Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alternative to Launchy

A while back I spotted a friend of mine using a launchy style application which made me go "Hey whats that?". He pointed me in the direction of enso. Much like launchy it's a capable quick application launcher, with quite a clean interface.

One thing I noticed is that it's noticably faster and more responsive in comparison to Launchy.

I would recommend to get the additional add-on packs:

These are the two main facilities that I use, however some of the other beta products may be useful for other people. Once installed you drive the application using the otherwise useless Caps-Lock button (which I haven't use in years).


Hitting Caps-Lock open (which auto-completes if you hit o) and then let go of Caps-Lock, an enso style launcher opens, with similar features to Launchy. However whats different to other application launchers is that you can perform a number of other commands with don't involve launching.

For example I can minimise the current window by hitting Caps-Lock and typing min which auto-completes to minimise:


The interface is transparent and is shown in the top-left of the screen which is nicely out of the way and looks pretty neat. You can grab text by selecting some text from an application and depending on the command enso will pull the selection and paste it as an argument to the relevant commands, such as the google or google-map commands. So you can select an address by highlighting it, run the google-map command, and it will do a search on the highlighted text, great :)

Given the amount of people in my work-place who now go "Oooh, whats that?" when they see me using enso, I figured I'd share it here. Unfortunately, as some of the plugins are beta, and the product is new there are some issues:

  • If you have some text highlighted, and run an enso command, it will pick it up. So if you didn't mean for this to happen and have an entire files contents selected, enso will take a fair while copying and pasting it as an argument (sometimes causes enso to crash).
  • There are some features which have not been implemented, for example it will only list 10 suggestions if you type something fairly generic and does not allow you to scroll and view more.
  • Clicking outside of the launcher box does not exit the launcher, you need to manually hit esc.

I would still recommend people give this application a go as I have found it very useful!

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