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Alfred 4.5 Beta: Take a first look at Universal Actions


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Ok, some more testing, here are some remarks (mainly GUI things):

 

Open with... :

  • I feel it's strange that the preview of the file (right side of the UI + Top left icon) is slow to appear while it is instant when calling with the standard Universal Action shortcut. It seems the preview wait until the applications icons are done appearing instead of being the first one. Not so much of a problem, but the popup feel more sluggish because of that.

Recent document... :

  • The list appears correctly, but the preview on the right as nothing, like if nothing is selected even if the first item is. When we change file with a down arrow this is fixed
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3 minutes ago, GuiB said:

The list appears correctly, but the preview on the right as nothing, like if nothing is selected even if the first item is. When we change file with a down arrow this is fixed

 

This is already fixed in the next build :) 

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1 minute ago, Andrew said:

@GuiB no need to come up with ideas and solutions for this particular use case, Universal Actions will continue to evolve beyond what you're suggesting :)

Perfect then! :)

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12 minutes ago, GuiB said:

It seems the preview wait until the applications icons are done appearing instead of being the first one.

 

Hm very strange, I can't see this delay... I'll add a note to investigate, thanks :)

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18 minutes ago, Andrew said:

Hm very strange, I can't see this delay... I'll add a note to investigate, thanks

Here is a screencast to show you my delay: https://d.pr/v/8di05t

 

I know I have too much applications installed on my computer (I need to do a big cleanup). This should be the cause of this delay, but I thought the preview of the selected file would be the first to appear

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@GuiB thanks for the video.

 

I've just put b1245 out which should fix the preview not appearing until you arrow down issue, let me know.

 

Again, thanks for your direct help with testing this, it's invaluable!

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5 minutes ago, Andrew said:

I've just put b1245 out which should fix the preview not appearing until you arrow down issue, let me know.

Yep, fixed on my side with that build

 

6 minutes ago, Andrew said:

Again, thanks for your direct help with testing this, it's invaluable!

Happy to help! I don't always have a lot of time, but I like playing with Alfred between rushes of hard work and I finished some long ones not many days ago :)

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Thanks a ton, @Andrew! I've been using the "Jump To" option for a few different things all morning, and it works great. This is fantastic.

 

Though, I'm with @GuiB, in that I'd love to have the ability to directly call other Universal Actions (i.e., true user created universal actions and even selecting from custom web searches would be nice). But I'm loving the current iteration anyway!!


Although this issue is not specific to the "Jump To" feature, one thing to think about down the road - which has come up in the past with regard to Alfred's Navigation/Browse GUI - is to consider providing users with more controls over its appearance (or if you wanted to go crazy, theme-like controls). As it pertains to universal actions, I find the text at the bottom of the window - which indicates what the universal action is doing - to be very difficult to see and almost illegible for user created universal actions due to the length of the text. While it might not be a big deal when entering a universal action through the usual menu, when entered directly from a shortcut - such as when the "Jump To" option is being used, and you're effectively skipping straight to the second step - it can be a little discombobulating. Requiring users to rely solely on that tiny little text at the bottom of the screen to remember, for example, that they're in the "Open With..." action, is going to be tough for new users and people with tons of shortcuts, etc.

 

example.jpg.d14cb5e3a2d25d8bccb3e872a641ee37.jpg

 

There are a lot of different ways you could do it, but I think the name and iconography of the universal action should be visible during the second step (which only applies to actions with two steps - e.g., open with, move to, copy to, etc.). For example, on the second step, any of the following would work: (A) put the action's name and icon (exactly how the user would see it from the first step) at the top where the file names remain listed or add it below them, (B) place them somewhere on the preview/right-side of the panel, which is mostly open space anyways unless they selected tons of things, or (3) millions of other options. I've illustrated part of option A for you below, but there are tons of other ways you could accomplish the same thing.

 

1764850703_mockupw_text.png.929a7251a68c815b36c2f8cb1d3485f8.png

 

In any case, it's a relatively minor thing.

 

I'm loving the new additions to 4.5!! Thanks again, @Andrew! You rock!! 

Edited by Jasondm007
Attached Wrong Picture 🤦‍♂️️
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7 minutes ago, Andrew said:

@Jasondm007 I actually have some pretty hefty plans for Universal Actions - I sneaked the Jump To feature in at the last moment for 4.5, so for now, it's going to be basic for the majority case of default actions... I can't wait to share some future bits :D

 

I figured you had some things up your sleeves, @Andrew! Thanks for sneaking the "Jump To" feature in at the last minute. Can't wait to see what's next!!

 

dastardly.gif.672ca93114360ea92d7795a10347c012.gif

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2 hours ago, Andrew said:

@Jasondm007 I actually have some pretty hefty plans for Universal Actions - I sneaked the Jump To feature in at the last moment for 4.5, so for now, it's going to be basic for the majority case of default actions... I can't wait to share some future bits

So, when is the 4.6 release date?? :D

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@Andrew , just found another bug...

