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Author Topic: Quicksilver Goes Open Source  (Read 7835 times)
icekin
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« on: November 09, 2007, 07:08:30 AM »

It seems that this application launcher for the mac is now open source. Maybe someone will modify it for Windows? I am currently using Launchy and compared to that this will be a resource hog I'm sure, but given all the fuss about this program I am keen to try it out again.

I had it for a week while I used my friend's Mac. Too complicated in my opinion, but FARR users might like it.

Original Story: http://www.tuaw.com/2007/...ksilver-goes-open-source/

Source Page : http://code.google.com/p/...ee-alchemy/downloads/list
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nontroppo
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007, 09:06:37 AM »

Quicksilver is much more than an application launcher. Having said that I find it hard to see how it could be difficult to use as a launcher (though thoroughly understand how it is difficult to master once you move forward from that). For App launching, surely you just open it, start typing the application name and hit enter?

I just type [scr][enter]

<bigotry alert>Launchy is an underperforming resource hog compared to FARR  tongue (yes, I'm launchist!)</bigotry alert> :tounge-in-cheek:

Though it is now OSS, QS really works magic because it uses Cocoa to pull in resources across the operating system in a way not so easily possible on Windows without many more plugins. As such any QS clone for windows would need to write a lot of additional code to get similar functionality. But as we've discussed for FARR, I do believe using the noun<->verb<->argument model is the most elegant metaphor for doing work on objects (launching apps being a very reduced sub-set of that). In windows, the context menu is the closest analogy (subject<->predicate).

noun:mustafa verb:add note (to address book) argument: typed text

And where QS+cocoa does the extra magic is in the predicate verbs, because it has convinced most applications to interoperate using a standard scripting interface, thus a single developer can pull in lots of resources easily (most of the many QS plugins were written by Alcor). And it is in the verbs where most of the recoding would be needed in Windows/Linux. FARR now has a fantanstic plugin architecture, and this is where FARR will evolve from app launcher to Explorer replacement (as Quicksilver is to Finder). I doubt opening QSs source will reveal too much; just my two cents

What may be useful though, are the algorithms QS uses to learn launch associations. FARR adds scores to nouns, but QS adds scores to [text]<->[noun] pairings. So for example over time it will learn that scvr is mostly associated with [sc]ri[v]ene[r] without me having to manually add a [scvr] nickname. Exploring how it does the weightings could give some insight into how it seems to really know what I want to do.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 09:12:03 AM by nontroppo » Logged

mouser
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2007, 04:28:11 PM »

ps. i split off the domercury thread here: http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=11244.0
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Darwin
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2008, 10:07:19 AM »

I now have my geriatric Dual USB iBook G3 running Tiger and have the latest Quicksilver build installed and running. Wow. I'm also impressed by Spotlight for indexing my files. Very nice! Bit of a learning curve involved - I've barely scratched the surface of its abilities...
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008, 08:00:06 AM »

Darwin: don't forget to download the excellent 97 page manual and cheat sheet for quicksilver (QS):

http://groups.google.com/...d/thread/ef99bcac45de5ca7

Note, QS cutting edge builds are now here:

http://code.google.com/p/...ee-alchemy/downloads/list

But for a Tiger user I'd recommend sticking to the last official build. The cutting edge builds are better for Leopard users.

And if you want to read a preview of the next generation QS currently in hushed development by Alcor:

http://blacktree-alchemy....y/r21/trunk/01-README.txt

Not much to go on, but nevertheless exciting.

Yeah, running QS and spotlight works great even on old hardware, I find that amazingly impressive (considering what spotlight is doing). I installed Leopard on a 5 year old iBook and it works wonderfully. I'm about to try to install Windows Search 4 on an old XP laptop and see how it compares, but the last version was still much more incapable than spotlight.

Have you installed any QS plugins, and if so which ones?
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Darwin
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008, 08:56:45 AM »

I've installed the dictionary, spotlight, text and other plugins... I'm on my Vista machine, so can't remember! I'll fire up the iBook and get back to you. I *know* that I have too many plugins installed (same problem with FARR under XP), and need to pare them down. One thing I have done, as I only have 576MB of RAM, is run without any Dashboard widgets opened. I miss iStats Pro and the weather widget, though. As I haven't really noticed much of a performance boost, I think I'll leave iStats Pro running.

I'm also running Office 2008, despite dire warnings on various boards not to with my specs. It loads faster than NeoOffice 2.25 and there's no lag when I am typing text into Word (as there is on NeoOffice). Note that PaintShop Pro X and X1 both opened a good deal more slowly under XP with a gig of RAM, so I can live with it! Especially given that the main motivation in getting the computer updated was to play with Quicksilver! Sorted...

Spotlight IS impressive. I was completely unaware of it indexing in the background and it finds text within pdfs, word documents, excel files, etc. If it's possible to do so (?), I'll install WDS 4 under Win2k and report back - I can do this in a virtual machine AND an 8 year old notebook.

All this experriment is accomplishing, at the end of the day, is making me want a new(-er) MacBook! Doh  ohmy
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Darwin
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2008, 09:21:28 AM »

OK... In Quicksilver I have:

Apple Address Book
Apple Mail (really impressed by this, BTW! I love how it auto-creates Virtual folders based on the e-mail address)
Dictionary
iTunes
Keychain
Safari
Shelf (not sure why I loaded this one...)
Spotlight (I'll probably lose this one - I find it simpler to use Spotlight directly)
Terminal
Text Manipulation
Windows

As I noted above, I should probably ditch the bulk of these in the interest of resources... but it all seems to work without hiccoughing!

