Stand-alone TERMIUM browser and Keyboard Maestro

Posted by Pierre Igot in: French Stuff, Language, Macintosh
June 16th, 2011 • 9:04 am

A few years ago, I wrote about using the Fluid utility to build a stand-alone browser (based on Safari) for the TERMIUM on-line terminology database.

Since 2010, TERMIUM is actually a free service, which means that anyone can now use it without having to pay a subscription fee.

Having a stand-alone browser for TERMIUM is useful in that it means that you don’t have to keep TERMIUM open in Safari along with all your other browser windows. It’s easier to switch from another application to a stand-alone application, and it does not bring to the foreground all the other browser windows that you might have left open in Safari and that would get in the way.

That said, the TERMIUM interface itself is not perfect, and even with TERMIUM in a stand-alone browser, there are some repetitive tasks required that can be tedious. For example, when you leave TERMIUM open with a long list of results after having selected one of them with the mouse to copy it, the next time you go to TERMIUM, you need to scroll back to the top of the page and put the focus back on the search field.

Thankfully, with Keyboard Maestro you can automate such repetitive tasks. Here’s the macro I have created with Keyboard Maestro 5 (still in beta), which adds support for control-flow (if… then… conditional actions, for example):


As you can see, the macro works the following way:

When I press F15 on my keyboard, KM checks to see if my stand-alone TERMIUM application is already running. If it’s not, then it simply launches it.

If it is already running, KM brings it to the foreground, hits the Home key to scroll back to the top of the page, then clicks at (100,100) from the top-left corner of the window, which simply deselects what is currently selected on the page, and then the macro hits the Tab key to put the focus back on the search field, with the current content of the field already highlighted so that I can type over it.

With such a macro, I just need a single keystroke to bring TERMIUM to the foreground and start a new search. This is very handy for me, because I do dozens of such searches every day. Of course, if I need to select a search result to copy it to the Clipboard, I will still need to grab the mouse to continue to interact with my TERMIUM application, but sometimes I just need to see the top result and then I can switch back with the keyboard to my work in progress. In other words, I am often able to look up a new term in TERMIUM and then go back to my work without having to lift my hands from the keyboard.

That’s why it’s called Keyboard Maestro!

If you are a Mac user who makes regular use of this terminology database, you might find the above information quite useful. I also invite you to read my post about using KM to improve the user interface of two other commonly-used Mac applications for English/French language issues, the Grand Robert and the Robert & Collins dictionary applications.

(Keyboard Maestro 5 is still in beta, but should be out soon. In the meantime, you can use KM 4 to do the same thing, without the if… then… part, i.e. you cannot easily have a different behaviour if the application is not already running.)

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