Most Android devices, Smart Phones and tablets alike, come with some built-in capabilities for automating different types of tasks. Useful lifestyle enhancers, like being able to set periods of time where notifications and sounds will not interrupt your sleep, turning off audible notification during a meeting, or replying automatically to incoming text messages when driving are all typically covered. The problem with most of the default tools I have used is that they are unable to handle real-world edge-cases. For instance, I may want to mute my sound and disable my notification LED for all applications after 11 p.m., turn them all back on at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday, wait until 8 a.m. When I am traveling, I might want my device alarm clock to set when notifications are turned back on instead of waiting for the pre-defined time for that day. Additionally, I may want to prevent my phone from ringing during my sleeping hours, but allow certain folks to ring-through, because when they call off-hours, it is usually an emergency…or someone from whom I wish to hear regardless of time-of-day. Enter the Android utility, Tasker.
The Tasker website describes the application best:
“Tasker is an application for Android which performs tasks (sets of actions) based on contexts (application, time, date, location, event, gesture) in user-defined profiles or in clickable or timer home screen widgets.”
This simple description does not do Tasker full justice. The breadth and depth of things you can do with the app are really limited only to your imagination. It can make use of any application, event, or sensor present in the device, including those that can discern movement and orientation, to trigger actions you wish to conditionally initiate. Tasker does not require the ability to write code, but, depending on what you are trying to accomplish, the thought required to successfully define tasks can become complicated enough to require the same types of logic skills that one uses writing code in various programming languages. In this sense, Tasker could be viewed as a very accessible gateway to other types of programming. For me, it throws me back a bit to the days of the Big Trak. For others, it may bring to mind LEGO Mindstorms EV3. So, some might consider it to be fun.
I have only really begun to scratch the surface with Tasker myself, but I have played around enough to have developed appreciation for the amazing possibilities for my devices. I have no more excuse to complain when my device can’t do something I need it to do, because with Tasker, it is within my power to shore up any short-comings or feature gaps I find. I am no longer limited to the functionality of built-in or value-add apps that came with my devices, and that is truly happy-making.