – the only spot this option appears on Mastodon’s main web interface.

*Also of note: you must be following someone to add them to your list. So if you’re not seeing the menu option on a profile page, it’s likely because you’re not actually following the account yet.*

In order to make the process of adding someone to Lists easier from *any* fediverse link, I turned to Mastodon’s API and Shortcuts, of course – here’s what I built:

This post is marked as members-only. Become a member to access the full piece.

Categories
Shortcuts

How to use Mastodon’s API to open your Lists with Shortcuts

Lists on Mastodon are an important tool for controlling your experience, allowing you to split up your timeline as you choose and catch up on smaller feeds of posts rather than the full firehose.

Especially without an algorithm, it’s easy to feel like you need to read your whole Mastodon timeline just to keep up – Lists help a *lot* with that.

As someone who’s already spending significant time saving Mastodon accounts I’m following to Lists using Shortcuts, it’s easy enough to quickly access a few lists directly from the web browser.

I already have a shortcut that takes me to the Lists page, but after using it these last two months, I find often I’m going back-and-forth to the Lists page to find each one. And I didn’t want to bookmark every single page, or make individual shortcuts for each one just to open it.

Plus, while I’m intrigued by Mastodon’s Advanced Interface—which lets you view all your Lists in Tweetdeck-style columns—it turns out that enabling that feature actually overrides the ability to view individual lists on the web at all – when enabled, List URLs redirect to your full deck view each time.

So, instead, I was left in search of a way to quickly pick from my Lists and open one on the web – enter Shortcuts.

With a new shortcut that could let me pick from my Lists using Shortcuts’ menus, I could quickly find and access each one. On iPhone and iPad, this could live in a widget or be called up with Siri at any time, and on the Mac, I could use a keyboard shortcut or keep it in the Menu Bar and then use my arrow keys to quickly select a List to open.

I also wanted to retrieve my List data to open as deep links into Ivory, so I decided to look into the Mastodon documentation and see what I could find — here’s what I ended up making:

This post is marked as members-only. Become a member to access the full piece.

Categories
Shortcuts

How to extract Mastodon instance & handle data using Shortcuts

One of the many benefits of the fediverse is the variety of instances that users can create across different domains, giving inherent independence to the network as it’s spread across many nodes instead of one centralized entity.

However, in terms of linking across the fediverse, that means every URL can potentially have a different host — not all Mastodon links are on mastodon.social, even if your account is located there.

That means, if you’re working with those URLs, you need to prepare for links coming from any specific instance, not just your own – expecting mastodon.social doesn’t cut it.

Plus, when clicking on a link separate from your own instance, the URL is formed with your own instance as the base, but the handle/other instance at the end — an odd behavior to work with at first.

Thankfully, the solution can be amid the components found Mastodon’s URL pattern – and you can use Shortcuts to extract those individual details as needed. Here’s how:

Categories
Shortcuts

New for members: Mastodon Lists shortcuts

I’ve just added a new bundle shortcut to the Shortcuts Library — it’s called Mastocuts Lists — and the set of Mastodon Lists shortcuts that it contains:

Categories
Apps Shortcuts

Making a simple Menu Bar applet to replace Shortcuts’ progress meter

Yesterday on Six Colors, Jason Snell wrote a post called Create visual feedback for running Shortcuts about a method he’s using to check his progress in a long-running shortcut using a Menu Bar utility.

His post was born out of frustration with the Shortcuts menu bar applet, which we discussed on Mastodon as being somewhat unobvious as a signal for progression:

Earlier today, I was complaining to Shortcuts expert Matthew Cassinelli about how there’s no really good way to view progress of a running Shortcut on macOS. Yes, the Shortcuts menu item in the menu bar sort of tries to display progress, but… it doesn’t provide any information I find particularly valuable.

I’m frustrated because I do have some Shortcuts that take time to run, yet unless I have them beep or display a notification when they reach a certain point in the process, I have no idea what they’re doing or if they’re even working.

If you didn’t know, the Shortcuts menu bar icon changes while a shortcut is running to indicate progression.

Categories
Shortcuts

New in the Shortcuts Library: One Thing Menu Bar shortcuts

I’ve just added a new folder to the Shortcuts Library — my set of One Thing Menu Bar shortcuts:

Open One Thing:

Activates the One Thing menu bar app to display any text.

Use this shortcut to activate One Thing on your Mac and have its applet display in the menu bar.

Tapping on One Thing will display its edit window, which lets you change the text and have that show up in the Menu Bar instead.

Categories
How To Shortcuts Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks

How to copy meeting availability across multiple calendars using Shortcuts

Yesterday over on Six Colors, Jason Snell wrote about his difficulty helping a friend use the Calendar actions in Shortcuts to pull data from two separate calendars:

Lex wanted to use this shortcut to quickly generate a list of times where he’s available for meetings. This is a great use of automation—I wish I’d thought of it. Unfortunately, the shortcut only checks a single calendar, and Lex wanted his availability judged based on entries in two different calendars.

