Improve variable timer functionality

The ability to set the value of a step timer to a given variable is neat, but we are finding it falls short in our application. We are using a single dynamic step that loads information about each step from our database, ‘planned cycle time’ included. We can set the variable with each new step, but because the elapsed time of our ‘dynamic step’ is not reset with each new step, our step timer just continues to count down (albeit adjusted slightly by the difference between the previous and new ‘planned cycle times’).

One idea we had to fix this was a checkbox for the timer: “Reset step timer on step exit” or something similar, or just allowing us to “Data Man. → Clear → App Variable → Step Cycle Time”. We are obviously thinking within the context of our app and not the platform as a whole, so not sure how this would conflict with the intent of the timer overall.

Also, didn’t we used to be able to count up from 0? Could’ve sworn that was a feature previously.

Hi Brian, a couple things:

  1. You can count up from 0 if you use the “Text” “Variable” widget. Then choose “App Info” and then choose “Time Elapsed on Step”.
  2. Yes, there are a number of ways we could improve the step timer. When you say each “step from your database”, what sorts of analytics are you hoping to track on these steps? I am wondering if you could use “App Complete and Go To Step” to reset the timer if you are just planning on using Table Analytics to track metrics around the products as a whole, for example.

Hi Kevin,

  1. That helps, thanks - I knew we did it before, but I thought it was part of the timer widget…
  2. Our thinking is less around the analytics side of things (actual cycle time), and more on what are we presenting to the operator (planned cycle time). Analytics shouldn’t be a problem, as we can do something like a (currentdatetime - Timer A) expression and store this as an integer. We have used the ‘App Complete and Go To Step’ previously, and it came up in our discussion, but for some reason we all winced at the idea. Maybe it’s because we know we need to go through our giant list of variables to make sure ‘Clear on complete’ is set accurately… maybe it’s because the ‘App completed’ message pops up and it feels a bit unpolished…

Agreed. Here is another idea.

When the step is opened, save the timestamp in a variable- this will allow us to calculate the time on step in this particular usage of the step.

Then, add a “Reset Timer” button so that we can trigger a refresh of the timer for the next usage of the step.

In this case, I am tying my step timer to a variable called “my_timer”.

Here is the trigger logic:

Step 1- we calculate the diff between step open and the current time to find the time on this usage of the step

Step 2- we add it to the timer variable that sets the timer to offset the total time elapsed on the step.

Step 3- We do a “Go To Step” and then go to the exact same step so that we trigger the “Step Open” timer to fire again

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