FastScripts 2.4

June 22nd, 2009

FastScripts 2.4 is out, with an important change in the evaluation terms.

Use FastScripts for free, for as long as you like. All features are enabled and you may define up to 10 keyboard shortcuts. If you decide you want unlimited keyboard shortcuts, purchase a license to remove that limitation.

I have been thinking for some time of eliminating FastScripts Lite. Customers found it confusing to differentiate between the versions, and I found it tedious to artificially maintain two versions. With the new, liberal evaluation terms in FastScripts 2.4, all of the old Lite functionality and much more is now included for free in the full version.

This new version also includes a software update mechanism so you can be sure to stay up to date with new releases as I update the application. So whether you’re an existing paid user, or a Lite user, be sure to download this release!

If you’ve been thinking of giving FastScripts a try, now is a great time to give it a spin. I hope you will enjoy what it has to offer!

28 Responses to “FastScripts 2.4”

  1. DDA Says:

    It appears you’ve removed the colour menu item. I must say, I’ll miss it; I prefer it to the greyscale one.

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Yeah, I’m trying to simplify and I think the monochrome icon is more consistent with Apple’s style guidelines.

    But if you want to keep the dream alive you could copy in your own copy of the icon from the old bundle into the new one, and name it to match the monochrome one.

  3. Hiro Says:

    I replaced the old copy of FastScript already, so I don’t have the color icon any more. Where can I find it?

  4. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hiro: You can download the old version here:

    http://www.red-sweater.com/fastscripts/FastScripts2.3.6.dmg

    Daniel

  5. Matt Says:

    That’s too much work for something that may get auto-updated without much notice. It’s a pity, because I have a lot of menu bar icons and I got used to picking out FastScripts from its shape and flash of color. The new icon looks like Apple’s menu extras, which makes it harder to find.

    (On my systems, almost all of the third-party menu extras have some color in their icons, and it’s a rather useful way to help me find the icon I want.)

  6. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Matt – it’s good for thought. Maybe I underestimated how many people like the color version of the icon. Though I wonder if this is an example where habit is playing a larger role than actual usability or aesthetic preference.

    My view is now that it was a mistake to ever have a color icon. Which is why it was so easy for me to make the decision to cut it. But I accept it may have been in haste.

    I wonder if those of you who are yearning for the old icon would be willing to give the new one a try for a week or so and see if it is actually still a pain for you not to have the color?

    My menu bar, by contrast, has no color icons. But I concede I only have Apple’s icons, TextExpander, Skitch, and FastScripts.

  7. Miles Says:

    Much prefer the monochrome icon. I agree with Daniel that it makes it more consistent with the Leopard menubar in general. All of my menubar icons are monochrome.

  8. Grayson Says:

    A similar thing happened to me, but in reverse. When I first released Countdown (http://www.fromconcentratesoftware.com/Countdown/), it had an ugly black, gray, and white icon that I threw together just so it’d have something. When Countdown matured, I created a new icon. I had several complaints via email that the old B&W icon really stood out on the Dock. In the end, I wrote a simple Applescript package that contained the old icon. Users that really wanted the B&W icon could just run the script and it’d install and re-launch Countdown (if it was running). I left the Applescript up for a long time, but quit hearing complaints about the icon after a few months.

  9. DDA Says:

    Since there aren’t any real functional improvements (I’ve already got a license so the change to the evaluation terms don’t really matter to me), I’m just not upgrading on one machine.

    I’ve done the “replace the icon” for NetNewsWire for a long time; it’s a pain but neither of these are updated all that often so I suppose it’s not too much work.

  10. DDA Says:

    “My menu bar, by contrast, has no color icons. But I concede I only have Apple’s icons, TextExpander, Skitch, and FastScripts.”

    At least on my menu bar, TextExpander has a nice blue-and-white icon.

  11. Tobias Says:

    Thanks for Sparkle!

    I can’t find a full ChangeLog?

  12. matt Says:

    DDA: TextExpander allows you to select from a choice if menubar icons, or indeed to switch it’s menu bar icon off completely – which is what I have done.

  13. Max Howell Says:

    The moral here, never change anything too suddenly. Someone will always moan. Another moral is ignore them, they are prolly the minority. And my opinion, black menu items are better! Good choice :)

  14. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Tobias: Full change log? I’m trying to be more like Apple ;) Seriously though, aside from the addition of Sparkle, and fixing a few memory leaks, it was just changing the icon to monochrome only, and integrating the new licensing terms to merge FastScripts Lite functionality in.

  15. Ricky Buchanan Says:

    Yup, another comment about the colour icon!

    I’m one of the OS X users with some vision impairment – not enough that I need to use VoiceOver but enough that I’ve reduced the screen resolution a fair but (I have a 20″ cinema display) and frequently use a font over 100pt to ease the eyestrain from reading long documents.

    I totally agree that black and white menubar icons fit the “Apple Way” better, but as somebody who has a huge amount of trouble distinguishing all of those tiny black and white blobs, having some that are different colours really helps! It’s much easier to look for “the blue blob” (menu eclipse – default icon), “the green blob” (PTHPasteboard – choice of a zillion icons), “the purple blob” (my other PTHPasteboard board”, and even “the lowish grey blob” (caffeine – default icon) than doing it as “third from the right blob” (they sometimes change order without apparent cause) or zooming the screen in just to find the right icon. I *can* zoom the screen in but it’s usually more effort than it’s worth for an AppleScript.

