Airo Safety Claims – Shortcuts Rewind: Dates, Calendars, and Past
For this installment of Shortcuts Rewind, I’m going to give attention to date and calendar actions. I’ll additionally contact on a few of the Shortcuts actions that Apple Maps gives and clarify dictionaries.
I wished to cowl date and calendar actions early within the Shortcuts Rewind collection as a result of they’re the form of actions that come in useful again and again in all kinds of shortcuts. Plus, date-based shortcuts are helpful to plenty of individuals. In spite of everything, everybody offers with schedules and conferences to some extent.
With Shortcuts, dates turn out to be modifiable constructing blocks that go hand-in-hand with occasions that the app lets you decouple out of your calendar app and recombine in new methods. It’s a strong pairing that, together with an understanding of dictionaries, will be prolonged to different contexts again and again.
You’ll be able to obtain every of the three shortcuts I cowl on the finish of every part of this story or by visiting the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, the place you’ll discover these and over 200 different shortcuts. When you obtain one of many shortcuts, opening it on an iPad side-by-side with this walkthrough is a terrific technique to learn the way every works. One other method that’s efficient is to rebuild every shortcut from scratch your self, as you observe alongside under.
Days Till… is a terrific place to start out with date actions. The shortcut prompts you for a date, which will be entered utilizing pure language like ‘this Friday’ and calculates the variety of days till then. It’s a easy shortcut that highlights a few of the alternative ways the app can format dates, the way it interprets date enter by a person and date math. It’s additionally a pleasant refresher on If actions, which I coated in the final installment of Rewind.
Days Till…, Half 1
Step one is finding the date actions in Shortcuts. You gained’t discover them by tapping within the classes like Apps or Scripting on the high of the actions catalog. As an alternative, merely seek for ‘date’ and the 5 obtainable actions will seem on the high of the record.
➊ Date and Format Date
Step 1 makes use of ‘Date’ and ‘Format Date’ actions. The Date motion features a single parameter that by default is ready to the Present Date, which is what we would like. The Format Date motion features a single parameter known as ‘Date,’ which is able to take the Present Date handed from the primary motion. Develop the Format Date motion by tapping the Present Extra button. By default, the Date Format and Time Format are each set to ‘Brief.’ It’s price tapping Date Format and Time Format to see the totally different choices as a result of there are loads. It’s a disgrace there aren’t examples of what every of those date and time codecs seem like in Shortcuts, so I made a desk with examples of every:
|Medium||Mar 2, 2020|
|Lengthy||March 2, 2020|
|Relative||At this time||Presents Brief, Medium, and Lengthy variations of relative dates.|
|RFC 2822||Mon, 02 Mar 2020 12:00:00 -0600||Has no Time Format possibility as a result of it’s constructed into the date format.|
|ISO 8801||2020-03-02||Gives possibility to incorporate ISO 8601 time.|
|Customized||EEE, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z||A syntax utilized in programming to create customized dates from strings of textual content.|
There are fewer time choices, however right here’s what every seems to be like:
|Lengthy||12:00:00 PM CST|
|Relative||7 hours in the past|
You too can require Shortcuts to ‘Ask Every Time’ for the date and time while you run your shortcut. Whenever you achieve this, the shortcut pops up the Format Date motion’s UI as quickly because it reaches that step of your shortcut, supplying you with an opportunity to set the date and time to no matter format you’d like. Nonetheless, for the needs of Days Till…, set the Date Format to Brief and the Time Format to None.
➋ Date, Format Date, and Get Time Between Dates
Now that we now have right this moment’s date, we have to ask for the date to which we’re going to match it. Step 2 requires a ‘Date’ motion. Date actions default to the ‘Present Date,’ which isn’t what we would like. Faucet Present Date and decide Specified Date as a result of we wish to use a single date the person will decide when the shortcut runs.
After including Specified Date to the Date motion, you’ll see a brand new lighter subject added to the motion that claims ‘June 29, 2007.’. Lengthy-press the date and decide ‘Ask Every Time’ so the person is prompted to choose a date.
