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Appifyer (0.99 alpha) - Launch & hotkey any apps


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sumon
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I'm proud to present to you... the latest and first public version of my longtime main project: Appifyer.

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[Visit Appifyer.com]
[Download]

In short, Appifyer lets you launch apps.

In the long run, Appifyer can change the way people use computers and applications. For more information on how to use Appifyer, consult Appifyer's Help file

Vision

The vision for Appifyer is to make app discovery/installation/setup/(payment/)launching/management a streamlined process that is done in the snap of a finger, eliminating as many bumps on the road as possible. If successful, Appifyer will then bring app developers (such as yourselves, maybe?) and end users (you?) closer to eachothers, creating a totally new outlook and system for apps for the personal computer. Much like the SmartPhone app market has changed how phones are used.

That vision is yet a way ahead, though. Note that this is the alpha. In my wildest dreams, the beta (3 months) will be totally professional in behaviour & looks, and I will have 100.000 unique downloads in 6 months time. Just for the record, the idea was born 3 months ago, and I have been developing many of my Autohotkey apps* as a step in this process - to demonstrate how on-demand apps can be powerful, and to learn coding better.

*see the website for examples

Autohotkey is one of the more ideal languages to write simple apps of the type that I envision (simple, on-demand, user-friendly - can be coded in any language), so if this becomes more than a vision & a dream, I hope that the Autohotkey community can benefit from this in many ways, for distributing apps to a wider public - something that is often difficult in our current environment.

Appifyer (alpha)

Appifyer is an app menu & app launcher which is very easy to set up. Appifyer can also offer a nice environment for apps - your own, commercial or freeware apps. It eliminates the biggest problem that all apps have - Remembering that you have them, where you have them, and the time it takes to start them up. The learning curve lets you set up an app in a few seconds, and if you then start using the app often, just add a hotkey and have instant-access to any script or app. Instant. This means that you can use apps inbetween programs, or "above" if you prefer. When coding, gaming, surfing, image editing or whatever, you can be more efficient with the appropiate apps - and Appifyer in its' turn improves the way you can use these apps.

If you want to try out the power of the one-click-install, enable "One-click-install" in the Appifyer Settings. Now you can install an app as easely as you can check out this thread on the forums, maybe even more easy. When you have activated the one-click-install, try installing appify:Colorette. Installed apps go to your Appifyer/Apps/{Appname} folder, so it is all very tidy.

Downloads

Appifyer (zip) - Latest version
Appifyer (source) - For viewing only

Important note: If you have UAC enabled, you will need to run Appifyer as administrator to enable all functions.

Changelog

- 0.99) Patch notification added. Live notification support added. Hotkeys now change directly, instead of sometimes requiring relaunch.
- 0.98) MAJOR update. Added Update/Autoupdate for Appifyer and apps. Middleclicking Start menu shows Appifyer apps menu, doubleclicking the tray icon or holding the Appifyer hotkey opens settings (faster). Added some statistics. Consolidated Winkey into Hotkey field. Changed preinstalled apps to include Pastej. Source code cleaned up and split into separate files. Trying to launch an already running app activates it instead. Improved GUI, adding links and some more settings. Added Feedback for fast bug reports, requests, praise and other types of feedback.
- 0.97b) Improved Appify (the installer for apps) alot, making it easier to understand and smoother in its' usage. Changed some of the icons (temporarily, atleast) for Settings and cleaned up some code there. Added an "Advanced" tab for future use (it's empty now).


Distribution & license

I distribute Appifyer (alpha) as a .zip at this time, because I have yet to decide how to make the installation process. The source is included in the zip, along with three sample apps (Zizorz, Go, bitlyButler) for the purpose of demonstration & distribution. To install more of my apps (or just try the feature out), go to Appifyer Settings and enable "One-click install", then visit the apps page on www.appifyer.com and click the gears icon ("One-click install").

License: Sumon's Strict Script License (you may not redistribute without my consent).

Tip: When choosing hotkeys (this goes for any script/app, not just Appifyer), use modifiers that are comfortable. Since many programs use Ctrl/Alt modifiers, there can be conflicts - using the Windows key is generally safer. For a full keymap of the ergonomy/occupied hotkeys with the winkey, study [this Picture]. Win+QWASZCV are very easy to access, and are not used by default.

