Craft 2.0 came out this week, four weeks after the previous update, which is unusual. Some users were awaiting things like tags or database support. In fact, on the surface, not much has changed in this 2.0 release. What’s really new, is the introduction of extensions. Currently, in developer preview, expect full support in the first half of 2022. Craft extensions are released under the Craft X name, and they will be made available on GitHub. Clever.
Extensions — a New Journey for Craft
Make no mistake, extensions are the next chapter for Craft. Extensions will provide infinite extensibility to Craft. For example, it will be possible to install an extension that will add publishing to Ghost, Medium or WordPress, directly from within Craft. This could be a game-changer for many Craft users like me. My current workflow is to go from Craft to Ulysses in order to push a blog post to Ghost. Eventually, I could probably skip Ulysses for some type of blog post. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Craft enthusiasts. Meanwhile, there are a few extensions in developer preview that can be installed on the Mac or the web. For some reason, it’s not yet available on the iPad or the iPhone. I had a chance to test a few of them, and they work as advertised. Matt Birchler has a good YouTube video showing you how to install extensions.
Currently, at version 0.0.3, the SDK behind Craft extensions is in its infancy, and much work needs to be done. I’m not an expert in APIs, I hope that they are as good as Craft is from a design perspective. A discourse space has been set up, extensions source code is on Github and more end-user matters can be discussed on a dedicated Slack community channel.
As seen in Slack #craft-extensions channel:
Good extensions/plugin capability are game-changers for apps. Done right, it draws a crowd and talent, allows the community to more quickly address feature development the core team can’t handle given other work. And with that, the utility/usefulness of an app expands, drawing more folks, etc. It’s all compound interest.
On their website, the makers of Craft are promising tags, templates, and better media handling within pages. I’m certainly looking for tags support and templates. Both of these additions will help me organize and speed up the creation of new blog posts. Finally, support for custom domains will add another level of functionality for those who want to build websites directly from Craft. It seems the makers of Craft are doing exactly that for their needs, like release notes. Personally, I do have a digital garden live on the web, entirely made and maintained with Craft. It’s pretty cool in my opinion. I’d like to have a personalized domain name for it. How about something like “numericcitizen-digital-garden.net”? You can read more about it in ”Introducing my Digital Garden”.
Furthermore, I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but Craft has been nominated as the best Mac app for 2021 according to Apple. It is well-deserved. It has been a big year for the team behind Craft. Many people would like to compare Craft to Notion, but Craft is not and will not become another Notion. For me, as a blogger and writer, Craft is a winner. Notion is too complicated, too heavy for my needs.
Craft on Mac feels like the best non-native (AppKit) application that I’ve ever experienced. Great Catalyst applications seem possible, after all, don’t trust Apple’s examples to judge.
What I’d Like to See Improved in Craft
- A good web clipper native to Safari.
- An option to import the URL destination (like in Notion), not just pretty bookmarks.
- Import of Readwise.
- Importing Notion data.
- Importing RSS feed data.
- Better support for content embedding (YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.).
- RSS feed support for published website from within Craft.
- Notifications when someone adds a comment to a published website.
- Per-page spell-checking language.
- More advanced spell-checking, “a-la” Grammarly.
- On the Mac, being able to insert a photo from Apple’s Photos library.
- Better support for Ulysses by adding article excerpt and header image.
Next year will be an interesting one to watch for Craft. I can’t wait to see that unfold!