Posts tagged with "automation"

Spotify Actions for Launch Center Pro

I recently tweeted about a change in the Spotify app for iOS – which I've been using to listen to music every day1 – that broke my shortcut to search for songs and artists from my Launch Center Pro action grid. I've been trying to identify the culprit and I've read documentation about Spotify's URL scheme and integration with the web app, but I haven't been able to figure out how to make searches typed in Launch Center Pro work with Spotify again. Therefore, I've tweaked my Spotify action setup and settled on a compromise that's (kind of) working for now.

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My Launch Center Pro Setup

My Launch Center Pro Home screen and Utilities group.

My Launch Center Pro Home screen and Utilities group.

Over the past two years, we’ve covered Launch Center Pro, one of my favorite apps for iPhone and iPad, several times here at MacStories. We’ve detailed major updates that were released by Contrast and published a complete guide to go from novice to advanced user; we’ve also focused on the hidden features for power users that the developers recently snuck into a seemingly minor update. And yet, in spite of the coverage, I’ve never really addressed the question that I often receive from MacStories readers – How do you use Launch Center Pro?

In this post, I’m going to detail the actions and groups that I use with Launch Center Pro every day. I keep Launch Center Pro in my dock, and I use it for actions that are both work-related or simple shortcuts to my favorite music streaming app or animated GIFs. I’ve realized that quickly mentioning an action or including examples in a review isn’t the best way to explain how I’m using the app, and hopefully this post will provide a good overview of my practical use for a fantastic utility that I rely on.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of my Launch Center Pro setup with sections for the app’s Home screen and groups. The screenshots will show my iPhone setup, but I keep the same actions on my iPad. Whenever possible, each action will have a download link to install it on your device.

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Redeeming App Store Promo Codes with Launch Center Pro

Yes, that promo code has been used.

Yes, that promo code has been used.

I was taking a look at my Launch Center Pro action library over the weekend, and I realized that I didn't have a shortcut to quickly redeem App Store promo codes.

Whether it's a promo code for an app pitch or a gift card I need to redeem on my iTunes account, I constantly find myself opening the App Store app, scrolling to the bottom, tapping Redeem, pasting the code, and confirming everything with my password. But we're not prehistoric iPhone users, and this can be automated. And even better, the tweaks introduced in Launch Center Pro 2.3.1 make the process seamless yet flexible.

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Launch Center Pro 2.3.1 for Power Users

My Launch Center Pro home screen and Utilities folder.

My Launch Center Pro home screen and Utilities folder.

Earlier this month, I wrote that Launch Center Pro 2.3 extended iOS automation by integrating with IFTTT and bridging the gap between iOS apps and web services. Launch Center Pro 2.3.1, released today and seemingly a minor update, is packed with major changes for advanced users who want to build complex URL actions in the app.

If you’ve struggled to build actions that connect multiple apps in Launch Center Pro before, you’ll want to check out the new version and read through the full documentation on Contrast’s website. We’re still working on a big update to our Launch Center Pro guide, but, in the meantime, I’m going to give you an overview of what’s possible to achieve with Launch Center Pro 2.3.1.

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Pythonista 1.5: Custom Interfaces, matplotlib, and No More “Open In”

Pythonista 1.5, the latest version of Ole Zorn's Python interpreter for iOS, has been released today on the App Store, bringing new modules, native integrations, UI refinements, and the removal of the Open In feature to comply with Apple's App Store guidelines. Pythonista 1.5 is another fantastic update to one of the most powerful and flexible iOS apps ever made, and it follows in the footsteps of Editorial 1.1, released last month.

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Launch Center Pro 2.3 Extends iOS Automation

Released today on the App Store, Launch Center Pro 2.3 is a major update to Contrast's app launcher and automation tool for iOS that further enhances integration with online services, improves how actions are built and triggered, and that refines several aspects of an app that's become a key piece of my workflow.

I've been covering Launch Center Pro since its humble Pro-less beginnings, and the app has changed dramatically over the years. What started as a simple launcher for apps graduated into a full-blown automation utility for URL schemes and native iOS features, which allowed us to create a complete guide to get started with the app on your iPhone and iPad.1

Launch Center Pro 2.3 brings important improvements that make the app an even better companion for common tasks and advanced workflows. The update is packed with features -- David Barnard wasn't joking when he said that it feels like a 3.0 release -- and I believe that Contrast did a great job in integrating them with the rest of the app.

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JavaScript for Automation on OS X Yosemite

As detailed by Apple in a technical document, OS X Yosemite will add JavaScript support for scripting and automation:

The JavaScript OSA component implements JavaScript for Automation. The component can be used from Script Editor, the global Script Menu, in the Run JavaScript Automator Action, applets/droplets, the osascript command-line tool, the NSUserScriptTask API, and everywhere else other OSA components, such as AppleScript, can be used. This includes Mail Rules, Folder Actions, Address Book Plugins, Calendar Alarms, and Message Triggers.

From the developer session video's description:

With OS X Yosemite, application scripting support has been added to another popular language, JavaScript. JavaScript for Automation (JXA) extends the standard JavaScript environment provided by the JavaScriptCore framework with support for querying and controlling all of the scriptable applications running in OS X. JXA scripts are supported at all layers of the system and can be invoked from the command-line, from the system-wide Script Menu, and can even be distributed as code-signed applications.

This is an interesting change for automation on OS X going forward, and JavaScript will be available alongside AppleScript in the Script Editor. You can watch the session video “JavaScript for Automation” here or in Apple's WWDC app.

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