Conclusion

Some of you might have noticed that I haven't linked a screencast yet. Don't be disappointed, here it comes, ScreenR:

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[Click to play]


I sincerely hope that Appifyer will prove useful, both now (early alpha) and in the future. Although I was previously hesitant on whether or not to let Appifyer have an open source (partially due to its' potentially commercial future), I have made a deliberate choice to retain Appifyer open-source for now. Reservations for occasionally ugly code - code improvements or suggestions via this topic or PM are extremely appreciated.

Although there is a long to-do list for both Appifyer and Appifyer.com, I won't list all potential future features here. Instead, if you have anything that comes to mind for a request, ask/suggest ahead.

Enjoy! Comment! Appify!

adabo
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sumon: I really like your vision! Indeed it would be nice to get the community behind this to help develop it and push it into the direction you see (and beyond!).

At first glance: The positive: I notice the simplicity of it's design and implementation. Great job there.
The Negative: I'm left with so many questions that I simply don't want to experiment with the app at this time, but rather wait.

Now that doesn't mean I won't try it in the near future. I'm quite optimistic, in fact, about this idea and curious to see the rest of the community chime in.

Is there anything you would like out of us (coding community) to help push this in the direction you want? Why not set out a list of things for us to pick from that we can be active in to help the promotion of this system.

I believe in the concept, however it needs much more steam and certainly a large amount of feedback to sculpt it in a manner that would 1) benefit a larger portion of your intended audience 2) stay within the confines of your initial vision.

I would like to kindly suggest that you give some further attention to to your Vision and Appifyer (alpha) explanations. For the most part it's quite informative. I do feel, in my humble opinion, that it has a touch of ambiguity concerning which apps you are dealing with (AHK or otherwise). I assume it's AHK apps. Anyway, just a small suggestion.

Congratulations on the Alpha release!
-adabo

tomoe_uehara
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Looking good so far :D

sumon
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@tomoe_uehara: Thanks :)

sumon: I really like your vision! Indeed it would be nice to get the community behind this to help develop it and push it into the direction you see (and beyond!).

At first glance: The positive: I notice the simplicity of it's design and implementation. Great job there.
The Negative: I'm left with so many questions that I simply don't want to experiment with the app at this time, but rather wait.

Now that doesn't mean I won't try it in the near future. I'm quite optimistic, in fact, about this idea and curious to see the rest of the community chime in.

Is there anything you would like out of us (coding community) to help push this in the direction you want? Why not set out a list of things for us to pick from that we can be active in to help the promotion of this system.

I believe in the concept, however it needs much more steam and certainly a large amount of feedback to sculpt it in a manner that would 1) benefit a larger portion of your intended audience 2) stay within the confines of your initial vision.

I would like to kindly suggest that you give some further attention to to your Vision and Appifyer (alpha) explanations. For the most part it's quite informative. I do feel, in my humble opinion, that it has a touch of ambiguity concerning which apps you are dealing with (AHK or otherwise). I assume it's AHK apps. Anyway, just a small suggestion.

Congratulations on the Alpha release!
-adabo


Cheers! I especially appreciate your "support" of the idea, and maybe there could be joint contribution too. I have two current concerns:

1) The tabs are ugly. I would like to do something along the lines of Dropbox's tabs, like so. Just a clickable picture. I will probably have to redo the GUI layout too, to make it more compact - this is a problem especially with many apps, that it gets a bit difficult to navigate.

2) If possible, I would like to enable some form of communication between Appifyer and a SQL database. This is so a user system can be set up, and profile data stored online (a profile = a set of apps, let's say you want different profiles on different computers), and to easier manage the fetching of default app information, such as "default hotkey" and displaying of the license agreement when necessary.

Just to clarify - so far Appifyer is an app launcher. See it as a place where you make shortcuts to scripts & applications - these applications can be any file or type of executable (script, .exe, image, whatever...). I'm gonna remake the ScreenR cast to get rid of those audio glitches, and then I will also demonstrate how I use Appifyer to launch on-demand apps, since it's easier to show than explain. Zizorz is a typical example of such an app, I just instantly have the Zizorz tool available when I want, to do an instant image.

I might structure the explanation of the vision up a bit more, but there really is alot to it, and I want to avoid the "too much information" syndrome. Besides, the vision is all that differs me from other commercial similar(ish) projects, such as Allmyapps (app installation), Apple Appstore, Firefox/Chrome widgets/extensions and so on. So I'm split between refraining to tell everything (giving too much info to concurrents, and info overload to the public) and risking telling too little (generating no interest & not getting it all where I want).

