Workflow is a great start to learning to code



29 Apr 2017

In August 2016, GE's CEO said he wanted every new hire to learn to code. And I must say, I do agree! In today's digital, data-driven, self-service world, everyone should learn to code. But, to clarify, I'm not necessarily referring to programming in C# or Swift (like I do), but rather "coding" for automation.

Fortune - GE's CEO Wants Every New Hire to Learn This Skill

Many of tools ("high-high-level languages?") exist to simply coding through the use of a drag-and-drop user interfaces and useful pre-built functions and integration. Examples are Scratch for kids, Lego Mindstorms' EV3, IFTTT and of course,, which I've been posting a lot about recently!

And, anyone who uses Excel on a daily basis should really spend some time learning Excel Macros aka. Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)... although this is really programming and certainly cannot be called simple!

I think Workflow is a great way to start to "code" something useful! So to help, here are my Workflow posts and what you'll learn. All this is original content!

  • Learn to get user input and pass it to a built-in Workflow functionShow Definition - the easiest guide, using Dictionary Definitions via the Workflow App.

  • Learn about other Workflow functions to retrieve Contacts, retrieve Calendar Events Replace Text, and control flow with If, all in a Action Extension - through the steps to Add a Cheap IDD call prefix to a phone number prior to dialing.

  • Learn to create a notification center aka. Today Widget, get location data, and save as a CSV-formatted text file on iCloud Drive - by using Workflow to Track Travel Expenses.

  • Learn about QR codes, iOS Uniform Type Identifiers (UTI) and the vCard format - Scanning a contact via a QR code.

  • Learn to replace strings and extract the URL query string in a Workflow Action Extension - just to workaround Youtube's restriction on Picture in Picture (PiP) on Safari iOS.

  • Learn about passing data in a URL query string, and extracting text data from a returned data with a Regular Expression - see Retrieving an exchange rate .

  • Learn to use iOS URL Schemes, and URL encoding prior to passing query strings - by creating Workflows Using Google Maps.

Happy coding!

Updated 29 April 2017: Added a workflow for Youtube guide.