Feature of the Week

10.4: Action Extensions

| Feature of the Week

As we discussed a few weeks ago, iOS 11 includes some changes that allow multiple apps to access and edit the same documents without duplicating them first. With forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 we added support for this functionality, and understanding how it all fits together can take a little bit of practice. Whether you’re bouncing between apps or taking advantage of the iPad’s multitasking modes, keeping track of your files takes more work.

Fortunately, there’s another way: iOS allows apps to provide some of their functionality through something called an ‘action extension.’ An action extension might be included with a translation app, for instance—instead of requiring you to copy and paste text between apps, the extension can show you a translated version of a webpage right from within the web browser you’re already using. Action extensions are contextual, so when you share content using an app, the extensions available to you will depend on the type of content you’re working with. In forScore, you can share PDF files, so PDF-focused action extensions might appear in the standard iOS sharing interface.

We include three of these action extensions with one of our other apps, Badger, and they allow you to quickly view the embedded metadata, table of contents, or annotations within a PDF file. Some action extensions offer editing capabilities, so when an extension is dismissed forScore checks to see if it has provided a new version of your document—if it has, you’ll be asked if you want to overwrite the original file with the new copy or not. Badger’s extensions work this way, and other extensions can easily be updated to offer the same kind of functionality.

When serious editing is required, opening your documents in other apps is still the best way, but when you just want to check to see what information already exists or make quick edits, action extensions can offer a much more streamlined experience. As always, you’re free to use whichever one works for your situation.