Alfred v2.2 Released: Workflow Organisation and Debugging

Today’s Alfred v2.2 release contains some major improvements to workflows, which will be very enjoyable for both developers and workflow users.

We’ve added new organisation, filtering and copying options for workflows, so that your growing collection is easier to sort through.  A key feature for workflow developers is also the new debugging options to help them create the best workflows possible.

Of course, the list doesn’t end there; v2.2 includes loads of significant improvements to many other areas of Alfred. Fancy reading all of the improvements? The change log contains a detailed list, but we’ve included a few highlights for you below.

Workflow Debugging

The debugging tool is a new addition to help developers create and improve the awe-inspiring collection of workflows they’ve made available to fellow Alfred users.

To access debugging, click the bug icon when editing a workflow; Logs will appear as the workflow is used and information can be filtered to show either all information or only the errors and warnings.

debugger

Categorising and Copying Workflows

As we each start collecting an impressive number of workflows, it becomes increasingly useful to categorise them. In this release, you can use the few default categories or create your own, then classify your workflows into “work”, “productivity”, “music”, etc categories and filter down by category. Click on the triangle in the search field of the Workflows search to get started.

We’ve also made it easier to copy and paste workflow objects from one workflow to another with Cmd + C to copy and Cmd + V to paste. You can also duplicate a whole workflow, if you want to re-use a workflow as a basis to create a new one!

You can update to v2.2 by going to the “Update” tab in Alfred’s Preferences or by downloading Alfred from our website. Have a look at the change log for the full list of improvements and fixes in this release.

Keep in Sync: Using Dropbox with Alfred

Last week, we celebrated Alfred’s 4th birthday by giving away licenses and subscriptions for some of our favourite Macs apps. This month, we are featuring each one, as well as sharing the best Alfred workflows to make the most of them. Today, we’re taking a look at Dropbox.

dropboxOver the past few years, Dropbox has become a fairly ubiquitous service; whether it’s sharing work documents, syncing your 1Password keychain or sending photos to friends, it’s the first port of call.

Dropbox to sync your Alfred settings

You know you’re using a good syncing service when you completely forget about it because it’s working so seamlessly.

If you’re a Powerpack user with more than one Mac, you can sync your settings using Dropbox. This ensures you can use your workflows, snippets and themes on your Macs and take advantage of any customisations you make. Of course, certain settings are specific to each of your Macs, including your main Alfred hotkey, search scope, current active theme – so nobody at work needs to know about the Pikachu-yellow Alfred theme you use at home! ;)

You can set this up in Alfred’s Advanced preferences; Start by setting up your primary Mac, letting your settings sync up to Dropbox. When setting the sync folder on your second Mac, wait until Dropbox has fully updated with the primary Mac’s settings, then choose the same folder and Alfred will begin to use the same preferences file.

Dropbox workflows

File filter to search Dropbox only

If you use Dropbox to store backups of files that are also on your Mac somewhere else, searching can get a little confusing. This is where file filters come in handy.

This file filter workflow took me a few seconds to create; it simply limits your search scope to the ~/Dropbox/ folder, so that the only files returned are those you’ve stored on Dropbox. You can customise it to your needs by adding specific files types (e.g. only PDFs or folders) or choosing a more specific scope (e.g. your Public Dropbox folder only).

Download the File Filter to Search Dropbox Only workflow.

This workflow was created using one of the many templates you can find in Alfred’s Workflows preferences by clicking the + in the bottom left.

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Screenshot & save to Dropbox

This workflow is a very ingenious and handy one by Carlos A. Sztoltz. It allows you to take a screenshot on your Mac and immediately store it in a public Dropbox folder, all while creating a shortened URL and copying it to your clipboard. This is at least as awesome as riding your bike with no hands. While standing on your head. And juggling fire.

It requires a little more setup than the workflow above; you’ll need to type “setupss” to tell the workflow which folder to save screenshots to, and add your bitly or Brb.bz details if you want to use URL shortening.

Once you’re set up, you can use hotkeys or keywords to take a screenshot of your screen, a specific window or a selected area. The screenshot will be saved in the folder you’ve set and a URL copied to your clipboard.

screenshot_dropbox_workflow

You can download the Screenshots 1.1 workflow, and find out more about its features here.

