C-Command Software Forum

Any Thoughts on an EagleFiler for Apple iPad?

I was wondering if this might be in the cards. The reason is that I would find it easier if I could surf the web on the iPad and then F1 a page from it to an Eaglefiler library on my Mac. Safari on the iPad may not support web archives though.

It might. I’d certainly be interested to hear what people would want a hypothetical EagleFiler iPad app to do.

As far as what works today, one option would be to use the bookmarklets for sites such as Instapaper and Delicious (or to save pages from Mobile Safari). When you get back to your Mac, you could then import the pages into EagleFiler.

What would definitely be useful is an EF capture application that would let you snip things from other applications. Synch could look something like this: It handshakes with a host application running on the Mac and gets an updated list of registered libraries that the user sets up on the Mac. On the iPad itself, when snipping pages, text, and images, the user would be presented with a pop-up menu that lets them select the target library, perhaps with the last used library always at the top for easy access in the case of long lists. The rest of the synch process would essentially dump the pending clippings into the “To Import” folders on the Mac, letting EF handle the rest from there.

But, that assumes Apple will allow inter-application integration. While some of their applications definitely do provide this, it remains to be seen if these are Apple-only APIs that cannot be accessed by third-party vendors. It may very well be that iPad applications will be, like iPhone/Touch applications, restricted to running in their own box, save for the pasteboard.

Beyond that, and into the heavy development realm (as if the above would be “easy”), something like what Gus has done with VoodooPad could be interesting. An EF “light” library reader that lets you access your notes on the go.

Another present-tense method for loose EF integration between iDevice and Mac is the EverNote application which can be run on both. That one is free. For a small price, WriteRoom.app is very nice. I use it to jot down ideas while commuting, and then use the built-in web server to access the notes later on in a browser. It can also be set up to automatically synch with a central SimpleText.ws server, which incidentally does have APIs for third-party integration. Scrivener already does this, you can grab WriteRoom notes and import them directly into a writing project. Integration like that might be nice for EF, too.

After purchasing my iPad on April 3rd, I started working on a new way of working in my office, with an emphasis transitioning to a paperless workflow and being able to access edit content both at my main computer and when mobile.

So I had two goals:

  • being able to access documents anywhere
  • moving from paper filing to scanning and electronic filing

Goal 1: Document Access

  • the iPad has new “file Sharing” capabilities. After a day of experimenting with it, I abandoned it, as the implementation was slow, clunky, complicated, and resulted in up to four copies of a single file
  • next I looked at how combining cloud storage with iPad document manager/reader apps could work in the workflow, which could also utilize the iPad’s “Open document in other application” feature, and found a much better fit, still some flaws, but much better. Obvious choices are iDisk Syncing and DropBox.

Goal 2: Digital Filing

  • I began looking at ways that I could scan in paper documents using A Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, and then organizing them on my Mac, instead of printing and filing in a file cabinet
  • I could place the scanned documents on iDisk and have access to them both on my main computer and on my iPad/iPhone. The syncing was great. It automatically happened.
  • The next piece came with organizing (and possibly tagging). This is of course where EagleFiler comes into the picture. It works great because of the capture methods, and organization and searching features.

And now, I bet you know where this is going…

How can we marry the two - ubiquitous access to documents across multiple devices along with digital organizational tools - together?

Certainly today, we can get part way there:

  • we can store the EagleFiler Library on iDisk
  • we can access iDisk documents on the iPad using AirSharing

Benefits to an EagleFiler iPad app:
But we can take it to the next step with a native EagleFiler iPad app. Having an EagleFiler app on the iPad would give us tools that we don’t have with AirSharing:

  • Access to EagleFiler meta data, most notably tags
  • Access to EagleFiler organization tools, most notably Smart Folders
  • Access to EagleFiler powerful search tools
  • Create/Add new files!
  • Ability to move and delete files (without breaking EagleFiler’s Library)
  • Ability to tag files
  • Ability to have a Bookmarklet in Mobile safari and send to EagleFiler
  • Potential to have workflows such as as read an article in NetNewsWire iPad, reformat in Readability, Send to InstaPaper, file in EagleFiler
  • We could eliminate other iPad apps, such as EverNote, and keep (ALL) our notes in EagleFiler, and we wouldn’t need an app like AirSharing
  • Think AirSharing/GoodReader/EverNote/InstaPaper all in one
    Having access to the notes and organized files for reference (along with other built-in features of iPad) makes the iPad a GREAT tool in meetings

WiFi sync?
I am testing EagleFiler and I like it better than Devonthink.

However Devonthink just syncs files over wifi.
If I could do that with EagleFiler I would be a happy man.

You can get limited WiFi syncing and viewing by using cloud or device storage and various generic apps. As for a full EagleFiler iPad app, what would be the most important features for you?

What I am looking for
I am looking mainly for a notetaking and posting to my library. Being able to open rich text documents from eagle filer, change them, and then save them back. I don’t think that I would need the ability to open pages documents.

EagleFiler on iPad
I would say searching would be my No1 priority.

Searching of…filenames, text content, tags, dates?

For me searching tags is paramount, then content, then filenames

The most important things for me would be;
To store the content of one or more EF libraries on my iPad.
To be able to search/filter on the content, filename and possibly tags.
To be able to chose font size for viewing plain text.
To be able to add content for syncing back to the main computer.

My content is;
Plain text files.
rtf & rtfd files.
Pdf files.
Pages documents.
Numbers documents.

Also important for me would be smooth syncing without using cloud servers.


QuickFiles for iPad comes close
I would also be very interested in an EagleFiler app for iPad. Searching for tags on iPad, capturing from Safari or integrated EF browser and the ability to in- and export files between mac and iPad would be on my list of features. QuickFiles for iPad comes close to an app comparable to EF on iPad. Something similar to QF on iPad with EF for Mac integration would be perfect.