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Last post Author Topic: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?  (Read 33938 times)

Defenestration

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Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« on: October 24, 2006, 06:37:18 AM »
I have never really used these types of apps before but have heard some good things about how they can save me a lot of time when writing e-mails, coding etc. I've found a few apps which look OK and wanted to get people's opinions on which one is best and why.

The apps I've found are

As-U-Type 3.2 - US$39.95 one-time fee. DC member zridling posted a couple of times at betanews about this and said it was his faviourite utility of it's type, but then the author upped the price to from US$29.95 including all updates to US$50 with only 12 months of updates. Because of all the complaints, the price has now dropped to US$39.95 with all updates included.

IntelliComplete 3.3 - US$49.97.

AutoHotkey 1.0.44.14 - free

AutoIt 3.1.1.133 Beta - free

Direct Access 1.1 - US$39.95 with minor updates. Large discount (probably 50%) on major upgrades.

If there are any others I have not mentioned, please let me know.

urlwolf

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 11:20:44 AM »
I use intellicomplete, but it seems to be abandonware... buyer beware.
I´d be interested in seeing your comparision. There was a GNU one, I don´t remember the name...


urlwolf

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 11:22:05 AM »
As-U-Type 3.2 doesn´t do intelligent completion AFAIK...

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 11:55:43 AM »
ActiveWords is one you should definitely have a look at.

I have this and DirectAccess (i.e. licenses for both) but use AW. DA looks promising and I decided to support development by buying a license. AW is much more feature rich and IMNSHO easier to use, but it's GUI is definitely mired in Win 9x. [added in edit]: DA is the new kid on the block, having been released this summer, while AW has been around for quite a while - five years or more.

Anyway, both DA and AW insert boilerplate text but only AW features auto-complete in ANY app/dialogue box. AW also features universal spell checking while DA does not. AW is $49.95 and I have no idea what the upgrade policy is - there have been bug-fix releases since I purchased in 2004 but no point releases and certainly no major upgrades! It works so well, though, that I am not complaining... [added in edit]: Just to clarify, while there have been no updates, AW is fully supported, has an active community forum (in which the developers are frequent posters) and there is a roadmap for future versions.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 11:59:25 AM by Darwin »

tim254

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2006, 02:38:48 PM »
I haven't used it yet, but going to try it soon.

PhraseExpress
http://www.phraseexpress.com/

I'm not an ActiveWords fan, I bought it but have since abandoned it.  It's too slow and intrusive for my taste ... and they don't update it.  I love the idea, but they really need to rewrite it from scratch using C++ or get better programmers.

Interesting article:

ActiveWords - The most useful utility I'm no longer using
http://www.downloads...-im-no-longer-using/

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Tim
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 03:07:40 PM by tim254 »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2006, 04:09:03 PM »
PhraseExpress looks interesting. Fair comments about AW. I wax and wane on the issue of its speed - at the moment I am quite pleased with it. It's not that it runs faster or slower at times, it's my perception that changes... As for the developers not issuing updates - there have been three since I bought it - two this year with the most recent being about a week ago. Granted, these are not point releases but the programme is being worked on.

Funny, I read the article you linked to over the summer and have actually had the same experience, though I returned to the fold. I had to uninstall AW at one point because of a conflict with another app that I was trialing. In the end, I left it off my machine for about six months. I survived without it but when I got around to installing it again it was like welcoming an old friend. I get the author's "big picture" point about activation but don't really see that it's an issue with AW. Anyway, in my usage it's well behaved - doesn't hog resources - and does what it's been advertised to do. I've never had a crash with it and it hasn't failed me. My biggest complaint would be that it opens quite slowly when set to start at system startup (but inexplicably opens quickly when opened on its own after the system has started). This seems to be a sporadic issue based on my perusal of the forums.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tim254

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2006, 04:56:15 PM »
I'm going to take a look at Direct Access too.  Two things that really bothered me about Active Words was it's lack of auto completion of commands especially in the Action Pad and no confirmation if you entered in an invalid command.  That drove me nuts because some apps took a couple of seconds to launch, and by that time I had tried to launch it several times ... or I sit there and wait if I entered an invalid command ... and nothing happens.  It also loads a bunch of exe files in memory and the interface for editing the key words is slow and looks bad. 

