Launchbar vs. Quicksilver

General discussions about LaunchBar
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Launchbar vs. Quicksilver

Post by Guest » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:51 pm

I started this thread over at the MacRumors site. Maybe people here (MR is pretty QS biased) could shed some light on LB's capabilities.. Or is comparing LB to QS like apples to oranges? Thanks!


Blog Started to compare the two

Post by Guest » Tue May 29, 2007 1:11 am

I go back and forth myself...


Re: Launchbar vs. Quicksilver

Post by Guest » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:19 pm

Anonymous wrote:Maybe people here (MR is pretty QS biased) could shed some light on LB's capabilities.. Or is comparing LB to QS like apples to oranges? Thanks!

The biggest single feature in LaunchBar's favor is (IMHO) usability. I've tried Quicksilver at least a dozen times and I just can't wrap my head around it. Certain advertised features just don't work, or don't work well. LaunchBar, OTOH, "just works". And it works well right out of the box without a lot of configuration. It might be missing a feature or two compared to Quicksilver, but the features that are there are *rock solid*. In my opinion the reason is paid vs. free software. I would rather pay a reasonable price for software that works well than bang my head against the wall trying to get a free piece of software to work properly. Also, in general, I have found LaunchBar to be "smarter" at knowing what I want to do. LaunchBar doesn't have Quicksilver's ranked command list. Instead, there is a limited list of commands that are available for any selected item; and those commands are the ones that are most likely to be used anyway.

I've seen the LaunchBar vs. Quicksilver blog before; there's some good stuff pointing out the differences in greater detail than I have.

I might add that I use Butler, too; but not its keyboard launch abilities (which are OK but pale in comparison to both LaunchBar and Quicksilver). Instead I use it to throw up an array of menus on the Mac's menu bar: "Apps", "Clips", "Home", "Prefs", etc. I've found Butler to be the best at this sort of thing by far. Sometimes I want to search through a list of Games (for example) when I don't recall the exact name of the application I want to launch. This LaunchBar/Butler combo seems to work very well for me, and offers a lot of flexibility to use either the keyboard or the mouse.


Re: Launchbar vs. Quicksilver

Post by Guest » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:26 pm

Anonymous wrote:The biggest single feature in LaunchBar's favor is (IMHO) usability.

Oh, when wrote the above, I forgot to add that LaunchBar is much faster than Quicksilver. There is no lag at all in the dropdown lists.


the key missing feature

Post by broz » Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:25 pm

The key missing feature in LaunchBar is hotkeys. There is no way to hit a single key to launch a frequently used application. I use iTerm, BBEdit, Safari, Entourage and Path Finder all the time. I need to switch between them all the time.
I use the f1 key to get to iTerm, f2 for Entourage, etc. Simple, fast, and no fuss. I have to use a separate application to do this, in my case, Drag Thing.
I don't know why LaunchBar has never added this feature. With LB, I have to type several keystrokes, watch the screen to make sure I chose the right app, and THEN my app comes to the front. Do this all day, every day, and it's a nuisance.
Butler and QS have the hotkey feature. LB does not.

That said, I use LB because I have found it far more stable than QS or Butler. I value stability over feature glut any day.


Not sure I agree

Post by Guest » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:37 pm

I'm not sure I agree. In my view, one of the biggest selling points of an "adaptive abbreviation search algorithm" app like LaunchBar is that I don't have to try to remember a dizzying array of key combinations. I only have to remember one (command-space). From there I can quickly pull up anything I want, as long as I know its name.

This may take a few extra key strokes (command-space, type "B" for BBEdit and hold it) but it's not a problem for me. I also use the Finder's Command-Tab for switching between open applications (or you can use LaunchBar too).

Between BBEdit, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and my other favorite apps, I've already got enough key combinations swimming around in my brain. :)

Of course, use what works for you. And I certainly wouldn't turn down such capabilities if Ob Dev decided to add it to LaunchBar. But it just seems like a fairly low priority to me.

