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Last post Author Topic: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)  (Read 38166 times)

tinjaw

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 09:43:12 AM »
Personally, I think a single dot is even better and easier.

Unless of course you are using that as the last word in a sentence.  ;)

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 09:33:14 PM »
So correct me if I am wrong, but the primary difference between DA and FARR is that:

-  DA hooks into your keyboard and constantly monitors for keystrokes, triggering when it sees something that matches one of your commands, whereas

- FARR has to be invoked first (hotkey or clicky) THEN you can type your launch codes.

Is that it, pretty much?  I'm trying to visualize how my workstation experience would change using DA instead of FARR and I'm having trouble.

Thanks!


sri

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2007, 09:44:04 PM »
why don't you just download a trial version of DA and try instead of trying to visualize? :D

Also, DA is not just to launch files, folders, websites and programs. It also provides useful features like being able to position the cursor after an abbreviation is expanded. You can also easily add abbreviations from existing words by selecting the word and hitting a hot key. Similarly it provides a shortcut for setting an abbreviation to the current application.

Check out http://www.nagarsoft.../videotutorials.aspx.
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Ralf Maximus

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2007, 09:50:36 PM »
sri: Thanks, and maybe I will.  But I'm trying to come up with a compelling reason to even give it a try since I like FARR so much.

I'm not into text-expansion -- tried that with other apps (PhraseExpress was one) and never got into it.  So if I don't need that feature, what does it do for me that will cause me whip out my credit card in a spasm of hysterical consumerism?

Grorgy

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2007, 10:37:19 PM »
i found it really annoying and intrusive, like all the spell checkers and things like that i've tried but then thats just me, each to their own.  FARR for launching internal spell checkers, if i need it boilerplate text off the clipboard, ahhh the keep it simple principle.

Armando

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2007, 12:32:09 AM »
I postponed the moment of trying DA... I could try it (I see you, sri)... but sometimes trying becomes a trap (well, in my case).
And so I'm still wondering : can't most of its "auto complete" or autotext features be achieved with very simple AHK scripts?
And the application launching... Well... I've got farr and it works great.  :-*
(Don't get me wrong : the application itself looks very slick, and it sure looks like it does really cool stuff.)

sri

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2007, 12:37:07 AM »
Armando: Freeware alternatives exist in the form of AHK, PhraseExpress, Texter. But none, as effective, easy and cohesive as Direct Access in my opinion.
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Armando

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2007, 07:28:59 PM »
As an application launcher DA not only looks cool, but it’s very quick. As a text replacement tool and corrector, it’s pretty sexy (in some ways, it feels a bit like a nicely skinned AHK).  :up:

I’ve tried it last night and today, and although it’s sexy and ingenious, it seems a bit redundant with my current settings. I might change my mind in a few days. We’ll see. Whatever happens, I’ll keep an eye on it and follow its progress.


Spoiler
Hi :)



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.


     b- speed

    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.


For example:
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.alias

In 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


2- commands

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.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 10:17:47 PM by Armando »

Darwin

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2007, 09:06:00 PM »
Excellent quick little review, Armando  :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cranioscopical

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2007, 10:00:44 PM »
Armando, I agree with virtually all your points.

I'd like to say, though, that I believe that almost any neophyte computer user would be more productive with DA within half an hour. 
(Even I, myself, was able to use it!)




Armando

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2007, 10:27:46 PM »
Thanks for the feedback guys.

(I just quickly reread my post and my english is, well... it needs improvement! Practice, practice...)

cranioscopical : I agree that there is a definite userfriendliness magnetism to DA. Yes, AHK put me off at first. By contrast, DA was appealing from the start...

But AHK is so powerful. And, all things considered, it’s damn easy to use for simple stuff.

With one very simple command I can have AHK perform one of its “autotext” trick, and then select an area, or place the cursor exactly where I want it (e.g. : write a sentence, and select the spot to be filled by a particular name).

KenR

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2007, 11:54:47 AM »
Guess I was slow on this one too. I've considered the overlap between these three programs for quite a while Amondo. I agree with the comments of the others, really nice, detailed, review of the programs.

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

wraith808

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2007, 05:57:11 PM »
i found it really annoying and intrusive, like all the spell checkers and things like that i've tried but then thats just me, each to their own.  FARR for launching internal spell checkers, if i need it boilerplate text off the clipboard, ahhh the keep it simple principle.

I thought I would, also.  But then I found out about prefixes and turning off confirmation.  I prefix all of my commands with ` (I never use that key anyway), and turned off confirmation.  Now it's very unobtrusive.

sri

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2007, 08:44:28 PM »
wraith808: Try suffiexing with a dot.
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Grorgy

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2007, 04:21:37 AM »
ok i might give that a try, probably got a bit of time left on the trial.  ;)

wraith808

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2007, 09:38:35 AM »
wraith808: Try suffiexing with a dot.

I tried that.  Doesn't work so well for me when I'm typing as end of sentences can get pretty bad.  For example, I have a command ` dot.  Your sentence would have launched it with a suffix of .  But not with a prefix of `.  I'm perfectly happy with it this way.