I want to share the vision. I'll make one screencast for Appifyer as it is now, and one 3 minute "Sell talk" about what problem I want to solve and what I envision for types of apps et cetera.

sumon
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ScreenR-cast about the advantages of bringing <5-second apps/miniapps/on-demand-apps/smartphone-like apps to the computer, and how Appifyer helps you use apps so much easier.

Reservation: I was tired when doing the cast, so I have to reformulate myself a few times.

shajul
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Really nice.
Your GUI's are classic!! Wishing you the best.

Frankie
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Great to see this released! I haven't tried the public version yet (haven't been on windows much). I look forward to trying it out.

The vision of this has a larger scope than I imagined. I look forward to seeing this progress.

Some thoughts based on my pre-alpha usage and the screencasts:
[*:lczsqvg6]The launch menu needs to be reworked. You could either have a scrolling list like the All Programs submenu of the windows taskbar when there are too many items, or create something new with Gdi+.
[*:lczsqvg6]The website should eventually have a submit form to post apps including uploading them. You (Simon) can then review them and post them.
[*:lczsqvg6]Small thing, on the forums, clicking the logo at the top of the page should bring you to Appifyer.com, not the forums index.
btw, I registered on the forums. My username is 'parse'.

R3gX
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Hi sumon!

I tried Appifyer and here are some comments :
1) It's a really amazing project! Even if it's an alpha release, I think it will be great!
2) Good design, very easy to use!
3) I can't use "One-Click Install". Appifyer shows me this notification :
Could not add cutsom URI
Probably due to insufficient authority

Could you detail what's the problem?!
4) May be you should set the tray menu to display the Appifyer Settings GUI when the user click left on the Appifyer tray icon
5) May be you should add a link to let user go directly on the website

The last words for this post : Thank you to bring us this project!

sumon
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A few things I'm gonna be working on soon:

- More advanced (to be kept separetely, for advanced users) settings for applaunching:
- Hooking apps into other apps (such as launching Spotifyer when Spotify is launched), MouseGestures (MGR by R3gX)
- Periodically/timed launching of apps (such as checking for new mail every minute or hour)
- Commandline support for the running of apps
- MySQL connection to the site, so profiles, app hotkeys (default) etc. can be stored online. This will also mean apps can be installed with predefined hotkeys to launch with.
- Better icon support, so it's easier to add AHK scripts

Really nice.
Your GUI's are classic!! Wishing you the best.


Thanks for the kind words, all of'em :) Means much, especially coming from you.

Really nice.
Your GUI's are classic!! Wishing you the best.


Great to see this released! I haven't tried the public version yet (haven't been on windows much). I look forward to trying it out.

The vision of this has a larger scope than I imagined. I look forward to seeing this progress.

Some thoughts based on my pre-alpha usage and the screencasts:
[*:2gonlill]The launch menu needs to be reworked. You could either have a scrolling list like the All Programs submenu of the windows taskbar when there are too many items, or create something new with Gdi+.
[*:2gonlill]The website should eventually have a submit form to post apps including uploading them. You (Simon) can then review them and post them.
[*:2gonlill]Small thing, on the forums, clicking the logo at the top of the page should bring you to Appifyer.com, not the forums index.
btw, I registered on the forums. My username is 'parse'.


Congratulations, you are officially the first non-bot (except for me) on the forums, warm welcome :) When Appifyer is further improved I will market the forums more aggressively, now they serve no real purpose (due to such a small member base), but like you I hope to see it growing.

[*:2gonlill]I agree because of the looks, I had plans on making a custom GUI but scrapped it because of problems displaying icons with transparency, and the fact the the default Menu can be triggered by clicking the first letter of a menu item. I don't know GDI+, but if someone else would be interested in doing some general (or specific) GDI+ menu, I'd be way happy. I might try sooner or later though, but it's a non-prio'd question atm. Oh, and I am actually in favor of vertical menus, since the alphabetical sorting helps alot, and it's more obvious when it's vertically-visual. It's just clean.
[*:2gonlill]Trust me, I got aloooot of ideas for the site. I'm keeping the upload manual (see /devs) now though, because I don't want to give false hopes - When I can give good support I will accept and encourage people's apps.
[*:2gonlill]Fixed

Hi sumon!

