Paperless for iOS 7

Today I’m releasing a free update to Paperless that has been completely redesigned to better fit with the overall aesthetic of iOS 7.

When designing this update, I could have gone a couple of different ways:

  1. I could get rid of themes, and make the interface mostly white with colored buttons like many of Apple’s apps.
  2. I could keep the themes (including the colored navigation bar at the top and colored toolbar at the bottom), and make the buttons white.

I struggled over this for a while, but ultimately opted to keep themes in order to preserve the personality that Paperless has. Themes are something that many people have said they really liked about the app, and removing them would have been a disappointment to many.

Paperless for iOS 7

Paperless was certainly in need of some big changes though – and what I did borrow from iOS 7′s overall design was the clean flat look and thin lines. The heavy shadows and gradients in the bars at the top and bottom are gone, as are the shadows on the icons. Also, most of the user interface buttons have been made thinner, and some are completely different now in an effort to make it clearer what they are for.

There are now 30 themes available, and 24 of them are solid colors (for that clean flat look). I did keep a few of the old favorite patterned themes around though, and added a couple of new ones as well. You can see more here.

In addition to the design changes, there are some nice new features… you can now:

  • print lists and list items directly from the app to an AirPrint compatible printer. If your printer doesn’t support AirPrint, there is software that might help. I use Printopia.
  • post lists to Facebook
  • send lists via iMessage (you might be able to message lists to people not on iMessage as well, though depending on the cellular provider it may be split up into multiple messages if it’s over 160 characters)
  • copy a list as plain text into another app (perhaps you’d like to copy a list of things you did one day into a journaling app like Day One)
  • post individual list items to Facebook, Twitter, send them as text messages

There are many other small improvements as well. I hope you like the update, and if you do please take a moment to rate and review the app… your support will help ensure the continued improvement of Paperless.

Scout Camera Redesigned for iOS 7

A completely redesigned version of Scout Camera for iOS 7 was released today. While many of the changes are cosmetic – to match the distinct look of iOS 7, there are a few other nice improvements that make this a great update.

Scout Camera for iOS 7

The biggest new feature is a slider that lets you adjust the intensity of the current image filter. For most of the filters, adjusting the slider down will lower the intensity of the filter – bringing the image closer to what it looks like naturally (bringing the slider all the way down still shows some filter effect).

The “Pearl” and “Nora” filters behave differently though… for those, adjusting the slider down mixes the filter effect with a standard grayscale image conversion. For “Pearl”, that means a nice range between the high contrast black and white when used at full intensity – and a more standard black and white conversion. For “Nora” it gives a pleasing range of deep blue/gold to black/white tones.

That small addition to the app provides a huge array of possibilities, and I’m looking forward to seeing the great photos people take with it. On top of that, many of the filters have been improved to have a better overall look.

Scout Camera - Filter Select

Other improvements to the app include:

  • a nice new app icon
  • new “color blur” and “grayscale blur” crop border styles that match the blurred background style of iOS 7 (on iPhone 5, iPad 3, iPod Touch 5th gen and newer devices only)
  • a new layout for the flash and front/back camera select controls, which provides easier access to those controls on newer 4″ screen devices
  • larger thumbnail images in the photo browser
  • lots of user interface tweaks, and a couple of small bug fixes

I should mention that the app runs only on iOS 7 and up now… not a problem for most, but if you’re using an iPhone 3GS I’m afraid you’ll need to stick with the previous version of Scout Camera. Also, I’ve chosen to make it a free update rather than offer it as a new app in the App Store.

All in all, it’s a great update. If you haven’t purchased Scout Camera, I hope you’ll check it out… it’s fun to use, and might just be your new favorite camera app.

Paperless 2.1.2 Released

Paperless version 2.1.2 is now available. In addition to the many improvements from Paperless 2.1, this release has a few small additions – plus some important improvements and bug fixes related to syncing.

What’s New

  • You can now sign up for the Crush Apps newsletter directly from the app (on the settings screen)… I’m working on something big, and want you to be the first to know about it.
  • A few people disliked the change that made new lists appear at the top, so there’s now an option in the settings to have them go to the bottom.
  • When you import a list from email, if there is an existing list with the same name, you’re now given the option to merge the two lists or import it as a new list.

