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Alfred for Mac Adds Sync, Launches AppleScripts with Keyboard Shortcuts

We’re huge fans of Alfred here at MacStories. The minimal launcher for Mac that was released as an alternative to Launchbar and Spotlight quickly evolved into a full-featured solution to browse files, play music from iTunes, manage your system clipboard and check on dictionary definitions. Alfred hasn’t officially reached the 1.0 status, yet the developers iterated so fast in the past months that Alfred has turned into a powerful application launcher packed with functionalities aimed at getting things done using only the keyboard. Looking back at previous Alfred releases, it’s amazing to see how the app went from being a simple way to launch apps to a tool tailored to both casual and power users, thanks to the possibility of creating custom searches, shortening links, browsing the filesystem, and more. The latest stable release of Alfred, 0.9, adds a number of improvements that greatly enhance the feature set of the app.

Alfred 0.9 can now launch any AppleScript on your Mac with a keyboard shortcut. Similarly to how the excellent FastScripts enables you to assign commands to scripts saved locally, the new Global Hotkeys section in the app’s preferences lets you assign a shortcut to a specific script, and run it when Alfred is open without seeing Alfred’s actual window. Just hit the shortcut anywhere on your Mac, and the script will execute. This is true for AppleScripts, files, and apps; being able to run AppleScripts through the app you’re already using for many other things is a very welcome addition, but it’s exclusive to those who bought the Powerpack, which is highly recommended if you want to get the most out of Alfred.

Version 0.9 also comes with Dropbox and iDisk sync, meaning you’ll finally be able to keep Alfred’s settings in sync between different Macs. The app can sync themes, snippets, scripts and custom sites. Alongside iTunes Mini Player improvements, a redesigned Preferences window and several performance enhancements, Alfred 0.9 also introduces new Terminal functionalities: you can run your Terminal commands “silently behind the scenes”, as well as add your own icons to make Terminal commands look like native Alfred actions.

Overall, it’s undeniable Alfred keeps getting better on each release. We don’t know what’s coming in the final 1.0 version, but if previous updates are of any indication I guess the developers are working on something big for the major 1.0 milestone. In the meantime, you can get Alfred here for free, and buy the Powerpack for £12 ($20). Check out more screenshots and the full 0.9 changelog below.



Global Hotkeys [Powerpack]

Set global shortcuts for your favourite apps, files and scripts

Option to either open or run AppleScript shortcuts

AppleScripts run as separate process for non blocking and stability

Custom Terminal Commands + Improvements [Powerpack]

Add your own custom terminal commands to be able to run scripts with keywords and arguments

Run your commands in Terminal or silently behind the scenes

Add custom shell actions to Alfred’s actions panel (path passed as argument)

Add your own icons to make your commands look like fully native Alfred commands

Prevent Alfred from opening two windows when running terminal commands from Alfred

Preference Syncing [Powerpack]

Sync certain preferences between Macs using the sync drive of your choosing (Dropbox, iDisk)

Syncs Snippets, Scripts, Custom Sites, Themes

iTunes Mini Player Improvements [Powerpack]

iTunes DJ Support - best way to randomise your iTunes library (toggle in prefs)

Option to exclude TV Shows and Movies in iTunes Mini Player [exclude by default]

Option to remove the iTunes Store link from the bottom of the mini player (aesthetic reasons only)

Take Album Artist into consideration when playing all songs by an artist

Add reindex button to iTunes preferences to supplement the mini player reindex methods

Remove gradient and correctly constrain title text (works better with semi transparent themes)

Prevent iTunes reindexing happening concurrently with multiple cmd+r

Show track number for mini player

make cmd-dn / cmd-up work in itunes mini player

Index playlists from XML so they are now available in the standard iTunes Mini Player search (toggle in prefs)

New icons for Folder and Genius playlists

Tidy up and remove unused iTunes AppleScript

User definable keywords (pause / next / prev) for controlling iTunes in both Mini Player and Core

Fix Next/Prev actions to start playing if currently paused

Fix situation where track name didn’t display in mini player header for certain types

Add transport controls (play / pause etc… in main window too).

Properly index playlists (just by name so they are in default search, including playlists inside of playlists)

Overhaul Preferences

Visual improvements to give more polished feel

Usability improvements in almost every single preference panel

Wider prefs window by default (from 550 to 600 with vertical split at 180)

Rename ‘About’ to ‘Alfred’ as it now contains more stuff

Move ‘Usage’ preferences into new ‘About’ preferences to prevent clutter

Move ‘Updates’ prefs from General to About prefs to make it more obvious

Increase width of Features tab by 50px to match content width of other prefs

Remove hanky from Alfred hat in About prefs to standardise branding

New background image (better resolution) in about prefs tab

Rename references of experimental in resources and code to advanced

Remove the ‘Local’ group from prefs and merge into ‘Basic’ group

Make the features tree collapse properly (so that Lion works better) and items re-select correctly

Standardise the use of the full stop in descriptions (use full stops)

Other New Features & Improvements

Drag files out of Alfred into other apps [PP]

Update ‘Custom Sites’ editor view and allow for custom images

Add the ability to hide, quit, force quit currently running applications

Add iTunes and Clipboard to usage graph [PP]

increase size of text area for filenames while browsing the file system [PP]

Update to latest version of FMDB by @ccgus

Truncation and general UI improvements around text display

User definable home folder, default to ~/ [PP]

User definable tab key (auto-complete or action) [PP]

Make AppleScripts run with osascript rather than NSAppleScript

Stop pre-compiling applescripts and compile / cache on the fly on users’ machines

Add email attachment support for Outlook (thanks @jdfwarrior) [PP]

Bug Fixes

Add logging into the email client detection to help debug rare situations where mail client is not found

Reorganise first responder on initial activation to prevent possible missing events

Fix fuzzy matching interfering with things like terminal by ignoring anchored chars e.g. >

When main results subtext paths are too long, truncate in the middle so you can see the filename

Put postcode above country in Alfred’s Contact Card view

Prevent Alfred from showing unnecessary items with eject keyword such as /home and /net

Make the app cache work more gracefully on non english locales when searching for localised apps in english

Stop icons from flicking in fs nav / preview by showing the default icons first (like folder)

Treat script bundles as scripts when searching and run applescripts independently (non blocking) to Alfred

set level of Alfred window to be above things like help windows etc

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