I tried Appifyer and here are some comments :
1) It's a really amazing project! Even if it's an alpha release, I think it will be great!
2) Good design, very easy to use!
3) I can't use "One-Click Install". Appifyer shows me this notification :
Could not add cutsom URI
Probably due to insufficient authority

Could you detail what's the problem?!
4) May be you should set the tray menu to display the Appifyer Settings GUI when the user click left on the Appifyer tray icon
5) May be you should add a link to let user go directly on the website

The last words for this post : Thank you to bring us this project!


1) Nice to hear that :) It's generally nice to hear that there are some more crazy people who think that it might become something, this goes in general for everyone that have voiced their support.
2) Cheers for that :) Adding apps is also really easy imo. Ease-of-use is one of the top goals.
3) Good thing I added that error message then... It basically means that Appifyer is not allowed to write to your registry (it checks for the existance of a value after adding it). Try Running as administrator?
4) Good idea. Traymenu is a bit out-of-date, I will update it with some useful functions.
5) Good idea, on the Help section and maybe Traymenu.

Learning one
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You are making really nice GUI's! Thanks for sharing your hard work. I like upload feature in Zizorz.

sumon
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You are making really nice GUI's! Thanks for sharing your hard work. I like upload feature in Zizorz.


Thanks, and thanks. Version 0.98 is now release - however, this is not considered a major release. The best improvements are of Appify (in /Engines, the source code is also available) that incorporates a type of API for accessing App data from Appifyer.com. Apps can now be instantly appified into Appifyer with hotkeys and everything.

Another neat feature, is that you can now Middleclick the start button (windows start button, that is), to show the apps menu. In previous testing, it worked fine, but now it sometimes leaves the icon glowing. Edit: This thread had the solution, I need to make it trigger on MButton up. Will be in for the next version.

There is also an online Help file for how to use Appifyer.

Before I release the next major release, the 1.0 alpha, I plan to perfect the update function (which in this version, by the way, is a bit flawed - trying it only results in a lot of MsgBoxes telling you the status of your apps in alphabetical order. You have been warned)

Like my previous signature stated, you will be notified of the 1.0 release by my signature :)

dragby
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Hi Simon!

I have been enjoying your apps for a couple of weeks now and they have really come in handy.

There is one small problem I have though. It is really no big deal but I just thought I'd ask anyway. Sometimes after being idle for a while appifyer seems to fall asleep on me. The hotkey doesn't respond and usually after right-clicking on the tray icon a few times and waiting a number of seconds, it jumps to life again.

Do you have any idea why this happens?

sumon
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Hi Simon!

I have been enjoying your apps for a couple of weeks now and they have really come in handy.

There is one small problem I have though. It is really no big deal but I just thought I'd ask anyway. Sometimes after being idle for a while appifyer seems to fall asleep on me. The hotkey doesn't respond and usually after right-clicking on the tray icon a few times and waiting a number of seconds, it jumps to life again.

Do you have any idea why this happens?


Really glad to hear that :) I have no idea as to why that could happen. I am working through the script to make sure there are no performance issues or bugs, but can't think of anything that would cause what you say. Anyone else has some idea?

sumon
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Major update (0.98 - Don't be fooled by the tiny version number increment), I recommend everyone to install it.

Its' most important changes are as follows:

- Includes an autoupdate ability, for both Appifyer and its' apps. It syncs with the apps from Appifyer.com, checking if a newer version exists. Don't worry, no action is taken unless you manually accept the update
- Middleclicking the Start button opens up the apps menu (for those times when you prefer using the mouse - It's also a logical way to launch apps). See image below.
- Simple statistics included, keeping track of how many times you launch your apps. At the moment only you can check the stats, but it might be interesting to be able to check just how useful the apps are, after a while.
- Trying to launch an already running app activates it instead. (The implication can be very practical: Hotkey your webreader to one key, your word processor or coding software to another, then use the hotkeys to navigate between them - this beats alt-tabbing or using the taskbar, since you will ALWAYS get instantly to the app you want - or launch it if it's not launched).

The source code has also been slightly improved when it comes to readability (it's "modular", making it easier for me to get a good overview), and is now available as a separate download.
Posted Image

Important: If you are updating for a previous version, make sure that hotkeys get translated correctly, as the Winkey field was removed, and instead is a part of Hotkey, you may have to manually add the hotkeys.

guest3456
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source code link is broken