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Re: Not sure I agree

Post by sjk » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:23 pm

Anonymous wrote:But it just seems like a fairly low priority to me.

Maybe you mean, "low priority for me"? That's how the priority of this is for me anyway. :)

I use Fn keys for jumping between nonadjacent virtual "desktops" in VirtueDesktops, which may change after migrating to Spaces in Leopard (since VD is no longer developed). Using other shortcuts for global app launching has too much possibility of conflict with their per-app usage.

I can imagine using a function (or other?) key as a prefix followed by some other key to launch apps, e.g. F13-s (Launch Safari), similar to using prefix keys (e.g. Control-x) in Emacs. But I'm not (re)launching apps so frequently that it's something I've ever been compelled to do.

The more apps you install increases the frustrations of trying to sanely manage all their keyboard shortcuts. I definitely agree with the last paragraph of John Gruber's nearly four-year-old Losers, Weepers article about keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately Apple shows no sign of properly addressing this problem. The Keyboard Shortcuts preferences are a woefully inadequate short-term bandage, not a long-term solution.


Re: Not sure I agree

Post by Guest » Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:05 am

sjk wrote:
Anonymous wrote:But it just seems like a fairly low priority to me.

Maybe you mean, "low priority for me"? That's how the priority of this is for me anyway. :)

No, I meant this:

To me, this feature request seems like a low priority.

In other words, I don't think this feature is that useful and ObDev should put it somewhere at the bottom of their list of possible new feature work.

Semantics? Maybe we're really saying the same thing. :)


lb and butler ...

Post by g » Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:26 pm

My experience parallels the LB/Butler comment. LaunchBar works faster, with less configuration and fewer bugs than the other options. Worth the money because it's constantly in use.

Butler works well with LaunchBar if you remove overlapping functions and use it to create an OpenBox-style menu. Best of both worlds (keyboard, mouse).

I also really appreciate the fact that LaunchBar still supports 10.2.8. One more reason why I don't hesitate to recommend it to other users.


Post by rdn » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:59 am

On my machine, Launchbar is so much faster than Quicksilver... I had moved to Quicksilver for a while - to try some of the rich features -- but keep coming back to Launchbar because it's fast...

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Post by tfadams » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:22 am

The one thing I use A LOT in QS is typing the period ( . ) to bring up a blank text field. From there I can type in text and send it anywhere. Great for quick capturing of thoughts or Next Actions a'la GTD. If I could do that as easily in LB I would probably leave QS.

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Post by FredB » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:52 am

The period is used to call Open Location in LB.
You can do the same by calling the "Enter Text" search template.
You should find it by typing ET or something. I call it with E only.

After you typed the text, you can do what you want with it.

I encourage you to read the help entirely, there are lot of tricks to learn.
This topic is in the "Text Items" page.


Post by Guest » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:46 am

just started using LB and LOVE this app. Used Quicksilver for awhile and liked it, but it would periodically crash but I wouldn’t know it until I tried to do something and my computer just sat there.

Then one day, QS stopped indexing my address book contacts, just gone, nothing I did would restore it. That’s when I started looking for an alternative.

I can do with text what I did in QS. And I'll be the first to admit I didn’t explore all of QS’s capabilities so maybe it could do this, but I LOVE the search templates in LB. I used to use iSeek for a lot of searches, but hated to have to go to the mouse to do it. Now for most of those, I'm about 1 second away (I'm a quick typer) from initiating exactly the search I want.

and the way it learns my searches? Awesome. The predictive algorithm is amazingly accurate and when it’s off, it ain’t off by much and a one time selection and it ‘learns’.

To me LB is more stable, just as fast if not faster, and actively developed and documented. It has a (for me) far more understandable UI and it’s just easier to work with and get my head around. I’m not putting QS down, but for what I need LB does everything QS did and, it seems, more.

perhaps the biggest compliment I can give LB, or any app, is that I look forward to using it.

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