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Author Topic: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot  (Read 6908 times)

Darwin

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ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« on: October 12, 2005, 10:24:11 PM »
Hi Mouser,

in another thread (http://www.donationc...hp?topic=752.new#new), you asked for ActiveWords users' impressions of that program in comparison to F&RR. One area that I feel makes ActiveWords amazing is the fact that there is no need to call up the program's interface in order to enter text (of course, this requires that the program be running in the background, monitoring your keystrokes). That is, if I want to open up Outlook I simply type "out" (sans quotes) and hit the spacebar twice and voila, Outlook opens. There is no user interface to interact with - I just type "out" and it opens - regardless of what app is active on my computer.

Now, I don't feel that F&RR should necessarily try to emulate ActiveWords in this regard. The result of the keyboard monitoring is that there are four AW processes running using up almost 40 MB of RAM versus F&RR which consumes at most about 18 MB RAM (more like between 3 and 8 on average) on my system.

At the end of the day, AW and F&RR do different things - even if there is some overlap. AW corrects all my spelling as I type, no matter what the application, it will insert huge chunks of boilerplate text into anything that I am typing - in any app, it will open applications using both preconfigured and user configured "active" words (see above), it will respond to an active word by opening up my webbrowser to a specific page, send an e-mail to a recipient in response to an active word (you can set it up to open up a blank e-mail for addressing and editing, open a blank e-mail addressed to a specific addressee, and open up a pre-authored e-mail either addressed to specific recipient(s) or with the address field blank, etc.).

This doesn't even cover what activewords can do. I use about 10% of the feature set and only understand a fraction of them... It's very, very powerful.

F&RR does some of the same things with a much smaller footprint. I think that that is its attraction. It is very elegant and inobtrusive. I wouldn't try to move it much beyond a file and program launcher. What I find amazing about it is that it is so quick without resorting to indexing. AW doesn't index the harddrive either, but neither does it search the way F&RR does (well, maybe it does - who knows? If it does I am unaware of it...).

Hope these very general comments are useful. I am sure that there are others reading this forum who are better able to comment.

Keep up the good work! I love what you've done with F&RR so far.

Mike
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 12:34:14 AM by Darwin »

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2005, 10:33:58 PM »
very useful comments and i think very wise advice that mirrors my thinking.

people seem to like the low footprint of F+R and i think any constant monitoring of keyboard would be counter to what F+R users want, so all of those features are going to be left out of F+R.

the only thing i'll mention is that F+R now has (though we need to include a bunch of prewritten commands to make it a lot easier to use) a full system for supporting commands to:
launch web searches and any other kind of web-based stuff like dictionary lookups, etc., start mail messages, paste boilerplate text after selecting items from a menu, etc.

so i think in the area of the flexibility to launch certain kinds of commands and stuff that F+R might have the most to gain from looking at what ActiveWords did right, though the triggering system in the two cases is different.

kfitting

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2005, 05:44:22 AM »
This probably should go into another thread, but a quick question about the web stuff.  Can you just type a url into FindRUn and have it open a browser and go there?  This would be awesome for just going to a certain site.  Obviously, to do all the search and stuff you need alias' but it would be cool to be able to type donationcoder.com and have it come up.

Kevin

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2005, 05:58:00 AM »
you absolutely can - i posted an alias rule for it earlier.

i will include a bunch of useful aliases in the next major release.

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2005, 06:00:26 AM »
just to give you some idea of the flexibility of F+R,

in addition to making a rules so that you can type in any url to visit it with your browser you could also do something like make an alias group with 4 different browsers listed, so you could just type a url and then hit the key corresponding to which browser you wanted to use to surf there.  i know its not useful for many, but thought id mention it :)

momonan

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2005, 08:29:09 AM »
Okay, a little feedback from a novice.
 
I dowloaded the trial version of activewords.  In just a few minutes, I had set it up to launch my favorite programs.  The programs came much faster, though, when I used FRR -- and I didn't have to remember what-on-earth code word I had given the program.  So I plan to continue launching programs with FRR.
 
Two features, though, caught my attention.  In activewords, I can launch a website as easily as a program, by just typing in a code word.  Also, I can launch an email message screen, blank or to particular persons, by typing in my code word.  I have tried putting a website address in FRR, & no dice.  I uderstand it can be done, but haven't figured out how.  Can you add that without getting into something like "alias," which I totally don't understand?  The email thing may not be appropriate for FRR.
 
All in all, I think people who buy activewords for its typing substitution and dummy scripts will not be the same people who buy and love FRR.  FRR is quicker to launch.  It just needs to be able to easily launch websites (and web searches?), as well.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2005, 09:07:01 AM »
see my separate post with a sample command file to import.

in the future these commands and MANY more will come pre-installed in F&R, so this is just a teaser.

