Why do so Many Prefer Alfred over Quicksilver?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sclough, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. sclough macrumors regular

    May 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    I'm just curious if I'm missing something because it seems as if almost everyone has gone over to Alfred. When QS was dying years ago, I also switched to Alfred. I also bought the PowerPack when it first came out. However, not to long after that QS was revived and slowly became stable and quite fast. Around the time Alfred V2 came around, I was back to using QS regularly and it solved many frustrations I had with Alfred. I was just curious if I'm missing something obvious in the way I use Alfred because it seems specifically harder to use on several fronts than QS is.

    Granted Alfred workflows are an impressive feature, but it seems like you now have to search through a lot of random workflows or learn to create your own to add functionality. QS has made finding plugins easy and LaunchBar pretty much includes all it's features. Now it seems like it's even harder to find all Alfred's features because they are spread across numerous workflows developed by many different people with varying levels of programming skill. It's confusing to me how people find this easier than exploring and using QS's features.

    It also seems like with Alfred I'm having to remember dozens of abbreviations to do stuff. With QS or LB I started with what I wanted to act on, whether a file or a contact, etc and then could easily apply an action from a narrow list that applied to that type of object. Because Alfred can't easily handle more than one argument, I'm forced to remember lots of little abbreviations and then find something.

    QS noun-verb-noun structure is easy. LB's noun-noun-verb structure is also easy. Alfred's verb-noun structure seems much harder to learn for me. Alfred ultimately needs an option to combine more than one full search to perform an action to make certain things work well. Essentially only having one set of search results to work with is a major limitation for power users, especially ones like me that move around files, rename them, create folders, etc frequently.

    Applying an action to a file in Alfred is also clumsy and feels like it was patched on. For example, when you do a copy or a move there is no option to navigate folders. You can just type a name and then hopefully it will come up. There are many times I need to navigate a little to put a file exactly where I want it. This is easy in QS and LB, but clumsy in Alfred because you get limited functionality once you select an action. File browsing in general also seems clumsy because it puts you in a completely different interface.

    While Alfred's use of spotlight makes sense in one way, I've actually found that QS's (and LB's) ability to set specific catalogs for searches actually is far more helpful. Because you can't hide folders from Alfred without hiding them from Spotlight, which sometimes isn't an option, there is always more results to sort through on Alfred. While it gets better at learning what you want, it's not as specific and efficient as being able to set the catalog. Not a huge issue, but QS's awesome "comma trick" feels easy and natural on QS but the equivalent function feels awkward on Alfred.

    I realize it may seem like I'm being down on Alfred, but I'm not. The developer is great and I love the attention he's given to specific details and to performance. Things like theming are incredible and the workflow functionality is amazing even if it seems to end up making Alfred require a little more on the front end to get it going than QS. It's an amazing app, I'm just surprised so many people prefer it over QS when it seems that many things that are easy to do and easy to discover are harder to do and much harder to discover in Alfred. However, I'm curious. Am I missing something obvious here?
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I personally gave up on Alfred because I think Spotlight is good enough. I was basically doing the same thing with it, and it was a workflow that didn't benefit to me. Even better now that we have tagging back in Mavericks. I use it on everything.
  3. blndcat macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    Good Enough factor

    I started out using QS, and it was good enough until development went into limbo. When bugs didn't get fixed and incompatibilities with newer OS versions occurred I searched for an alternative and switched to Alfred (via Google Quick-something-or-other). And now it is good enough.

    99% of the time I use Alfred it is to launch an application. Same with how I used QS. I prefer Alfred's UI compared to spotlight. All the technical differences you talk about don't really affect me, noun-noun-verb? noun-verb-noun? er... :rolleyes:

    I think you're over-estimating the number of power-users out there and under-estimating the pain-in-the-butt factor of searching out and trying out apps. (under real world use)

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