What’s actually neat about Shortcuts is simply how versatile it’s in taking dates from the person. Specified Date will be in any of the codecs listed within the desk above. This offers latitude that reduces the opportunity of person error, particularly because it even works with relative dates like ‘subsequent Tuesday.’
Subsequent, add one other Format Date motion and set the Date Format to Lengthy and the Time Format to None. We’re formatting this date a little bit totally different as a result of we’re going to make use of it once more as a part of the alert we present customers with the results of the shortcut.
The ultimate step of this part of Days Till… is to make use of the present date and the one offered by the person to calculate the numbers of days between every. For this, seize a ‘Get Time Between Dates’ motion and add it to the shortcut.
For those who’ve already downloaded the Days Till… shortcut from the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, you’ll see that the motion says ‘Get time between
At this time and
Formatted Dates in
Days.’ The primary parameter known as At this time is the results of the formatted date from the shortcut’s first motion.
For those who’re establishing the shortcut from scratch, the results of that first motion known as Formatted Date, however to differentiate it from the subsequent date within the Get Time Between Dates motion, it has been renamed. Begin with the Get Time Between Dates motion, and long-press the default ‘Present Date’ parameter. Subsequent, decide Choose Magic Variable. Select the ‘Formatted Date’ consequence that seems beneath the primary motion. Subsequent, faucet ‘Formatted Date’ within the Get Time Between Dates motion and rename it by choosing the Rename button within the toolbar simply beneath the Shortcuts editor. In Days Till… it has been renamed ‘At this time.’
Lengthy-press the ‘Date’ parameter subsequent, decide Choose Magic Variable, after which the Formatted Date consequence from the instantly previous motion. Lastly, faucet the ‘Minutes’ parameter and alter it to Days from the eight choices obtainable.
Days Till…, Half 2
➌ Nested If Actions
Step three of Days Till… consists of three nested ‘If’ actions that account for the person selecting a date greater than in the future sooner or later, tomorrow, and right this moment. For extra on If actions, make sure to take a look at the Create Hyperlink shortcut in the primary installment of Shortcuts Rewind.
Every of the If actions begin with the results of the Time Between Dates motion, which Shortcuts will fill in mechanically while you add an If motion. Faucet the Situation parameter and select ‘is bigger than’ and enter 1 for the Quantity parameter.
The following motion is a ‘Textual content’ motion that reads ‘is in
Time Between Dates days.’ To incorporate the outcomes of
Time Between Dates to the Textual content motion, decide it within the horizontally-scrolling record of variables within the toolbar on the backside of the editor. The opposite two pairs of If and Textual content actions are related, addressing the conditions the place the time between days is 1 day and zero days with customized textual content indicating the dates are tomorrow and right this moment, respectively.
➍ Present Outcomes
Step four makes use of a ‘Present Consequence’ motion to show the Time Between Dates variable and If Outcomes variables. Whenever you add the motion, it is going to solely present one placeholder for a variable. Faucet the Variables button to indicate the obtainable variables and after selecting the primary one, ensure that the insertion level is the place you want it and decide the opposite. When the shortcut runs, the outcomes will probably be displayed together with an ‘Okay’ button to dismiss the message.
That’s a reasonably lengthy rationalization of a comparatively easy shortcut, however as with every of those shortcuts, it pays to poke round in any respect the choices for every motion. After I try this, I inevitably discover one thing that can come in useful for a future shortcut.
You’ll be able to obtain Days Till… under or discover it within the MacStories Shortcuts Archive.
Shortcuts isn’t restricted to dates, although. You too can construct shortcuts primarily based on occasions that you simply beforehand entered into your calendar.
Calendar Areas seems to be ahead to the subsequent three days price of occasions in your calendar, extracts location information included in them, and presents you with an inventory of places. Faucet on one and the shortcut will inform you how lengthy it is going to take to get to the placement. The shortcut is a superb introduction to calendar actions, Apple Maps actions, and the ‘Repeat with every merchandise in’ scripting motion that we haven’t coated but.
Calendar Areas, Half 1
➊ Discover Calendar Occasions
Step 1 of Calendar Areas is to seek out your calendar occasions. Shortcuts consists of eight built-in calendar actions, however for this shortcut all we want is ‘Discover Calendar Occasions.’ By default, the motion finds all calendar occasions the place the beginning date is within the subsequent seven days. We solely need the subsequent three days, so should you’re constructing the shortcut from scratch, faucet the textual content subject within the motion and exchange ‘7’ with ‘three.’
