Launchbar versus Quicksilver

General discussions about LaunchBar

Launchbar versus Quicksilver

Postby romeodawg » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:16 pm

Can anyone tell me the advantages that Launchbar has over Quicksilver? Or are they as similar as they look?
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Re: Launchbar versus Quicksilver

Postby FredSmith » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:55 pm

romeodawg wrote:Can anyone tell me the advantages that Launchbar has over Quicksilver? Or are they as similar as they look?


That's such a broad question, though only thing I can really say is, try both.

Quicksilver does have stability problems and has been effectively end-of-lifed by its developer (though he has opened up the source code, so it's possible someone could pick it up and run with it). He's now working on the Quick Search Box under the Google banner.
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Postby Achiever » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:46 pm

Yeah, wow, that is a pretty broad question. As the last poster pointed out, QS is no longer in active development, so there are some bugs which will never be quashed and no new features will be added.

As far as what's there now (and I haven't experienced the crashes others have, though the plug in installs often hang) there are certain things I prefer QS for and certain things I prefer LB for. There are those who really like the "Triggers" that you can do with QS. In fairness, I haven't relly tried any, so I cannot speak to them. I also don't have much need for clipboards, so I cannot speak to those either. What I do prefer QS over LB for, is the moving or copying of a file from one location on my Macs to another. It is an easier process this way than on LB (in fairness, I simply cannot figure out how to even do it on LB, and I am not sure it can do it). As far as app launching, it works about as well as LB.

I do use LB as my primary app launcher, though. I like the interface, I like how LB learns which programs I am looking for using my abbreviations (a bit better than QS here, IMHO) and I like how LB is less intrusive by dropping from the menubar. I also really like some of the search options that exists in LB, which I do not believe exist in QS. For example, you can do searches in things like Wikipedia, the imdb and Amazon directly from LB. No need to launch a browser, go to the website and search; just search through LB and the results open automatically.

There are other things to like about each program, but its probably best to experience them for yourself. I will say that until LB instills some sort of Trigger-like abilities and the ability to (easily) move or copy files across your Mac, there will always be a need and market for QS. At least there will be for me, and I know I am not alone here.
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Postby Achiever » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:39 pm

I stand slightly corrected regarding the development of QS. While the original programmer of QS has abandoned it, he did open source the code and it is, apparently in development through a third party/parties who used to use it. You can find more on that all here (including links in comments section).

http://lipidity.com/apple/cleaning-up-quicksilver/

All that said, I am still a big, big fan of LB and what it can do. Frankly, it probably does more than I even know it can do; I just have to find the time to learn it better. Some online tutorials or screencasts would be great, hint hint. (P.S. I know about the Screencast Online videos. I have them, they are great, but they are dated and not nearly comprehensive enough).
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Postby cortig » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:02 pm

FYI, the author of QuickSilver now works for Google and created “Google Quick Search Box“, which is essentially an application launcher. More stable and responsive than QS, but way behind in features and customizability.

At this point, to be honest, nothing to steer me away from LaunchBar 5…
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Postby George the Flea » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:01 am

Speed, stability, lack of a steep learning curve, and overall quality of product are the reasons I switched from Quicksilver to LaunchBar. Your personal mileage may vary.

Achiever wrote:What I do prefer QS over LB for, is the moving or copying of a file from one location on my Macs to another. It is an easier process this way than on LB (in fairness, I simply cannot figure out how to even do it on LB, and I am not sure it can do it).


Select a file (or multiple files/folders) in the Finder. Hold down your LaunchBar shortcut to activate Instant Send and get the files into LaunchBar. Assuming that the destination you want is in LaunchBar's index, start typing an abbreviation to search for it. Once you've got it, hit enter to move or copy the files there.

So say I've got a movie file called "moviefile.mov" on my desktop. I highlight it, hold down control-space (my LaunchBar shortcut), then type "MOVIE". LaunchBar reads "moviefile.mov -> Drag to Movies"; I hit enter and LaunchBar gives me several options with associated numbers (1: move; 2: copy; 3: make alias; etc.).

Note that you only have to have the root level folder in your index, too. Once I've got the Movies folder targeted, I can use the arrow keys to navigate into it within LaunchBar.
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Postby FredSmith » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:01 pm

George the Flea wrote:Speed, stability, lack of a steep learning curve, and overall quality of product are the reasons I switched from Quicksilver to LaunchBar. Your personal mileage may vary.

Achiever wrote:What I do prefer QS over LB for, is the moving or copying of a file from one location on my Macs to another. It is an easier process this way than on LB (in fairness, I simply cannot figure out how to even do it on LB, and I am not sure it can do it).


