My URL Schemes for Posting Links From My iPhone and iPad Using Poster



After publishing my iPad App Playlist, several folks asked me via Twitter and email to share the workflows I use for posting links to this site.

The app I use is Poster, and unfortunately it’s no longer available for sale in the App Store. Thus I didn’t make a big deal out of how I use the app because I assumed many people wouldn’t be able to make use of such nerdy information. But, based on the feedback I’ve been getting lately, perhaps I was wrong.

And so here are the details for how I use Poster on my iPad (and iPhone) to post links to this site.

* * *

There are three places I come across things worth linking to: Safari, my RSS feeds, and my Instapaper queue. (Technically there are four, counting Twitter, but I don’t yet know of a way to get from Tweetbot to Poster, and so often most things I want to link to that I find in Tweetbot I’ll either send to Instapaper or open in Safari.)

Since I use YJ’s Linked List plugin on my site to handle the “swapping” of the permalink URL and the linked-to URL in the RSS feed and on the Home Page, the name of the Custom Field in my WordPress install is linked_list_url. Poster allows you to add the value of a custom field from within the URL scheme by defining it as such: customfield_YOURCUSTOMFIELDNAMEHERE

Also, I have the callback_url set as this site’s homepage. That way once I’ve posted the link from Poster I’m automatically sent over to shawnblanc.net to make sure that the link properly posted.

Safari → Poster

If I’m in Mobile Safari on my iPad or iPhone, I tap this javascript bookmarklet and it will send me to Poster and create a link post with the Title of the website set as the title of my post, and the URL of the web page set as the linked-to URL for my post.

javascript:window.location='posterapp:///create?text='+encodeURIComponent(window.getSelection())+'&title='+(document.title)+'&customfield_YOURCUSTOMFIELDNAME='+(window.location.href)+'&callback_url=http://example.com/';

I then can paste in the quote I want to use (if any) into the body, type in my commentary, and hit Publish.

One thing the Poster URL scheme does not allow is the pre-defining of a category. All my link posts are in the "Linked" category; all my articles are in the "Article" category, and I use some custom WordPress hooks for adjusting the style of a post depending on if it is in the linked category of the articles category. In the WordPress admin panel, I've selected the Linked category as the default. Thus, if I publish a post without first assigning the proper category, WordPress will automatically assign it to the Linked category. Therefore I don't even have to set the category for my link posts when sending them from Poster (thus saving me a few extra taps).

Mr. Reader → Poster

I recently discovered that Mr. Reader supports custom actions. I've now switched over to Mr. Reader as my RSS reading app of choice, and build a URL scheme that allows me to take the title, URL, author, and any highlighted text and then place it into Poster so I can publish it as a link on shawnblanc.net.

My URL looks like this (with my personal site-specific tidbits swapped out for generic examples):

posterapp://x-callback-url/create?title={[TITLE]}&text={[AUTHOR]: > [TEXT-SELECTED]}&customfield_yourcustomfieldnamegoeshere={[URL]}&callback_url={http://example.com/}

To set up a custom action in Mr. Reader you tap on the Settings icon → Services → scroll down to Add → Other App

From there, if you have Poster installed on your iPad, you'll see it in the list. Add it, insert your custom URL scheme, and you're good to go. Now, when you're reading an article in Mr. Reader that you want to link to from your site, just tap the actions button, and then tap Poster.

Instapaper → Drafts → Poster

Within the Instapaper app there is an option to share to Drafts, so I use Drafts as the "middle man" for taking an interesting article and getting the title, author, link, and any quoted text into Poster.

To start, when I've come across an article in Instapaper which I want to link to on my site, I highlight any text I want to quote and then tap the "Share" button which appears after highlighting. (If I want to link to the article without highlighting any text from it, simply tap the action button in the top right, then tap Share.)

When the Instapaper share sheet pops up, I chose to create a draft in Drafts.

Instapaper automatically inserts the title of the article on the first line, the URL on the second line, then a line break, and then any text I had selected.

This is where Drafts gets awesome. You can define certain lines, and/or ranges of lines, to be the content for different components when sending the text file into Poster.

So, after my draft is auto-created from Instapaper, I tidy it up a bit, by cleaning up the title (if need be), adding an extra line break between the title and the URL, and then writing out any additional commentary, etc., in the body.

I then send the Draft to Poster, using my custom action which defines the title (the first line) of the Draft as the title of the link post, the 3rd line of the Draft as the URL for the custom field, and then everything from line 5 on as the body text.

posterapp://x-callback-url/create?title=[[title]]&text=[[line|5..]]&customfield_linked_list_url=[[line|3]]&callback_url=http://shawnblanc.net/

(Tapping here from your iPhone/iPad should allow you to install this action in Drafts automatically (you'll then want to tweak it of course to your own usage needs.)