I am looking out the window at this very moment, it is windy and raining hard. I was able to prepare for it though because my weather warning system built using Zooper Widget in last week’s Android customization series notified me. Speaking of notifications, today we want to step up the notification game, building our own tools, like usual.
Just after Android Lollipop was announced (as Android L) at Google I/O back in June, we took a look at an app that attempted to duplicate the new floating notifications that Android L revealed. The app was called Heads Up! and is now one of many that attempted to bring to you then what Android L promised for later.
Here’s the thing, Heads Up! didn’t work very well for me. Functionally, there were no errors to speak of, I just wanted more control over the notification and didn’t care for the presentation. Most of all, once a notification faded out of the screen, that was it, gone forever. As always, I turned to Tasker to see what I could do for myself. Guess what, the results were exactly what I wanted, and so I shall share my project with you.
Even with Android Lollipop being announced just yesterday, it is still a ways out and we want something today.
Before we begin
On your Android 4.0 or higher device, we’ll need Tasker installed for today’s project. Tasker is still $2.49 in the Google Play Store.
This project is actually much larger than I can rightly squeeze into a single post. In all, we will look at several projects over the coming weeks. Starting today, we’ll collect notifications and display them through a pop up using Tasker itself. From there, we will look at providing a custom notification count using Zooper Widget, we will combine the two, and we may just dive into Tasker Scenes, if the selection of notification options doesn’t yet feel complete.
I’ll leave it to you to head back to previous Tasker projects for a reminder on how to get Tasker up and running. Fire up a new Task, I’ll call mine “BasicNotify“, then add the following action:
Tap the labels/tags icon to the right of Text.
Scroll down and choose Notification Title, or just type in %NTITLE on the Text line.
Tap the system Back button to save and exit out of the Task.
Fire up your Tasker Profile, I called mine “GetAllNotifications” and add the following:
Tap the little spaceship icon to the right of Owner Application.
In the bottom right, tap All.
Tap the system Back button to save the app selection, then tap it again to save the Profile event.
Choose your notification Task from earlier, mine was called “BasicNotify.”
Tap the system Back button when you are done to save and exit out of Tasker. Project complete.
Now comes the waiting game, but the next time a notification comes in to your system, any notification, it will pop up in a semi-transparent, non-actionable, flash notification on your screen. It’ll hang out for a few seconds before going away. It really does not do that much, but these are the basics we need to take the project to the next level.
There are very few options to mess with on this one, but do play around with it if you desire. We will eventually dive into creating custom Scenes using Tasker, which will let you create exactly the popup that you desire. Again, feel free to poke around with Scenes, but I’ve got some better stuff on deck for you before I get there.
Bonus: How to view history of all Notifications
Typically, once a notification is swiped away or tapped, it is up to your memory to figure out what that notification said, if you even happened to see it in the first place. Did you know there is a way to view all recent notifications? Just find an empty 1×1 space on your homescreen and start the process to add a shortcut. Under Shortcuts, look for Settings Shortcuts, then simply choose Notifications. You can’t do much with the list, and it is not very informative, but I am sure you’ll find a use for it.
As mentioned, this is just the basic starter to creating a custom notification tool that you will eventually use to make stock Android L users jealous. Don’t get me wrong, the Android L floating notification looks very cool, and will be quite functional, but that is not going to stop us from taking things to the next level in our Android customization series. Specifically, next week we’d like to look at using Zooper Widget to build an SMS and Gmail notification counter.
I know it’s pretty basic, but what do you say, is this simple little notification popup making things better for you?