Select a file (or multiple files/folders) in the Finder. Hold down your LaunchBar shortcut to activate Instant Send and get the files into LaunchBar. Assuming that the destination you want is in LaunchBar's index, start typing an abbreviation to search for it. Once you've got it, hit enter to move or copy the files there.

So say I've got a movie file called "moviefile.mov" on my desktop. I highlight it, hold down control-space (my LaunchBar shortcut), then type "MOVIE". LaunchBar reads "moviefile.mov -> Drag to Movies"; I hit enter and LaunchBar gives me several options with associated numbers (1: move; 2: copy; 3: make alias; etc.).

Note that you only have to have the root level folder in your index, too. Once I've got the Movies folder targeted, I can use the arrow keys to navigate into it within LaunchBar.



The difference is that QS can do it without having to go to the Finder, and that really is a big difference. You have to play around with Quicksilver's comma function to see why this is requested by lots of people here.
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Postby Dennis » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:52 am

FredSmith wrote:The difference is that QS can do it without having to go to the Finder, and that really is a big difference. You have to play around with Quicksilver's comma function to see why this is requested by lots of people here.


Yeah, Quicksilver's comma trick for selecting multiple items is neat. But other than that, you don't need to go to the Finder in LaunchBar either.

Just select whatever item you want in LaunchBar, hit tab, select you destination, and hit Return. And you can hold down Finder-style modifier keys to move/copy/alias the item as well: Command-Return to move, Option-Return to Copy, and Command-Option-Return to alias.

For individual items (w/o comma trick) or all items in a container (selected with Command-A in LaunchBar), I actually think LaunchBar is better than Quicksilver for moving files. At least it requires fewer steps and is, consequently, quicker than Quicksilver. ;-)

-Dennis
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Postby FredSmith » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:44 am

Dennis wrote:
FredSmith wrote:The difference is that QS can do it without having to go to the Finder, and that really is a big difference. You have to play around with Quicksilver's comma function to see why this is requested by lots of people here.


Yeah, Quicksilver's comma trick for selecting multiple items is neat. But other than that, you don't need to go to the Finder in LaunchBar either.

Just select whatever item you want in LaunchBar, hit tab, select you destination, and hit Return. And you can hold down Finder-style modifier keys to move/copy/alias the item as well: Command-Return to move, Option-Return to Copy, and Command-Option-Return to alias.

For individual items (w/o comma trick) or all items in a container (selected with Command-A in LaunchBar), I actually think LaunchBar is better than Quicksilver for moving files. At least it requires fewer steps and is, consequently, quicker than Quicksilver. ;-)

-Dennis


That isn't really a replacement for the comma trick. If I want to select multiple files in LB, then I have to keep switching between the Finder and Launchbar. In QS, I can copy multiple files without leaving Quicksilver. You really need to try it for a few days; the difference is like night and day.
Last edited by FredSmith on Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dennis » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:01 am

FredSmith wrote:That isn't really a replacement for the comma trick. If I want to select multiple files in LB, then I have to keep switching between the Finder and Launchbar. In QS, I can copy multiple files without leaving Quicksilver. You really need to try it fora few days; the difference is like night and day.


Oh, don't get me wrong. I agree with you. I didn't mean LaunchBar's approach was a replacement for Quicksilver's comma trick, which I am quite familiar with.

As I wrote earlier, Quicksilver's comma trick is pretty cool. But other than that, I think LaunchBar has more streamlined file move/copy/alias operations.

Regardless, the OP didn't actually mention the comma trick or selection of multiple files anyway. Achiever wrote (emphasis mine):

What I do prefer QS over LB for, is the moving or copying of a file from one location on my Macs to another.


So while Quicksilver has a leg up on multi-file selections, I think LaunchBar is actually slightly quicker at handling individual items as the OP was referring to.

-Dennis
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Postby Achiever » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:53 pm

You're both right. My post DID indicate moving one file at a time was what I primarily used QS for (which it is). However today I needed to move multiple files at once and I needed the comma trick to get things done in a more efficient manner. So yes, both of you are correct. AND, thanks to these forums, I am now much more familiar with how moving things works with LB.

Isn't being a part of the Mac community great?
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Postby norbert » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:14 am

Let me add a short recap.

Copying or moving files with LaunchBar is really easy. You can either:

- select the source
- press Tab
- select the destination folder
- press Return

or:

- select the source
- press Command-C
- select the destination folder
- press Command-V

In both cases you get a menu to select the desired file operation (copy, move, make alias, make symlink, etc.)

The first approach allows you to press additional modifier keys to circumvent the menu and select the desired file operation even more quickly (Command-Return to move, Option-Return to copy, etc.).

And the second approach allows you to create multiple selections via ClipMerge, and then paste all files at once into the destination folder.

