Saturday, 16 July 2011

Android Intents (aka Widget Locker support)

Llama now supports sending Intents to any other application. This allows Llama to make Widget Locker (a popular lock-screen replacement) lock and unlock on Llama's command.

Intents can be pretty complicated, but I'll try and explain the basic idea. An Intent can have a target; that target can either be a particular piece of functionality in an application, or a more generic description of a piece of functionality. As well as the target, intents also have a random blob of data that the target should be able to understand.

Android's shortcuts (which Llama already supports) are powered by intents, with the major difference being that an Android shortcut forces an app to provide a nice UI to create the shortcut's intent. You'll need the third party app's documentation to be able to craft an Android Intent action. Fortunately, Llama comes with Widget Locker's supported intents built in. You can use these in conjunction with Llama's screen lock action to ensure that widget locker is suspended when the screen lock is disabled, and that widget locker re-locks the screen when Llama reenables the screen lock.

Widget Locker is pretty good, and you can place Llama shortcuts on Widget Locker's sliders. For example, I now have sliders to turn on Bluetooth and to set my phone to silent for an hour. I can quickly use these if I'm popping out at a random time and want to listen to music, or if a meeting has come up. Ultimate laziness! Of course, Widget Locker isn't free, so if you're buying Widget Locker, you should donate too :)

Also in this version is a small warning about the Alarm volume. It seems that Samsung's quest for usability conflicts with Androids/Llama's alarm volume. Samsung allow you to set the Alarm volume for each alarm that you set. Each time the Samsung alarm app fires an alarm, it overrides the current Android alarm volume with the volume for that alarm. This means that if you set Llama to silence the alarm volume, Samsung would just reenable the alarm volume when the alarm goes off. To workaround this, you need to use an alarm clock app that doesn't think it's in charge of the Alarm volume setting.

And finally, here's a download link. It'll probably be on the market some time this week. As usual export your data before installing test versions.