Improved Syncing

  • This release eliminates the possibility of conflicted/duplicate copies of lists. Now when there’s a syncing conflict it happens on the item level. In all cases, Paperless preserves information… so, at worst, you may end up having a list item you previously deleted reappear, or two slightly different copies of a list item.
  • When you first sync a device, if there is a list on that device with the same name as a list already on Dropbox, the two lists are automatically merged.
  • Now if you unlink from Dropbox with the “Keep Lists And Unlink” option and then relink to that same Dropbox account, it no longer results in duplicate copies of lists.
  • Plus many other syncing related bug fixes and improvements. (Like letting you know when your Dropbox account is full.)

New URL Schemes

In addition to the URL schemes from the 2.1 update, there are two new ones:

If you’re using an app like Launch Center Pro, and want to open Paperless to a specific list, you would use this:

paperless://viewList?
	listName=YOUR_LIST_NAME

(note that if there are spaces in the list name, you’ll need to replace those with “%20″. For example, if your list name is “My To Do List”, you would use “My%20To%20Do%20List”)

Add multiple items to a specific list:

paperless://addItems?
	toListNamed=YOUR_LIST_NAME
	&listItems=ITEM_NAME1%0DITEM_NAME2%0DITEM_NAME3%0DITEM_NAME4

If there is no list with that name, it will automatically be created. If you don’t specify a list name, it will create a new list named “Untitled”.

You can also add optional parameters for the icon name, whether or not it’s a checklist, and whether or not new items should appear at the top of the list (if the list already exists, it will ignore them… it’s only used if the list hasn’t been created yet):

paperless://addItems?
	toListNamed=YOUR_LIST_NAME
	&isCheckList=YES
	&itemsToTop=YES
	&iconName=NAME_OF_ICON
	&listItems=ITEM_NAME1%0DITEM_NAME2%0DITEM_NAME3%0DITEM_NAME4

… and yes, this does make the previous addItem and addList URL schemes redundant, but they still work if you happen to be using them.

Paperless 2.1 Released

Paperless version 2.1 is now available in the App Store. This release adds a few new features, along with many subtle improvements and bug fixes. Here’s a list of the new features with details on how to use them:

Now includes over 450 icons

Including many that were requested by people who have purchased the app.

New icons

Select multiple lists to merge or delete

On the main screen, when you tap the “Edit” button, you can now select multiple lists to either delete or merge.

When selecting lists to merge, note that the first list you select is the one that lists will be merged into.

Merging Lists

Select multiple list items to move, copy or delete

When viewing a list, you can press the “Edit” button and select multiple list items to move, copy or delete. When deleting multiple items, whether or not you get a confirmation asking if you really want to delete the items depends on what you have the “Warning On Item Delete” switch set to in the app’s settings.

Selecting Multiple Items

Syncing: lists viewed from the Dropbox website are now pretty

When using the “Automatic Backup And Syncing” feature in Paperless, your lists are saved to your Dropbox account in a folder named “Paperless”. Each list is saved as a separate file ending in “.xml”.

Previously, if you viewed one of those XML files on the Dropbox website you’d see the raw XML code. However, now a style sheet has been added so that the list is nicely formatted for viewing. NOTE: You’ll need to modify the list in Paperless to make this change take effect (a new XML file has to be written to Dropbox).

You can also print the lists from the Dropbox website, but note that when printing a checklist you’ll need to do the following:

Safari – make sure the “Print backgrounds” option is selected

Firefox – make sure both the “Print Background Colors” and “Print Background Images” options are selected

Syncing: option to show lists that need to be synced in red text

There is a new option in the “Automatic Backup And Syncing” settings to “Highlight Unsynced”. With that feature turned on, lists that still need to be uploaded to Dropbox will be shown in red text on the main screen.

This should be useful to people who frequently use Paperless in areas with a poor wifi/cellular connection – as it will let you know if a list was unable to be uploaded. Then, once you’re somewhere with a good connection again, you can simply open Paperless and the list should automatically be uploaded (at that point the red text will change back to the normal colors).

Highlight Unsynced feature

Add an item or list via URL schemes

You can now add a list item or an entire list from certain other apps (like the popular app Drafts) by using URL schemes.

NOTE: in the examples below I’ve added spacing to make them easy to read… but in actual use you need to remove all spaces/returns.

To add a list item, the format of the URL scheme is:

paperless://addItem?
	itemName=YOUR_ITEM_NAME
	&itemNote=YOUR_ITEM_NOTE
	&toListNamed=YOUR_LIST_NAME

Both the item note and the list name are optional.

If you don’t specify a list name, the item will simply be added to the first list in Paperless. If you specify a list name that doesn’t exist, a new list will be created with that name.

