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Tasker Custom Visual Feedback

Visual feedback in programs and applications update the user of it’s status during execution.  Also, it’s generally considered good code writing practice to provide it for users.  While the Android OS specifications provide developers with visual feedback options, Tasker users have limitations.  The Android OS has Snackbars, Toasts, and Progress Dialogs while Tasker natively provides for only Toasts.  Furthermore, the Tasker visual feedback option limitations also have restricted customization.  Therefore without Tasker plugins, problems will ensue.  This article will provide examples of some truly awesome customized visual feedback options using Tasker plugins.

 

Developers to the Rescue

AutoTools and Snackbar Tasker Plugin

Because Android has great developers, so does Tasker.  Tasker developers have extended the capabilities of Tasker in all aspects.  Most relevant to this article are the capabilities for visual feedback.  Of the three aforementioned Android OS visual feedback options only two apps AutoTools and Snackbar Tasker Plugin can resolve the issue.

Visual Feedback Application Examples



Toasts

Toasts are brief messages on mobile devices for quick and simple announcements, especially relevant when an operation is complete.  Tasker executes Toasts as Flash actions, which only allows for custom texts and the option for either long or short durations.  The Tasker extension replacement is AutoTools with it’s feature AutoTools Toast action.  By comparison, the AutoTools Toast action allows for the above options, but many more.

Snackbars

Snackbars are similar in effect to Toasts however they differ slightly.  First of all they can be swiped away.  Also, Snackbars can have a button.  Tasker does not have this ability natively, but a feature of Snackbar Tasker Plugin does.  Snackbar Tasker Plugin offers multiple types of Snackbar actions.  Most of all, they can be customized to your needs with text, (optional) button, and background colors.

Progress Dialogs

Progress Dialogs as visual feedback have two types.  The first type, determinate, indicates specified amounts of steps until completion.  And the second type, indeterminate, is for an unspecified amount of completion steps or time.  Tasker does not have progress dialogs natively.  However another AutoTools feature can deliver, the AutoTools Progress Dialog Tasker action.  The action yields progress bar specific options in addition to similar customization as the AutoTools Toast.  Also, the action allows for indeterminate or determinate specific settings.  Finally, the AutoTools Progress Dialog includes customization for title and bottom buttons.  See the video example below.

Practical Uses and Final Thoughts



My Visual Feedback Tasker Project Examples

Here are my Tasker projects using visual feedback.  The first video is a project to assist in moving a post idea (for this website) from its “idea phase” to its “draft phase”.  The idea phase in stored as a Trello Card and the draft phase is a Google Doc.  The end result is a new draft doc that I can later open; see the second video.  The second project allows me to open and work on any website draft docs.  Because of progress dialogs, snackbars, and toasts, I can always identify what stage my programs are in and if they have performed correctly.  I hope you enjoy!  How do you use visual feedback in Tasker?  Do you even use it?  Comment below!

Conclusion

Despite lacking some newer visual feedback features, Tasker is still an amazing application.  And luckily for us users, awesome developers like Joao Dias and Nick Mowen fill in the gaps.  While you’re thinking that scenes can do the trick, you’re correct to an extend.  You’ll spend hours configuring them and in my opinion, Tasker’s scenes aren’t good enough, yet.  Because of this, using the features of AutoTools and Snackbar Tasker Plugin for visual feedback is just easier.

Since discovering it I’ve made a conscious effort to integrate it into my Tasker projects when necessary.  And when I do, my Tasker projects provide a better sense that the program is performing as designed.  An unintended feature of using visual feedback is it helps pinpoint failures when debugging.  As a result, you, the builder of Tasker tasks, should consider incorporating visual feedback into your projects.

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