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Author Topic: Discussing major features to add to Find and Run Robot 2 continued..  (Read 5753 times)
Jay Levitt
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« on: January 28, 2006, 09:22:14 AM »

i know that the mac world is gaga over quicksilver.  i think it's half just the normal mac fanaticism, but i know that quicksilver has some nice features - i'm very happy to implement them all in F+R in time, just let us know which features are wanted.

As a dual-platform user, the things I miss most from Quicksilver are, roughly in order:

1. Pre-searching/caching.  Quicksilver is INSTANT, even on my slow PowerBook.  FARR is not, even on my 2GB Athlon X2 4600+, even just limited to Start Menu and a few app folders.

2. Adaptive sorting.  QS learns which items I select and moves them to the top.

3. Better selection UI.  The large print on QS, combined with the fact that it pre-selects the most likely option, means I can launch apps with few keystrokes and no real brainpower: "F F <enter>" always gets firefox.  With FARR, I have to look at the cluttered display, find the app, and move to the number keys - and if I've added a new app, the old numbers change.

That's really all I miss; I don't use any of the fancy QS plugins, deep-searching, alternate actions, etc.  Unfortunately, #1 and #2 require some pretty hefty infrastructure changes that I think you've said can't really be done before FARR 3, so I'm always keeping my eyes out for a temporary substitute.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2006, 10:32:43 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 11:23:24 AM »

useful comments jay.
#1a is on the todo list, not sure if it will get done by the next version though.
#1b however, farr is designed to cache launched apps, so that the 2nd time you search for an app already launched it comes up instantly and right to the top.  in this way, you get the speed of cacheing for all apps that you have launched in the past.
#2 is implemented in farr, you can adjust the score bonus for previous launched apps in the scoring rules tab.
#3a i like the idea of being able to change font size, i'll put that on todo list.
#3b check out farr's group aliases; you could make an alias called "b" for browsers and add firefox and opera and internet explorer, and when you type b up comes your list instantly in predictable order to launch.  group aliases are meant to help you set up "menus" of reliably ordered items for instant selection.

i'm always up for learning from existing apps.
why does F F always get firefox? what does the second f do?  how do you reconcile #2 (adaptive sorting - which farr does a lot of) with the idea of things always coming up in same order.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2006, 11:30:57 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 11:29:23 AM »

just adding another post:
from my perspective the top priority for F+R should be handling those most common cases most efficiently; issues like those just raised by jay.  i'm all for adding other stuff, but the most important thing is that farr should be designed for that core functionality.

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Amadawn
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 11:36:14 AM »

I think QuickSilver searches for non contiguous letters as well (which I am not sure I would like). Please, Jay, correct me if I am wrong. Colibri does this as well.

Quote
#3a i like the idea of being able to change font size, i'll put that on todo list.

But first, please make sure that the menus can handle different font sizes as well! Wink
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 01:11:21 PM »

I've never used Quicksilver, but I've used colibri, and yes, colibri searches for non-contiguous letters, which i think is an important feature missing in farr Sad
The question for you, mouser is this: will this feature make farr search slower? (i hope not, but my small programming experience tells me it will do.. Sad )
Another thing that mouser mentioned were the aliases. IMO, they are very powerfull, a bit hard to use, but most of all, not very practical... At least, not until mouser adds a hotkey to create and update them... (please... please... make aliases more practical... make me not need typeandrun.. Wink Wink )
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 01:22:01 PM »

you can now easily right click on a result to add it to an alias, but i agree its a very powerful feature which is underused because it's a bit hard to use.  how can we make it easier and better?

as far as non-contiguous letters.. it's not just a matter of speed its also a matter of what do multiple words do..
this is one of the main features being added for version 2; right now farr assumes you are typing a phrase when you type multiple words, and i'm enhancing that to add more options.

farr is more strongly based on the idea of intelligent scoring than the rest of these applications.  it basically tries to heuristically score matches based on a lot of criteria to best figure out what you want, so it will match anywhere in a word but gives bonuses for when what you type matches the start of a title, etc.

so any extra matching has to fit into this framework..

so if you type "f f"
does this mean an F followed by some characters and then another F, or is order not important.

this also gets back to anothe idea we discussed and didn't fully resolve regarding whether multiwords should be treated as AND or OR.

so if i type: "word1 word2"

should this match all items with:
  • word1 AND word2 in them, in any order
  • word1 OR word2 in them, in any order
  • phrase "word1 word2"
  • with "word1" FOLLOWED BY "word2"

in general the farr philosphy would be to match on ALL of these cases but score them differently..
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 07:01:41 PM »