AEngineer

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #41 on: August 31, 2008, 08:06:16 PM »
Just a quick reminder of another free program (now apparently no longer developed according to posts elsewhere in DC) that does some of what's discussed here - PowerPro.  It's free and quite amazing in what it does.  I'd be vastly less productive in my day job without its easy-to-create-and-modify text macros.  And that's only a small portion of what it does.

e.g, the following code typed in any windows document pulls in a text file containing my ten-line email signature that I can update as things change. I have about a dozen of these that get used every day.
,sd
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sri

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2008, 09:36:00 PM »
While PowerPro is like a swiss army knife that can handle text snippets expansion, I don't think it can match with dedicated text expansion software like Direct Access and PhraseExpress. I use PhraseExpress heavily. As I mouse over its icon in the systray, I see that I have saved $138.47 by using it. Of course, it's just an indication of how much I am dependent on it.
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mwang

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #43 on: September 03, 2008, 06:12:51 AM »
I love PowerPro, but using it for text expansion and clipboard tracking purposes is a pain if you have to deal with unicode. With the unicode plugin it's possible, for the most part, but it's a pain. I used to maintain a set of scripts just to set up Powerpro's clipboard tracking the way I want, with unicode support, before giving up and seeking help from other software.

Curt

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2008, 02:48:27 AM »
e-mail from Nagar:

Quote from: Andrea Nagar
Dear Curt,

I'm glad to announce the availability for Direct Access 2.0 BETA (v.1.9.9). This is the final beta version prior the release of v.2.0 and it's feature complete.

This new beta improves the ability to share commands allowing you to export a commands selection and automatically send commands by email.

A big improvement is the addition of a Rich Text Editor that allows you to create formatted autotext so that you can save formatted clips of text and insert them in any application by simply typing your favorite abbreviations.


To see some screenshots, point your browser to http://www.nagarsoft...om/directaccess/beta

You can download the latest beta connecting to http://www.nagarsoft...ccess/beta-download/

You can find a list of changes in the beta forum at http://www.nagarsoft.com/forum (you need to register to read and post comments).

PRICING AND LICENSING
Starting from the day of the release of v.2.0 Direct Access price will be 49.95$
(currently is 39.95$). So if you are interested in getting more licenses for you or your friends, take advantage of this price before it goes up. We have also changed the upgrade pricing and policy. We you purchase Direct Access you get 12 months of upgrade protection: you will get priority support and access to any version (minor or major) of Direct Access that is released during your coverage period. Upgrade protection costs 24.95$/year.

If you are using Direct Access on different PCs (for example a home PC, work PC and a laptop), we offer the PowerUser license extension that allows you to use your personal license of Direct Access on up to 3 PCs. This option costs 9.95$ and is valid only if all PCs are used by the same person.

BUY UPGRADE PROTECTION
To get Direct Access 2.0, you need to have an active upgrade subscription. You can buy the upgrade protection now for only 24.95$/year and get priority support and free updates and upgrades for 1 year.

Buy one year upgrade protection and get Direct Access 2.0. To purchase your subscription go to http://www.nagarsoft.com/upgrade.php

Be sure you choose the proper number of licenses and the PowerUser license extension if you need to use Direct Access on multiple PCs.

- Direct Access is getting very expensive to keep updated, I think, and I am not too sure I will update my old €2 version... Did someone test if the 30% discount code (DONATIONCODER) still is valid?
:tellme:



Edited:
linked to mouser's post about the discount code.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2008, 03:02:55 AM by Curt »

Darwin

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2008, 07:34:25 AM »
I'd be OK with an upgrade price, but am not too pleased about yearly subscription fees...  :(
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Josh

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #46 on: November 06, 2008, 07:48:55 AM »
IMHO, yearly subscription fees should only be used for SERVICES not actual programs. If you run a software program like that, you are going to lose customers because I really don't enjoy having to pay to continue receiving upgrades to a single major version every year. Not a good policy

Darwin

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #47 on: November 06, 2008, 07:55:00 AM »
Did someone test if the 30% discount code (DONATIONCODER) still is valid?

AFAICT, there's no option to allow the entry of a coupon code. I clicked the upgrade link and went through the process and at no point was such a field available, so even if it is still active, I don't think it's available for upgrades.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nagar

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Re: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2009, 02:16:08 PM »
Hello everyone,

Direct Access 2.1 has been released and you can read about the changes in v.2.1 from http://www.nagarsoft...taccess/new-features

I just wanted to add some clarifications about a couple of points that have been mentioned:

1. When you buy the upgrade, you get v.2 of Direct Access and all versions that are releases from the date of the upgrade up to one year. It's not a subscription. That is, you can continue to use the software after the upgrade protection period has ended: you just don't get new upgrades but you can continue to use the version you got as long as you like. (the license will never expire)

2. The 30% discount for donation coders is available only for full licenses. Upgrade price is 24.95$ You can upgrade from http://www.nagarsoft.com/order/upgrade

I'd be very pleased to get your feedback and impressions about the new version. Thanks everyone.
--
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: Direct Access - text expander and application launcher (and much more)
« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2009, 02:35:23 PM »
Hi, Andrea. Thank you for clarifying your pricing scheme. 12 months of upgrade protection is very reasonable (quite generous, these days, actually) and 50% upgrade pricing is also appreciated. I may just have to take a look at 2.1 and perhaps update the mini-review.

Just to clarify for everyone here, all updates to 2.x will be available to purchasers of 2.x regardless of when they are released? So, if I bought v.2 today and version 2.9 came out in 19 months, that update would be available to me without having to buy upgrade protection. Correct? However, if v.3 is released after 12 months have passed, I'll need to purchase an upgrade.

If this is indeed the case, it all sounds good to me  :Thmbsup:

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin