Support for iOS Shortcuts

I’m loving the promise of Supernotes, but there are a couple of really important things I need out of a digital second brain:
The first is interoperability - the ability to connect this information repository to the world outside it.
The second is local-first function - being able to use all core features without any connection to the internet, because it’s too important and critical an asset to be only usable when I have a stable connection.

I don’t know how to have both of these at the same time. Supernotes has a great API, but I can’t use the API for this purpose since I need internet access to be able to use it.

To that end, to be able to use an app like this I really need to see support for iOS Shortcuts - i.e. that the core app functions are available in the iOS Shortcuts app. Or, that local URLs provide a core API surface area (in the same way that you can do supernotes://card_id=ENTER_CARD_ID_HERE, but for more key operations like creating/modifying/tagging notes). Or possibly another solution that meets both the requirements I mentioned that doesn’t come to mind immediately! The closest thing I could imagine was getting an iOS shortcut to send an email to the supernotes email address (but the note will still only be created when the device comes online, you can’t specify tags or parent, it only gives you write functionality, so it overall doesn’t meet the right needs).

Edit: Actually, iOS shortcuts would be a far better solution than local URL handling because they let you execute actions without the disruption of requiring the app to come to the foreground, which enables a lot more possibilities.


Hi @Ryielle, first of all, welcome to the Supernotes Community! :sparkles:

You’re correct; interoperability is served by our API and improving our app-to-app Integrations. Therefore, our current focus is not on local-first integrations. There’s a good reason for this, and that’s having a single source of truth (SSOT) – which in this instance is our servers.

One of the biggest benefits of Supernotes is that you can use it across all of your devices, regardless of which combination of ecosystems you prefer (Apple, Windows, Android, Linux, etc.). Having great sync is one of the reasons why it works so well. Local-first integrations will be more prone to bugs, syncing issues, and greater battery life consumption (since the app will have to run in the background on iOS). This will create a greater likelihood of mismatches between your devices, and in turn, Supernotes will feel like a worse experience.

Currently, you can build custom iOS Shortcuts using our API, and you can find examples of a Youtube to Supernotes iOS Shortcut and a ChatGPT iOS Shortcut in our developer documentation.

What I’d like to understand is when you’re using your iOS device regularly offline and what specific use cases you’re looking to implement. For example, are you on the subway in the morning with no internet connection, and then your favorite shortcut won’t work? We can quite easily build more app custom links like supernotes://new to create a new card that you can use in iOS Shortcuts.

Supporting popular iOS Shortcut Actions automatically appearing in the Shortcuts Action list is something we can look into as well. However, all of these will most likely result in the app appearing in the foreground, unless we prompt you to add a Supernotes API key (but then internet will be required).

(I’ve moved this topic into Thoughts & Feedback for the meantime, since iOS Shortcuts are supported with the API. once there’s a clear resolution for you, we can edit the title and move it back :slight_smile: )

Thank you for the swift reply, @tobias , and for the welcome! =D

You’re right and I do appreciate that having a single source of truth is important and useful to Supernote’s goals. But are we super sure that supporting iOS Shortcuts like that necessitates all those downsides you mentioned?
Please accept my apologies if I’m being naive - I wouldn’t know how Supernotes works and I’ve perhaps a bit rudely made some guesses. But my first impression would be that since we currently have the ability to make changes offline then sync them up, whichever sync strategy/algorithm is being applied potentially could be used similarly for any programmatically made changes? e.g. if manually editing a note offline would result in some transaction log entry/CRDT change, then could an identical data structure be produced in the case of a programmatic update from an iOS Shortcut action?
If so, do we worry that would be more prone to bugs? If anything I wonder if it could be more reliable - since at the moment the kinds of bugs that exist are like not being able to correctly attach parents to notes (when said parent is being created inline), as those seem more likely to be a UI-based issue that probably don’t occur when using the API (or a mechanism like an iOS shortcut action that would operate at a similar level of abstraction).

Regarding my use cases: actually, something like iOS Shortcut actions are so useful and versatile they tend to cut across just lots of various workflow stuff. I’ll show one example, which is using Things (or OmniFocus, or some other To Do system that has a lot of useful features that allow one to project-manage certain types of endeavours more easily than one could using Supernotes checkboxes alone - no offence to Supernotes checkboxes and the Tasks page which are truly lovely and would fill their own separate but important use case for my workflow), having fresh tasks in it, and pressing the Action Button on my iPhone to immediately create a new Supernotes note, putting a link back in the To Do item so whenever I’m working on the task I can always immediately jump to the right note, and then continue editing that note or create a new child from that note. (For the purposes of this demo I’m using Drafts since it supports iOS Shortcuts)
To Do ↔ Note workflow
But this is only representative of the kind of thing I would do with that particular action - I might e.g. get the button to create a link to a Note whose title is contained in the To Do item, or give a dialog with a menu for me to choose, etc.
And yeah as you suggested I will often do this offline because getting stuff done on the train, in a car in an area when signal is spotty, or waiting around in a building that is constructed like a faraday cage are really good opportunities to try and catch up on a few things.

Shortcut actions don’t necessarily have to result in the app appearing in the foreground, either - as shown in the above example that uses a Drafts Shortcuts action to create new notes which doesn’t bring Drafts to the foreground. Which means you can do things like having your phone silently and reliably create or modify notes for any of your automations - arriving at locations, opening/closing apps, making transactions, starting workouts, changing focus modes, etc. Here’s an example of a shortcut that appends an entry to a Drafts note whenever Supernotes is opened or closed, note that Drafts doesn’t open until I open it myself at the end to show you the result (this use case is contrived for the purpose of providing a demo).
Action used in Shortcut Automation

Regarding the title: perhaps I can clarify the request to be more specific? Maybe something like “Support for iOS shortcuts for Supernotes, the app” (usable offline and facilitating a lot of friction-free use cases) rather than “Support for iOS shortcuts for Supernotes, the service/concept” (achievable by using the API) as might have currently been inferred.

Thank you for your attention, and for crafting a wonderful and delightful app ^^