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Alfred turns 3 years old today – and v2 is just around the corner!

Happy birthday Alfred
Get the balloons, the cake and the candles out – it’s Alfred’s third birthday today!

Some days, it feels like Alfred’s been around forever; When your muscle memory kicks in to try to Cmd + Space even on someone else’s computer. Other days, it seems it was only yesterday we launched the first v.0.4 beta.

Three years from launch, Alfred v2 is just around the corner. We are currently polishing and adding final touches to your new and significantly improved personal butler. It’s with great excitement that we can say we are now hoping to have Alfred v2 in your hands within 3 weeks from today! :)

Don’t forget that if you buy the Powerpack now, you miss the queues and get a free v2 upgrade. Existing single license users can upgrade to a Mega Supporter, with other upgrade types coming soon.

If you are a Mega Supporter (or you upgrade now), you can help test the v2 beta to get an early look at the amazing new v2 features!

Thank you to all our v2 beta testers, and to everyone who has adopted Alfred since 2010!

Welcoming David Ferguson (jdfwarrior) to our team!

As many of you know, the v2 beta is in full swing. Many Mega Supporters have already started creating their own workflows, tinkering with new appearance themes and enjoying the new features.

Needless to say, all this enthusiasm leads to lots of questions, suggestions and ideas, so we’ve roped in the help of long-time friend of Alfred and amazing extension/workflow developer David Ferguson. Also known as jdfwarrior, David was one of the earliest and keenest extension developers, and has since become an authority on developing extensions and workflows. You’ll find some of his v1 extensions and early v2 workflows on his Tumblr.

He joins the team to help us manage the buzzing forum and give a hand to developers who are creating their own workflows. Those who have joined our forum (currently Mega Supporters-only membership until the v2 general release) will have seen how helpful he is already, but for those who don’t know David yet, you’ll most likely come across him in the Alfred forum over the coming months.

It’s also worth noting that David helps us in his spare time, evenings and weekends, so please be patient when asking questions on the forum.

Join us in welcoming David to the team! :)

V2 Sneak Peek: Advanced Workflows for Rdio, Twitter and Chrome

As we prepare for the imminent first v2 beta release, a few close friends of Alfred have been helping test during the early stages and have started creating workflows. One of them is David Ferguson, a proficient extension developer since Alfred’s early days.

Love Rdio? You’ll be blown away by the way David has integrated it. Prefer to use Chrome as your everyday browser? You’ll now be able to get to your bookmarks easily. He will also be updating his highly popular AlfredTweet extension for v2.

We can’t wait to see these first workflows take shape, and look forward to the ones you’ll create.

Rdio workflow

Rdio workflow in action in v2

Rdio workflow in action in v2


Chrome Bookmarks

Chrome bookmarks found in Alfred v2

Chrome bookmarks found in Alfred v2


AlfredTweet

It’s great to see the workflow canvas put to good use; here is part of the workflow for the much-anticipated AlfredTweet update.

AlfredTweet Workflow in v2

AlfredTweet Workflow in v2


Exciting stuff, isn’t it?

Cheers,
Vero

V2 Sneak Peek: Attention to Detail

One of the joys of writing a new version from scratch is the ability to improve and re-think many of the small imperfections from the previous version. You’ll find that v2 is full of clever little touches that will make your experience more pleasant.

Andrew took great pleasure in improving this particular aspect of the user experience; Users with external screens would occasionally find that Alfred was confused about where to appear on screen after disconnecting from the second screen. The preferences for v2 resolve that, as you can position Alfred’s window on your screen and, regardless of your resolution, he’ll remember it next time.

v2 Appearance: Set Alfred's relative position (Click for full preference view)

v2 Appearance: Set Alfred’s relative position (Click for full preference view)


This is one of the many areas that have received attention and polish to make using Alfred as pleasant and easy as possible. You can look forward to discovering the rest for yourself during the beta!

V2 Sneak Peek: Theming

In v2, you’ll be able to theme Alfred to match your desktop or your mood. The theme editor has been overhauled completely so not only will you now be able to change colours, but also fonts, sizes, width and height of Alfred’s window, and even the roundness of corners.

v2 Default Theme: Standard sizes & fonts

v2 Default Theme: Standard sizes & fonts

 

v2 Tiny Theme: Squarer corners, small Menlo font, thinner window and Terminal colours

v2 Tiny Theme: Squarer corners, small Menlo font and Terminal colours

 

v2 Avatar theme: Large Papyrus font, wide window, rounded corners and blue colour scheme.

v2 Avatar theme: Large Papyrus font, wide window, rounded corners and blue colour scheme.

