You can do anything with on{X}. Anything at all.
June 22, 2012 10:26 AM   Subscribe

on{X} is an automation framework that allows you to program and customize various aspects of your Android Smartphone using JavaScript. The developers at Microsoft have also provided a set of customizable pre-baked recipes for the JavaScriptially-challenged.

Want to take it a bit further? The on{X} Market contains a growing list of scripts created by other users, while SetOn{X} adds a few extra functions and commands to the default API.

Is this all still a bit too complicated? Tasker is the granddaddy of Android automation frameworks, and provides a comprehensive GUI to automate almost any imaginable aspect of an Android phone.
posted by schmod (25 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I really like the idea of On{X} and I found it easier to understand than Tasker. The fact that people are selling these scripts really bothers me, though.
posted by azarbayejani at 10:40 AM on June 22, 2012

I'd be tempted, but I'm not linking it to my Facebook account.
posted by twsf at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah. The reviewers on the Android Market seem *pissed* about the fact that the app uses FB authentication. Doesn't bother me personally, but the devs have promised to add other mechanisms in an upcoming release.
posted by schmod at 10:45 AM on June 22, 2012

Llama isn't quite as comprehensive as Tasker, but it's hella easier to use. (It's billed as "location-based" phone profiles but it now does location, time, phone event, calendar ...) Llama uses cell towers for its location-finding, which means it doesn't need your GPS to be on, so it doesn't use a lot of battery. (Obviously if you want GPS-based locations, Llama is not for you, but using cell towers is absolutely fine for me.)

An awful lot of the things I see in the on{X} Market can be done with Llama.

Also Llama is free. Also the developer is really nice and helpful and responsive.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay, so it's not just letting you run a complete arbitrary executable written written by a total stranger, but it seems like the features the API exposes could still be put to pretty malicious use.
posted by figurant at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2012

oh hey let's fill that OS that competes with ours with exploitable holes.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 10:52 AM on June 22, 2012 [8 favorites]

(Also, Llama puts an adorable tiny llama in your taskbar in various different colors you assign to let you know what status your phone is in. Mine's black for normal, purple for nighttime, red for silent, etc., but mostly, let's focus here, adorable tiny llamas!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:53 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a general rule, I never allow anything, ever to connect to my facebook account. If there was some way to stop facebook itself from operating my account I'd do it.
posted by mullingitover at 10:57 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The developers at Microsoft

Um, no. The .ms domain does not indicate Microsoft. Kind of doubt they'd be doing Android things, due to the fact they have their own mobile phone platform.
posted by mikeh at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Scan the QR code at the bottom of the screen or, on your Android phone, go to to download the on{X} app. Use your Facebook credentials to log in to this site and the on{X} app

How considerate of Microsoft to condense everything that is wrong with the state of mobile development into two sentences, right there in the "About Us" page.
posted by Mayor West at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh shit, I stand corrected, just saw the copyright at the bottom. Weeeird.
posted by mikeh at 11:07 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's also SL4A, which lets you use your preferred scripting language to access a simplified subset of the Android API. JavaScript is one of the languages it supports but it also does Perl, Lua, Python and others.

I used it to hack together a calorie logger in a day or so.
posted by suetanvil at 11:10 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Android may not he the best mobile phone OS, but it's certainly the most fun.
posted by fnerg at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2012

Mikeh - The developers said they built it out on Android first, just because the barriers to entry as far as developing on the platform were very low. No idea if they integrated it into WP8, though.
posted by Vhanudux at 11:19 AM on June 22, 2012

Why limit it to Android phones? If This Then That has been mentioned here before.
posted by emelenjr at 11:27 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

> The .ms domain does not indicate Microsoft

No, but the copyright notice at the bottom of the page does.
posted by ardgedee at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2012

anything is possible with on{x}. the only limit is yourself.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2012

... the app uses FB authentication.

That is a bit of a show-stopper. Why does it need any authentication at all? Or am I missing something?
posted by lodurr at 1:34 PM on June 22, 2012

This is from Microsoft IPE in Israel. They have stuff for iPhone as well. It isn't some sort of trick. Or maybe some people would consiter it a trick because stuff like this is research for delivering location-aware targeted "content" , they aren't doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:10 PM on June 22, 2012

Closed my FB account over a year ago. Fail.
posted by sarah_pdx at 2:54 PM on June 22, 2012

The FB account login requirement is a non-starter for me. I think (and hope) by this time they've figured this out, because if you look at any of the message boards on this technology, they are overwhelmed with people asking "FB login? WTF??"

It looks like a great idea, but the FB tie-in as a requirement was a really stupid and unnecessary move. I would have been appeased if they just gave a choice between that and Google authentication.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:10 PM on June 22, 2012

Damn guys, cut them some slack. They used Facebook! Not windows passport or live login or onepass or whatever they are calling their authentication thing these days.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:53 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm perfectly willing to cut them some slack on the quality of their solution. But requiring Facebook auth means I won't ever use it and will caution anyone I discuss it with about using it. Sure, maybe they'll add other auth options later; then maybe I'll look.
posted by lodurr at 5:58 AM on June 25, 2012

On one hand this is awful; Microsoft software requiring Facebook login getting access to my phone! All it does is run some code, joining up bits of Android.

On the other hand; this has amazing potential. Can you imagine your phone being able to spot patterns in its use and being able to link information across sources by itself? I imagine a virtual personal assistant who can spot where the device could be helpful, and has a library or useful tools to make the phone work more cohesively.

At the moment the phone is a lot about receiving information and displaying it effectively, not much about processing it or even responding to it (ironic considering its original purpose).
posted by BadMiker at 6:22 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, you're right -- phones have become a sort of Memex. They've become what Shannon, Asimov et al imagined we would use our televisions for.

To be fair, most people do act through their phones -- they just don't do a lot of creative work that way. But people do a lot of "non-creative" work through phones, and the instrumentality is developing -- I'm sure we'll see better capability. Phones are rapidly replacing PCs for many people, soon most people, and they'll demand the minimum stuff that they've come to regard as critical on their computers. (This is also a golden opportunity to get a better idea about what people regard as critical requirements in their 'computing' devices.)
posted by lodurr at 8:13 AM on June 25, 2012

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