    I’m sure you never thought of it an an accessibility issue – I’m sure Apple never did either! But it turns out that it was.

    Hmm.

    I may blog about this :)

  16. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Ricky: The Accessibility situation is definitely interesting. You’re right, I didn’t think about it, although I have thought more and more about it for all of my apps in recent months.

    I wonder if a good compromise would be to bring back the “color icon” … but instead of the old graphic which I am not fond of, to instead offer to simply change the black script icon to a color of the user’s choosing?

    It seems like this would achieve the “bold stand-out” functionality that some of you are wishing for, and wouldn’t be any more aesthetically displeasing (IMHO) than the old puffy icon ;)

    Daniel

  17. Ricky Buchanan Says:

    That would certainly solve my particular problem, Daniel. I’ll have mine in fire-engine red for maximum visibility!

    Low vision (and colour blindness) isn’t something Apple’s UI is good with in general, compared to how brilliant they are for VoiceOver and such. But they’ve been so great with VoiceOver it leads me to expect a lot in other places! When (if?) we finally get the resolution independence, that will help a lot for low vision.

    r

  18. Scott M. Says:

    This discussion has mirrored ones I’ve seen for other menubar icon products (recently DropBox and ZumoDrive) with the majority of users coming down on the side of the Leopard standard (no color). I, for one, have ~20 menubar icons and a single color one is too much emphasis visually and very distracting. Luckily all of the icons I have are easy to identify by shape alone. Static positioning helps as well.

    Additionally, I have a couple apps that use color in the icon as a status indicator (Tweetie and MailPlane). In that case the additional emphasis color provides is important.

    But I can understand those who have used a color icon for a long time and have become accustomed to it, and those users where accessibility is factor. TextExpander handles this nicely by allowing users to choose between 3 color and 3 greyscale icons. Of course, this is more work for the developer!

  19. DDA Says:

    matt: You’re right, TextExpander does have multiple icons, some of which are colour and others of which aren’t. Perhaps that is the correct choice, then; give the user a choice. :-)

  20. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    matt/DDA: I respect TextExpander’s decision, but what I don’t like about it is the way it presents an inconsistent brand to users. I think it’s important for an app to present itself in a relatively uniform manner.

    For example, I don’t offer 5 different “MarsEdit” icons to users, even though some users might prefer one or the other. And Honda doesn’t let you pick which of 5 “H” logos appear on the back of their cars.

    I think there is room for compromise here, but for my personal taste and instincts, the number of options in the TextExpander preferences are too many.

  21. Ryan Platte Says:

    What’s going on, folks? Everybody’s being civil, caring for each other, and using their brains in this comment thread! Is this what was meant by Web 2.0? If so, count me in!

  22. Matthew Smith Says:

    I wanted to mention that Apple’s input menu is in color when it’s turned on. It shows the flag of the country’s keyboard you’re using, so it kind of has to be in color to be effective. If even Apple uses a color icon in the menu bar, keeping a color icon doesn’t necessarily violate the “Apple Way.”

  23. Ricky Buchanan Says:

    Daniel wrote:
    For example, I don’t offer 5 different “MarsEdit” icons to users, even though some users might prefer one or the other. And Honda doesn’t let you pick which of 5 “H” logos appear on the back of their cars.

    I’m sure you’re right, but just for a possibly-amusing data point: I’d honestly never thought of a menu extra as a “brand thing”. I guess I think of them more as things that offer small functionality indicated by the icon (eject icon, date/time reading, etc.) and sometimes also give you data about the current state of things (volume icon, internatinal ‘flag’ icon, the iStat menu icons, etc.). But – this conversation aside – if you’d asked me what the FastScripts icon was I would have said it looks like a grey scroll with a red lightning bolt on it.

    I’m not sure this is actually relevant to anything – it’s Daniel’s program and certainly makes sense for things to be consistent in terms of the icon’s shape at least. But it made me think.

    r
    PS
    Ryan, I think the appropriate reply would be “Web2.0: We’re doin it rong” ;)

  24. Lloyd Budd Says:

    For people new to scripts, is there a page that describes the most commonly useful ones?

  25. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Lloyd: it’s one of the weak points in my marketing/documentation for FastScripts. Since I wrote the application mostly as a reaction to Apple’s own Script Menu, i started out addressing the needs of those users who were already familiar with the Script Menu.

    I need to put together a more suitable “FastScripts for beginners” document at some point. For now, the best I can do is point you at some of my own recommended scripts:

    http://www.red-sweater.com/AppleScript/

    I admit they are a little wide-reaching and many are not pertinent to everyday users. There is another great resource called MacScripter:

    http://macscripter.net/

    In a nutshell, lots of folks who aren’t particularly experienced with scripting get started in the world of automation by using scripts other folks have written. And those scripts can be found in a variety of locations including MacScripter.

    Daniel

  26. DDA Says:

    Just a reminder that the AppleScript page you linked to hasn’t been updated for the change in licensing; it still talks about “FastScripts Lite.”

  27. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Thanks, DDA! I updated the page.

  28. Berend Says:

    I like the colour menu icon too; it stands out discreetly.
    To my mind it does function a bit as a brand marker.
    Luckily I read this before installing 2.4 and quickly changed to the coloured icon. Considering the number of reactions, FastScripts must be popular.

Comments are closed.

Follow the Conversation

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this entry.