One of the most anticipated additions to iOS 13 is Shortcuts, a feature that makes a countless number of more complicated tasks a lot easier. We’re especially excited about Shortcuts because we love making custom apps at Glitch.
The Shortcuts feature is now part of the default suite of apps on every iOS device (it’s also completely integrated with Siri). Using Shortcuts can be as simple as pulling up a map of your commute but Shortcuts can use web services to extend their capabilities. And the best place to roll your own web service is Glitch!
We’ve built a couple of Glitch apps that integrate with Shortcuts – to learn more about our current apps, or to build your own, just keep reading.
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In a few taps, for example, your phone can take five pictures and turn them into a gif. There’s a universe of possibilities out there. Where should you start?
Determine there is an API you want to use or if you want to build your own. If you can think of it, there is (probably) an API for it: nutrition, movies, Reddit. Some APIs allow you to get interesting data, while others allow more advanced functionality like creating or editing content. You can build your own APIs on Glitch, too, if that’s your thing. Last year we showed you a simple Shortcut that used Glitch to work with data about Pokemon types from the Pokemon API. This year, we made a few examples to show how to post data to an API.
The magic is in Shortcuts Actions, which are the building blocks of all Shortcuts. Specifically the "get contents of URL" Action. The name only hints at what it can do: it allows you to send data anywhere on the web, and that’s key for communication with APIs. Along with it comes increased integration with many apps and Siri.
Here’s a quick look at two apps we built with Shortcuts:
Tell Siri what text you’d like on the background and the Glitch Background Maker will create a cute background with the text on it. Cats, dogs, palm trees? You never know what you’ll get. And it’s easy to modify if you want to remix.
Focus Tracker can be used to track your productivity shortcuts. We have an example one that asks you what you want to focus on and sets do not disturb and a timer for 20 minutes. The data gets passed to a Glitch app that stores it and powers a cool data viz!
Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities of Glitch-powered Shortcuts are endless, from Pallet Town to Portofino.
Need help? Our friendly community is ready to help, just ask. With the expanded capabilities, more and more apps will have awesome Shortcuts integrations. That means more things to play within Shortcuts and maybe more data to send to your Glitch APIs.
We can’t wait to see what you make. See you Glitch.com!