With Safari, QuickSilver (I'm typing in it now), and Synergy running, and with iStats Pro running in Dashboard, I have 93% of my 500Mhz CPU idle and 175MB of RAM reported as free. Nice and smooth. Haven't played with Office too much, yet, but will. I copied my entire PhD folder over, so have LOTS of Office documents to play with. I suspect that I'm not going to switch to using this as a work machine, though, as I can't imagine having several Word documents and Excel spreadsheets open simultaneously.
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Darwin
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2008, 11:02:59 AM »

 Kiss Spotlight
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Armando
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 11:55:19 AM »

Yup. Spotlight works very well... And so does Quick Silver.

X1 and the like are nice... But don't have that lightness, quickness and ease of use. Sad

I'd actually use farr more to do quick searches if it had an index and if I could... well... sort results using the columns headers in the results area.
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 02:35:08 PM »

Wow, I didn't expect Office to work so well on a G3. It works fine on a G4 iBook, but Pages/Numbers is even better.

My plugins:

address book
calculator
cl1p.net - online clipboard makes it easy to share across machines
clipboard & shelf
dictionary
File tagging
iCal
image manipulation
iTunes
process manipulation
Spotlight
Terminal control
Web search

I used to have more, but as I'm alpha testing the latest alpha builds, I don't want to have too many plugins around.

Shelf is useful, but it is better as a one-two with clipboard module. The shelf is a place you can stack items you may want to use later: select a few items and add them to the stack, write notes for what to do with them. Then come back to them the next day. Clipboard stores the last X items from the clipboard for immediate access into any app, but won't survive a reboot as the shelf does.

I also disable dashboard on my Macbook as I don't really use it (I use Opera widgets instead). But I can heartily recommend iStat Menus as a replacement for iStat Pro (uses the menubar, nicely customisable). The only thing is that it can make startup slower by 10-20 seconds.

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Darwin
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2008, 04:17:22 PM »

Ooh! Thanks for the pointer about itStat Menus! I'll disable Dashboard (and Expose) and reclaim (a modicum of) resources. I should probably just run with an alias to the Activity Monitor stuck in the dock, though.

I've been wondering about iWorks... Will have to take a look  Thmbsup
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Darwin
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2008, 09:04:28 AM »

Hmm... I like iWorks! It's funny, though: Office 2008 apps take a LONG time to open, but once open they're responsive. iWorks opens more quickly and is responsive as well. However, Office apps barely touch my CPU but leave only about 80MB of RAM free. iWorks, on the other hand, pegs my CPU to about 90% used and leave me with 180MB 70MB of RAM free... If I could figure out how to start up Office apps more quickly I'd be content with it. Right, off to google that now...

Just to note, though - iWorks is visually stunning, even on my old computer with no fancy graphics capabilities. Just how underpowered the graphics card is was driven home for me yesterday when I decided to show my parents some of QuickSilver's (great, this post script gets this post on topic!) power. On my iBook when I open Quicksilver for the first time I get the QS splash screen. It's innocuos and pleasant enough, but that's as far as it goes. On my parents' iMac, wow! The QS sort of emerges, shimmering, as if rising out of perfectly still water... I don't really care about this, but did *note* it!

EDIT: changed iWorks' reported RAM usage... I ran this test four times for each suite using the same xlsx file and checking usage with iStats Pro (under Dashboard). To make this test really valid, I'll have to restart the computer between each usage of one of the suites... As one might perhaps expect (at least if one is approaching this from a Windows background), opening Excel was much more brisk the second, third, and fourth times, though I did ensure that it wasn't running when I had Numbers running and vice versa. Because I am running iWorks as a trial AND it has to convert Office 2007/2008 document formats before opening them, I am not concerned with its load time.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 09:12:57 AM by Darwin » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2008, 05:30:01 PM »

Yeah, QS animations make it shimmer indeed! QS uses core graphics APIs and then builds on them, this is another example how the core OS X APIs enable QS to shine. And at least on a G4 iBook use minimal CPU; I think core graphics scales its effects to the hardware really well.

I think iWork is showing higher memory use because it has to convert the documents from office format right?
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Darwin
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2008, 11:41:16 PM »

I think iWork is showing higher memory use because it has to convert the documents from office format right?

Hadn't thought of that... perhaps, but then, once the document is converted and opened I would expect CPU usage to fall off. Lots more testing required, in any case. FWIW, Googling reveals that Office 2008 is considered a bit of dog no matter what hardware it runs on. Dog slow loading, that is... People have reported that using Leopard's firewall to block Office from connecting to verify DRM dramatically reduces load times. However, Tiger's firewall doesn't allow me to do this. Another trick is to disable WYSIWYG previewing of fonts in the General tab of Word's preferences. This had an indiscernible effect on my system, likely because the limiting factor is power under the hood (or rather, the lack thereof). I think I'll just live with it. I'm not going to be doing much with the iBook anyway so can't see spending $80 on an iWorks licence when I've already got Office 2008, especially given that I can't be sure that it's going to be that much quicker, anyway.
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Darwin
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2008, 04:27:00 PM »

Dang! I'm sitting in the library on the iBook with Mail, Safari and Word open. Word has two documents (two separate chapters of my dissertation) open and I have been editing them... and it all works. Seamlessly. Impressive given that Office 2008 is not supported on a G3 and most forum postings I've read about doing so suggest that Word runs too slowly to be useful. I shouldn't be THAT surprised - I also run Office 2007 on an (even) old(er) Compaq Presrio under Win2k and it's very smooth there as well and that machine will easily handle what I'm asking this iBook to do, but still...

QuickSilver is such a pleasure to play with and learn. I really should be keeping notes so that I can detail my discoveries.
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