Now that you mention universal actions – could you explain what they do for you? Just curious if they might be useful for the DT workflow.
Sorry I’m not the person to whom the question was directed but maybe a couple of screenshots will give some idea of how I, at least, use Universal Actions in Alfred.
The first shows what I see with a file or files selected in Finder:
This shows what I see when I have selected some text:
Thanks (interesting that you save Slater’s recipes in DT – I use Mela for that ;-), and for those of Ottolenghi and the other people)
Anyway, I guess it might be not too bad an idea to have a look at how this could be used for the DT workflow.
I use universal actions for quick custom searches or send them to workflows. Saves me the effort to copy, launch the website, or open up Alfred to start a custom search or execute a workflow.
- Specifically how I use it with your DT workflow. If I look up a profile on Vimeo and I’m unsure if I have a database on their materials in DT, I highlight their name and trigger universal actions to use the DT workflow for a search in my database. Or generally: search for existing materials in DT.
- This is the real effort saver here. Not related to productive work though. When I find an album I want to listen on a blog, I highlight the album, trigger universal action, launch the spotify workflow, and add the album to my to-listen playlist.
- Send files to Yoink
- Trigger case-converter workflow for text. I have not use this workflow independently of universal action
- Add texts as tasks to Asana
- It also copies the text (a feature or an annoyance?). So once in a while I may forget to do something with the text I copied, or if I want to do more than one thing with the text I copied, I can open up Alfred’s clipboard manager and use universal action from there
- e.g from point 1. I can search the profile in DT, and then search for them in LinkedIn/Google without going back and forth
Hope this helps!
I voted (I use Alfred), but I feel like adding a caveat that I basically have no idea how it works and only use it for 2 things I do opt space to open the quick launch thing that opens an app, and I have snippets running (basically their version of a text expander).
When I first downloaded it I put some script things in it to do other things like search DT and open GoodReads, but I’ve never used them and honestly have no idea how they even work It’s yet another app on my computer that I could probably be getting A LOT more out of if I would only find the time to learn. The menu dashboard alone is huge and implies a lot of cool stuff I don’t know about….
The main “problem” with Alfred and similar products (in my opinion) is to remember what it can do. Like “opt-space DTD will show me all DT databases” or “opt-space DTF will show me all favorites” etc. It’s a bit like with snippets: They can save a lot of time, but you have to remember what shortcut you have defined for which purpose.
Alfred’s universal actions (which I unfortunately overlooked until yesterday) might help to remember what it can do: select a string/URL, activate universal actions and see what it proposes.
As to DT: There’s of course a better (I suppose you still have the old, Pythonized one) version of it: Self-contained version of Alfred workflow (i.e. without Python) which even allows you to search in a group.
I voted for Alfred, but I’m torn between that and Raycast.
Bartender, Trickster, Finder, Spotlight…It pretty much depends on how often I use the particular app. Some of them are continuously open, such as Safari, DTPro, Tinderbox, Curio, PDF Expert, and Airmail.
Keyboard Maestro, likely very rudimentary use compared with many of the brilliant people who share this space. Some TextExpander as well. I try to keep all my keystroke shortcuts to something like " ;td ", starting with a ; unless it’s a frequent use item which I have mapped to a top-row F-key. Thanks to everyone sharing their automation snippets and knowledge.
Interesting Review comparing Alfred vs Raycast
This is very true. Products like Alfred depend on you learning new “muscle memory”, and it’s hard and takes concerted effort. E.g. the DT search is probably very nifty, but I still just get my mouse and move to DT because it’s what I’ve always done.
Snippets is half and half for me. I use many of them a lot and I have a very self-explanatory naming system which means I can usually guess which keyword I need. But there are some I don’t use so much and I can spend a few seconds testing different keywords to find the one that triggers the text expander (occasionally I give up and have to open Alfred to find the the keyword I need. It probably still takes less time than remembering and typing out the full text though!).
I do, I remember reading somewhere that many scripts might not work now if they’re old versions, but since I never use them I hadn’t bothered to update them. This thread is making me think I really need to make Alfred work much harder!
I don’t use Alfred for Snippets (but Typinator). If you set
Name, Keyword or Snippet you can either assign a shortcut to
Viewer Hotkey or use the
Snippet Keyword to search.
They covered some ground, good review. I can confirm that it takes time to discover everything. It took me months to get to my current setup.
Expanding on this review, I can share a few more points of comparison, maybe this is of interest to @tonycr46.
One thing that stands out is that the built-in features are more comprehensive in Raycast than in Alfred (including power pack).
One example is the window management extension. It includes so many options (50+) that it surpasses paid apps like Magnet.
Another example: The built-in uninstaller can replace apps like AppCleaner.
You can also put stuff in the menubar, if available / wanted.
The design feels richer and less constricted…
Clipboard history, including previews for links.
Is that even usable? IIRC, Alfred provides dictionary access as well as clipboard history, too.
The main advantage (in my eyes, of course, and not having used it) of Raycast seems to be its more modern appearance. And the fact that it might be possible to build nicer user interactions (I’m concluding here from the DT search they offer).
But as I said before: it is technologically more demanding to write extensions than Alfred. Not sure if it’s possible in AppleScript (and I don’t care). But the integration with Apple’s scripting technology (aka scripting dictionaries) relies on an NPM module, which may or may not work as well as direct integration. And it may or may not be supported (well, that’s the same as AppleScript and JXA).
OTOH, they offer Swift scripting, which is probably better suited to work with current frameworks than AS or JXA.
Alfred with the PowerPack and Raycast are a good combo for different tasks, each have their strengths and both are quite powerful.
Nice examples - thanks
The ability to add things to the menu bar which you mentioned is particularly a helpful/unique feature and very powerful in how it can be customized
Keyboard Maestro can also do it.
This is a key reason I stay with Alfred. For Really Basic Programmers™️ like me the ability to write simple workflows is key.
As does, indeed, Alfred
I should’ve been more precise: Raycast is promoting swift as a scripting language with their app.
Probably speed. It’s pretty much instant to start an app via Alfred and Spotlight always takes a second or so to show anything.