Thursday, June 9, 2022

App Shortcuts

Matthew Cassinelli:

With the iOS 16 suite of updates coming later this fall, Siri will automatically gain new capabilities for each app that supports Shortcuts, generating a folder of shortcuts with trigger phrases for every bit of functionality provided to Shortcuts. These will be found in the Shortcuts app; users will have a new section below one’s folders called “App Shortcuts,” which includes categories for each supported app installed on your device.

Inside each category will be individual shortcuts for the actions provided by the app, set up for you in advance, so you don’t have to generate a new shortcut for each possible option manually. Each shortcut will be named with a trigger phrase pre-defined by the developer so that you can trigger the shortcut using Siri without any setup.


Apple seems to be rounding out the Siri side of Shortcuts while simultaneously addressing developers’ issues of getting users actually to take advantage of their Shortcuts support.


In many ways, it seems that Siri Shortcuts is Apple’s solution for their Siri problem, and App Shortcuts is an encouraging start.

Federico Viticci:

I was confused by iOS 16’s App Shortcuts at first, but I get it now, and I think it’s a genius move.

Biggest point of friction of Shortcuts for new users? The empty editor. They don’t know how to get started, and the action library can be scary for people new to Shortcuts.


iOS 16’s solution: apps can now bundle pre-defined App Shortcuts, created by developers, which are ready to use. No config or ‘Add to Siri’ necessary.


I hope this works out and I’d love to see many more people finally “get” Shortcuts without having to build anything in it.


Learn how you can surface great features from your app directly in Siri, Spotlight, and the Shortcuts app. We’ll introduce you to App Shortcuts, provide best practices to help you evaluate features in your app that would work well as App Shortcuts, and take you through the process of creating one of your own. Learn how to create clear and memorable names, design custom visuals, collect required information, and create discoverable shortcuts.


Discover how you can create Shortcuts in your app with zero user setup. We’ll show you how App Intents can help you present custom Shortcuts views, and explore how you can add support for parameterized phrases to allow people to quickly express their intent. We’ll also share how you can make your App Shortcuts discoverable with a Siri Tip, and Shortcuts links.


Learn how you can make your app more discoverable and increase app engagement when you use the App Intents framework. We’ll take you through the powerful capabilities of this Swift framework, explore the differences between App Intents and SiriKit Intents, and show you how you can expose your app’s functionality to the system.


Update (2022-06-10): John C. Welch:

I honestly think custom, complex, customer created workflows that aren’t created by devs for devs is going to be dead in the Apple world outside of companies like MS and Adobe that can just build that into their apps. Like in two years.

There is no way an indie dev can build that many shortcuts and still have time to like actually build applications.


Can you even get selected text on iOS? A quick attempt shows no. Pages has three actions that only operate on whole documents.


Shit, you can’t even do a MAIL MERGE kind of thing with shortcuts in iOS, which is automation basics, and you think you’re going to get anything actually complex?

There’s no error handling in Shortcuts, how TF will they handle incorrectly formatted input data?

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

I ❤️ Shortcuts, and everything apple has been doing to push it forward. They’ve been making it more powerful while simultaneously lowering the barrier to entry. Very impressive.

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