Darwin

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2005, 12:09:34 PM »
Have to agree with momonan - AW seems to be slower than F&RR in performing any operation related to opening an app/email/webpage. I think, though, that if you set easy to remember words for apps, the time differences between the two are probably negligible. To open something up in F&RR I select my hotkey, the interface pops up, I start typing my search term ("out" should bring up a list containing both Outlook and Outlook Express) and then click on the link for the app I am after to open it up. In AW I simply type in my AW and wait for it to be recognised and then opened. Six of one, half a dozen of the other (I think) - with resepct to the time involved. In one scenario, you are an active participant, in the other you are more passive... Being passive, the wait seems more annoying, somehow.

Just my two bits. I think, again, that F&RR strengths are: simplicity, power, and a very small resource footprint. It is more suited to what I was after when I first purchased AW. Once you start using AW, though, it's hard to go without it. I keep using my wife's notebook and being ticked off when I can't simply type in a word and have an app open up for me ;) I had loaded AppRocket on her machine to get around this (as I have a license for it and have uninstalled it from my machine) but I have found it to be resource intensive and obtrusive, particularly at startup as it indexes the drive. It's gone from her machine, too. Maybe I should load F&RR on it instead...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

momonan

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2005, 01:17:33 PM »
Just want to add that it may not be necessary to go through all those steps for FRR.  If you regularly run only a few programs (say 5-10), they all appear, ready and waiting for you, when you press the launch key -- displayed (I think) either by the order in which they were last used, or most used.  You need only press the number.  No need to type anything unless you want a program you haven't used in awhile.  Once FRR gets on your wavelength, the programs launch like lightening.

I still want it to be easier than it is to launch websites in FRR, and I understand that is in the works for a future release.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2005, 01:50:49 PM »
momonon see this thread i just posted, it makes it as easy to go to a web site as typing the site addrees, plus adds some more fun functions:

http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=1202.0

let me know what you think.

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2005, 01:53:31 PM »
in addition to commands, F+R is also designed to make it easy for you to GROUP programs or files into what act as menus.

so for example if you have 10 games on your computer that you play, you can just put these 10 games into an alias group named "games", now when you type in "games" you get a list of your 10 games in the results window; just type the # to launch the game you want.

johnk

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2005, 06:52:17 PM »
In a way it's unfair for me to compare AW and F&RR - I've been using AW for years, whereas I tried F&RR for the first time today! However, that's generally how we judge new software. A quick 10-minute try-out, and we like it or we don't. It's a brutal world out there...

I won't repeat what others have said about the different approaches. I like the AW system of using user-defined shortcuts for each activeword. You quickly develop a system for setting these. I have dozens of them and use many regularly - not just for launching programs, but for text replacement, launching specific websites...it's a serious boost to productivity if you use it to its potential. (For example, now that Donation Coder is a site I regularly visit, it has an activeword - I just type "DCD<spacebar>", from any program, and I'm taken to the Donation Coder web site in my default browser.

The momentum behind the program means there are many specialist "Wordbases" (collections of activewords) designed for carrying out tasks in specific programs, provided by the ActiveWords team and by other users. And finally, there's the ActiveWords scripting language (http://www.activewor...riptinglanguage.html) for those who really like to dig deep. I never thought I'd use the scripting feature (I'm too lazy, generally), but I have - it does expand the possibilities.

F&RR is a different approach - more focussed, less wide-ranging. And although I'm generally a big fan of the "small is beautiful" approach to software design, I think in this case ActiveWords depth and complexity is its strength.

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2005, 12:21:54 AM »
i agree with your 10minutes comment, and these are helpful impressions.

different programs suit different people and there is no shame in not being the best program for every person or every way of working..

one thing that your comments and comments by others have made clear is that F+R does need to improve the ease in how users can create group aliases, and make is clearer how to create them, since F+R does indeed have a similar ability to let users define not just wordbases to do things like launch websites and paste text, but to organize these as menus if desired, and use more complicated regular expressions to extract information from what you type.  it sounds more complicated than it needs to be, and i clearly need to do a better job of explaining this feature and making it easier to use.  as has been said elsewhere i think having a whole bunch of aliases installed by default with the next release will make a big difference.

the activewords scripting language looks interesting, i'm going to have a look at it.  i think perhaps if F+R goes in this kind of direction it wouldn't use its own scripting language but would offer the ability for coders to write plugn .dlls which can receive text typed and generate their own results in the output window... definitely something worth considering.

the one thing that F+R probably will not mimic in ActiveWords is the constant monitoring of the keyboard and recognizing keywords there.. i can definitely see how one would get used to that but i'm pretty committed to the idea of hitting a hotkey to bring up the F+R window and only then interacting with the user, for various reasons including cpu use etc.

mouser

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2005, 12:22:54 AM »
another thing that i think will be useful is i'm going to make some demo movies soon, demonstrating various functions of F+R.
i think that may help show people how F+R can be used in ways that are hard to intuit from the program itself.

nontroppo

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Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2005, 02:37:03 AM »
If you ever contemplate a scripting language, make sure you check [http://www.lua.org]Lua[/url], a wonderful fast tiny embeddable scripting language with glue for C++

To be honest I don't really need it; Aliases can launch whatever is needed, but maybe I'm missing something; if any AW users (I've never tried it) can tell us whether the scripting language can do anything one otherwise couldn't...
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