Here are some more detailed criticism/reflections about DA (still quickly written - be nice!). I'll try to avoid repeating what darwin and others said.
In another post, mouser noted that there is some overlap between farr and Direct access… yes there is... There is also some overlap if you’re using something like AHK as your text replacement tool (autotext). For this reason I’d like to talk about DA and make a few comments on how farr similarly takes care of the launching/command aspect (and much much more, of course), and how AHK takes care about almost anything else.
1- Application launching
a- User friendliness and usefulness
In DA, you need to enter abbreviations before it can launch anything (and, in the process of doing that, you have to browse to enter the path of the application to configure the keys, etc.). With farr you can just type a few letters in the field, find the app, and launch it (from there you can also directly create an alias if you want — more about that later). Farr eliminates the need to remember a bunch of shortcut keys or configure shortcut these keys for individual apps in advance, it eliminates the need to browse to find the path to an application, etc. (yes farr has these useful functions : search as you type, browsing…)
So, as you probably guessed… I don’t like the fact that with DA I have to create in advance abbreviations for each and every applications I want to launch.
Of course, for already configured
keystrokes/applications, DA IS quicker… but there’s probably less than 0.5 sec difference in “launching speed” though if farr is configured beforehand too
(in a similar way than DA) : with farr, if you really want to launch applications at the speed of light (in 3 key strokes max — which is possible with DA), you just have to create aliases and use the new farr hotkey system. Very simple.
1- I’ve configured the break key to trigger farr and insert “apps:” in the entry field,
2- I than created aliases with a reg ex starting with the prefix “apps:” and ending with a letter corresponding to the particular application I want to trigger. (e.g. : “apps:x” for launching X1.).
So, in the end, I just press the break key, type “x”, press “enter” (or “F1”). 3 quick keystrokes.
(Of course, you could also use AHK to configure hotkeys to launch applications.)For those interested, the preformatted alias would looks like this :
1000>>>"apps:X1">->C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\X1.lnk>+>^apps:x(.*)>^>myaliases.aliasIn the alias window, you’d find this in the fields:
Group alias name: "apps:X1"
(Any name wil do, of course. But I put all my alias names in quotes to, at the same time : 1-separate them from normal searches in farr’s field, 2-keep an understanble description of the alias 3-and give priority to the regex expression bellow.)
Regular expression pattern: ^apps:x(.*)
Results: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\X1.lnk
Well, I like the “command” feature in Direct Access, but I definitely find that farr is more powerful with its alias and plug-in system. I mean, what can’t you do with farr’s alias and plug-in system? you can send emails, uninstall applications, locate files, browse folders structures, calculate, generate data, etc. Direct access and farr really overlap in that area, but I’d choose farr over DA.
3- Auto text
Then there is the “auto text” aspect. Farr isn’t meant to replace text, etc. But since I’ve been using AHK for a while and since it’s really light on resources (3mb, imperceptible CPU power consumption) and very easy to use, I had to quickly compare it to DA.
I’ve imported my AHK abbreviations into DA to do some testing (very nice feature BTW! But didn’t work well since my scripts are formatted for easier reading -- if you have spaces before commands in you AHK script, DA won't import them)…
After some script/abbreviations editing and text replacement tests, I found that :
a- AHK’s non-compiled scripts allows for quicker (and, IMO, a bit easier) editing (via your preferred text editor) of abbreviations. It’s easy to group stuff and especially to make “script wide” modifications in an ahk script than in the DA window where each entry is separated. You can of course open DA’s DAT file, and edit it by hand, but entries are not necessarily organized in a very easy way to read or follow… it’s possible though. So I guess that if the DAT file was structured in a more friendly way (with titles, subtitles, etc.), it would offer the same degree of “editability” as AHK.
b- It’s easier to comment commands in AHK And to visually organize the script to ones liking. You can comment abbreviations in DA, but I’d like to be able to also comment the groups in the hierarchy.
Of course, DA does make it more friendly to manipulate abbreviations, etc. : easy to create category hierarchies for commands and autotext, visually much more accessible (it’s harder to read an AHK script than a nicely structured table like Direct access' one !) — it’s good to have a nice outline of all the abbreviations.
These GUIish considerations lead to the last point :
4- resources and interface
- after a few minutes DA was taking more than 43mb (and the dat file is only 48kb)
- CPU consumption while typing anything anywhere is often between 1 an 2%. Not much, that's nice. But, for the record : in comparison, AHK is almost always less than 1%.
- At some point, after importing my AHK scripts, scrolling inside the app was really slow, and the main window interface felt really sluggish. I’m not sure… but I think it’s because my accents (é, è, à, etc.) were not properly transferred from AHK. They appeared as squares. Sinced I’ve edited the dat file by hand, DA's window seems to behave more or less normally.