Why Quicksilver rocks

I was going to blog about how Brent wrote up a project retrospective (which he called an after-development report and most people call a post-mortem) on MarsEdit. This is cool because I had wondered openly if he would write a post-mortem in a previous post. I’ll write about it tomorrow.

The reason why I’m waiting until tomorrow is that I couldn’t ignore the app that I use to open up MarsEdit and most of my other apps: Quicksilver. Here’s the reasons why I think it rocks:

It makes me feel powerful – like everything I’d ever want to do on my Mac is just a few keystrokes away.

As a self-described power user, I appreciate all the things that keep me in control, in the driver’s seat. Expose, Cmd-Tab, and Quicksilver give me all I need to be able to quickly navigate around the system without losing context.

Its elegant. I like the bezel interface that shows a huge dock icon, much like the system alerts for volume changes. It is minimalist, transparent, and just very nice to look at. Plus it clearly tells you what action is going to take place on what object. It also tells you how your typing found the current object via underlining the matching characters.

Its fast. Faster than the Cmd-Tab window even. The important thing is that it keeps up with your typing.

Its extensible via plug-ins – I call this “having Infinite Vision”, i.e. being able to envision infinite plug-ins. My friend calls this “knowing it can grow with you.” If you’re a developer, you can write a plug-in for your app. Even better, there is a community where you can download plug-ins (and they can be installed via one click and without restarting Quicksilver) that are written by other people who had the same need you did.

It cleans up your Dock. Instead of putting all the apps you want to launch on the Dock, you remember a series of characters for each. Three is usually enough, although you can get by with 1 or 2 for some of them. For example, NET is mapped to NetNewsWire, ECL to Eclipse, MAR to MarsEdit, and just S to Safari. This makes for a cleaner dock, but the tradeoff is you have to do a bit more remembering.

However, the person who develops it, Alcor, is kind of a mystery. I rather prefer developers who are more open and accessible, like Brent and Gus. I could only dig up a lone interview with 43 Folders, where his picture is some strange purple mask. It is amusing, yet morbid to note that users have asked that he amend his will to open source the Quicksilver source code upon his death.