Readdle launches proprietary file drag-and-drop for its apps in iPad split-screen

Posted:
in iPad edited May 2017
Addressing a feature lacking native support from iOS, developer Readdle has announced a new drag-and-drop feature for its own apps, including PDF Expert, Spark and Scanner Pro, that works in the iPad's split-screen multitasking view.




The new feature is compatible with Readdle's productivity apps: Documents, Scanner Pro, PDF Expert and Spark. Announcing the feature on Thursday, the company called it a "major innovation" for Apple's iOS platform.

The new feature brings to life the kind of drag-and-drop cross-app functionality that iOS and iPad users have been clamoring for. Just this week, MacStories presented a series of mockups showcasing similar capabilities as they would like to see them in a future update to iOS.



However, Readdle's capabilities are, for now, limited to its own apps. It's compatible with all iPad Pro models, as well as the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4.

Readdle's drag-and-drop can be used to save email attachments from Spark to the Documents 6 file storage app, to quickly attach scans and files to emails, or to sign and edit document attachments and send them back.

"The Readdle Team hopes that Apple will introduce their own implementation of inter app drag & drop one day," the company wrote on its official blog. "That will support other apps and make iPad a much better productivity device than it is now."

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The new capability arrives alongside Documents 6, a major update that aims to bring file management capabilities to iOS. The latest version has a new design that aims to simplify navigation, requiring fewer taps to edit, zip, tag, move or sync files.

Files also have bigger preview thumbnails so users can peek at the contents without having to open them. And it offers connectivity with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and WebDAV.

Any locally stores files can be opened in in any app with the "Open In" option, giving Documents 6 the feel of Finder on macOS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    I'd say there is a high likelihood of improvements (including this one) to Split View Apps in iOS 11.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 2 of 21
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,268member
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application. If the receiving application does not support it, the developer has no chance. And Apple won't support developers' cooperation among themselves to "extend" iOS user interface. Tweaking the user interface is already prohibited by AppStore rules.
    georgie01repressthisSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 21
    irelandireland Posts: 17,092member
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch.
    Says who? You can have both. It's nice to have both. Drag and drop is part of iOS since early iPhone OS from the music app to how the home screen works.
    edited May 2017 magman1979StrangeDaysbloggerblogavon b7
  • Reply 4 of 21
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,268member
    ireland said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch.
    Says who? You can have both. It's nice to have both. Drag and drop is part of iOS since early iPhone OS from the music app to how the home screen works.
    It is used in a limited fashion in the Home screen only to create a folder and to remove an icon from a folder. People wanted folders in Home screen and there is no other easy way to manage those in the Home screen. For sharing data between applications, the sharing extension is a more carefully thought utility, it offers all sharing options in one place. Even if drag & drop is implemented at the system level, I don't think the majority of the developers would leave that sharing extension for the sake of sharing data by dragging among applications. It won't have widespread usage.
    edited May 2017 repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 21
    LOL at the "much better" comment regarding productivity. It's just an alternate way of handling a function that is already supported within iOS. For example, Pixelmator allows you to scroll through your Photos library within the app to select an image you want to work with and you just tap it and it appears on your canvas. Would dragging and dropping from the same scrolling library view really be that much more productive? Not really. 
    irelandMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 6 of 21
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,232member
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.

    magman1979repressthisbloggerblog
  • Reply 7 of 21
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 132member
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.

    I'm guessing macplusplus's reason is that multitasking drag and drop may not be consistent. For users, when they try some UI action and it doesn't work 80% of the time, they'll stop using it. That's not Apple's style, since consistency is important in their UX ideals. Apple (generally) will forgo a rarely used handy feature for simplicity especially on mobile devices. I think it improves the UX overall.

