Tips for using lists with the AutoNotification Tasker plugin
I just finished converting all my Tasker todo notifications to using AutoNotification notifications, and thought I would share some tips I picked up on the way. The following will be useful if you ever decide to put lists of any kind in an AutoNotification notification, for instance items from an array.
Converting comma separated lists to line shift based lists
One of the advantages of the Android 4.1+ notifications that AutoNotification allows you to create is that you can fit more text in there than usual. This means that you can list items like a proper list rather than as a comma separated list. In all likelyhood though, your input data will be a comma separated list, perhaps in the form of an array, or a storage variable for data you normally handle in an array.
To convert your variable over, you need two actions. With the first, set a variable that contains nothing but a lineshift- let’s say you name it %lineshift. Second, do a Variable Search Replace on your main variable, search for a comma, and replace it with your %lineshift variable. This is the only way I’ve found (so far) to get Variable Search Replace to insert line shifts, but it works beautifully.
Note that it might be a good idea to copy the contents of the variable into a new variable, in case you want to use the base form later, for instance for…
Adding a separate ticker text
If you do the above, you’ll notice that the ticker text- the text that shows on the status bar right as the notification goes off- will only contain the first item on the list. This is the kind of situation that AutoNotification’s ticker text option is for, and you can use that to customize the ticker text. If you copied the variable before editing it above, you can feed it into the ticker text option in order for the ticker text to still show a comma separated list, whereas the notification itself doesn’t.
Adding an item count to the notification
AutoNotification has an option to display a number on the lower right when a notification is collapsed. This can be useful if your list contains a lot of items, and is very easy to add. Make a local copy of the base variable (local variables are faster to process than global ones), then split it with a comma as the splitter. Not you can use %variable(#) in the number option in AutoNotification, and it will display the total number of items.
Make a scrollable notification
While the notification will display a lot of text, it’s still limited to eight lines (this might depend on the situation). That is plenty for my use, but it won’t be for everyone. There’s no built in way to scroll it, but thanks to customizable buttons, you can do it yourself.
Basically, you can use the buttons on the notification to create a system that allows you to scroll. This isn’t simple, but it’s perfectly possible. You need to specify an AutoNotification message for the button, and then create a profile for that message, with a task that refreshed the widget with more data. I won’t go into the details here, as there’s a lot of things you need to account for, but I just wanted to throw the idea out there for proficient Tasker users who come across this issue.
The progress bar option would be a great feature to use here, to indicate how far in the list you’ve browsed.
Launch a scene to edit the list
You can’t (for the most part- see the next section) edit the list in the notification itself, but you can link one of the buttons to launching a Tasker scene. That way you can manage the list in the scene, save out, and refresh the notification as part of it.
This is also another situation where the progress bar would work great, showing how many list items have been removed since the initial creation, or something like that.
Delete a predefined item on the list
There is one way you can edit the list from the notification, and that is if you don’t require any dynamic data to edit it. What I mean by that is that you can create a notification button that for instance deletes the first, last, or any other specific item from the list. This is a simple matter of creation a task that removes a variable from an array, then updates the notification.
This can actually be quite handy in certain situations, like having a todo list that you know you’re going to following numerically. You can then just have it as a notification, do one item at a time, and delete it using a button designed to remove the first item. With notifications being both collapsible and potentially persistent, this is a great way to create a easy access list of things you need to do.
And, again, the progress bar feature has potential here…
Clear or postpone lists with buttons
The two buttons I actually have in my notifications are for clearing the list, and for postponing it. The latter simply removes the otherwise persistent notification, so that it will pop back up again the next time the trigger task is run. Clearing the list depends entirely on how your list is stored, but you get the idea!
As with everything that has to do with Tasker, this highly specific usage scenario has a ton of potential in and of its own. You can put all sorts of things in a notification, from recent files, to guest lists, to todo lists, to calendar entries, to weather info, and so on. While there are apps that have such notifications out there, the advantage of doing it yourself is that you decide on the functionality. Hopefully this has given you some idea of what you can do with lists in AutoNotification.