AndroidGood and EVOTutorials

How to create an anywhere-access sidebar menu of Tasker tasks

Screenshot 2013 04 14 16 58 59 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereIf you’re like me, your Tasker setup involves a lot of standalone tasks that aren’t triggered by profiles, but rather directly via widgets or shortcuts. I have these for both launching scenes and other tasks, and my home screen has become quite riddled with invisible icons that I use to control all of it.

Yesterday however, I started playing with an app we’ve featured before, Sidebar. It allows you to invoke a sidebar menu from anywhere in Android, and you can then populate that meny to act as a quick access launcher of app switcher. I wanted to try to use it to keep my Tasker tasks in, but quickly discovered that the lack of ability to add non-app shortcuts meant that wouldn’t work. I did however find references to similar apps when reading about Sidebar, and ended up installing Swapps, which is essentially identical, but with support for non-app shortcuts, including Tasker’s Task Shortcuts.

I’ve set up Swapps to be activated on the right side of the screen, I’ve hidden the text labels, made the  header color transparent, and I’ve deactivated recently used apps and “show all apps”. Then I’ve populated the launcher with Tasker tasks using the Task Shortcut action and Swapps’ Starred Apps option, making sure to specify the icon I want in the task before adding it. You start off with only three slots for starred apps by default, but can add more in the settings. Finally, I set the pad width to 37dp, and the icon size to 70dp, but those values might not work on all devices. With all of this set up, the result is what you see in the video below:

I think this works extremely well, and it looks quite fancy when combined with tasks that launch scenes in the same style. I advise anyone who wants to try this to play around a bit with the Swapps settings to get everything configured correctly, especially when it comes to the location and size of the activation zone. The same goes for the rest of the settings, and the settings I mention above are just suggestions. By default though, Swapps looks very different from what you see in the video.

On a sidenote, I did keep Sidebar around as well. I activate Swapps with Tasker shortcuts from the right, and Sidebar with normal apps from the left. This gives me access to pretty much anything I do on the phone without ever going into the main launcher, as they both work from the lock screen.

Swapps is available in Google Play for free, but to get access to the settings that are pretty much required to use it properly, you need to unlock it via an in-app purchase. The cost of this is somewhere between $2-3; I paid in NOK, so I don’t know the US price for sure.

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Download: Swapps

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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