Mac: Quicksilver, the app launcher and desktop search tool for Mac (and one of your favorites) officially emerged from beta this week. The release adds a wealth of new features to help you modify your catalogues and create shortcuts and synonyms for the files you want to access.
Tagged With quicksilver
Mac: Quicksilver is our favourite kauncher for the Mac, but it's always been a little less than stellar when running on Lion. Now the team behind the open-source application launcher have optimised the app for OS X Lion, added official support for Apple's latest OS, introduced auto-updating plugins, and more.
File syncing tool Dropbox is one of our favourite tools for sharing files over the internet. Instead of opening your browser to find the public link to a file, though, you can copy it to your clipboard instantaneously with a Quicksilver action.
Mac OS X only: It looks like the folks carrying on Quicksilver's legacy aren't just messing around — they've released yet another update to the formerly abandoned app launcher. The B58 build focuses on stability, especially concerning issues for those running Snow Leopard, as well as making sure older plugins are compatible. There are also a few UI tweaks and bug fixes, as well as increased performance.
Mac OS X only: Universal application launcher and then some Quicksilver has a pretty shaky future, so we were both surprised and thrilled to find a new release of Quicksilver boasting, among other things, improved performance.
Mac OS X only: We've been crazy about Quicksilver—a free application launcher for Macs—for years now. Today Google is releasing a new search-and-launch application called Google Quick Search developed by Nicholas Jitkoff, the developer of Quicksilver.
Like Quicksilver, Google Quick Search not only searches for and launches files and applications—it also can drill down into content and perform context-specific actions. So, for example, Google Quick Search indexes my Address Book contacts; if I perform a quick search to pull up my contact card, I can hit Tab to drill down into possible actions to perform—like composing an email or starting an IM chat.
Firefox 3 doesn't store your bookmarks in the plain old HTML file that Firefox 2 did, so desktop launchers like Quicksilver and Launchy can't index them properly. But the HackCollege blog has a solution: a Firefox 3 about:config tweak that makes Firefox automatically export your bookmarks to a file. Change the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML value from false to true to get a bookmarks.html file saved to your Firefox profile directory each time you shut down your browser.
Apart from being the most useful application on my Mac, Quicksilver is also one of the most attractive. But that doesn't mean it can't be improved, either, and weblog MacApper has rounded up a few of the sexiest Quicksilver interfaces on the block. Aside from the eye candy, the other great thing about alternate interfaces is that many of them change the way you interact with Quicksilver—meaning that if you've never quite gotten the hang of Quicksilver, a new interface may be just the ticket. If you've got a favourite Quicksilver interface that you've been using, let's hear about it in the comments. If a new interface has you aching to dive into Quicksilver, check out our beginner's guide along with our many other Quicksilver guides. Spruce Up Quicksilver With New Interfaces
Blogger Dennis Best, who previously schooled us about the value of built-in Getting Things Done apps, expands on his all-inside-the-Mac thinking by noting a simple way to organise every email message, document, iCal event, or other file. Add the ° character (Shift-Option-8 on Mac keyboards) directly in front of any word you want to track with, and both Spotlight (and, of course, Quicksilver) can quickly catch and sort your keywords for you. Guest poster Nick Santilli suggested a similar metada system using the "&" character, but Dennis' idea tags files by adding only a single, non-intrusive step you can do right inside the text. How to tag nearly anything anywhere in Leopard
Before I owned my first Mac, Quicksilver was the application that made me wish I did. Luckily, slowly but surely, Windows developers began building apps intended to successfully attain that Quicksilver-for-Windows status. They started as simple application launchers, but recently the Quicksilver-for-Windows battle has exploded with tons of new applications. The question is: Which one deserves a place on your system? Hit the jump for a closer look at your options, including the Quicksilver clone we're most excited about (hint: it's not Launchy).
Mac OS X only: When Mac user Adam Wilco heard about Quicksilver's dark future, he set out to add the QS features he uses most to Spotlight. The result is Quicksilver's ExtraScripts ported for use with Spotlight. Once you download these babies and copy them to your Applications folder, you can Sleep, Restart, Empty the Trash, or Toggle Audio right from the Spotlight search box. Of course this doesn't make Spotlight do all the stuff Quicksilver does, but it's a step in that direction. The ExtraScripts Spotlight port is a free download for Mac only.
Quicksilver's ExtraScripts - Spotlight Port
Quicksilver is by far one of the most impressive and yet elusive applications we've ever come across, warranting post after post and inspiring nearly as many disappointing alternatives and knockoffs. A few days ago, I sat down (virtual-style) with Quicksilver's creator Nicholas Jitkoff to discuss my all-time favourite application. Check out where Quicksilver is headed, why "The next Quicksilver might not look anything like what people expect," and how you can help save Quicksilver after the jump.Quicksilver as an Open Source Project and Its Roadmap
Lifehacker: Now that Quicksilver has made the move to open source, what kind of progress can users expect to from the application? Will we be seeing more regular releases?Nicholas Jitkoff, Quicksilver's Developer: You're not going to like the answers to these questions.Lifehacker: I can live with that.Jitkoff: As for as progress goes, yes there will be progress, but in a much more experimental vein. I released two branches, the one that the B50s come from (ed: the Quicksilver that's currently running on your computer), and a newer one that is really unstable.Lifehacker: So what kind of experimental business is going on with the unstable branch?Jitkoff: So far? Quicklook has been integrated (which I love).Lifehacker: See, I like the answer to that question. Jitkoff: Yes, but I may never distribute that version.Lifehacker: I don't like that answer. I guess that sort of begs the question regarding the stable branch: Do you consider it pretty much feature complete?Jitkoff: Yes. Flawed, but for the most part complete.Lifehacker: So most updates to Quicksilver that the end user will see are probably going to be stability-related?Jitkoff: Right.
