Auto Respond Updates

It has obviously been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, so it time for some updates. For this post, I’m going to focus on Auto Respond, even though much of my time has been spent on something else. That will be covered in another post.

If you have Auto Respond installed, and have been keeping up with updates, you will have noticed the 2.0 update. This was a HUGE update which I spent months working on. I changed the entire back end of the app – multiple times – as well as updating the user interface (UI) to Android’s new material design standard. This took so long mostly because of my own desire for things to be done “right”. Auto Respond was the first Android app I ever wrote, and because of that some of the things that I did were done in a certain way simply because I was learning and that’s how I knew that it would work. Things weren’t always done in a effective way, just a way that worked. I wanted to change this in 2.0. Not only are things coded in a more effective way for performance, but it’s done in a way that makes it MUCH easier for me to maintain the code, release updates with bug fixes and new features, and the code is easier to read and understand.

I re-coded many parts of the app multiple times because I would start writing, get things about half done (or more) and realize “wait, there’s still a better way to do this. Why am I not using <insert mechanism here>?” So I would backtrack and re-write everything AGAIN. This is why it took me months. I wanted to get it right.

Coming in Auto Respond 2.1:

  • Fixed bug with schedules not always triggering properly
    • This is due to the service not always starting properly
  • Fixed bug where in certain circumstances choosing to cancel changes to a schedule would still save any changes made
  • Completely hid some options when they are not available (before they were visible, but disabled.)
  • Added Quick Toggle Setting for Android N users
  • Added voice input for Auto Respond message on the main screen of the app
    • You can now speak your message and the app will enter it for you
  • Added accessibility details
    • Makes things more user friendly for blind or visually impared users
  • Added checks to prevent a contact from being added to both Custom Response list and Do Not Respond list
    • A contact CAN be in a global list of one type and a schedule specific list of the other type, but CANNOT be in both lists either globally or within a single schedule.
  • Added a check for duplicate before adding a contact to Custom Response list
  • New notification icon
    • Since Android now automatically styles the icon in notifications, it was not fully representative of the app’s icon after being styled on most newer versions of Android. It is now styled in a way that it fits the Android standard, and is more representative of the app’s icon.

More changes may come as I continue coding. A full change log will be posted when it is released. The new version will probably be released along with the final release of Android N, so it might be some time before you see this update in the Play Store. I’m holding off until then because the preview SDK for Android N causes the app to have Android N as a minimum OS version requirement. This has been done with all preview SDKs, and will change with the release version of the SDK. When the final SDK is released, the app will be updated.

Changes that may not make it into this version, but are on the to-do list:

  • Session Timer
    • Many people have requested for Auto Respond to send another response after a certain amount of time. I’m going to start work on this. The timer is going to default to 5 minutes, but it will be customizable.
  • Adding groups to Do Not Respond and Custom Response lists
  • More customization to schedules – adding options from the “Main Options” menu to each schedule.
  • Tasker integration – this has been on my list for a while. No idea if it’s going to be finished any time soon.