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Integrate SoulverCore into Alfred


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Hi all,

 

I saw this tweet from Soulver demonstrating the power of SoulverCore in another launcher app. Soulver is a natural language calculator that offers powerful features and by integrating SoulverCore into Alfred, we can access those features simply by invoking Alfred.

 

Rationale

 

Users' perspective

 

I am aware that Soulver offers a Alfred Workflow on its website, but you need both Alfred Powerpack *and* a Soulver license to access Soulver inside Alfred. While I frequently need to perform single-line Soulver calculations, I rarely need a full-fledged Soulver editor. I bought Soulver for iOS to perform daily single-line calculations but after trying the 30-day trial of the Mac app, I decided I couldn't justify the price for my light usage.

 

Alfred's perspective

 

While there're user-built workflows that cover many functionalities Soulver offers, I think it would make Alfred much more appealing if it could harness the power of Soulver's complete package of NLP calculations so that all Alfred (Powerpack) users can have a unified experience rather than looking for individual workflows. I have no idea how trivial / hard it is to integrate SoulverCore, so maybe include it in the Powerpack.

 

I hope you would consider this feature request. I finally purchased a Powerpack Mega Supporter license recently and feel so much more productive XD

Edited by xurc
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30 minutes ago, deanishe said:

 

SoulverCore could probably be built into a workflow if someone were interested enough to do it.

 

 

Hmm, it didn't even occur to me that this could be possible, I automatically assumed this could only be implemented by Alfred dev(s). Although IMHO there's still an incentive for Alfred to consider integrating SoulverCore, which is for all Alfred (Powerpack) users to have access to those powerful features out of the box.

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38 minutes ago, xurc said:

which is for all Alfred (Powerpack) users to have access to those powerful features out of the box.

 

True, but the downside is that it would make Alfred dependent on a binary library that @Andrew (Alfred's developer) has zero control over.

 

When adding a built-in feature, the Alfred team are basically committing to supporting it forever (because users can get really annoyed if their favourite feature disappears or stops working). That isn't a promise they can realistically make with a binary library because they can't fix any problems with it. If SoulverCore stops working on some future version of macOS, then it's game over.

 

For that reason, I think it's very unlikely that the team would consider including it with Alfred.

 

I’d recommend posting about SoulverCore in the Workflow Help & Questions forum to see if anyone is interested in building or helping you build a workflow for it.

 

It's the kind of thing workflow developers love to build workflows around: a powerful library that just needs wrapping to take input from and send output to Alfred.

Edited by deanishe
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23 minutes ago, deanishe said:

True, but the downside is that it would make Alfred dependent on a binary library that @Andrew (Alfred's developer) has zero control over.

 

I see, that is indeed a valid point I didn't consider. Although I consider Soulver rather reliable because the product has been around since January 2007, if that makes the decision less risky.

 

35 minutes ago, deanishe said:

I’d recommend posting about SoulverCore in the Workflow Help & Questions forum to see if anyone is interested in building or helping you build a workflow for it.

 

Thank you for your guidance, I can only build simple workflows right now and can't take on this project by myself. I'll post in the subforum for help. It feels good to join this vibrant community :)

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6 minutes ago, xurc said:

Although I consider Soulver rather reliable because the product has been around since January 2007, if that makes the decision less risky.

 

It has (and I think I've been using it almost that long), but SoulverCore is only a few months old.

 

Giving away the core library that powers your (paid) application is a very unusual move. Given the high price of Soulver 3, it seems they're focussing on hardcore users, but I could still see the availability of SoulverCore for free hurting their sales, with simpler, cheaper implementations covering many users' needs.

 

At this point, I'd call it a business experiment and wouldn't be surprised if they removed SoulverCore or started charging for it at some point.

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1 hour ago, deanishe said:

Giving away the core library that powers your (paid) application is a very unusual move.

 

1 hour ago, deanishe said:

At this point, I'd call it a business experiment and wouldn't be surprised if they removed SoulverCore or started charging for it at some point.

 

Thank you for the perspective, I admittedly didn't evaluate SoulverCore from a business POV.

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6 hours ago, deanishe said:

but I could still see the availability of SoulverCore for free hurting their sales, with simpler, cheaper implementations covering many users' needs.

 

You’re free to build those simpler implementations, but not to sell or give them away:

 

Quote

You may use SoulverCore in personal/private projects. Please email us if you wish to use SoulverCore in a publicly available or commercial project.

 

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Just now, deanishe said:

Right. So they are charging for it.

 

Not necessarily. If you’re making an open-source project that would benefit from the integrations but wouldn’t be a competitor, they may give it a free pass as long as it obeys certain rules.

 

Presumably they’re asking to be contacted so they can tailor the price and conditions to the asker.

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7 minutes ago, vitor said:

You may use SoulverCore in personal/private projects. Please email us if you wish to use SoulverCore in a publicly available or commercial project.

 

What are the implications to the Alfred workflow community? Does that mean anyone can built a workflow using SoulverCore, but public distribution is disallowed?

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On 9/13/2020 at 12:26 AM, vitor said:

Yes. Unless they authorise said distribution.

 

Ah, that's a bit of a bummer to me but thanks for the explanation :) I might end up purchasing Soulver even if I'll mostly use it inside Alfred.

Edited by xurc
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