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Harmony launching apps / unique profiles for different apps (Plex, Kodi, Steam, etc.)

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Trying to set up my Harmony Ultimate remote for optimal use with my Alienware Alpha. Where I'm stumbling is creating an easy way to launch/switch between applications with customized buttons/settings for each.

 

Here's my setup:

PC: Alienware Alpha

Remotes: Harmony Ultimate / Hub / Smart Keyboard

Apps: Plex Media Player, Kodi, Steam

 

I've figured out how to launch apps using keyboard shortcuts, but they don't work when in another app. So I'd either need to be working from the desktop or somehow makes the keyboard commands universal.

 

Ideally I think how I'd like to set it up is to have unique "activities" for each app ("Watch Plex", "Watch Kodi" etc.) that launch the app and close it upon turning off or switching activities.

 

I have the flirc but haven't figured out how its commands can be made app-specific. I would need to do this because these apps have different keymaps, correct? It seems to me like flirc is more geared towards "dumb" remotes with buttons only, whereas I can program commands with the Harmony.  Is that true?  

 

Is Eventghost or Intelliremote the answer?  I'd previously used RemoteBuddy on my Mac and it worked flawlessly - these don't seem nearly as user friendly.

 

Is there a tutorial somewhere for what I'm looking for??

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There are different ways you can set this up. Flirc is just a tool you can use in bigger setup if you need to set up something more than just a simple key mapping.

The simplest setup that doesn't require extra software: You need to create a separate device profile on the remote for each app you want to control. Then you need to record and assign the buttons on the remote based on the currently selected device profile (e.g. you assign Plex keyboard shortcuts when you select a device profile you want to use with Plex on the remote, then repeat for another profile/app pair). This does require that your remote is capable of controlling multiple devices (Harmony is) and you need to have free device "slots" on the remote for each app.

More complex setup could use some automation app like EventGhost. With that setup you can detect what app is running in focus, intercept key presses and control the app directly (for example there's an XBMC/Kodi plugin in EventGhost that allows you to control Kodi using JSON API). With EventGhost you could also overcome the issue with app shortcuts because EG can intercept key presses no matter what app is in focus so you could launch an app even when not on desktop. This also allows you to record only one set of remote keys (as the controls would switch in EG depending on the running app). I would suggest looking for EventGhost tutorials on EG site and forums.

You can also take this a step further. Read my thread here http://forum.flirc.tv/index.php?/topic/1339-force-flirc-to-work-as-generic-hid-device-instead-of-keyboard/ - just remember that this is not officially supported configuration so don't report issues with it outside of that topic if you decide to use it. I've been using this configuration for quite some time and it worked fairly well (I'm not using it anymore just because I've switched to RasbperryPi 2 with OSMC so I can just use standard Flirc configuration).

Edited by yawor

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