August 1st, 2007 • 2:34 pm
What I like the most about it is that it is user-centric, as opposed to application-centric. And the latest version has some new features that make this even more apparent.
You can now “send” the currently selected text (in any application) to LaunchBar for processing, either as the name of something you want to launch, or as a text string to be processed by something that LaunchBar can launch.
For example, when I encounter a text with a reference to a concept that I want to look up in Wikipedia, for example, I can now just select the text, press-and-hold the shortcut to invoke LaunchBar, and then press Tab followed by my abbreviation for submitting a search request to the Wikipedia web site, which is “wiki.”
This has several advantages over the traditional method, which involved selecting the text, copying it to the Clipboard, invoking LaunchBar, typing “wiki,” pressing the Space bar, and then pasting the Clipboard.
The first obvious advantage is that there are fewer steps. It is also more logical, intuitive. (You effectively “submit” the selection to the search template, in that very order, as opposed to first invoking the search template and then entering the search request.) And best of all, it doesn’t require the use of the Clipboard at all, which can remain free for other purposes.
Of course, as with any abbreviation-based launcher, there is a bit of a learning curve. But I think that anyone interested in software innovation and the drive to make things user-centric rather than application-centric ought to be very grateful, not just that an application such as LaunchBar exits, but that its developer continues to improve it in very significant ways.
Personally, I work in a field (translation) that constantly requires me to look things up. In that respect, this new LaunchBar feature is going to bring very substantial improvements.
Now all I need is to find a way to submit search requests via LaunchBar templates to on-line databases that do not support explicit search request URLs (in my case, TERMIUM and TransSearch). Maybe some GUI scripting might do the trick…