Automating with Things 3


When I switched to Things 3 a couple months ago I was worried that it wouldn't be as customizable as Todoist. I did a deep dive into the X-Callback URL support and I was surprised to find how far it goes. I even found a website the developers put together to help build the URLs.


This got me thinking, I wanted to see how far I could push this. A Workflow I used a lot with Todoist was to build a checklist for a production of a new video. How it worked in Todoist was it would create a project and then create about twenty tasks in that project, everything from writing notes to uploading to YouTube. This worked fine but I wanted to do something different with Things. So using the website I built this x-callback url.

    things:///add?title=Replace Text&checklist-items=Outline%0AScript%0ARecord%20V%2FO%0AEdit%20V%2FO%0ARecored%20Primary%20Video%20Track%0AEdit%20Primary%20Track%0ARecored%20B-Roll%0AEdit%20B-Roll%0AFinal%20Edit%0AExport%20%0AUpload%20to%20YouTube%0AThumbnail%0ACheck%20YouTube%20Settings%0ABackup%20Video%20to%20Server&tags=Video%20ProjectProject&list=Untitled%20Site%20Videos

How it works is that it will create a task in my video ideas project and make a list with every step I do durning production of a video. I can then move this task to a date when I wish to start working on that video. For me this is a much cleaner way of accomplishing this task.

So let's walk through this Workflow. The Workflow starts with a "Ask for input" option, and it ask what's the title of the video. In the URL where we set the title of the task I use the magic variable option of the “Ask for input” action to set the title. This way it will set name to whatever I answer the "Ask for input" question every time. Next up I have a replace text block. URLs handle spaces very differently, for humans we would just hit the spacebar, but for URLs spaces are "%20". So the replace block replaces a spaces in the title with %20. Then I added the URL, like I mentioned at the top I built it using the wonderful URL builder from Things 3's developers. After that we just add "Open X-Callback URL" so that it opens and adds the whole task with the list in Things. As you can see it builds out quite a bit. For me this would take a lot longer to do manually for every video idea I come up with.


I really love automation and I'm really happy to see such advanced stuff coming to the iPad. I’ve built a few more workflows for Things 3, I’ve one for quick entry, one for adding items to a shopping list, and one for adding URLs to my inbox. I plan on posting a lot about iOS automation here so be sure to check back. You can always follow the Untitled Site Twitter account for all the updates.