Once again messing with the automation on my iPhone
During my free time this morning I’ve been fiddling about with Launch Center Pro automation. I don’t particularly want to do things to do with work during my free time, but I don’t get the opportunity while at work to set things up like this. I didn’t really mind too much because it was fun to mess about with the automation available within Launch Center Pro. I use the application Editorial to do the recording of data for work purposes. Within the application I have workflows which prompt me for input I either type in or choose from lists created in the workflow. I can start the workflow within Editorial by typing in just two letters of the shortcut combination. It works pretty fast but I do have to remember what those shortcut letters are. I wondered if it would be possible to instead of using the shortcut letters to use the application Launch Center Pro to make the first move of recording the data. I can set up a workflow in Launch Center Pro (LCP) so I only have two press one button to get directly into the data capture. The LCP action will open up Editorial and start the workflow inside that application. (It can be confusing with all of these things called workflows – workflows in the Workflow app and workflows in Editorial)
A Workflow I made in Editorial
Snippets to Actions in Launch Center Pro Automation
The way I’d been doing it up until now is to create a new Editorial document for each workday. I recently set something up in Launch Center Pro automation to give me a one button solution to opening a new file at the beginning of a workday. Seemed like a good idea but I could still make some improvements if I set to do some thinking. This LCP action gave me a file with a file name including the date and day. The thing is that with Launch Center Pro I need to have the name of the file within the action so it knows where to do its stuff. By having a different file name every single day it wasn’t going to work very well for the rest of the automation. I would need to have some way of automating the change in the name of the file within the automation on a daily basis. As you can imagine that would get confusing and possibly be difficult to set up.
Setting up the Action in Launch Center Pro
Changing the file name at the end of the day instead of the beginning
So the solution I’ve come up with this to have a file which is the same for every workday and to have a Launch Center Pro action to move all of the data captured from that file into a new file which has the file name including the date. So now what I can do is to have a button within the Launch Center Pro automation for each of the tasks I want to automate. I work as a receptionist in a camping site and I have to complete a number of steps to do a successful check-in. So I don’t forget each of the items I have a checklist and the workflow will also ask me for the reference number of the customer to add to the data. What I end up with is a set of data in a Taskpaper document which I can refer back to if the boss or anybody else accuses me of missing out a step of the process. It has been useful a couple of times already.
Taking the automation up a notch in Launch Center Pro Automation
What I have now is a handy little grid of icons in Launch Center Pro.
Each of these icons have little pictures to help me quickly choose which one to use. I have also set these icons up with different colours. Two of these icons go to Launch Center Pro actions which have scheduling. The main one of these scheduled actions is for the end of the day. At 22:30 each day the action will run to select all of the text within the days working document in Editorial. It will then copy it to the clipboard, open up a new document and give that document a name based on today’s date. The Editorial workflow then pastes whatever is in the clipboard. I gave it lots of testing and with some minor adjustments to the settings I have it so it works every time without fail. There was one point when I had something wrong in the settings and it only pasted one line of the copied text into the new file. With a little bit of fiddling around with the settings I was able to sort that out.
Scheduling and geofencing to automate
Within the application Editorial, apart from the workflows you also have snippets. For a couple of the things I did during the day I used snippets to input text into the taskpaper document. This gave me a set of checkboxes so I could take a note of when things were done during the work session. Things such as doing the totalisation of the Visa machine and making sure the cupboards were all locked before locking up the reception. I moved those things from snippets into a workflow because I can get the workflows to run from Launch Center Pro. I have one of these workflows scheduled to run at a specific time on a Tuesday because that’s the only day I need it. Launch Center Pro is not bad with its scheduling and it can also be set to trigger based upon location. Within the location triggers you can set whether it is when you arrive at a place or when you leave. You do this with a geo-fence trigger. There are options such as the time range for when this location-based trigger will operate, based on the hour of the day and also the days of the week. There is also a setting to suppress duplicates so the Launch Center Pro action doesn’t get confused.
Extra tweaks during the first day of using the Automation
Sometimes it would put the text in the middle of the data already there. So I had to add another action in the workflow in Editorial to send the insertion carat to the end of the document before pasting the text in. The only other problem was with one of the workflows I made a mistake and sent the insertion point to the beginning of the document instead of the end. It was an easy tweak to sort that out. I will probably refine the automations a little more but as things stand I am pleased with the set up I created today. Maybe another time I’ll have a look and see if I can do any of this with Python programming language. Now that would be proper Good and Geeky Launch Center Pro automation.