To add an entire list, the format of the URL scheme is:

paperless://addList?
	listName=YOUR_LIST_NAME
	&isCheckList=YES
	&itemsToTop=YES
	&iconName=NAME_OF_ICON
	&listItems=ITEM_NAME1%0DITEM_NAME2%0DITEM_NAME3%0DITEM_NAME4

Everything but the list name is optional. Also note the %0D characters between each list item… that’s the equivalent of a carriage return. It looks complicated, but if you’re using something like Drafts, once you enter the URL scheme (or “URL Action”) it’s a breeze to use.

For those of you who use Drafts specifically, here are some possible URL Actions:

Item To Paperless

paperless://addItem?
	itemName=[[draft]]
	&toListNamed=Drafts

List To Paperless

paperless://addList?
	listName=Untitled
	&itemsToTop=YES
	&iconName=Folder%20-%20Add
	&listItems=[[draft]]

Checklist To Paperless

paperless://addList?
	listName=Untitled
	&isCheckList=YES
	&itemsToTop=YES
	&iconName=Folder%20-%20Add
	&listItems=[[draft]]

Named Checklist To Paperless (the first line of text is used for the list name)

paperless://addList?
	listName=[[title]]
	&isCheckList=YES
	&itemsToTop=YES
	&iconName=Folder%20-%20Add
	&listItems=[[body]]

See also: instructions on how to create a URL Action in Drafts.

Other improvements

  • new lists are now added to the top
  • improved search – if you search starting from the main screen, that search term is carried over into the list view
  • when using the “Import Items” feature, unnecessary dashes/bullet points are removed
  • fixed a rare but extremely frustrating problem on an iPad where the main screen of lists could be shown partially offscreen

I hope you find these new features useful!

Why Scout Camera?

Prior to writing her review of Scout Camera, Marianne Schultz of AppShopper asked me “Why did you want to create a photography app (given the large number of photography apps already in the App Store)?”

This post is an expanded version of my response to her, explaining why I made Scout Camera – and why I think it makes for a better photography experience.

I love photography… so much that at one point I strongly considered becoming a professional photographer, but quickly realized that it would require too much time away from my family. Though I’m not a very prolific photographer, I think I do occasionally take a decent photo.

Given that love of photography, it was natural for me to want to make a camera app.

I really enjoy the process of taking photos – and being able to frame a picture to a particular aspect ratio while taking it is, to me, a better experience than taking a photo and cropping it later on. If you carefully compose a picture while in the process of taking it, rather than taking a quick shot and cropping it later, you’ll end up with better photos – and you’ll become a better photographer overall. I think this is something most photography enthusiasts would agree with me on. For that reason, I wanted to make a camera app that offered a choice of aspect ratios.

I also really like the 16:9 aspect ratio. I find that particular shape of photo visually interesting, and wanted a camera app capable of that. Years ago, I discovered some fantastic 16:9 photos on the DPReview.com forums taken by photographer/architect Bj√∂rn Utpott with his Panasonic LX1 camera – so my desire for a 16:9 camera app was also partially inspired by him. (I wish these photos were still around, but I can’t find them anywhere… his newer photos are taken with various cameras and mostly not in 16:9, but are still great). The ability to take photos in 16:9 ended up working well with the iPhone 5 when it was released – it’s nice viewing those photos on the iPhone 5′s 16:9 screen.

A 16:9 photo taken with Scout Camera

A 16:9 photo taken with Scout Camera

One issue I have with other camera apps is how some of the controls block the view of the photo you’re trying to take (like the typical front/back camera switch and flash on/auto/off buttons). In other camera apps, I find those controls distracting and think they get in the way of composing the picture. So, with Scout Camera I decided to make those controls only show when you need them.

Another problem with certain camera apps is how they try to look like traditional cameras and emulate their controls. I wanted something with a clean, uncluttered interface – something elegant that looked like it belonged on an iPhone, not a poorly translated rehash of DSLR buttons and menus.

Scout Camera

Scout Camera’s clean, uncluttered interface.

I also wanted to be able to offer something that allowed you to take photos in black and white, or that had a little extra color saturation – or a number of other visual looks… and I wanted to be able to see what those effects looked like as I was taking the photo. There are some really great image filters included with Scout Camera, and there’s still a lot more I want to do in that area.

In many ways, I think Scout Camera makes the process of taking photos more enjoyable, and can even help you take better photos. While the app runs on anything from an iPhone 3GS on up, it really shines on an iPhone 5. In fact, I think it’s the best photography experience available on the iPhone 5 and I hope you’ll give it a try.