    They also have a lot of data on actual usage habits and while they certainly make mistakes, just because a user believes something is useful doesn't mean it actually is. For instance, Apple insisted on keyboard shortcuts being available in a menu item because user studies consistently showed that keyboard shortcuts usually took more time for most users than using the mouse to select a menu item. Yet those same users reported that they felt the keyboard shortcut took less time even though it took more.
    Metriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 8 of 21
    irelandireland Posts: 17,092member
    ireland said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch.
    Says who? You can have both. It's nice to have both. Drag and drop is part of iOS since early iPhone OS from the music app to how the home screen works.
    It is used in a limited fashion in the Home screen only to create a folder and to remove an icon from a folder. People wanted folders in Home screen and there is no other easy way to manage those in the Home screen. For sharing data between applications, the sharing extension is a more carefully thought utility, it offers all sharing options in one place.
    As I have said, you can have both. And IMO you should have both. For some people drag and drop is intuitive and so should exist.
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 9 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,551member
    ireland said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch.
    Says who? You can have both. It's nice to have both. Drag and drop is part of iOS since early iPhone OS from the music app to how the home screen works.
    It is used in a limited fashion in the Home screen only to create a folder and to remove an icon from a folder. People wanted folders in Home screen and there is no other easy way to manage those in the Home screen. For sharing data between applications, the sharing extension is a more carefully thought utility, it offers all sharing options in one place. Even if drag & drop is implemented at the system level, I don't think the majority of the developers would leave that sharing extension for the sake of sharing data by dragging among applications. It won't have widespread usage.
    Did you watch the MacStories mockups? You could do both. It seems very cool. 

    https://www.macstories.net/stories/ios-11-ipad-wishes-and-concept-video/
  • Reply 10 of 21
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.


    Right, and I expect they will.  It's not any harder conceptually than cross application copy-and-paste which has been part of the Mac OS forever and has been part of iOS for nearly a decade.  Presumably if you try to drag something onto an app that won't accept it, you'd get a red x or "head-shake wiggle" generated by the OS and the "receiving" app would be none the wiser.


  • Reply 11 of 21
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,268member
    ireland said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch.
    Says who? You can have both. It's nice to have both. Drag and drop is part of iOS since early iPhone OS from the music app to how the home screen works.
    It is used in a limited fashion in the Home screen only to create a folder and to remove an icon from a folder. People wanted folders in Home screen and there is no other easy way to manage those in the Home screen. For sharing data between applications, the sharing extension is a more carefully thought utility, it offers all sharing options in one place. Even if drag & drop is implemented at the system level, I don't think the majority of the developers would leave that sharing extension for the sake of sharing data by dragging among applications. It won't have widespread usage.
    Did you watch the MacStories mockups? You could do both. It seems very cool. 

    https://www.macstories.net/stories/ios-11-ipad-wishes-and-concept-video/
    That's Android. That's all they have "discovered".
  • Reply 12 of 21
    georgie01 said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.

    I'm guessing macplusplus's reason is that multitasking drag and drop may not be consistent. For users, when they try some UI action and it doesn't work 80% of the time, they'll stop using it. That's not Apple's style, since consistency is important in their UX ideals. Apple (generally) will forgo a rarely used handy feature for simplicity especially on mobile devices. I think it improves the UX overall.

    They also have a lot of data on actual usage habits and while they certainly make mistakes, just because a user believes something is useful doesn't mean it actually is. For instance, Apple insisted on keyboard shortcuts being available in a menu item because user studies consistently showed that keyboard shortcuts usually took more time for most users than using the mouse to select a menu item. Yet those same users reported that they felt the keyboard shortcut took less time even though it took more.
    You know..I wish the bolded was still true. But the dev community has a very poor adoption rate for new APIs released by Apple. There is a lot of fragmentation when it comes to features and abilities, and it grows more frustrating every year. Apple needs to get heavy handed and start requiring features in Apps that want to belong to certain categories.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,268member
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.


    Right, and I expect they will.  It's not any harder conceptually than cross application copy-and-paste which has been part of the Mac OS forever and has been part of iOS for nearly a decade.  Presumably if you try to drag something onto an app that won't accept it, you'd get a red x or "head-shake wiggle" generated by the OS and the "receiving" app would be none the wiser.