You’ll need the Powerpack to use workflows; You can purchase a license to get started with workflows like this one, and many more great features.

Your Brain at your Fingertips: Using Evernote with Alfred Workflows

Last week, we celebrated Alfred’s 4th birthday by giving away licenses and subscriptions for some of our favourite Macs apps. We’ll be featuring these apps over the coming weeks, as well as sharing the best Alfred workflows to make the most of each one. Today, we’re taking a look at Evernote.

evernoteI’ve always had a brain like a sieve, so I usually write everything down with the assumption that I’ll otherwise forget it. The issue with this system (or lack thereof) is that all of these paper notes, clippings and text files get jumbled up or lost.

The basic idea of Evernote is simple really; Remember everything by putting it into Evernote then forgetting about it. File these ideas into notebooks, tag them, and even find them based on the location you were in when you made the note. Access your account on your Mac, on your phone or on the web. The nifty thing about Evernote is that the more you use it, the more useful it becomes.

Whether it’s a photo of the “10 year warranty” receipt for a frying pan I’ll otherwise lose next week, or a link to a vintage pattern I want to knit, every scribble goes into Evernote for future reference. That Tetris-themed crochet blanket may never happen, but I’ll know where to find my design ideas if it ever does!

Using Evernote with Alfred Workflows

To keep Evernote at your fingertips, Carlos A. Sztoltz has created a fantastic workflow we’ve been using daily alongside Evernote.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the workflow, you can search your Evernote content with the keyword “ens“, which searches all notes fields.

alfred_evernote_workflow_search_crochet

Need to add a note note? You can do this without leaving Alfred, with the keyword “enn“. The syntax even allows you to include details of which notebook you want the note to be filed in, or what tag to attach to it.

alfred_evernote_workflow_new_note

Find all items by tags with “ens #“.

alfred_evernote_workflow_tags

There are many more useful keywords, which you can discover by looking at the handy workflow help notes by typing “en?

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Evernote and this particular workflow can do, so I’d love to hear how you use them.

You’ll need the Powerpack to use workflows; You can purchase a license to get started with workflows like this one, and many more great features.

A Look At More Brilliant Workflows

Since the v2 release, we’ve updated our blog to a simpler, cleaner look. We are also planning on making much better use of it with interviews, feature guides and much more over the coming months – so keep an eye on it for fun Alfred features. :)

Over the past few months, the Alfred community (that’s you!) have created some truly brilliant workflows. We’ve highlighted a few of our favourites before, but here are some more gems we’ve dug up for you.

Workflows are a Powerpack feature, so if you’re not yet a Powerpack user, you can either upgrade your v1 license or buy a new license.

Weather

David Ferguson (jdfwarrior) has been working tirelessly to help users with their own workflows on the forum, but has also created a great Weather workflow which shows you conditions and forecast.

If you’re wondering if it’s BBQ and ice cream weather, check out the Weather workflow.

weather_cambridge

Spotify Workflows

If you listen to Spotify all day, as we do, you’ll love these Spotify workflows.

The original Spotify workflow was created by Jeff Johns (phpfunk) and allows you to control Spotify with a thorough range of keywords. Have a look at the basic commands and download the workflow to get some summer tunes going!

For a different twist on the same theme, Spotifious by Ben Stolovitz also allows you to control Spotify, launching from a hotkey. Find out more and download Spotifious on the forum.

main menu

OmniFocus Workflow

Need to be more efficient with your work tasks? If you’re an OmniFocus fiend, you’ll be able to manage your tasks from Alfred. Surely that means you can leave early and go grab a beer?

Download Marko Kästner’s OF Task Actions workflow

OF-TaskActions

Firefox & Chrome Bookmarks Search

This isn’t a workflow, but a very useful integration worth sharing.

Out of the box, Alfred searches Safari bookmarks, as Chrome and Firefox don’t support Spotlight search by default. However, we really like Brow by Tim Schroeder as an alternative way to get native integration for bookmarks search in these two browsers.

Once you’ve installed Brow, Tim provides a guide to adding your Brow bookmarks to Alfred, so that in a few seconds, you can search your Chrome and Firefox bookmarks within Alfred!

TinyPNG File Resizer

Benzi Ahamed’s TinyPNG resizer filters files on your Mac for .png files, then uses tinypng.org to shrink the file size of the file you selected. Handy way to save time!