It’s price noting that along with trying ahead for occasions ‘within the subsequent’ variety of days, you possibly can faucet on ‘is within the subsequent’ and alter it to an actual date, right this moment, a spread of days, or within the final variety of days. You’re not restricted to days as a measure of time durations both. You too can use seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months, and years.
The Discover Calendar Occasions motion features a filter possibility that permits you to filter which calendars are included within the motion and a sorting possibility for sorting the motion’s outcomes by ten totally different standards. It’s worthwhile to poke round these choices to see what’s potential, however this shortcut doesn’t use any of them.
➋ Repeat with Every
Step 2 makes use of a ‘Repeat with Every’ motion to carry out the identical set of steps on every of the occasions handed to it from the final step. For every calendar occasion present in step 1, the repeat loop will look to see whether or not the occasion features a location and if it does, add it to an inventory of places which might be saved in a variable.
First, add a Repeat with Every motion and an If motion. Subsequent, drag the If motion so it’s contained in the Repeat with Every motion, which is able to assume you wish to use the Calendar Occasions magic variable that was output by the primary motion. That’s right, so no have to make adjustments there.
There are a few adjustments to make within the If motion, nevertheless. First, faucet on the ‘Repeat Merchandise’ parameter. Shortcuts shows the totally different kinds the merchandise can take. By default, every Repeat Merchandise will probably be a Calendar Occasion, however we would like the occasion’s location, not the opposite included information, so scroll down and decide ‘Location,’ which adjustments the variable title within the If motion to ‘Location’ too. Second, we have to fill within the Situation parameter. Faucet the parameter and decide ‘has any worth’ from the record as a result of all we’re checking for right here is whether or not the calendar occasion features a location or not.
Subsequent, drag an ‘Add Variable’ motion between the If and In any other case actions. Faucet ‘Repeat Merchandise’ and alter the merchandise from Calendar Occasion to Location, as we did above. Then, faucet the Variable Parameter and title it Areas as a result of that is the place the record of places collected out of your subsequent three days of calendar occasions will probably be saved. Each occasion the shortcut finds will probably be run by this Repeat with Every loop, including the places it finds to the Areas variable till all the occasions are processed, at which level it is going to proceed to the subsequent step.
Calendar Areas, Half 2
➌ Select from Areas
Step three checks if the Areas variable you created above has any worth. If it does, the shortcut prompts you to choose a location after which calculates the journey time to your vacation spot.
To examine if the Areas variable has a price, add one other If motion to the shortcut. The If motion defaults to checking the Repeat Outcomes, however by long-pressing on it, the variable will be modified to Areas. The Situation parameter ought to be modified to ‘has any worth’ as within the final If motion above.
Nest a Select from Listing motion contained in the If motion and long-press on the parameter to alter from the default ‘Repeat Outcomes’ magic variable to the Areas variable you created. That can show an inventory of the places discovered amongst your subsequent three days of occasions. For those who develop the ‘Present Extra’ button within the Select from Listing motion, you possibly can fill within the non-obligatory Immediate subject with ‘Areas’ to assist the person perceive the record they’re viewing.
➍ Get Journey Time
The steps of the Calendar Areas shortcut calculate the journey time to your occasion’s vacation spot and shows the outcomes of the shortcut.
Apple Maps consists of a number of actions. Step four makes use of ‘Get Journey Time,’ which must be dragged contained in the If motion after the Select from Listing motion from the final step. The default values don’t have to be modified for this motion. The primary parameter the motion takes is the mode of transportation, which accepts Driving, Strolling, and Transit. Calendar Areas is ready as much as present drive instances to places, however will be modified to strolling or transit instances as an alternative. The motion additionally defaults to measuring the journey time between your present location and the occasion’s location, however you possibly can set a unique start line should you’d like by tapping ‘Present Location.’ Lastly, the motion defaults to the Chosen Merchandise magic variable for the vacation spot, which is what we would like because it’s the placement picked within the previous motion.
