Hi, I'm Hwee-Boon Yar

I write, ship and sell software products. iOS/OS X app developer based in Singapore, working remotely. This is my blog.


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A tweet I posted in in 2011

I have been using app launchers for a few years. The screenshot was a tweet I posted back in 2011 about my Alfred usage. Current stat (as of 2016 Jan 7): 276,659 times. Average 271.8 times per day.

Alfred, Spotlight and a few others provides a way to quickly launch apps and provides access to functionality such as desktop search or controlling of other apps. Advanced functionality such as workflows are powerful and is only limited by your imagination (I have written one that was well-received). What I have noticed after a few years of using launchers though, is that I still use them primarily for their original purpose: launching apps. I realize that no matter how fast Alfred (or any other great launcher) is, it takes at least 3 keystrokes — a hotkey combination to launch Alfred, type a letter (sometimes 1 or 2 more) to show the list of suggestions, and if the app you want to launch is at the top of the list, hit enter — to launch an app.

This is perfectly fine for most people. But being a heavy keyboard user, I would like to optimize that further. Hit a hotkey (preferably a single key such as F12) to display the utility.

Then hit another key (e.g. f for Finder) to launch an app. There are fewer number of keys involved and is totally predictable so you get used to it quickly.

Notice in the screenshot above that Alfred is in the list with the shortcut a, so anytime I want to use a workflow or other Alfred features, I hit F12 followed by a to bring it up.

I spent some time building this, then using it for several months in 2015. Last week, I polished it up, named it, and bumped it to 1.0. If you use Alfred, you will find that there are certain aspects of the UI that might remind you of it (such as the usage graph). This is Alfred-inspired. I avoid using the trackpad/mouse as much as I can and type a lot for my work. This isn't a utility for everyone. But if you are like me, perhaps you'll find Commander Ling a useful addition to your OS X toolbox.

Feel free to send suggestions, feedback, or bug reports.

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