Thursday, May 08, 2008

Slick Run Wins out over Launchy

I've read about Launchy several times in the past. Eveyrtime I've seen it I've thought, "why would I change, it doesn't do anything that slickrun does already". I had the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude.

However, as I have been setting up my tools on a new computer, I decided to give Launchy a try. Why? Because SlickRun only works when configured. It will run any and all of the programs that I want it to, when I configure a MagicWord for that program.

After the install the visual footprint of Launchy is a lot bigger than slick run, however, when typing a word, it gives me hints for what it thinks. I like that. It also hides completely, not even taking up space in my taskbar. I have more than enough things that take up task bar space and having one less is nice.

I've now been using it for a few days, and trying to stress both slickrun at work and launchy at home. Here's my thoughts on each.

  • The floating command in the bottom corner of my window all the time is nice. It doesn't take up any space on my taskbar.
  • The date-time is visible whenever it does not have focus, which lets me remove the windows clock from the taskbar and keep a time visible always.
  • I can have multiple shortcuts for the same thing. I use edit and ue both to open Ultra Edit. Depending on which one I was thinking of at the time, they both work.
  • Commands that would work at a command prompt work in Slick run for example "javac c:\test\" will compile the file that folder.
  • Typing a folder name opens the folder "c:\rubycode" opens my rubycode folder.
  • A magic word can be for a program, a folder, or a website.
  • A magic word can chain other magic words together. I use one called morning, that I run first thing each morning, it opens outlook, instant messenger, a few things that I need to monitor daily at work and firefox. All that opens with me only having to type mor, because at that point the word is unique.
  • Typing 'hide' will minimize the floating command to the taskbar. I would prefer hiding it completely in those instances.
  • alt+enter shortcut to show application is great, I love that it's completely hidden and doesn't take up any space in the taskbar.
  • I would rather create a keyword in the application than have to create a shortcut with the keyword that I want. I don't want extra shortcuts running around anywhere on my computer, that's just more files I don't want to deal with.
  • I can potentially use batch files, but I like the chaining effect in SlickRun
  • The visual appeal of Launchy is great.
  • Web bookmarks are automatically indexed so whatever you have named them you can use to open those web pages. This is only useful to a limited number of bookmarks because I use for my bookmarks.
  • A calculator plugin is included by default. sometimes I need to do a quick number check when figuring out payments or balancing something, I can type the numbers directly into Launchy and see the total. This is not an issue for me though because I have the calculator in the Google sidebar and calculator is a MagicWord in launchy so it is only a few more characters to get the same functionality.
I will leave Launchy at home for a while longer, and at home it may not be an issue, but on my work computer, where I need more exact control of things and I'm more of a power user of the tool, I will keep Slick Run, it serves my needs better, faster, and easier.


Dr Bitz said...

Excellent analysis of both tools! I also use both Launchy and SlickRun and have many of the same conclusions that you present. My take is that each tool fits a different need that I have, and so I'm more than willing to use both for their best features. Launchy for those things that I know are installed but don't have a SlickRun magic word because I don't use them *all the time*. And definitely SlickRun for its low screen profile, speed in finding my unique word shortcut, and its chaining abilities.

Thanks for the article.

Jonathan said...

Check out Executor. I haven't tried Launchy, but I have used SlickRun and Executor, and Executor seems to be a hybrid of SlickRun and Launchy. You can export your SlickRun keywords, massage the output a bit, then import them into Executor. Executor will also give you the drop-down autocomplete, the visual appeal, and the built-in calculator.