Download the TinyPNG file resizer workflow

This is just a little taster; you’ll find many more workflows on the Alfred forum. Once you start creating your own workflows, you’ll also be able to get help from fellow Alfred users if you have any questions.

Alfred v2 Workflows: A Few of Our Favourites So Far

Since v2 was released nearly three weeks ago, some amazing workflows have been created by Alfred users. In this post, we’ll highlight a few of our favourite ones, ranging from simple actions to mindblowingly clever use of scripts and web services.

Don’t hesitate to download and install these workflows to see how they’ve been created, and which objects were used to build them. Soon, we will release a gallery containing these v2 workflows and many more for you to discover and enjoy! :)

You’ll need a Powerpack license to use these workflows. If you’re new to v2, you can buy a Powerpack license or upgrade your v1 license to get started.

AlfredTweet 2

This workflow is a gem by David Ferguson, who recently joined the Alfred team, providing community support to users in our Alfred forum. Tweeting from Alfred feels like you’ve acquired superpowers! You can tweet, follow, DM, block, and even tweet what music you’re currently listening to.

Download the workflow and, once installed, type “alfredtweet” to set up the workflow with your Twitter credentials.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 18.05.51

Amazon Suggest

I use Amazon to buy just about everything we need, so keeping Amazon’s search results at hand makes it even quicker for me to impulse buy choose carefully our next video game or book purchase.

No need to download this workflow, as it’s available in the in-app Workflow examples. You can find the examples on the Workflows tab by clicking on the + button at the bottom of the sidebar.

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Comics

Sneak a peek at your favourite comics directly from Alfred, thanks to Benzi Ahamed. Download the workflow.

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Colors

This workflow by Tyler Eich could save designers a lot of time! Convert CSS colours to various formats, and preview the colours within Alfred. Have a look at Tyler’s post in the Alfred forum to download the workflow.

color

Recent Downloads

View a list of your recent downloads in Alfred and press return to open them. A simple but very handy workflow by Dajun Duan. Download it here.

recent-downloads

Evernote workflow

If you’re a fan of Evernote, as we are, you’ll love this workflow by Carlos-Sz. Search your notes by title or tags, create a new note from a text selection, clipboard content or selected file in Finder, and more. Download it here.

evernote

And for some eye candy… Top Process workflow

I had to include this one as it’s geeky eye candy and makes great use of alternative action modifier keys, which you can see along the lines connecting the objects.

These alternative keys allow you to change the action you get when you hit the return key by holding a modifier key. Download the workflow.

top-processes-small

Give me more!

If we’ve given you a taste for workflows, you’ll find out many more on the Alfred forumIf you’re creating your own workflows, be sure to join the forum and add them to the “Share your workflows” section, so that others can enjoy using them too :)

V2 Beta: A Few Workflows to Get You Started

As promised in the blog post earlier tonight announcing the first Alfred v2 beta, here are a few workflows Mega Supporters can import to get started.

Update: The workflows below have been removed, as these are now built into Alfred. In the Workflows tab, click the + button at the bottom of the workflows list and choose from the Examples menu :)

Google Searches

Search Google with a keyword or a hotkey, and launch in various browsers. This is a great starting point for creating your own alternative searches.

Download this workflow

Open Folders in TextMate

Use the “folders” keyword to perform a filtered search on folders only, then open then automatically with TextMate. Change what file types you search or choose a different “open with” application for a really useful quick filter to your files.

Download this workflow

Paste as Plain Text

Use a hotkey to paste the current contents of your clipboard as plain text.

Download this workflow

Should I watch this movie?

Type “movie” and the name of the movie you want to watch to search for trailers on YouTube (using Chrome – handy if you don’t otherwise have Flash installed on your Mac), open IMDB for more details and open Rotten Tomatoes to find out how bad that movie really is.

Download this workflow

jdfwarrior’s Alfred v2 workflows

If you still want more, check out David’s Tumblr for a few more useful workflows. He has created a Chrome Bookmarks search which presents results in Alfred, a Google Auto-complete workflow, a fantastic-looking Rdio search and a Mail.app search. He’s been working hard!

Looking forward to seeing what users will create over the coming months! :)

Cheers,
Vero

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