Step 5 of the shortcut shows its outcomes to the person. Drag a Present Alert motion after the Get Journey Time motion and exchange its textual content with a mixture of static textual content and three Magic Variables, so it reads ‘It’ll take
Journey Time to get to
Route Title.’ It’s price inspecting every of those magic variables as a result of they reveal how magic variables will be adjusted to entry the exact information wanted for the displayed message.
The primary magic variable hasn’t been modified in any respect. The Journey Time magic variable is mechanically created by the Get Journey Time motion and is on the market within the toolbar on the backside of the shortcut editor. Simply faucet it is going to be added to the provide you with a warning’re constructing.
The ‘Avenue’ magic variable is a little bit difficult. What you need is the road for the placement you picked earlier within the shortcut. That’s the ‘Chosen Merchandise’ within the instantly previous motion. Nonetheless, while you add the Chosen Merchandise magic variable to your Present Alert motion and faucet on it, you’ll see that it’s been added as a Calendar Occasion. To change to the Location illustration of the magic variable, faucet ‘Calendar Occasion’ within the view that seems below the motion editor while you faucet the Chosen Merchandise variable. A listing seems with all of the bits of information obtainable for the Chosen Merchandise, together with the road handle. Choose Avenue and the title of the magic variable adjustments to Avenue too.
I want this magic variable performance was surfaced higher as a result of I discovered it to be one of many hardest issues to get used to as I used to be studying Shortcuts. Happily, after modifying the info you’re accessing from magic variables a number of instances, the method turns into simpler. Like different components of Shortcuts, that is one other good place to poke round to see what’s potential as a result of there are loads of totally different choices.
The ultimate magic variable so as to add is the route. The primary clue of what to do is that the icon subsequent to ‘Route’ is the Apple Maps icon. Though Journey Time could appear a little bit counterintuitive, add it to the Present Alert motion and faucet it. Journey Time is the default worth for the variable, however among the many different choices is Route. Choose that and the variable title adjustments to Route.
The one different factor to do is add a second Present Alert motion after the In any other case motion to deal with the case the place the If motion finds no places in your Areas variable. In that case, the Calendar Areas shortcut shows a static alert that claims there aren’t any occasions with places developing within the subsequent three days.
Other than the inherent usefulness of Calendar Areas, what I like about this shortcut is the way it highlights the flexibility of Repeat with Every Merchandise actions and exposes the alternative ways you need to use magic variables to entry totally different bits of information from calendar occasions and places. Due to the flexibleness of every motion and magic variable, the identical parts utilized in Calendar Areas will be integrated into all kinds of different shortcuts when you perceive what every gives.
You’ll be able to obtain Calendar Areas under or discover it within the MacStories Shortcuts Archive.
Create Calendar Occasion from Template
Repetitive, template-based duties are excellent for automation. Create Calendar Occasion from Template, which was initially created for Membership MacStories members, presents an inventory of templates for calendar occasions. Choose one, fill within the particulars, and the shortcut provides an occasion to your calendar. The shortcut makes use of a dictionary motion inside one other dictionary motion to retailer calendar templates and a mixture of different scripting and calendar actions so as to add the mandatory particulars.
Create Calendar Occasion from Template, Half 1
Step 1 is to arrange the dictionary that can retailer the shortcut’s occasion templates. ‘Dictionary’ is likely one of the Scripting actions constructed into Shortcuts. In Create Calendar Occasion from Template, the dictionary consists of three instance templates (Recreation Launch, Dentist, and Canine Coaching) which you can modify to match recurring occasions in your personal schedule.
At their easiest degree, dictionaries are pairs of information which might be sometimes known as keys and values. On this shortcut, Recreation Launch, Dentist, and Canine Coaching are the keys, and collections of particulars represented by ‘6 gadgets’ in blue subsequent to every key are the values. Dictionaries get their title from the truth that they work like a conventional dictionary for trying up definitions of phrases, however in programming, the secret is the phrase, and the worth is the definition. Retaining that in thoughts goes a good distance towards understanding dictionaries.