Moving Beyond Quicksilver to Other Apps You Didn't Know You Needed
Jitkoff: Right now any fancy functionality has to be built into Quicksilver to take advantage of objects/actions/whatnot. Which is why Constellation (ed: pictured) and Abracadabra (ed: Both are Quicksilver plug-ins) are there, even if they could stand on their own. I'd rather be able to make apps that leverage the same functionality, but don't really require you to have Quicksilver running.Lifehacker: Okay, so apps that build on the same sort of language/action building as Quicksilver but work completely independent of the QS framework?Jitkoff: Right. Possibly in a much more visual, intuitive way. The next Quicksilver might not look anything like what people expect.Lifehacker: What major differences, visually speaking, are you considering? The keyboard is still king, right? Jitkoff: I'm not making any promises. I'll always consider number of keystrokes. But Ideally I want something that can take many forms, allowing the user to use whatever form of input they prefer... or a mix of them.
Ed: At this point Jitkoff showed me a few screenshots that, unfortunately, he asked I not post here. Maybe eventually...
Most of this actually sounds pretty good, until...
Jitkoff: I'm inclined to encourage users to move over to the more stable and well supported alternatives like LaunchBar. Right now QS 54 (ed: the current build) accomplishes everything that I really need, the problem is stability, which for some reason most people seem to be ignoring.Lifehacker: Right, in the end stability is what matters most. I have a MacBook Pro that—until your recent updates—crashed QS on a very regular basis, which was always heartbreaking. But I've seen major stability improvements since the updates, which has been fantastic.Jitkoff: Basically, that branch is condemned to a long slow death. I just don't know if the experimental one will ever be up to snuff. Hence the recommendation of third party apps.Lifehacker: Gotcha. The thing about Quicksilver is that it really is feature complete for features that I am actually aware of that I need right now. But is the current stable-ish build doomed to never hit a really stable landmark?Jitkoff: Unfortunately, I think not.Lifehacker: Oh wow, you're looking to break hearts!Jitkoff: I told you you wouldn't like the answers.Lifehacker: Well, I suppose we'll have to manage.Jitkoff: I think that many of the alternatives are quite good. Making people relearn is a mean thing to do though.Lifehacker: Right. I guess from my standpoint, the fact that Quicksilver is free (as well as open source, now) is a major part of why it's so beloved.Jitkoff: But also why it is so poorly supported. I have to do any work in off-time.
One More Obligatory Question
Lifehacker: What are your favorite/most-used QS plugins?Jitkoff: Mine? Hmm... image and text manipulation. Other than that, I have lots of shell and applescripts that I use that aren't really in any plugin.
Lifehacker: It should prob go without saying, but great work with QS. Despite it's problems, it makes my life so much easier every day, and I feel like I'm working without a limb when it's not installed
Jitkoff: I'm glad you like it. Thanks for getting everyone all excited about it.....
So Is Quicksilver Caput?
While it's certainly disappointing to hear Jitkoff's somewhat grim outlook for Quicksilver (at least as we know it), there's one major silver lining. Since Quicksilver is now open source, anyone can pick up the current stable trunk from the Quicksilver repository and run with it if they please. Also—from the sound of things—the Quicksilver development team is a little short on hands, so if you love some Quicksilver and would be interested in taking an active role in its further development and survival (and, of course, you've got some programming chops), I'm sure they'd love the extra help.
Last, if you're interested in learning more about Quicksilver or honing your Quicksilver skills, check out the following guides or the video below of Jitkoff presenting Quicksilver to his co-workers at Google:
A Beginner's Guide to QuicksilverAdvanced Quicksilver GuideThe Quicksilver Video ExtravaganzaTop 10 Quicksilver Plug-ins
Linux only: Free, open source program and file launcher GNOME Do looks a lot like its KDE-based counterpart Katapult and Launchy for Windows (and, of course, the Spotlight and Quicksilver features that inspired them) but has its own unique functions to recommend it. GNOME Do instantly had access to Firefox favourites, applications and configuration tools on my Ubuntu system, and two quick plugin installations added IM and music playing capabilities to the Windows-Spacebar launcher. I could only ask for a Thunderbird plugin to make email composing just as handy. GNOME Do is a free download for GNOME-based Linux systems, although it may run on KDE environments as well. Installation instructions can be found at the link below.
Open source Mac utility Quicksilver isn't just an application launcher—it's a comprehensive keyboard interface. Launching applications and documents is just Quicksilver's gateway drug: The more you get used to doing things with Quicksilver, the more things you want to do with it. Out of the box Quicksilver comes with the barest essentials, but once you add the right plug-ins that interact with menus, apps, documents, and settings, you can accomplish more and more complex tasks from that familiar three-paned prompt. After the jump, check out top 10 favourite Quicksilver plug-ins, and how to set them up.
Our favourite application launcher and then some Quicksilver has gone open source, which will hopefully mean we'll see lots of new life in the Quicksilver realm.
If you've been trying to download and install Quicksilver in order to get Leopard up to snuff, you've probably noticed that the Quicksilver site is down. In fact, it's been down for quite a few days now. Fear not, Quicksilver lovers, as the application's developer contacted us to let us know that the last version we posted about included a bug that caused some Quicksilver installations to ping for updates like crazy, which brought down the homepage. That, consequently, has meant no one has been able to download Quicksilver or any Quicksilver plugins for a few days. So, whether you want to install Quicksilver fresh or you've already got it installed, go grab the latest version from the link below (it's a direct link) and help put out the fire for the folks who who so kindly bring us Quicksilver free of charge.