/ Apple

Apple acquires Workflow

I'm cautiously optimistic about Apple's acquisition of Workflow. I want to applaud any attempts to automate on-device work on iOS, though I have mixed feelings about Workflow itself.

Automator on Mac never clicked for me. There always seemed to be a limit to what it could do within any automation I might dream up. At a certain point, I would invariably think, "why am I not just scripting this?"

iOS is probably where I could have figured out how to make do with Automator, but an iOS version never materialized.

Workflow seemed like it could fill that void.

However, I only started using Workflow over the winter break (apparently I'm not the only one who thought this would be a "productive" way to spend some vacation time). I learned about building automated workflows with Workflow, and got a few done, only a couple of which I still use three months later.

Using Workflow, I quickly got that old Automator feeling where certain things I wanted to do were just out of reach, or were incredibly hard to create as workflows in a touch GUI on a phone screen. I found myself thinking how quickly I could have accomplished the same goals with scripting (if that existed on iOS).

It will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, Apple's acquisition of Workflow goes. I still have a few iOS workflows I'd like to build, but the frustrations I experienced with the app have kept me putting off another try. Until it's clear whether or not Workflow the app will survive post-acquisition, I'm even more reluctant to spend further time with it.