Friday, August 22, 2014

Introducing MacroDroid Wear

MacroDroid 2.3.8 introduces support for Android Wear devices and includes a MacroDroid application for the Wear device that enables quick invocation of macros on your Android phone/tablet.

Using the Android Wear trigger from within the standard MacroDroid app on your phone you can add macros that can then be invoked from within the Android Wear app. For each trigger you can select an icon and the chosen macro name will then appear within the Wear app. The Android Wear Trigger also has options so that a macro can be invoked when an Android Wear device connects or disconnects.

The Android Wear application can be configured so it can be quick launched by swiping down from the top left or top right corner of you device whenever the screen is on. This allows you to quickly jump to your macro list without having to first navigate to and launch the MacroDroid application.

The Android Wear action can be used as follows:
  • Open a specific action on the Android Wear device.
  • Create an Android Wear notification with up to 4 customisable actions.
  • Cause the wear device to vibrate to a specific pattern.
  • Set the brightness on the wear device.
Most of these options are fairly obvious in their use, but the Android Wear notification is worth exploring a little more deeply.

The notification should be assigned a title and message text and up to 4 optional actions. Each enabled action will then appear as an option when you swipe left from the notification using the standard Android Wear mechanism.

The power of this functionality is best demonstrated by an example:

I commute to my office every day via train. When I arrive at the train station sometimes I want to enable the wifi hotspot on my phone, so I can work on my laptop. From time to time the trains will be cancelled or running late so in this case I want to email my boss to let him know I'll be running late due to the trains. Therefore I create a new macro as follows:

Trigger - Cell Tower(s) at the station
Action - Android Wear Notification - Arrived at station, (Action to enable hotspot, Action to email boss)

The action to enable hotspot and email my boss are linked to existing macros that I defined earlier on the device. These macros can use the empty trigger if they are only to be invoked via this route, or could have any other trigger if there are other ways they can be invoked.

Now every day when I arrive at the station I receive this notification on my watch so I can quickly enable the wifi hotspot if desired. On days when the trains are running late I can also quickly email my boss to let him know all without taking my phone out of my pocket.

This is just one simple example that I use, so I'd love to hear of any cool uses that you find for this feature.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Introducing the development team

I've had a few requests from users recently to find out a bit more about the development team behind MacroDroid, so I thought I'd create a quick blog post to fill you in.

The entire MacroDroid support and development team consists of just me and with that in mind I suppose I'd better give you a little more information on myself.

I'm Jamie, 35 and live in Kent (just outside London) in England. I've been programming since I was around 10 and I've been a full time developer for the last 14 years. I've worked on Android pretty much since it came out and have been working on MacroDroid for just over 2 years.

Its probably worth pointing out that all development and support of MacroDroid is done entirely in my spare time and regularly while commuting to London for my *proper* (pays the bills) job. At the moment I'm working in London as a full time Android contractor and actually have a second part time contract on the go as well, so I'm currently a bit squeezed on MacroDroid time (but I do try my best). It is my long term ambition to work full time purely on my own applications but sadly the economics of app development make this quite hard to achieve. On the positive side the Android development scene in London is buoyant right now so I can make a good living doing something I generally enjoy.

From a personal point of view I have a wife and two daughters aged 4 and 5 who keep my weekends fairly busy and on the rare occasion when I do have little (non-MacroDroid) spare time I enjoy playing a bit of online poker and chess. If anyone's up for a game of chess my handle on Chess Time is UndeadCretin.

Below is a link to my linkedin profile in case you're interested, or more importantly if would like to pay me lots of money to build you a cool android app :-)