The ClipMerge approach has the big advantage that it works system wide, and not only within LaunchBar. You can for example start with a file selected in a Finder window, add some other files from another window, add further files from LaunchBar, and finally paste them all at once to the desired destination folder.
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Postby Dennis » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:11 am

norbert wrote:You can for example start with a file selected in a Finder window, add some other files from another window, add further files from LaunchBar, and finally paste them all at once to the desired destination folder.


Very nice. I didn't realize this was working so well.

For some reason, I thought that pasting a bunch of copied files to a new folder would only place copies of those files at the new location, leaving the originals in place. This is what the Finder does with copy/paste operations on files.

I guess the difference is LaunchBar offers copying and moving of files with copy/paste. It seems so obvious now. :-)

@ FredSmith: So do you think LaunchBar's ClipMerge trick is an adequate replacement for Quicksilver's comma trick? Unless I'm missing something, it seems like it can do everything the comma trick can do.

In some respects, LaunchBar's approach even seems a little better: Collections of selected items get preserved in your clipboard history, where you can access them again later as groups or as individual items or even make a new grouping out of items from different existing collections.

-Dennis
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Postby FredSmith » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:48 pm

Dennis wrote:@ FredSmith: So do you think LaunchBar's ClipMerge trick is an adequate replacement for Quicksilver's comma trick?


Well I managed to get it working, but I wouldn't call it an adequate replacement, no.

The comma trick is simpler to use (especially since there is a visual clue to tell you that you have files waiting to be copied), as it doesn't require you to remember key patterns, or accessing a separate buffer to make sure that what you're copying is actually what you want to copy.

Remembering to hit Command-C for the first item, then Command-C, Command-C for all subsequent items - took me a while to figure that one out, but it was mentioned in the dialog box for the settings. The downside for me was that because LB doesn't have the notion of an operation context, the context has to be stored in the user's head! Didn't strike me as particularly Mac-like

It does work, though for me, not as well. It is too cumbersome, requiring me to think too much, rather than just getting on and doing it. I hit the Command-C in the wrong place, and the files that I wanted to copy, were appended to the end of a URL I'd copied about an hour before - ouch! Did take me a while and a few repeat steps to work out what I'd done.

I also see how it has the advantage of allowing you to go off and do something else before completing the operation, but I usually finish a copy once I've started, so ....
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Postby Dennis » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:11 pm

FredSmith wrote:The comma trick is simpler to use (especially since there is a visual clue to tell you that you have files waiting to be copied), as it doesn't require you to remember key patterns, or accessing a separate buffer to make sure that what you're copying is actually what you want to copy.


Being able to see what you have in the buffer as you add things is a nice feature in QuickSilver, I'll grant you that. But it's a trade-off since you can't stop in the middle and do something else in the app like you can with LaunchBar's approach. You'll lose your list of buffered items if you do that in Quicksilver.

I also don't get how it's any more difficult to remember Command-C than it is to remember the comma key. In fact, one could argue that Command-C is easier to remember because it's already ingrained in most people's muscle memory. At least it is for me. But learning to copy with one press and append with a double press does require some training.

Another minor benefit to using Command-C (or any key with a modifier) is that the comma can then be used in abbreviation searches. I assume that character is reserved in Quicksilver. Not a big deal, but a nice little benefit.


FredSmith wrote:Remembering to hit Command-C for the first item, then Command-C, Command-C for all subsequent items - took me a while to figure that one out, but it was mentioned in the dialog box for the settings.


Yeah, that's a good point. You need to do a single "C" the first time and double "C" to append additional selections. But I'm already getting used to it. :)

Have you tried holding down the Command key and then hitting only the C key twice? I find that works best for me.


FredSmith wrote:The downside for me was that because LB doesn't have the notion of an operation context, the context has to be stored in the user's head! Didn't strike me as particularly Mac-like


I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean the "verb", as in Quicksilver's "subject -> verb -> object" approach?

FredSmith wrote:It is too cumbersome, requiring me to think too much, rather than just getting on and doing it.


Maybe that's just a matter of being used to Quicksilver's approach and you just need some time to unlearn old habits and adapt to LaunchBar's approach? This phenomena seems particularly important for apps like Quicksilver and LaunchBar that rely heavily on "trained" habits and muscle memory to be really fast and efficient.

FredSmith wrote:I hit the Command-C in the wrong place, and the files that I wanted to copy, were appended to the end of a URL I'd copied about an hour before - ouch! Did take me a while and a few repeat steps to work out what I'd done.


But couldn't you also hit the comma key in the wrong place in Quicksilver and append an undesired item?

I don't recall if an item can be removed from Quicksilver's comma buffer. This is fairly easy in LaunchBar: go to your clipboard history and just delete the undesired item from the grouping.

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