Amar Sagoo

4 November 2007

Namely 2.5

Sorry to be late by a week or so, but there are several reasons why I didn't get a Leopard-compatible update to Namely out sooner.

First of all, I didn't have Leopard any earlier than most of you; I bought it on Friday the 26th of October at the Apple Store on Regent Street. That's because unlike many Mac developers who dedicate a lot more time to this stuff and who have an income from it, I don't have a Select membership with the Apple Developer Connection.

Secondly, I decided to try out Leopard's improved support for application launching through Spotlight before putting any effort into updating Namely. Ever since Scott Forstall had hinted at this feature at the World-Wide Developers' Conference in 2006, I had been feeling a bit anxious about Leopard rendering Namely redundant. (I generally think it's a good thing when Apple fills a gap that was identified and addressed by third-party developers, but nevertheless, we do tend to fall in love with our applications.) My verdict: Spotlight is not bad, but it didn't win me over. I didn't spend enough time with it to figure out how clever it is about choosing between candidate matches (it seems to at least take into account which app you chose last time), but long enough to find a few things that I didn't like about it:

  1. A lot of stuff happens visually in the Spotlight menu, which distracts from your main task: quickly identifying the application you want to launch.
  2. The icons of listed apps don't always appear straightaway.

  3. It only shows three matches, so it's effectively a bit less tolerant.

I guess these things shouldn't be an issue if you only occasionally need an application that's not in your Dock. Finding it through Spotlight will still be much faster than navigating to it in the Finder. But I think that if you use Namely (or, for that matter, any other keyboard-based launcher) for most of your application launching, anything that isn't super-fast isn't fast enough. When I launch an application, I don't want to think much, and I don't want to see much. I just want to launch it. Although Namely's sorting isn't perfectly predictable because it adapts over time, it stabilises quickly enough so you can be pretty confident about what it will suggest when you type something.

The third reason for the delay is that I just wasn't sure what to release. I have been (slowly) working on Namely 3.0, which is controlled through a preference pane and doesn't show up in the Dock. So I was considering finishing that off rather than releasing another update to Namely 2.x. However, I wasn't confident that I could get Namely 3 finished and stable within a few days, so I decided to push out a minor update in the meantime.

Here it is. Annoyingly, I couldn't find a way to make it work on both 10.3.9/10.4 and 10.5 (I link against the 10.5 libraries in order to support Spaces, but this seems to stop Apple's secret application-listing function from working on 10.4), so I had to leave version 2.1 available as a separate download.


  1. I've been using your Namely app for a couple years at least, and absolutely love it. I just got Leopard and thought "why don't I see if there's a new Namely"? (Though the old one seemed to work fine). It's a terrific slim application and I'd be lost without it. Thanks so much! Rebecca Soble

  2. Namely is great.

    I recently tried quicksilver but found it way too tedious. Keep it up.

  3. Hi Amar,

    Interestingly enough, Namely 2.1 is running just fine on 10.5.1. I don't know whether that reflects a difference betwen 10.5 and 10.5.1, but I haven't upgraded Namely yet and it works great.

    Just FYI.

  4. Thank you for your work!

    The new version works fantastic with Leopard. I tried Quicksilver, I used Spotlight, but for me, Namely is the way to go. It works just fine!

    Please keep it up! Thank you so much!

  5. Hi Amar

    Thanks for a great app. Update to leopard and found that the old Namely opens apps in the background.

    So i downloaded the new one, and all's perfect.

  6. Great app! I use it every day. Can't wait until 3.0

  7. Hi Amar,

    Please support binding any key ( single or combination, as well as double key taps, just like QS ) for invoking Namely.

    Thank you.

  8. Hi Amar,

    Please support binding any key ( single or combination, as well as double key taps, just like Quicksilver ) for invoking Namely.

    Thank you.

    P.S. I'm still Mac OS X Tiger user...

  9. I always modify the Info.plist included in Namely to hide it from the dock, worked with the old version in Tiger, works with the new version under Leopard, see:

  10. Hi!
    I'm using Namely everyday. This is really simple and quick launcher. I love it.
    I have requests for Namely 3.

    1. Support to run AppleScript files.
    2. Add "Ignore localaized application name" option.
    3. Continue to support Tiger.

    Thank you.

  11. Any update on Namely 3.0??

    I love Namely 2.5.1 and look forward to seeing what Namely 3.0 will offer!

    I use Launchy on my Windows PC and find that Launchy for WinXP and Namely for OSX prevent me from ever using the Windows Start button and/or the OSX Dock....thanks for making program launching in OSX so much better!!

    Namely ROCKS!

  12. I've been using namely for over six months, and I think it's fantastic. Normally I am not a keyboard fan - I love graphical interfaces, but this is great and I like the way it ignores folders.

  13. Any update on Namely 3.0?

  14. I second that comment... any news on Namely 3.0?

  15. I second that comment too... Namely 3.0???

  16. Do you still have plans to release Namely 3.0? Do you have any development updates at all? Thanks!

  17. Good alternative to Spotlight, but I don't see the option for a menu bar icon. Did I miss something?

  18. As Anonymous said:

    Great app! I use it every day. Can't wait until 3.0!

    If you need any help with this application i'd like to help you (if i can). I'm an absolute fan of this peace of software and i have given it to really everyone of my colleagues and friends.

    PLEAZE!!! think about an update. I can help you testing it on leopard/snow leopard.
    I like the simplicity an reliability of it the most!

    Chris from germany

  19. Namely is the fastest and easiest way to launch applications! I never *got* what people saw in Quicksilver. I've been using Namely since Tiger on my iBook through Leopard and Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro.

    I'm in tech' support, so on occasions when I need to look for or start an app' on a (monolingual) user's Mac I'll use Spotlight, but Namely is the coolest on my own.

    I have always used Ctrl+Alt+{RightArrow} to launch Namely, because Spotlight's launch key clashes with the change keyboard language function, so it's definitely not as accessible for application launching as Namely, with my shortcut. I also exclude "\Users" and Classic Applications, but that last one is just a hang-over from when there were Classic applications on my iBook! ;)

    There's only *one* thing I haven't been able to do, which prompted me to come here looking for an answer!

    Sometimes I forget about an application that I already have installed, because it has a name that (stupidly?) doesn't include anything about what it is!! For example, I've been using Bible programs with the word "Bible" in their title, such as "Online Bible" or "Bible Reader Free", but I forgot I even HAD MacSword!

    So, I wanted to create an alias for MacSword sitting in the same applications folder beside MacSword. I'd call it "MacSword Bible", but Namely doesn't index aliases for applications. After rebuilding the applications list it still wasn't there. I didn't want to rename the application, as that would break next time I updated it, and yes, a workaround would be to DUPLICATE the application, but I think I have some kind of phobia about duplicate files! :o ;) :b (Although evidently not a phobia about redundant or superfluous smileys!)