I guess i should have been more specific on how easy it is to create aliases with typeandrun.
Here goes a small tuturial and a few suggestions:
I'll create an alias for screenshotcaptor:
First, i call typeandrun, and write the full path of sc (with auto-complete, it's fairly easy, but in farr, it is even easier, since i only have to type the name of the app.):



then, i press ctrl + n and get this:



i press enter, and it's done Wink
The things i want to demonstrate here are that in farr, i wouldn't even have to write the full path, so, I'd only write "screen" and sc would be the first result, then i would press ctrl+n (one important thing here, is that this interface would only work for the first result) and then, I'd press enter, since the name of the alias was already there, as it is the name of the app.
To add to an already existing group alias, i think ctrl+shift+n could make a dialog appear with all the aliases groups, I'd select one, press enter to select it and enter to confirm configuration, and I'd have an app added to an alias.
Don't you agree with me that this just brings alias to another level? They become much more practical and easy to create.
(BTW, i don't like to use my mouse when I'm typing, that's the only reason I'm insisting on this..sorry)
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 08:12:02 PM »

ok understood now - basically you're just asking for a keyboard-centric way to do what the right click popupmenu provides for in farr.  i.e. easily add items to an alias group, etc.

this matches with the rest of the discussion here regarding having a way access and select "operations" on a search result easily from the keyboard.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2006, 08:17:45 PM »

Thmbsup Thmbsup
Exactly! Actually, i didn't think about the possibility of adding this option to the "keyboard-accessed context menu options" on the results mentioned before, but it sure is a perfect solution for the problem!
Thanks!!
(at last, i can sleep without worries.. Wink )
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Jay Levitt
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2006, 08:03:32 PM »

By "F F", I mean "press the F key twice".  The first F shows me all apps with an F in them, with Firefox at the top; the second F narrows it to apps containing two Fs (since QS allows non-consecutive letter searches).  If I had an app "ffilemaker" it'd probably show up before Firefox a few times, since the F's are consecutive, but luckily I don't smiley  It also nicely underlines the matching letters so I see why I'm finding things.

As for sorting vs. stable keystrokes: QuickSilver manages it because you DON'T use the number keys to launch the apps.  "F F ENTER" and I'm done, no matter where Firefox initially showed up under the "F" apps.  Also, it combines the dropdown box with the text-entry field, so the arrow keys work more sensibly.  I see now that FARR can in fact launch the first app by pressing ENTER, but it beeps at me, which indicates I did something wrong, and it seems to take a bit longer (maybe that's just the synchronous beep slowing things down).

I've tried the "bonus for already-launched apps", but it's pretty non-granular -  every app I launch gets the same 200 bonus.  I believe QS gives a most-frequently-used score instead.

And while caching launched apps is nice, caching SEARCHED apps would be better (absent pre-caching, of course), so that my common searches would be instant. Every time I press "F", it shows firefox instantly since I've used it, but then has to go load everything else.

Jay
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2006, 03:26:00 AM »

I think Jay made another point that i also agree.
Farr should give different bonuses to apps that are more frequently used.
I have a problem with 2 apps: one script i made called "url" and "urlsnooper".
It's very rare that i use urlsnooper, but it still comes up before url, because it's in more important folders.
I solved this by checking the history and changing "url"s bonus, but still it bugged me.
I think the bonus for already launched apps should increase (maybe in a logarithmic way, to prevent apps from having an enormous score).
Why didn't you implement it like that, mouser? Do you have any concerns about that?
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2006, 05:11:30 AM »

sounds good to me, i don't mind having a score based on recency and on frequency.
makes sense, both are easy.
in fact i think nontroppo has been arguing for a frequency based scoring for a while, and has been very patient.
i think i better start seriously working on FARR 2 again in the next week while all these ideas are still fresh.
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jdmarch
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2006, 05:35:54 AM »

score based on recency and on frequency.

That would be great!!
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kfitting
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2006, 05:39:18 AM »

Yeah, adaptive scoring was discussed.  I still find it amusing that I first started using FARR because it had adaptive scoring... only to find out later it doesnt yet!  Definitely will be good to see a new version!

Kevin
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2006, 05:45:33 AM »

sounds good to me, i don't mind having a score based on recency and on frequency.
(...)
i think i better start seriously working on FARR 2 again in the next week while all these ideas are still fresh.
Good to know that! Thanks!  Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup
**jgpaiva waiting impatiently** cheesy cheesy
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nontroppo
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2006, 01:44:13 PM »

in fact i think nontroppo has been arguing for a frequency based scoring for a while, and has been very patient.
i think i better start seriously working on FARR 2 again in the next week while all these ideas are still fresh.

 Thmbsup Kiss Thmbsup
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mouser
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2006, 10:34:17 AM »

i split off this thread to a different title since i think it's focusing more on features to add.
i'm also starting a new thread on the issue of Actions, post there to discuss that most difficult user interface issue.
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Jay Levitt
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2006, 02:48:40 PM »

One more thought about QuickSilver's adaptive scoring: It adapts not only to how often program #1 and #2 are run, but how often I use a given set of keystrokes to ACCESS those programs.

For instance, I use both Text Wrangler and the Network control panel on a regular basis.  So at first, pressing "N E T" or "T W" both chose Network as the first option, since Network is a more direct match for "T W" than Textwrangler is.  After a few launches, though, QS learned that "T W", to me, means "-T-ext-W-rangler", and no matter how often I launch Network with other shortcuts, that adaptation stays in place.  That's important.
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