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Alfred 4.5 Beta: Take a first look at Universal Actions


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On 7/17/2021 at 11:54 AM, 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? The way Alfred does it doesn't work or works poorly with several apps.

 

Taking a bit of a deep dive into this, I'm not going to change the behaviour for 4.5 as it's more significant that I had plucked off the top of my head. Alfred does certain logic based on file types (e.g. running AppleScripts instead of opening them, opening Contacts inside of Alfred instead of macOS, fettling Folders when opening to help default sort priority). There would need to be additional logic to treat these files differently before opening the rest of the list in an updated compound way.

 

I do absolutely agree that this change should be made though, so I'll put it in the top 4.6 list.

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On 7/17/2021 at 4:34 PM, GuiB said:

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)

 

I've checked out your workflow and created a couple of my own tests. I can reproduce the issue for Fn but all other mods behave as expected. Could you take a look at your Universal Actions hotkey preferences, in case you've changed anything from the defaults?

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4 hours ago, Vero said:

I've checked out your workflow and created a couple of my own tests. I can reproduce the issue for Fn but all other mods behave as expected. Could you take a look at your Universal Actions hotkey preferences, in case you've changed anything from the defaults?

You're right! I investigated more and I saw one of my hotkey trigger in one of my workflows that was set to be active only in Alfred and activated using "OPT+Return". I've now deactivated it since I think it's not a great key combo key to have since Alfred uses it often and now the Universal Action modifier key work. Sorry for that, but at least that made me discover the problem with the Fn modifier key

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3 minutes ago, Andrew said:

There is now b1248 which fixes some of these issues :) thanks again!

Thanks and to confirm: yes, "Fn" modifier key is fixed on my side

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Hi, just an interrogation... Alfred default search can recognize URLs when "Recognise URLs" inside the "URLs / History" tab of the "Web Search" section is checked. Then, when we type a URL inside the Alfred search field, we can type a URL with or without its scheme and Alfred will interpret both as URLs.


So, I was wondering if an option to "recognize" a URL without its scheme should be added to the Universal Action feature to make it coherent with the default Alfred search?

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This looks really powerful, but I had some trouble finding out how to actually use it :) The onboarding experience could be improved.

 

I went to Preferences > Features > Universal Actions like suggested in https://www.alfredapp.com/universal-actions/ , and saw this: image.png.f3f401f70b82c41f6352d8c6bc16e4bc.png

 

I tried selecting some text in a webpage and hitting → + fn + ctrl, and nothing happened.

So I saw this: image.png.6eac6fb76458e74f767d2a83f4aeeadf.png

so I tried hitting Option + Cmd + \ and instead of Alfred doing something, 1Password opened (Cmd + \ is the global hotkey for 1Password). After completely quitting 1Password, I tried Option + Cmd + \ and finally Alfred's Universal Actions dialog appeared.

 

So in addition to suggesting a more "step by step" tutorial, shouldn't Option + Cmd + \ for Alfred override the Cmd + \ that's used by 1Password?

 

Thanks!

 

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49 minutes ago, dserodio said:

shouldn't Option + Cmd + \ for Alfred override the Cmd + \ that's used by 1Password?

 

1Password has multiple shortcuts. Go check its preferences and make sure you don’t have ⌥⌘\ assigned there, too. On my machine, that’s the hotkey for 1Password mini.

 

Also, apps can't override each others' hotkeys. If two apps register the same hotkey, it's up to macOS what happens.

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3 minutes ago, deanishe said:

1Password has multiple shortcuts. Go check its preferences and make sure you don’t have ⌥⌘\ assigned there, too. On my machine, that’s the hotkey for 1Password mini.

 

Also, apps can't override each others' hotkeys. If two apps register the same hotkey, it's up to macOS what happens.

Thank you, I hadn't noticed that 1Password also used ⌥⌘\

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On 7/20/2021 at 4:49 PM, GuiB said:

So, I was wondering if an option to "recognize" a URL without its scheme should be added to the Universal Action feature to make it coherent with the default Alfred search?

 

The context is different here as Alfred's default results can very loosely match a URL without affecting the other results. If a URL match happened in Actions, then it may filter out actions when it shouldn't.

 

What I may look into is loosely matching URLs if the requested type is of "URL" by automatically prefixing https.

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On 7/24/2021 at 5:29 AM, Andrew said:

What I may look into is loosely matching URLs if the requested type is of "URL" by automatically prefixing https.

