New blog post: Automation On Tap

This blog post deals with my experiences with Launch Center Pro and QR Codes and NFC tags. Includes some suggestions for tweaks to the NFC support;

Automation On Tap

This is probably a good place to start any discussion - or feel free to comment on the blog post.


Nice post Martin, though I wasn’t expecting to see my name crop up :blush:

Here’s a few thoughts from me.

One thing you note is that once you have set a URL for the QR code, you can’t modify what it does unlike the NFC related menus in LCP. Well … the NFC tags for LCP are using a registered universal URL to do the triggering of the menu. Therefore, if you have an NFC tag, and you register it with LCP, and then generate a QR code for that tag’s URL, you can as a result get exactly the same effect as using the NFC tag. The limitation is of course that you need to register with the NFC tag first to have a URL to tie it to - there’s no option just to assign one in LCP.

I generated my own URLs for the non-LCP branded NFC tags I got from Amazon, and I can freely rewrite them, so as long as you have one NFC tag and a writer (I use an Android phone to do the writing). It definitely works with the QR codes as I gave it a try to confirm it the other day after I was looking at the QR code sheet :wink:

An alternative would be to have the QR code trigger a Shortcuts custom shortcut with menus and trigger actions from there. I think it might work out as much of a muchness in the end, but having it in LCP does give consolidation and who knows what benefits that might have this coming year given how excited David was when ‘not’ taking about things they have planned.

Another point you noted in the article was creating cascading menus of actions. You note that you have confected this in Shortcuts and Drafts, but I wasn’t clear if you meant cascading menus in those apps or building them for LCP in those apps. Just in case you haven’t got a handle on how to do it for LCP, this might help.

Here’s a formatted(-ish) list configuration for LCP. It starts as a list with three actions. The final action entry for the top level list is another list with a further two actions.

[list:Do Something with the Clipboard
	|Speak It=launch://speak?text=[clipboard]
	|Browse It=[clipboard]
	|Map It=comgooglemaps://?q=[clipboard]+near:&views={{satellite}}
	|Encode/Decode It=[list:URL Basis
		|URL Encode=launchpro-clipboard://x-callback-url/convert?format=urlencode&x-success=
		|URL Decode=launchpro-clipboard://convert?format=urldecode]

Taking out the tabs and line breaks, here’s the composition that gets put into the LCP action.

[list:Do Something with the Clipboard|Speak It=launch://speak?text=[clipboard]|Browse It=[clipboard]|Map It=comgooglemaps://?q=[clipboard]+near:&views={{satellite}}|Encode/Decode It=[list:URL Basis|URL Encode=launchpro-clipboard://x-callback-url/convert?format=urlencode&x-success=|URL Decode=launchpro-clipboard://convert?format=urldecode]]

… and if you can’t be bothered with the copy & pasting, you can always download and install the example action here -

As you also note, it would be nice to see LCP add support for installing sets of actions. In the interim, I do have a rather clunky but viable idea for a workaround. LCP 3 introduced a Shortcuts custom shortcut for installing actions to launch shortcuts; or more specifically the update was fo the addition of the icon from the clipboard if I recall correctly. Anyway, examining the custom shortcut, we can get some insight. Specifically from the URL used:

launch://x-callback-url/import?url=shortcuts%3A%2F%2Frun-shortcut%3Fname%3D%7B%7B{{URL Encoded Text|Shortcut Name}}%7D%7D&title={{URL Encoded Text|Shortcut Name}}&icon=clipboard&x-success=shortcuts%3A%2F%2F

With a little bit of copy & paste effort, you could build a set of action details as a list of plain text (presented on a page or in a file), then have a specially created custom shortcut that reads this in and incrementally builds and executes an import URL; just in the same way it does for adding multiple Shortcuts custom shortcuts. I’ve not done it myself (yet?), but it is certainly possible.

P.S. I also noted that there looks like a bit of a formatting error towards the end of the third paragraph of the Application-Specific URLs section.

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Thanks! Something happened to my Markdown backticks but that’s all sorted now.

And thanks for the menu technique.