Reconsidering the command line

Alex Faaborg talks about the potential of the graphical keyboard interface as alternative to the mouse driven interaction of a lot of windowing toolkits. Alex discusses the tradeoffs associated with both interfaces. And presents a number of potential Firefox design solutions that use a key command language and a graphical feedback including:

  • Keyboard-Based Web Search

    Keyboard-based Web Search

  • Keyboard-Based Microformat Detectors

    Keyboard-Based Microformat Detectors

    Don Norman has discussed the return to a command-line interaction paradigm. This is primarily based in the predominance of search interfaces. David Beers shows the power of command languages beyond search for mobile devices. For mobile devices the language is limited to small tasks, i.e., a single verb-noun action. Alex presents an application vocabulary that also demonstrates a single verb-noun action. This initial grammar shows the immediate power of tools like Quicksilver and Enso. (Quicksilver has been a must-have application for me since sometime in 2004. I’ve been looking for a Windows launcher and Enso looks like it will do the trick nicely). Gina Tripani at LifeHacker discusses the efficiency of command-line interfaces. I wonder if there is a plugin to integrate Yubnub with Quicksilver.

    Twitter Lingo

    Task languages are interesting. They require an understanding of the goals, tasks and operations that users can complete with your product. This sounds strangely like using GOMS to evaluate and understand the efficiency of applications. Picoformats were an interesting standard for an SMS command language. Services like Twitter have defined a lingo for interacting with the service. The Twitter lingo has both been defined and evolved out of the communities usage of the service (check out Nanoformats).

    Command languages are emerging as effective way to interact with applications. The are appearing at the edges, where efficiency is incredibly important. Whether that’s through texting performance, or with expert users of web browsers. Jef Raskin’s The Humane Interface (and the Canon Cat user interface) was prescient in defining a keyboard-based task language. With Aza Raskin running Humanized, I’m looking forward to trying Enso as my launcher on Vista.

    My favourite obscure reference today was a comparison of Bumptop to Microsoft Bob.

12 thoughts on “Reconsidering the command line”

  1. <p>i use launchy on windows, which is a clone of quicksilver. you are not required to type open app_x but just the key letters from the app's name. mapped it to alt+space</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>also the nanoformats wiki is interesting but is it supported by twitter? I thought only @username was</p>

  2. i use launchy on windows, which is a clone of quicksilver. you are not required to type open app_x but just the key letters from the app's name. mapped it to alt+space

    also the nanoformats wiki is interesting but is it supported by twitter? I thought only @username was

  3. <p>There are a lot of command-line launchers for Windows. They are always compared to QuickSilver, but they're not necessarily clones. It depends what you want. Some feature auto-indexing of your programs, while others emphasize more manual control. I haven't tried all of them, but I have tried quite a few. Enso is a new one to me.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://colibri.leetspeak.org/&quot; target="_blank">Colibri</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun/&quot; target="_blank">SlickRun</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://www.idiogensoftware.com/runfast/download.htm&quot; target="_blank">RunFast</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://launchy.net/&quot; target="_blank">Launchy</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://www.keybreeze.com/&quot; target="_blank">KeyBreeze</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://www.executor.dk/&quot; target="_blank">Executor</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://www.humanized.com/products/enso/launcher/&quot; target="_blank">Enso</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I use SlickRun and like it a lot, though it could use a few improvements.</p>

  4. <p>We have been exploring this for a while with MSN messenger bots. I wish people would go deeper into that.</p>

  5. There are a lot of command-line launchers for Windows. They are always compared to QuickSilver, but they're not necessarily clones. It depends what you want. Some feature auto-indexing of your programs, while others emphasize more manual control. I haven't tried all of them, but I have tried quite a few. Enso is a new one to me.

    Colibri

    SlickRun

    RunFast

    Launchy

    KeyBreeze

    Executor

    Enso

    I use SlickRun and like it a lot, though it could use a few improvements.

  6. <p>David, thanks for the Google advanced search link, it will come in handy. So many options!</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Karl,we have one more option which is missing from your list. You can take a look here:</p><br />
    <br />
    <p><a href="http://tryDash.com/&quot; target="_blank">Dash</a></p><br />
    <br />
    <p>It supports YubNub already.</p>

  7. David, thanks for the Google advanced search link, it will come in handy. So many options!

    Karl,we have one more option which is missing from your list. You can take a look here:

    Dash

    It supports YubNub already.

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