Another decent blog post about ActiveWords:
http://www.downloads...h-text-substitution/

Even after saying all that ... I might try it again anyway, since they added support for some really cool apps, like MindManager and ClearContext.  However, I'll still use Launchy to launch apps.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 05:01:01 PM by tim254 »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2006, 05:48:02 PM »
DirectAccess has promise. I'd like to see greater configurability of the trigger and it's resource usage tamed a bit (it's not that bad, but is about 10-15% greater than AW). Where AW has a number of exe's running on my machine, DA fields only one, but it hovers in the 50MB or RAM range constantly, whereas AW is somewhat lower (at the moment it's using 37588K of RAM spread over four exes). To be fair, I've just closed AW and opened DA. All I've done is open it and close the main window, which appears at startup and I that it started at 46000K of RAM and change and has risen to 50,004K where it seems stable, for now. It's much prettier than AW and launches files and exes much more quickly. I've no experience using either for boilerplate text insertion because I don't use that feature. DA is not as well behaved when it comes to triggering it - AW recognises the word that you type and, if you provide the trigger, opens whatever you specified and deletes the word that you used to trigger the action. In DA this works right up to deleting the word at which point DA for some reason does not always delete the word, sometimes it deletes the whole thing, sometimes not at all and at other times (as just happened here) all but the first letter. This is kind of annoying when you're typing a letter and decide to laucnh something else. Another issue has arisen as I've written this: I had DA set to trigger when I hit the spacebar (just as I have it setup in AW - though I hit spacebar twice to trigger in AW) and note that I have three instances of word open! [I've also had to come back in here and retype word in three times]. THis is what I was getting at about making triggering a word more configurable. For now, I've switched from spacebar to enter as my trigger. Note that the result of triggering word three times is that memory usage has crept up to 55,596K...

A final note about memory usage is that when I am runnning AW my OVERALL memory consumption seems much lower than when I am running DA - out of proportion to the memory consumed by DA itself. Weird. The difference in overall memory consumption is 50-60 MB. Of course the AW total was before Word had been opened three times, so this may not be fair at all. However, this has been my impression each time that I've done this comparison. Total memory free right now (according to Maxthon's counter in the information bar at the bottom of my screen) is 254MB with DA running. I'm closing DA and launching AW right now... The total in the information bar is 301MB. After launching word three times via AW: 239MB with all instances of word running and 311 MB after I've closed them all. I realise that I'm obsessing about memory consumption and that these figures probably mean less than I'm trying to read into them, but still...

Overall, DA seems to have the speed and aesthetic advantage but AW has an advantage in overall feature set and resource usage.

Oh - just took a look at the link you posted and like your points in that discussion. I haven't had any trouble with typing incorrect active words - I have the monitor bar set to dock at the top of my screen but to autohide. Whenever I type and activeword, I get a drop down text balloon that says first ActiveWord Recognized and if I hit my trigger it changes to ActiveWord Processing. Thus, if I don't see this, I know that I've entered my ActiveWord incorrectly. Your list of suggestions, such as drag-and-drop to create AW, is great - all great ideas that would extend it, in my opinion.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 05:57:56 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2006, 06:01:43 PM »
PS I am running DA again and AFAICT, there is no autocomplete and no indicator that you've entered a command incorrectly. Like AW, however, when you type a command it pops up a dialogue box requesting that you confirm the command by typing the trigger. If you type something else, the dialogue just disappears. Thus, if you type the command incorrectly, you won't see that dialogue popup... Note, too, that both AW and DA will play a sound when a command is recognised.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tim254

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2006, 06:09:26 PM »
I'm testing out AW again and I like your tip about Auto-hiding the AWMonitor ... that definitely helps.  I'm using Actual Windows Manager now too, which helps stop ActiveWords from adjusting it's word base screen which also drove me nuts (really need an explorer type view).  So, I'm back testing it again.  What do you use AW for now?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 06:29:38 PM by tim254 »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2006, 06:31:49 PM »
Most of my usage of AW is as a spellchecker/auto-corrector. Though I do still use it as a launcher -  probably only 25% of what I launch I do via AW, though. This is because most of the time I've already clicked with the mouse to get where I want. I use AW to launch apps most when I am typing a document and want to open up a different app. Provided I've assigned an AW to it (and can remember it), I find it quite convenient to use an active word to launch it.