We’re still on track for a first beta release to Mega Supporters in the first half of January, so keep your eyes peeled! If you currently have a v1 single user license and want to take part in the beta, you can upgrade your license to a Mega Supporter to join the fun!

V2 Sneak Peek: Refining the Preferences

One of the big benefits of doing a major release and, in fact, a thorough rewrite of Alfred is that it has allowed us to rethink many of the basic aspects of the software. In version 2, a great example of this is the reorganisation of the Features preferences.

Finding features more easily

As v1 grew organically over three years, with features added over time, we’d often get users asking “Where can I find feature option x?”, even though the feature options were there. Let’s face it, the features preferences had become a bit messy.

With a clear view of what v2 would contain, Andrew was able to restructure the preferences to make the grouping much more logical and approachable for a new user, while keeping the advanced preferences that suit many of Alfred’s current users. One of the many examples of this reorganisation is visible in how web and custom searches are now merged together.

Web searches and Custom searches

V2 Preferences reorganised

Previously, the web searches and custom searches were split between two tabs. They essentially serve the same purpose; launch a search with a keyword and open your most used websites, with or without a query.

They’re now consolidated into a single tab which can be both searched and filtered. You can hide the default web searches you’ve disabled or type to find the searches you’re interested in.

Every preference pane is receiving the same careful love and attention to ensure that using v2 is as natural to use as possible.

Time to relax and have a mince pie

Over Christmas, we’ll be spending less time online and more with family and friends. This means that it may take us a little longer than usual to respond to your tweets and emails – but we’ll keep an eye out for any urgent emails, of course!

2012 has been a brilliant year, and 2013 promises to be even more exciting. Have a great Christmas, take a break so that we can all start the new year with renewed energy!

Cheers,
Vero

V2 Sneak Peek: Workflows

Alfred is now almost 3 years old and has been built from the top down, with many wonderful new features being added throughout his life. Over time, it has been getting harder and harder to keep Alfred’s preferences usable and approachable for new users.

Around a year ago, I decided it was time for some big changes… and by big changes, I mean, rethinking Alfred’s architecture from the ground up with a brand new foundation, on top of which all of his features are built – I started to plan Workflows.

Workflows are process containers of interconnected processing objects (haha I just made that up, sounds posh eh?). Put simply, you have triggers, inputs, actions and outputs, which can be mashed together into really useful stuff.

There are loads of great built-in objects, so non-technical users can simply pop these objects onto the canvas, connect them together and use their workflow. Not a line of code in sight.

Even better? Developers can create their own custom objects to process information in any way they like, including live filters feeding directly back into Alfred’s results.

Now for some simple examples of the sort of workflows you’ll be able to create:

Should I watch this movie?

Alfred v2 Workflow - Movies

Alfred v2 Workflow – Should I watch this movie?

Movies weren’t created equal, so before I start watching a movie, I can search for “movie dark knight rises” to decide whether or not I should watch it. This will launch a YouTube search for the trailer in Chrome (because I don’t have Flash installed in Safari), an IMDB search using a default web search, and a Rotten Tomatoes custom search I’ve created.

Upload to Flickr

Alfred v2 workflow - Upload image to Flickr

Alfred v2 workflow – Upload image to Flickr

Using the “flickr” filter narrows the Alfred results to only image files. Once I’ve found the image I want, the workflow uploads it to Flickr using the script I’ve added. It notifies me when the upload starts, and again when the upload has completed. No need to refresh the Flickr page repeatedly to check if it’s done, Alfred will let you know!

Google Searches

Alfred v2 Workflow - Google Searches

Alfred v2 Workflow – Google Searches

This one has a few ways to start the search, using both hotkeys and keywords.

Using the keyword “suggest” feeds Google Suggest results back into Alfred using a script filter – This is a new and extremely powerful v2 feature, allowing developers to feed results dynamically back into Alfred. Once I’ve found the result I want, hitting return will search Google. And just because I can, it’ll also post a notification to Growl and copy the suggestion to Clipboard.

Alternatively, I can launch a Google web search using the “g” keyword. Holding the Cmd modifier when hitting return, or using the Cmd + Alt + G hotkey opens the web search in Chrome instead.

These are just a few examples of what can be created with the new Workflows, and they barely scratch the surface of what you’ll be able to do with them.

What next?

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a few more sneak peeks like this to share some of the v2 features.

If you want to take part in the v2 beta in January, you can upgrade your v1 single user license to Mega Supporter or buy a new Mega Supporter license today.