Yes, that could be a great idea for the "force to URL" from AppleScript feature

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11 minutes ago, J. Gary Ellison said:

I'm puzzled. I can't get Universal Actions to do anything. There is no response to any Hotkey that I set. What am I doing wrong? Is it my OS 10.14.6? 

Are you selecting something before pressing the hotkey (ex: selecting a file in Finder or some text in a text editor) ?

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19 hours ago, J. Gary Ellison said:

I'm puzzled. I can't get Universal Actions to do anything. There is no response to any Hotkey that I set. What am I doing wrong? Is it my OS 10.14.6? 

 

Try going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Accessibility. Remove Alfred from the list, then re-add it (REMOVE, not just uncheck).

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I've just put b1250 pre-release up which refactors a few things to streamline the framework. I'd appreciate if people could report back that Universal Actions is still working as before, as we are getting close to general release on this.

 

The update makes a few improvements to type recognition, and type "forcing", so that would be a good place to test.

 

@GuiB one small improvement has been added which relates to something we were discussing, where Alfred will now prefix with https in the case of forcing the type to URL and no scheme existing. So now you should be able to say... "alfredapp.com" as type "url" and it will work.

 

Let me know how you get on :)

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1 hour ago, Andrew said:

@GuiB one small improvement has been added which relates to something we were discussing, where Alfred will now prefix with https in the case of forcing the type to URL and no scheme existing. So now you should be able to say... "alfredapp.com" as type "url" and it will work.

Great! That seems to be working great on my side, thanks!

 

I'll let you know if I find other bugs, but for now, here are some bugs/remarks with this latest build:

 

URLs Action: The "Open URLs" action only open the first URL when multiple URLs are used

Example:

tell application id "com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred" to action { "alfredforum.com", "alfredapp.com" } as type "url"

Will only open "https://alfredforum.com" when using the "Open URLs" action

 

 

Using multiple Text with the Text Action:

 

It seems like the actions are not all well-defined between "single" vs "multiple" text actions. I mean, it is fine using a single text, but when sending multiple text items some actions will only use the first item and some will group them as they appear on the right preview (so joined with a new line).


For example, the "Email" and "Email to..." actions work great since they combine the items together so they all appear in the email. However, the Keyword and Script Filter action from Workflows will only work on the first item, but appear in the multiple items list. So, maybe it would be better to group the items by joining them with new lines or simply not listing the Keyword and Script Filters actions when multiple items are sent.


Also, I'm wondering if some of the Alfred built in actions should be added when multiple items are used. For example, why not add the "Copy as plain text", "Show as Large Type", "Save as Snippet"... to work like the "Email" actions by combining the items with new lines?

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51 minutes ago, GuiB said:

It seems like the actions are not all well-defined between "single" vs "multiple" text actions.

 

This is exactly why you need to work out if your workflow is compatible and configure appropriately. If you connect the output of a Universal Action trigger (or any trigger with multiple items) into a Run Script or Script Filter, you'll get each item as a separate argv argument. If your Script Filter isn't compatible with that, it's best to set your Universal Action trigger to a single item only.

 

52 minutes ago, GuiB said:

Will only open "https://alfredforum.com" when using the "Open URLs" action

 

I'm seeing both URLs open with Safari. What browser are you using?

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2 minutes ago, Andrew said:

This is exactly why you need to work out if your workflow is compatible and configure appropriately. If you connect the output of a Universal Action trigger (or any trigger with multiple items) into a Run Script or Script Filter, you'll get each item as a separate argv argument. If your Script Filter isn't compatible with that, it's best to set your Universal Action trigger to a single item only.

You're right, it's the workflow developer job to make sure all the items are processed from the argv. I was just testing with the option active to see how it goes, but myself I find activating the "Keyword" + "Script filters" add too much clutter and prefer to add the Universal Action workflow object.

 

7 minutes ago, Andrew said:

I'm seeing both URLs open with Safari. What browser are you using?

Again, you're right! Sorry, I created a script that is set as the default web browser and which send the open URL to the active browser instead of defining a specific one and my script was simply using the first item. Sorry for that!

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@GuiB if you update to b1252, the Keywords and Script Filter actions will only now correctly be added if there is a single argument.

 

I have also made the types (files, urls, text) ticked by default for new Universal Action trigger objects, as this is the more likely case of "show for everything", and makes it less likely to forget to tick any of them and wonder why the action isn't showing at all.

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