Alfred Climbs Aboard the Party Barge
To get in shape for 2020 I have been looking up productivity tools. Since Alfred is a name I see on dozens of lists, I have to ask myself, who is this Alfred chap and what can he do for me?
Turns out, a lot.
The goal of Alfred is to keep apps and task at your fingertips. With the launch bar you can find a file, open or close an app, send a query to a specific search engine or query a certain site. For example, you can open TextSoap or Scrivener by pressing
Alt-Spacebar and typing
scrivener. At this point, Scrivener will open. The same would be true to close Scrivener –
Alt-Spacebar and type
quit scrivener. That alone may not sound like much, but once you do it a couple of times, it's incredibly quick, especially since you don't need to put in the entire app name.
Another big feature is the Web Search. Alfred provides a series of shortcuts to search specific engines or sites for a query term. Using the shortcut bar, you can search Google, Amazon or Youtube directly.
Custom searches can be created for your own sites. In my case, I query for solutions directly against Stackoverflow.com and Katalon.com. It bypasses the steps of opening the browser, entering the address of the site, then entering the search term. It all happens as one action and saves a lot of time and clicking.
The free version offers a lot of speed and functionality gains. But the fun starts when you can hook into Workflows. This is something I am just starting to explore. It's like an Automator tool with Alfred. You can create Actions, Triggers, Hotkeys and kick off several processes all at once.
There are several examples and lots of integration workflows for Slack, Github, Stackoverflow, Amazon and others.
Additionally, if you don't already have a Clipboard manager or Snippets tool, Alfred is ready to help out.
There are all sorts of new possibilities and functionalities here. I can certainly see why Alfred gets a lot of high marks. That, and he's British, with a bowler hat. What's not to love?