 

I don't remember seeing this before, but in build 1245 I'm getting double key input entries when there's no match in the Universal Action list. I mean, for example with a file action, if I input "open" then it's ok, but if I type a key that doesn't match an item then the keystroke gets doubled (ex: "open e" returns "open ee")

 

Here is a screencast to show you: https://d.pr/v/XwWNMN

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I don’t know if this is intentional but if you’re using Ulysses and focused on a sheet (in the list) the Universal Action returns and lets you act on the sheet’s URL. Which is freaking awesome b/c it’s a bunch of keystrokes or option-right-click otherwise.

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6 hours ago, GuiB said:

I don't remember seeing this before, but in build 1245 I'm getting double key input entries when there's no match in the Universal Action list.

 

Ah sorry about this, at the same time of adding in the Jump To, I changed the footer logic and forgot one place which manifests itself as you describe. I'll get this fixed shortly.

 

(note: this is why I'm usually quite wary of rushing in last minute features, as it can introduce unforeseen issues. I'm glad I added the Jump To though, as I'm already using it all the time!)

 

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Two things:

 

1. What's "Jump To"? Sounds like I'm missing out on something good.

 

2. What are the planned semantics for handling an item that provides multiple action values of different types? Currently, Alfred only shows Universal Actions that can handle all the values. I wonder if it might be better to have Alfred show Actions that accept any of the types, then only pass those types to that Action?

 

For example, when I use my Plex/Jellyfin workflow, each result has a URL (its page in Plex/Jellyfin), text (its title or IMDb ID etc.) and also a path (the file/folder on disk). I would want each of these to be actionable individually (i.e. open URL, reveal file in Finder, use title in Alfred). Currently, Alfred treats them as a single monolithic payload and only shows Actions that can handle multiple arguments and all present types.

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5 hours ago, Andrew said:

@GuiB b1246 should fix this, thanks again

Yes, fixed on my side with this build!

 

1 hour ago, deanishe said:

1. What's "Jump To"? Sounds like I'm missing out on something good.

Look inside the "Action in Alfred" workflow object, there's now a "Jump to" section. This is used to directly "jump to" a specific action that has a second panel (ex: Open with..., Copy/Move to..., Open URL in...).

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On 7/14/2021 at 2:26 PM, Andrew said:

 

I actually already have a ticket for the Action in Alfred workflow action to pre-select an action, but I ran out of time in 4.5. This will be in Alfred in the future though, then you'll be able to connect a hotkey to it :)

Awesome. Thanks

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@kagi, I don't know if you've read all the posts above, but @Andrew added the possibility to pop the "open with" action directly with the latest beta update (called "Jump to" in the "Action in Alfred" workflow object). So, if you want to use it right away you can do it!

 

Here is an updated version of my workflow I gave you, but with this new feature: https://d.pr/f/Qb4Pn2

Edited by GuiB
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Jump To Open With would my new favourite feature if Alfred opened files the normal way.

 

@Andrew Which application was it again that caused you to make Alfred open files individually, instead of all at once? Can you check if it's still causing problems? The way Alfred does it doesn't work or works poorly with several apps.

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2 hours ago, deanishe said:

Which application was it again that caused you to make Alfred open files individually, instead of all at once? Can you check if it's still causing problems?

Hmm, I didn't know Alfred was opening files individually instead of sending everything together... I thought that it was the default behaviour for the applications I was using to open the files in different windows, but now I see they group them in different tabs in the same window if I do it from the terminal which I would prefer.

 

I would also be interested in knowing which applications were causing problems and perhaps the normal way could be set as the default one and since that we can add Action Modifier for the Universal Action workflow object, maybe a modifier (ex: alt) could be used now to switch the open action to open the files one by one?

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On 7/16/2021 at 1:17 PM, deanishe said:

What are the planned semantics for handling an item that provides multiple action values of different types?

 

In the future, there will be significantly more control over which actions show for the context. I need to be completely happy with how it's working after 4.5 is released before adding more control.

 

2 hours ago, deanishe said:

Which application was it again that caused you to make Alfred open files individually, instead of all at once?

 

You know, I can't actually remember - I'll add a note to look into this, as it's reasonably trivial to alter this behaviour.

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@Andrew, I'm seeing another bug when using action modifiers, more specifically when using the "option" or the "fn" key individually. In short, the modifier subtext appears, but the flow never goes to used modifier path, but goes to the main one (standard one, like if no modifier used). The problem doesn't seem to be present when using multiple modifiers (ex: CMD+Option)

 

Here is a workflow I did for testing: https://d.pr/f/ix941c

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