BBCode (forum formatting) is a good use for iOS 5 text expansion
A lesser known new feature in iOS is inline text expansion as a system-wide feature. It works as part of the auto-correct feature. You type a few characters, press space, and iOS replaces it with something longer (or more difficult) that you preprogrammed. In can be used in Safari, Tapatalk, Mail, and anything else with a keyboard (but not passwords).
To set up one of these macros, go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard and tap "add new shortcut"
Formatting forum posts (bold, italic, links, etc) is often done in BBCode, but BBCode is a pain to type on iOS devices. You have to keep switching between the letters keyboard and the third keyboard with the square brackets. Yesterday, it hit me. Why not set up some keyboard macros for frequently used BBCode, with easy to remember shortcuts that let me stay on the letter keyboard for greater speed?
Below you'll find screenshots of macros I set up. Thoughts? Suggestions?
- The text on the right goes in the phrase field and the text on the left goes in the shortcut field. I've seen several people get those mixed up.
- The pattern here is two characters for the opening tag ("[whatever]") and three characters for the closing tag ("[/whatever]"). The third character is simply a repeat of the second character.
- I capitalize the BBCode tags to more clearly distinguish them from the post text, which should help when editing posts. BBCode is not case-sensitive.
- I use uu and uuu for URL links, not for underline and I don't have a shortcut for underline because I don't use it much.
- I don't include font size shortcuts because the BBCode for that works differently on phpBB. I intend to use these shortcuts for more than iMore.
- I don't have "may" or "sat" shortcuts because those are words themselves, although I do use "wed" for Wednesday since I rarely use the word "wed."
- Image tags, URL tags, and quote tags require you to take the extra step to use the insertion cursor (magnifying glass) to input the image URL or quote attribution. In the first two, I assume you'll usually be copying and pasting the URL anyway, and for quotes I wanted to fill in the closing quote and bracket to save steps on iOS.
- List shortcuts are based on HTML.
- In some cases I have multiple shortcuts produce the same closing BBCode tag (ex: oll and ull). This creates duplication but makes remembering less of a problem when you're actually using these things (again, pattern of 2 characters for open, 3 characters for close).