Workflow: Automator-style action for your iPhone and iPad

DeskConnect's Workflow is incredible. It brings a variant of OS X's Automator to the iPhone and iPad, giving mobile users detailed automation workflows for the first time. And it does so in an uncomplicated, easy-to-learn style, with a clean, smart interface. Once you've built a workflow, you can use extensions and Web Clips on your home screen to launch them, no interaction with the main app needed.

I've only had the chance to play around with Workflow for a short time, but Federico Viticci over at MacStories has been interacting with the beta for a while and has some great observations and suggestions for people interested in learning more about Workflow. (He's also one of the smartest people I know when it comes to iOS automation and his review is definitely worth a look.)

You can parse RSS feeds, edit and delete photos, compress files and AirDrop them (seriously), control music, and that's not to mention the scripting part with variables, conditional and repeat blocks, and custom menus. For a 1.0, Worklow has an astounding depth...iOS automation has mostly been limited to plain text and scripts so far. If Apple ever makes an iOS version of Automator, I bet it would be similar to Workflow, which I believe has a bright future ahead. Workflow's biggest strength is in how it hides complexity to let anyone create their own automated chains of actions easily and quickly. There's plenty of power under the hood, and the developers showed remarkable restraint in not making technical details the focus of this debut.Workflow sits somewhere in between a magical sandbox and insane power user tool, and I still can't believe that this is possible on iOS now.

My personal selling point: Workflow offers a ridiculously easy way to create animated gifs from still photos in your library or images you snap on site. I'm terrible at creating Automator workflows on the Mac — I just never could quite wrap my head around them — but I got comfortable with Workflow in seconds. It's supremely simple to use, and it's intuitive, suggesting next steps in your Workflow that make sense: For example, if your first action is taking a photo, your suggested next actions include editing that photo, uploading it somewhere, sending it to AirDrop, and such.

For just $3, it's a must-buy to play with at the very least — but I can almost guarantee you'll walk away with something you can use in your daily iOS travels. Check it out.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.