Writing On The iPad is a textbook for iOS automation
Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial by Federico Viticci is fantastic. If you have any interest in automation on iOS, this book is the key that will show you how to unlock the power of Editorial. Federico revealed that he has been using Editorial and his iPad to publish MacStories for the past eight months. He added that he now prefers writing in Editorial on his iPad rather than writing on his Mac. When I read that claim near the beginning of the book, I thought he might be guilty of a little casual hyperbole, but by the end of the book it seemed not only true, but also obvious and self-evident.
Now, let's be clear: Editorial won't change everyone's world. Try mentioning "scripting" and "automation" to most people who want to write on their iPads and you will probably receive mostly blank stares. However, for those people who want to do scripting and automation, this your textbook. It is filled with examples outlining not only what you can do, but also giving useful suggestions on "best practices" and what to avoid when getting started.
Peppered throughout the book are downloadable examples which can be imported into Editorial, as well as videos showing how these workflows are used in real-world scenarios. If all you did was flip through the book, read the examples and watch the videos, you would still come away amazed by what can be done on the iPad, especially considering how notoriously high Apple has built the walls around each iOS application. There are, of course, limitations, which the book addresses as well, but there is still plenty of room to roam inside those walls.
Considering the Siracusian length of Federico's initial review of Editorial, you might think this book is merely a repackaging of the same material. It isn't. He has added "20 new workflows and 10,000 extra words" -- and those words are "how-to" instructions, moving quickly from one example to the next. In fact, I think my only complaint about the book is that Federico is so efficient in the demonstration videos that I had to watch them repeatedly to catch exactly what he was doing. The text which accompanies the videos explains what he is doing, but the lack of audio narration means that the reader has to split their attention between reading the words and watching the actions. That being said, it's a minor complaint and the videos are embedded in the book itself so it's easy enough to re-watch them. I highly recommend taking them full-screen to get all of the detail.
The book weighs in at 161 pages and 227 MB, so make sure you are on WiFi before you try to download it. It is currently available for US$3 (listed as "50 percent off for a limited time"). Don't let the low price fool you; this is a quality reference book which could be favorably compared to the excellent Take Control and MacSparky Field Guides. Since it was made with iBooks Author, it is currently only available on the iPad. Then again, Editorial is also iPad-only, so that limitation won't really restrict its potential audience. The ability to read iBooks Author books on our iPhones is not here yet, but hopefully will be soon.
If you're still not convinced, you can send yourself a free sample of the book right from within iTunes or the iBooks Store on your iPad.
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