Spotlight has let me down for quite some time now, giving me non-relevant results, prioritising them in the wrong order, and just caused many mistaken app launches. Last week, I went out looking for a solution.
My opinion of Alfred has changed dramatically once I purchased the powerpack and started tweaking the layout and setting up workflows. This app, with the proper configuration, goes way beyond Spotlight - especially for developers.
The Powerpack provides you with two essential features (among others):
I think these two features show the true power of Alfred. They are supported by an online repository named Packal, providing you with many pre-built workflows and themes.
Often, developers share their Alfred workflows and gather them in Github repositories for others to find them. As a Laravel developer, I picked the workflows relevant to me. As for the theme, I found one that looks even better than Spotlight itself. So, without further ado, here they are!
Really useful for any developer using Github. This allows you to browse your Github repositories by prefixing your search command with a simple "gh".
Mac users should use this package manager. It even allows you to install Alfred! This workflow allows you to install, update, and remove packages. And a lot more!
Every PHP bit of documentation, right under your fingertips. Simply type "php" followed by the command you're looking for.
Like PHP Docs, but for the Laravel documentation. "ld cache" will instantly look for Cache in the docs.
When you're using PHPstorm, this can be really useful. Opens PHPstorm projects by simply typing "phpstorm <project>".
Tired of doing color format conversions in Google? Type a color in a random format, like #B1BB1C and this workflow will present 10 alternatives.
Tip: follow the installation instructions closely to work around the security prompts.
Lost for words? Not being a native English speaker, I am sometimes unhappy about some word or formulation. A thesaurus usually helps me out.
It took quite a while to find the right theme. Many come with oversized fonts, something I don't really like. Some are really pretty, like the glass-themed ones, but aren't really legible.
I ended up with Total Clean. It has a good font size, a nice, thin looking font, adopts the system colours and has a good contrast.
With this new setup, I am looking forward to improve my new found productivity. Use the keyboard, avoid the mouse - that's the order of things. You might want to give Alfred a try as well. You can download it for free, but the really powerful stuff comes with a price. I think it's well worth it, though.