Whenever you add a Dictionary motion to a shortcut, it’s empty and prompts you to ‘Add new merchandise.’ For those who faucet the immediate, Shortcuts asks what kind of worth you wish to add to the dictionary: textual content, a quantity, an array, one other dictionary, or a Boolean.
With Create Calendar Occasion from Template, we’re diving proper into the deep finish by making a dictionary of dictionaries. The explanation for that’s so the shortcut can entry a number of templates. If we had just one occasion template, we might create a single dictionary with pairs of keys and values for every facet of the occasion we wish to automate. Nonetheless, every template on this shortcut is a little bit totally different from the others, which you’ll see by tapping on ‘6 gadgets’ subsequent to every template title. The answer for dealing with the state of affairs is to create a dictionary that has three entries – one for every template – the place every worth within the top-level dictionary is its personal dictionary of keys and values which might be distinctive to that template.
To make it a little bit extra concrete, it helps to take a look at the Dictionary motion in Create Calendar Occasion from Template. The highest-level dictionary that you simply see within the Shortcuts editor has three keys: Recreation Releases, Dentist, and Canine Coaching. Subsequent to these keys are their values, that are every represented by the hyperlink to ‘6 gadgets’ in blue. Faucet on the primary one and also you’ll see the dictionary of keys and values for Recreation Launch.
Inside this nested dictionary for Recreation Releases, you possibly can see that there are six keys – Calendar, Location, Length, Notes, All Day, and Alert – that are fully user-defined. There are a few issues price noting about every of those nested dictionaries. First, you possibly can add default values for every merchandise in a dictionary. A very good instance is the Calendar key within the Recreation Releases template, which has been set to a calendar named ‘Recreation Releases.’ Tapping on any textual content subject enables you to add a default worth. Alternatively, you possibly can go away a subject clean to be crammed in later when the shortcut is run by the person. The identical goes for numbers and Boolean fields. Faucet considered one of their fields and Shortcuts gives acceptable choices you possibly can fill in.
With nested dictionaries, there’s loads occurring in our single Dictionary motion, nevertheless it exhibits off one of many biggest strengths of Shortcuts. When you’ve thought by the templates you want for any form of information entry job that you simply repeatedly do, you possibly can flip it right into a shortcut to save lots of time sooner or later. The identical sample can be utilized for all kinds of repetitive duties, together with creating duties in a job supervisor or sending template-based e mail messages.
The rest of Create Calendar Occasions from Template handles accessing the key-value pairs within the shortcut’s dictionary, prompting the person to fill within the mandatory data, after which creating the occasion.
➋ Get Dictionary Worth and Select from Listing
Shortcuts consists of 4 dictionary actions in its Scripting library. Step 2 makes use of a Get Dictionary Worth motion as step one in asking the person to choose which calendar template they wish to use. By default, the motion will retrieve a single worth for a key in a specific dictionary. Nonetheless, to permit the person to choose from amongst every of the calendar templates in Create Calendar Occasion from Template, faucet on the Worth parameter and alter it to ‘All Keys.’ That adjustments the language of the motion to ‘Get
All Keys in Dictionary,’ which is able to retrieve the keys within the top-level dictionary: Recreation Releases, Dentist, and Canine Coaching.
Subsequent, the shortcut makes use of a Select from Listing motion to show the record of template decisions to the person. Dictionary Worth, which is the results of the final motion, is mechanically crammed in, so no have to make any adjustments there. For those who disclose full contents of the motion, you’ll see that this motion added a ‘Choose a Template’ immediate to assist clarify what the shortcut expects the person to do.
➌ Get Dictionary Worth and Ask for Enter
Step three makes use of the outcomes of the selection made by the person above and presents the title of the template as a prompt occasion title, which the person can edit in the event that they’d like. First up is one other Get Dictionary Worth motion. Not like the final one used, although, we solely need the worth for the calendar template chosen by the person.
There are three fields obtainable to fill in. We wish the worth for the calendar template that was chosen, so long-press
Key, faucet Choose Magic Variable, after which choose ‘Chosen Merchandise.’ On this shortcut, ‘Chosen Merchandise’ has been renamed to ‘Template Title’ for readability, utilizing the rename button that seems on the backside of the editor while you faucet on ‘Chosen Merchandise.’