I find the spellchecker very good, though it can be annoying e.g. I type e-mail and web addresses with both bc and ca (www.nic.bc.ca) in them and bc becomes B.C. and ca CA. There is a workaround, of course, the "nap" command, which is very handy - and how I managed to type the web address above "correctly". While I find things like that annoying I find that when I don't have AW running, such as when I'm playing with DA instead, I really, really miss the auto-correction.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tim254

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2006, 07:10:17 PM »
Yeah, I'm thinking about using As-U-Type with Launchy ... and possibly Direct Access in the future.  I might even switch back to ActiveWords at some point, but I really like the way As-U-Type works with spelling mistakes. 

OT: Fanix has a really cool product out called Hilitext, which highlights words.  I've never seen something like that before and it's very useful in my job.   http://fanix.com/hilitext.html

bjk

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2006, 01:51:03 AM »
There is another one here (LetMeType):

   http://www.clasohm.com/lmt/en/

and it's available in German too

   http://www.clasohm.com/lmt/de/

Since I don't know the other candidates, I can't compare it.

But one feature was very important to me: There is an option
to exclude certain words (like passwords) from auto complete.



zridling

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2006, 02:57:17 AM »
Defenestration, start with AutoHotkey because it's nothing more than a text file and you can edit it anytime you want, and it's donationware. Check out the Universal AutoCorrect with AutoHotKey and Wikipedia by Biancolo, which consists of thousands of commonly misspelled words. He leaves space at the bottom (or move it to the top if you like) to add words you either mistype or misspell. I use AutoHotkey to open programs using hotkeys along with completing complex strings or words I don't want to type over and over, such as:

:*:afn::Access Foundation
:*:ahkk::AutoHotkey
:*:bb1::<b>bold</b>{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:bb2::<strong>bold</strong>{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:bbb::bold{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:htpp::http://www.anova.org/software/
:*:ii1::<i>italics</i>{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:ii2::<em>italics</em>{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:iii::italics{Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
:*:bruu::Bulk Rename Utility
:*:bw::between
:*:ctt::CTRL{+}
:*:ck1::customizability
:*:ck2::customizable
:*:ckk::customizable keyboard shortcuts
:*:ddc::DonationCoder.com
:*:hddc::http://www.donationcoder.com/

and to open programs or close windows, files, tabs, etc.

#y::Run C:\Program Files\DirSync\DirSync.exe
#z::Send, {CTRLDOWN}{F4}{CTRLUP}
#F12::Send, {ALTDOWN}{O}{ALTUP}{O}
`::Send, {CTRLDOWN}{F4}{CTRLUP}
Appskey::Send, {ALTDOWN}{F4}{ALTUP}
#1::Run C:\Program Files\XYplorer\XYplorer.exe
#2::Run C:\Program Files\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.ini
#7::Run C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7zFM.exe, C:\Program Files\7-Zip\

and so on. I guarantee you'll love it. Best of all, it is universal, meaning that it applies to games, your word processor, text editor, spreadsheet, email, whatever you type. If you don't want that, or want something more specialized, all you have to do is split your "scripts" into various .AHK files. It's easier than it sounds. Like I said, just start with AutoHotkey (be sure to peruse the Help File's Intro), and then consider others if you don't like it.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006, 03:05:21 AM by zridling »

Defenestration

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2006, 03:40:42 AM »
Thanks for all the great feedback everyone.

I've tried DirectAccess but am not keen because it uses the behemoth .NET runtime. I hate .NET apps :)

Intellitype looks good, but as someone else mentioned it hasn't been updated in a long while.

The same seems true of As-U-Type, which might be related to the author having to go back to lifetime licences.

May I ask why to use AutoHotKey over AutoIt ?



nagar

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2006, 07:07:34 AM »
Hello everybody. My name is Andrea Nagar and I'm the author of Direct Access.
I was pointed to this forum by tim.
I'm pleased that my software had been mentioned along with Activewords and Autohotkey.

I appreciate your comments and the issues with deleting commands that Darwin mentioned will be fixed in v.1.2 (which is due by the end of the week). Performance have also improved. We are working to reduce the memory footprint too. If you like you can download an unofficial version at http://www.nagarsoft...AccessUnofficial.exe

I like Autohotkey very much and I'm using it myself to automate certain operations. It has very powerful scripting language. This is an advantage but also a disadvantage: you have to write the script!
 Direct Access allows you to setup things from a graphical interface and easily add new textsnippets or applications (dragging them on the Hub, the orange ball). It automatically compiles your program description and command.

Many new features are in the making to make things even easier and more straightforward and reducing the time needed to manually customize Direct Access is one of our top priority.