This thread caught my eye: both because I haven’t personally run into that issue, but also because I had actually thought of the automation.

Here’s my Copy my availability shortcut that I built all the way back when Shortcuts was Workflow, which has managed to live on in the Shortcuts Gallery today as the “Share Availability” shortcut.1

In the piece, Jason came up with a solution after Shortcuts couldn’t get all the data in one action:

Categories
Membership Shortcuts

New beta shortcuts for members: Ivory for Mastodon

Hey members!

This morning I got access to the TestFlight for Ivory, a Mastodon client from the makers of Tweetbot, and immediately spent the whole morning putting together a set of shortcuts based on the Open Ivory action and all its possible parameters.

I’ve just added my folder of Ivory shortcuts—including the Ivorycuts bundle—in beta and will be releasing these in the free section of the Shortcuts Library (along with a review) when Ivory gets released!

Check out the shortcuts below – I wrote about 1,000 words across all the descriptions explaining how to use the shortcuts, why the features from Ivory in particular are interesting, plus how I’m using Mastodon compared to Twitter:

Categories
Shortcuts

New in the Shortcuts Library: Mastodon shortcuts

I’ve just added a new folder to the Shortcuts Library — my set of Mastodon shortcuts:

Mastocuts:

Presents a menu to open every section of Mastodon, plus convert profiles as needed.

Use this shortcut to access every section of Mastodon on your default instance.

Enter your domain, your handle, then choose from any option to pass your link and open to the corresponding page.

If a profile link is passed as input, using the Mastodon handle converter option to reformat it.

Categories
Shortcuts

New in the Shortcuts Library: Christmas shortcuts

I’ve just added a new folder to the Shortcuts Library — my set of Christmas shortcuts:

Open Apple Music Holiday

Opens the deep link to the Holiday section of Apple Music.

Use the shortcut to find Albums, playlists, and radio stations related to the Holidays on Apple Music.

This shortcut works great on iPad for finding your favorite playlists and saving them for later.

Categories
Shortcuts

How to export your full Revue newsletter archive using Shortcuts

With Twitter announcing the imminent shutdown of Revue, I wanted to share my method for creating a proper export of your full newsletter archive as HTML using Apple’s Shortcuts app.

Revue is currently offering an Export tool, however, it’s fairly limited for the average user — it provides a list of issues and their introductions… but all the links and tweets are shared in .JSON format.

That means all the data must be extracted in a complex manner if anyone wants to do something with the information — it’s not too practical unless you have the skills to patch it all together.

Instead, I’ve solved this problem with the Shortcuts app from Apple, which lets users automate daily tasks — one action in the app is Get Contents of URL, which lets users connect to web services like Revue that have an Application Programming Interface (API).

Categories
Shortcuts

Shortcuts shows too much personal information and that needs to change

I am writing this post because I am frustrated with the fact that Shortcuts shows personally identifiable information about me when live-streaming about the app, when Apple could easily change the interface to show the same information without exposing me and my girlfriend to personal safety problems.

To fix this Apple needs to overwrite personally-identifiable information in Shortcuts with generic placeholders that the user can understand from context, and they need to add the ability to remove Suggestions.

Every time you go into Shortcuts and try to pick a location, it will show your Home Address in the view — please just change this to say “Home” and do not input the address into the Location field, Home is plenty.

When you first open Shortcuts to a blank shortcut, in the bottom right there are often “Suggestions” based on your recent activity. However, there is no way to remove this information, meaning that recent contacts will always show up there and your friends & family have no choice but to have their names, images, and sometimes phone numbers appear on-screen. I’ve had Apple PR contacts of mine appear in this view when producing public content, for example.

Any suggested actions in the Shortcuts app should also be able to be removed — in my Reminders suggestions, the app is currently recommending that I make a shortcut with my most-recently added reminder, which includes information I do not want on-screen and cannot remove before trying to record my screen.

I originally sent this feedback to Apple on July 24, 2019 as FB6809181. It’s now been three years and I’m basically lucky this hasn’t been a bigger issue so far.

I really hope Apple takes this post to heart and adds these small but significant changes to the Shortcuts app in iOS 16.0 — I really don’t want this to become a much larger and much more personal issue by having my family’s privacy violated because I choose to share about this cool app I like to use.

Categories
Shortcuts

Here are 51 new actions for Shortcuts in the iOS 16 betas (so far)

In the first seed of the iOS 16 developer beta, the Shortcuts app has received 51 new actions that support interacting with Apple’s first-party apps and help take advantage of system features.

The actions provided work with Notes, Voice Memos, Mail, Safari, Shortcuts, Clock, Parked Cars, Image Backgrounds, Personal Hotspot, Files, PDFs, and Reminders, plus there’s an initial batch of bug fixes for actions and new Mac support for Safari Reader and Evernote actions.

This guide was compiled using a list provided by the Shortcuts team during Q&A sessions at WWDC, plus another post on Reddit and one of its comments, plus some of my own research using the developer betas.

I’ve sorted larger groups into sections, plus marked any actions with * do not currently work in the first developer beta.