At this point, it’s hard to think of an Android fan who hasn’t heard of Crafty Apps’s magnum opus, Tasker. Android fanboys are notoriously fond of tinkering, hacking and generally getting their hands dirty to improve their phone. Tasker is an app that helps you do exactly that. The basic idea is that you can set up a series of triggers which automatically execute certain actions when tripped. That probably sounds boring, but it is very convenient in real use.
For example, we have our copy of Tasker set up to automatically turn off the 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi connections when we turn off the screen. We’re not using the phone, so why should it be wasting battery with internet access? Small tricks like that can really help ease your ease of experience with an Android device. However, today we get to go hands-on with yet another feature that promises to revolutionize the way we use Tasker. We’re talking about building apps.
You heard us. Tasker has implemented a new system in its beta (not the official app, at least not yet) that allows you to export tasks as apk files which can be traded and shared amongst phones. Needless to say, this is a very cool idea. Tasker was already a TechNorms favorite for productivity, and now it promises to be even more useful.
Remember what we said about the trigger and task system? Tasker’s app exportation system essentially gives you half of that. There are no automatic triggers built into these apps (manual launch only), but once activated, they function exactly as a regular task. Creating them is even easy. Just long-press any task and select export.
The new system basically means that you can new lend tasks to others in the form of apps, or even sell them as standalone apps. Tasker’s developers make no claims to the creations of the community. Serious developers may want to use legitimate resources like the Android SDK, though.
Building Apps With Scenes
The real power of app exportation isn’t unlocked until you try out the new scene system, though. Within the app, one of the tasks you can set to be automatically executed is a so-called “scene.” These scenes can be anything from dialog boxes to maps to images to menus to sliders to text boxes.
The really cool part is that when you put together tasks that function like apps and the ability to export a task as an app, you get… well, an app. Or a very simplified but accurate facsimile of one. Again, real developers should not use this as an actual tool. It’s more for casual hobbyists.
The addition of exporting apps in Tasker is way cool. The app is already very useful (how else would we automatically overclock our phone when playing a Game Boy Advance emulator?), and now it’s even more so.
The only potential issue is that building apps does require some measure of creativity. Tasker never just hands you an idea on a plate, ready for the making. It’s up to your personal creativity to come up with something cool and useful. With that said, the creativity part is why we like the app. It’s part of the challenge.