Direct Access shows a confirmation tooltip when the command is typed. This avoids accidental executions that happen when an abbreviation is executed any time you press space (I suggest that you set F1...F12 or any cursor key as the confirmation key).

I read Darwin wrote "Thus, if you type the command incorrectly, you won't see that dialogue popup...". What do you mean? What behaviour would you expect?

I'd like to share a little tip for remembering the names of the commands: use the first letters of the application name. Calculator will be calc, Excel exc and so on. If you have, for example a project file and a folder with the same name, add a suffix. For example, proj will open your VS project,  projd will open the associated folder.

You can also assign a command to a group that, when executed will show you a list of all the actions it contains.

If you have any questions, I'll be pleased to answer here or directly to my mail address.
Thanks everybody for the useful comments you posted here.

Andrea
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Andrea Nagar - Nagarsoft
http://www.nagarsoft.com
Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2006, 09:08:24 AM »
Welcome Andrea! Sorry I haven't dropped you a private e-mail listing my observations about DirectAccess. Despite my "complaints" above, I love the look and feel of DA and its speed. As I've said above, it shows great promise and is very impressive or a piece of software that's only been in the wild for a few months. I wouldn't have purchased a license had I not been confident that the issues that I've seen will be addressed in future builds. I'll take a look at the unofficial version.

To address your question: "I read Darwin wrote "Thus, if you type the command incorrectly, you won't see that dialogue popup...". What do you mean? What behaviour would you expect?". Essentially, on this thread] a couple of comments were made to the effect that AW does not offer a warning to indicate that a command hasn't been entered correctly. I was pointing out that via the confirmation tooltip (my "dialogue pop-up") in both AW and DA NOT appearing, the user is alerted to the fact that they haven't entered the command correctly.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006, 09:10:33 AM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2006, 10:39:30 AM »
Wow! Andrea - you've tamed the beast! I've had DA running for about 20 minutes and have been working with it and Outlook, Excel, and Maxthon and it's footprint is very small (12,748K at the moment). I'll keep monitoring, but looking good right now!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2006, 10:46:24 AM »
The other great thing is that maximizing the program by double clicking on the system tray icon or the Direct Access Hub and then closing it releases the memory - its usage drops to 3164K... Very nice.

Just to add - DA has now been rock solid at 6940K for about 10 minutes...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006, 10:56:03 AM by Darwin »

nagar

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2006, 02:41:33 AM »
Hi there.
thanks for your feedback. I thought about autocompletion. I believe that can be done in the action pad (the slickrun way). It's on my todo for the next version (a lot of people seem to be interested in that).

I just release v.1.2 today that you can download at http://www.nagarsoft.com

It's mainly a bug fix (but important one). In particular, it fixes the problems most users had with other applications. Now Direct Access doesn't interfere with ALT and CTRL keypresses in other programs. Now multimonitor configurations are supported. You can see a list of the fixes at http://www.nagarsoft.com/VersionHistory.aspx

I'd be happy to receive feedback. What are the things you would like to see in the next version? What are the operations in your daily work that you would like to automate?
--
Andrea Nagar - Nagarsoft
http://www.nagarsoft.com
Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2006, 03:50:49 PM »
Interesting, I've been following up on my assertion that DA is quicker to load files and programs than AW. I've found that in opening my web browser, notepad, and Outlook overall that DA is indeed the quicker of the two.

They both open my webbrowser at about the same rate (3-4secs from the trigger being selected and the browser - Maxthon - opening) but DA opens metapad in a second or less whereas AW takes about 3.5 secs. I'll keep playing around and post back with more later, but take my boys to the pool for lessons.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: October 26, 2006, 04:13:28 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2006, 04:14:24 PM »
PS Above using latest build of AW Plus (1.9) and latest build of DA (1.2, released today).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

mouser

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2006, 06:22:46 PM »
Welcome to the site Andrea, we always love to have authors participate in the discussions and talk with users here.  :up:

Darwin

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2006, 06:30:59 PM »
Just to add to the above, DA opens Outlook in about 2 seconds - AW takes 7 seconds. Disappointing to have my "gut" feeling confirmed. I've invited the AW developers to participate here, so hope to be welcoming them soon as well!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tim254

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Re: Best Auto-complete Intelli-sense type utility ?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2006, 06:51:57 PM »
Yeah, that's another item that always bothered me about AW, it took awhile to launch apps.

--
Tim