    It is considerably harder than copy-and-paste. Try to move a chunk of text in a document after or before a few paragraphs apart. It is just unfeasible in iOS. People can't even select text in iOS, yet they will drag it after the next paragraph or before the previous paragraph? If you cannot provide drag & drop even in a single application, there is no point in offering that as an interapplication data exchange feature. It is easy to move big thumbnails or icons. It is not so easy to move chunks of text or columns of numbers the same way. All your data must be movable otherwise you introduce myriads of inconsistencies in handling different types of data. If you cannot do that, there is no point in making only big thumbnails or icons movable and leaving text and numbers in place... Moving the data by drag & drop makes only sense under the mouse interface because the mouse interface is designed from the ground-up for precision data selection. In contrast the touch interface is designed for fast interaction and Cut/Copy/Paste is the only consistent solution common to all data types in the touch interface.
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 14 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,068member
    I think Apple is going to have a problem with this. Modification of iOS behavior is prohibited. 
    AppleBum
  • Reply 15 of 21
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,061member
    I think Microsoft's OLE (Object Linking and Embedded) patents still cover drag-and-drop functionality, which might be super expensive for Apple to license and implement in iOS. 

    Developers can easily implement drag-and-drop in a similar way to Readdle by using the system clipboard and gestures. What Readdle has done is awesome and might inspire more developers to implement the functionality and/or other functionalities.

    Yes, a consistent way to do drag-and-drop would be the best solution for end users and developers.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    xbitxbit Posts: 190member
    Nice work from the developers. 
  • Reply 17 of 21
    AppleBumAppleBum Posts: 37unconfirmed, member
    I think Apple is going to have a problem with this. Modification of iOS behavior is prohibited. 


    My thoughts exactly. It seems to me that this breaks Apple's sandboxing of apps, which only allows data to pass between apps using the Share mechanism.

  • Reply 18 of 21
    "However, Readdle's capabilities are, for now, limited to its own apps. It's compatible with all iPad Pro models, as well as the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4." What about. the new iPad?
  • Reply 19 of 21
    AppleBum said:
    I think Apple is going to have a problem with this. Modification of iOS behavior is prohibited. 


    My thoughts exactly. It seems to me that this breaks Apple's sandboxing of apps, which only allows data to pass between apps using the Share mechanism.


    I expect that behind the snazzy eye candy they are using the iOS standard "pasteboard" (copy and paste) APIs.  If so, they should be fine. 
  • Reply 20 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,551member
    georgie01 said:
    I prefer "Open In..." app extension which is faster, less cumbersome and is a system utility. I wish Apple don't implement drag & drop in iOS, this is a feature of the mouse interface, not touch. Drag & drop is mainly a feature of the receiving application, not of the source application.

    I disagree. Dragging and dropping between two applications would be a very handy feature, and I'm amazed that Readdle was able to get this to work between their own applications. That means that it's entirely possible, and now Apple just needs to make it a system-wide capability.

    I'm guessing macplusplus's reason is that multitasking drag and drop may not be consistent. For users, when they try some UI action and it doesn't work 80% of the time, they'll stop using it. That's not Apple's style, since consistency is important in their UX ideals. Apple (generally) will forgo a rarely used handy feature for simplicity especially on mobile devices. I think it improves the UX overall.

    They also have a lot of data on actual usage habits and while they certainly make mistakes, just because a user believes something is useful doesn't mean it actually is. For instance, Apple insisted on keyboard shortcuts being available in a menu item because user studies consistently showed that keyboard shortcuts usually took more time for most users than using the mouse to select a menu item. Yet those same users reported that they felt the keyboard shortcut took less time even though it took more.
    You know..I wish the bolded was still true. But the dev community has a very poor adoption rate for new APIs released by Apple. There is a lot of fragmentation when it comes to features and abilities, and it grows more frustrating every year. Apple needs to get heavy handed and start requiring features in Apps that want to belong to certain categories.
    Like what? Lots of 3D touch support isn't there?
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