Additionally, long-press on the final parameter within the motion and decide the Dictionary variable from the primary motion. The motion now reads ‘Get
Template Title in
Dictionary.’ For those who drop a Fast Look motion right here, you’ll see that what this does is retrieve the nested dictionary for the calendar template worth you picked, which incorporates six pairs of keys and values for that template.
The following motion is an ‘Ask for Enter’ motion that asks the person to substantiate the title of the occasion. As a result of the title of the occasion is textual content, the Enter kind is textual content. It replaces the default
Query parameter with ‘Affirm Occasion Title.’ For those who faucet Present Extra, you’ll see that it makes use of the Template Title because the default occasion title, which the person can change when prompted.
Create Calendar Occasion from Template, Half 2
➍ Ask for Enter
Step four lets the person change the length of the occasion. The primary motion is one other Ask for Enter motion with the enter kind modified to ‘Date and Time,’ so the system date and time picker seems when the shortcut reaches this step. The textual content of the picker has been custom-made to make clear what’s being requested and consists of the Template Title magic variable, reinforcing what’s being requested.
➎ Regulate Date
Step 5 units the length of the occasion and provides an alert primarily based on the values you included for these in your templates within the very first Dictionary motion. Because the remark within the shortcut explains, if a template occasion is ready up as an all-day occasion, the beginning date requested within the earlier motion serves because the alert time. In any other case, the length is added to the beginning date and time from the final motion, so it seems on the right time in your calendar.
The primary motion is the ‘Regulate Date’ calendar motion for establishing the length of the occasion. So as to add a length in minutes, the default
Add parameter is left alone, however
seconds must be modified to minutes by tapping on that parameter and selecting
minutes. As an alternative of a set variety of minutes, long-press the
zero parameter and select Choose Magic Variable and decide the Dictionary created within the first motion. We don’t need the entire dictionary although, simply the length worth from the occasion template. To try this, faucet ‘Get Worth for Key’ and sort in Length. It’s necessary for the important thing title you enter right here to match what’s in your dictionary. Lastly, long-press the final parameter and alter the magic variable to the
Offered Enter from the final motion. In Create Calendar Occasion from Template, the title of this magic variable has been modified to Begin Date for readability.
The following motion is one other Regulate Date motion that exhibits which you can subtract time from a date, which is precisely what we would like for an alert to go off earlier than the occasion happens. The setup course of for this motion is rather like the final motion besides that the primary parameter must be modified to
Subtract, and the dictionary worth for the variety of minutes to subtract ought to be set to the
Alert key from the dictionary within the first motion.
➏ Add New Occasion
Step 6 is the ultimate step, which provides the occasion created to your calendar utilizing an ‘Add New Occasion’ motion. There are three predominant parameters to fill in. The primary is
Occasion Title. Right here, you wish to use the Magic Variable that’s the results of the motion in Step three, through which the occasion title was confirmed. In Create Calendar Occasion from Template, that variable’s title has been modified to ‘Remaining Occasion Title.’ The second parameter is the Begin Date magic variable from the motion the place the beginning date and time had been chosen. The third and ultimate parameter is the Finish Date magic variable that’s the renamed results of the calendar motion above, through which the length of the occasion was added to the beginning date.
Whenever you step again, Create Calendar Occasion from Template entails a good quantity of setup for the templates and asks the person to enter the issues that change from occasion to occasion, however the result’s a streamlined course of for including occasions sooner or later. As an alternative of establishing related occasions again and again, filling out each related subject, this shortcut cuts out the repetition and reduces the duty to a few requests of the person. It’s the form of shortcut that eliminates a little bit of trouble and saves a while each time it’s used, which piles up when used again and again.
What’s extra, realizing easy methods to create templates utilizing dictionaries and mixing them with person enter is a sample that can be utilized repeatedly with all kinds of shortcuts. Studying it as soon as for a shortcut like this provides you the instruments to roll it out in different shortcuts, which is the purpose at which you actually begin reaping the advantages of constructing shortcuts.
You’ll be able to obtain Create Calendar Occasion from Template under or discover it within the MacStories Shortcuts Archive.
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