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My Current Automations

Updated: 6th December to clarify my Zapier workflows.

Moving Parts Inspired by MacStories’ Workflow Corner and MacDrifter’s article on reading within DevonThinkPro , I thought I’d share my workflow for saving PDFs of valued web content to a local store, plus also some other useful zaps/applets which make my life easier.

In my case, 95% of my reading material (articles, blog posts, technical guides & instructions etc) is sourced via Feedbin and saved into Pocket for reading on the Tube, at my desk etc. The remaining 5% are legal resources I want to keep (I’m a lawyer by day) which come from emails, within paywall sites, on my corporate email etc.

End Result
Using a combination of Pocket, Zapier, CloudConvert, Dropbox and Hazel, I end up with the following:

1) Paginated searchable PDFs in a synced DevonThinkPro database, searchable on my iPad, iPhone and MacBook.
2) Links saved to Pinboard (and saved for good measure using Bookmark Archiving)
3) Running list in Slack of the latest archived content

Whilst there was plenty of setup involved, this is now a dream to use. Anything I read that I want to save for posterity/future reference, it’s just a simple tag/star/email and I know I have a PDF saved and accessible anywhere. Most importantly, I can add in new sources as needed, or easily switch the destination for my archives, it’s all very flexible.

See below for all the details. Additionally see here for a a PDF of my automations and workflows.

– Pocket articles (tagged “ark”)
– Feedbin (starred posts show in Feedbin’s “Starred Items” RSS feed)
– Emailed links (bcc’d to a custom Zapier address)


Pocket to PDF to DevonThinkPro – Using Zapier

  • Trigger:
    — An item is tagged “ark” in Pocket
  • Zapier workflow:
    — Link received from Pocket is saved to PDF using CloudConvert and uploaded to Dropbox
    — Link saved to Pinboard tagged “ark”
    — Message sent to “Log” channel (no notifications) in Slack saying “[Title] saved to Dropbox from [link to source article]”
  • Other tasks:
    — Hazel running on my 2012 i7 mini (hosted with MacMiniColo) picks up the file and imports into DTP.
    — DTP syncs to a local shared folder which my iPad Pro, iPhone and MacBook Pro installations of DevonThinkPro sync with via WEBDAV.

Starred Feedbin to PDF to DevonThinkPro

  • Trigger:
    — Starred article in Feedbin, which Zapier picks up from the RSS feed.
  • Zapier workflow:
    — As above, Zapier pulls in the link from RSS, converts to PDF and saves to Dropbox.

Email attachment to DevonThinkPro

Forwarding on an email to a custom Zapier address extracts the attachments and saves to the same Dropbox folder as above.

Other useful Zapier ‘zaps’

  • Digest of FT Weekend RSS feeds to a private Slack channel at 5pm each Friday
  • PlexPy notifications of new content/errors to Slack from my Plex server
  • Slack notifications for WordPress comments
  • Items in Pocket tagged “holiday” go to a Trello trip-planning board
  • Photos dropped into a monitored Dropbox folder are posted as a draft on WordPress
  • BCC’ing Zapier adds the email to a new Trello card in an “Incoming” list

Other IFTTT applets

  • Archived Pocket items are appended to text file in Dropbox
  • Certain tagged items in Pocket shared with my wife in Slack
  • Tweets/Facebook posts etc saved to a DayOne “Web” diary
  • IFTTT DO Note to Trello

Other Workflows

  • Download Safari PDF to watched Dropbox folder
  • Send a selection of links to Pocket
  • Send selected text/page to Bear

I’ll add links and further automations as and when I develop/refine them; future plans include removing Dropbox from the equation and simple saving items straight to my mini (this depends on CloudConvert’s output options).

I’ve also recently discovered Butler for Trello, a bot one can add to a Trello board and using simple commands automate a massive range of tasks. For example:

when a card is added to list "Done", remove the due date from the card and add the green "Done" label to the card
two hours before a card is due, post comment "@gnbio due in 2hrs"

In the meantime I am happy to answer any questions.

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