Here at MacStories, we're big fans of Mac application launcher Alfred. I stopped using Apple's Spotlight thanks to Alfred, and the app got a lot of better in the past months with clipboard history, improved keyboard navigation and several new features introduced in the paid version of the app, the Powerpack. For instance, I'm a huge fan of the iTunes Mini Player and the file system browser, which allow me to quickly start playing music from iTunes and browse in a Finder alternative view, respectively. Most of all, I like Alfred because it's lightweight, blazing fast and entirely keyboard-based. Not to mention that the developers are coming out with updated every few weeks or so. I love it.
The latest Alfred update, version 0.8, brings lots of general improvements and bug fixes (check them out below) and a couple of new features that are very welcome in my workflow. Alfred can now save test snippets in its clipboard interface: say you have these recurring lines of text you find yourself typing on a daily bases (email addresses, templates, links), you can save them as snippets in Alfred's preferences and paste them anywhere with a keyboard command. I type "snip" to open the snippet interface, then "keys" and there my snippet with unicode characters goes into the text field my cursor is on. Takes seconds and it just works.
Other new features include inline dictionary definitions, possibility to open recent documents and eject drives with just a few keystrokes. Great stuff for the keyboard geek. In case you still haven't tried it, Alfred is available for free here.
Full changelog below.
- Recent Documents: Remember which documents have been launched and show the most recent documents per application (PP)
- Clipboard Snippets: Save commonly used snippets to paste easily from Clipboard (PP)
- Custom Fallback Searches: Choose your own fallback searches so that when Alfred doesn't find a local result, i.e. if you prefer Bing (PP)
- New System Command: Ability to eject dmg / superdrive / all / usb drive with 'eject' keyword
- Show inline word definition preview for define command (from dictionary)
- Properly escape the 'open terminal' action path to ensure the correct folder is entered. Add option for 'copy path' escaping too.
- Option to hide the iTunes mini player after a song has been selected
- Remove layer backed view from iTunes album art (no fading but ~5 to 8mb less mem)
- Improve performance for genres in iTunes Mini Player
- iTunes store link for currently playing artist in mini player in top level view
- Added ability to filter by song title after selecting artist in iTunes Mini Player
- Set Enter as the 'paste' key in clipboard history (and cmd+c copy the selected item back to the clipboard)
- Delete key (fn + Backspace on smaller keyboards) to delete Clipboard item
- Add items to knowledge when actioning them directly from filesystem navigation
- Relevancy improvement: Keyword linked knowledge learning taking into account date and OS X last used metadata
- Fix fuzzy matching to be considered in Knowledge - Sorting now works by keyword as well as date
- When opening files / folders, update 'last used' metadata to better contribute to the new knowledge sorting system
- Fix define/spell keywords in dictionary to show the correct items, ability to select the language in prefs
- Option to make the 'spell' results paste to OS X rather than copy to clipboard
- Cache the 'startup item' state so that it doesn't need to be obtained going into prefs to prevent momentary hanging
- Make Alfred Preferences window remain visible when showing Alfred (makes it easier to play with configuration)
- Cache last known state of apps at shutdown for instant startup
- Full UX sweep, look at every feature and how it can be improved
- Add a 'Alfred didn't find what you were looking for' message at the bottom of the window which takes you to a help page. This fallback can be hidden in the fallback preferences.
- Add South Korea and Indonesia to locales
- Tickbox to turn off app caching (to keep md query closed and save mem, recommended to keep caching on)
- New usage tab / graph! Delay load the usage graph (to when tab is shown)
- Added a preference for decimal separators in Calculator result output, plus make comma separator more flexible (mixed mode)
- Add option to Web Searches to recognise URLs in Alfred main window
- Preferences keyword to show Alfred prefs
- Stop cmd+down drilling into incorrect folder when scrolled down in fs navigation
- Fix iTunes listings where albums with the same name were not displaying such as "Greatest Hits"
- Fix Double Tap CMD hotkey with Caps Lock on
- Fix bug which caused Alfred to crash when testing a custom search and then showing Alfred without clearing the dialog first
- Strip white spaces from end of a URL when pasted into Alfred to prevent %20
- Fixed bug where the degree symbol crashed the advanced calculator, making the calculator much more robust at testing permissible characters
Changes for 0.8 dev 2
- Change build system to be 10.6 targetted with 10.5 backward compatibility - which will lead to some 10.6+ specific features
- Improve recent documents to also source from Cocoa shared plist files (10.6+ only) as well as internal knowledge
- Replace the intelligent search scope with user defined search scope
- New options for eject (in prefs), now able to show either removable or all mounted volumes. Note: Eject is now disabled by default.
- Huge overhaul of App Caching to work more dynamically and not require leaving a query open with the OS (making Alfred more defensive against OS quirks caused by things such as USB Broadband Dongles)
- When going up a level in Filesystem Navigation, reselect the folder you came from
- Fix a problem where files with a unicode filename were not emailing correctly
- Absolute path on 'copy to' and 'move to' destination field
- Search for clipboard snippets by name as well as keyword
- Add 'snip' keyword to access snippets from the main Alfred window
- Find spotlight commented apps in the 'Open With' action
- Darken Alfred menubar icon to match the standard Apple ones (volume, switch user etc)
- Shopping bag icon for iTunes mini player store link for consistency
- Include 'Smart Folders' when searching for folders in the default results
- Fix Spellings in Sys Command display, also put subtext
- Keyboard selection now working correctly with OS X's "Allow a different one for each document" setting
- 'Finder Selection' now works with both PathFinder (if currently front most app) and Finder
- Fix crash in 'Open With' action when typing ' character
- Show prefs cog on Alfred main window by default
View the change log on the Alfred website to see older versions.