DashClock is one of the more popular Android extensions out there, and for good reason. It makes lock screen notifications look cool. Instead of pulling down the notification bar like some plebeian, you can see what you missed laid out right there below the clock. There is even a huge amount of support for it. DashClock has extensions for SMS, Reddit, K9 Mail, and Facebook.
However, it doesn’t have an extension for quite everything yet. Until then, we can make do with a temporary solution based on Tasker. Everyone’s favorite task-managing app thankfully does have a DashClock extension, and that opens the door to all kinds of possibilities. You can create DashClock notifications for any app you want with Tasker. Here’s how.
- Android 4.2
- Tasker Extension for DashClock
- An app without DashClock support that gives periodic notifications
We’re going to demonstrate how to create Tasker-based DashClock notifications for any app. This specific process needs adjusting based on the app, but the principle of it applies to all of them.
Also, this setup is not a replacement for a native DashClock extension . If real apps are akin to fine dining, then building stuff in Tasker is fast food.
For this example, we’re going to rebuild the SMS notification in DashClock. In our opinion, it could be done better. Instead of showing that you have a message from someone, why not show the message contents on the lock screen?
(For the record, someone is already working on an extension to do exactly this).
Step by Step
The first step is to open Tasker and go into the setting and check “Allow external access.” This allows you to send data outside Tasker.
Next, create a profile that is triggered whenever there’s a notification from the Messaging app. SMS notifications all follow this format:
Bill: I sure do love SMS messaging!
The sender is separated from the message content by a colon and a space. This profile (Which we’ll call “SMS Received”) should have a blank field for “Title”. This way any Messaging notification will work.
Next, Tasker will ask you what task to assign to this profile. We’ll create a new task called “DashClock get SMS”. This task will send data from Messaging to DashClock to be displayed on the lockscreen.
The task will send data through a variable. Tasker allows you to create variables with data from all kinds of sources. Tasker even has its own built-in variables for stuff like whether the screen is on or wifi is connected.
Tap the + icon to add a new action. Scroll down to “Variable” and tap that. Choose “Variable Set”. We’re going to create a new variable for use in DashClock. Set a new variable called %Txt to the value %NTITLE. The capitalization is important.
This copies the data from %NTITLE, the title of the last notification on your system, to %Txt, a homemade variable that we can use and manipulate. Tap the check mark to finish that action.
Now we get to do something really cool. We’re going to split the variable into the sender’s name and the content of the message. Add another action to the task called “Variable Split”. We’re going to split %Txt with the splitter “: “ (that’s a colon and a space, minus the quotes).
Variable split breaks %Txt into two parts, %Txt1 and %Txt2. The first is everything to the left of the splitter. The second is everything to the right. The splitter is not put into either of them. Here’s what the variables equal:
%Txt = Bill: I sure do love SMS messaging!
%Txt1 = Bill
%Txt2 = I sure do love SMS messaging!
This is excellent. We’ve saved the data and are ready to send it to DashClock. Before that, we’ll need a simple support task that opens the Messaging app (see the above screenshot). Alas, Tasker does not support opening specific conversations. We’ll settle for the app in general.
Now go back to “DashClock Get SMS”. Tap the + icon, Plugins, DashClock, then “Edit”. This will open up the DashClock configuration screen for widget #1. As of this writing the Tasker DashClock plugin allows up to three widgets. We’ll use the first one.
The first line, subject, is what’s displayed when DashClock is minimized. Title is the large-print part of the widget. We’ll assign that to reveal the sender. For title, we put “New SMS from %Txt1” minus the quotes. Remember that %Txt1 is the sender’s name. For body, put simply %Txt2. This will put the body of the text message into the smaller print below the title in the widget.
Check the “remove widget on click” box so that it doesn’t stay there forever. We’ll come back to clearing that widget in a minute.
Next, we need an icon to go with the SMS widget. Unfortunately, DashClock does not support custom icons. Pick your favorite from the ones listed.
Now tap “choose” to select a task to run when you tap the widget. We’ll choose the support task from earlier, the one that opens the Messaging app. Tap the check mark at the bottom to finish.
We’re almost done. The setup just needs a few additions to make it more user-friendly. We’re going to add profiles that clear our SMS notification. If you’ve already read a new text, you don’t want DashClock to tell you about it again.
The first profile is called “Messaging Opened.” Its trigger is when you open the Messaging app. We’ll need a new task called “DashClock Wipe SMS Notice” that will delete the widget from the lock screen.
Removing it is simple. Add an action, select the DashClock plugin, and tap the “remove” box at the top. When “DashClock Wipe SMS Notice” is run, it will remove the widget. Easy.
Almost done. Create one more profile called “Messaging Notification Click” that is triggered when you tap any notification from the Messaging app. It starts the same task as before, “DashClock Wipe SMS.”
Make sure Tasker says “On” in the bottom right corner and tap the check-mark in the bottom left. That’s it. The profile is ready!
Building DashClock extensions in Tasker is neat. Even if they’re not quite as good as native extensions, they’re useful.
While this process is specific to SMS notifications, in theory you could adapt it to any app with a notification. That’s cool. Unfortunately, Tasker can’t clear another app’s notification like a native extension. Again, real extensions are better for this kind of thing.
With that in mind, go crazy and build some cool DashClock widgets. Let us know if you make something particularly creative.