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Summary:

Recently I was lucky enough to grab the attention of the venerable Quicksilver developer, Alcor, and ask him some questions about the OS X-altering program he conceived. If you haven’t heard of Quicksilver, or don’t know what it does, or haven’t tried it yet, stop right now! Read this, this.
Ok, welcome back. So I got to ask some questions about Quicksilver, it’s background, Alcor’s intentions with the application, and so on. But instead of me babbling about the background of the interview, just read what he had to say:

The Apple Blog:
I LOVE QS. I’m honestly giddy and like a little school girl when I gush about Quicksilver to others. It’s just so natural when you get used to it. I don’t know any other application that people would be this gung-ho about. How does it feel to be the creator of such a groundbreaking app with such a cult following? And What’s it like to be responsible for changing the way so many people use their computer?
Alcor:
It is nice to have people so passionate about it. The community that has grown up around it is probably the greatest reward. In the end, the users are the ones who do most of the innovating. We are just providing tools.

Recently I was lucky enough to grab the attention of the venerable Quicksilver developer, Alcor, and ask him some questions about the OS X-altering program he conceived. If you haven’t heard of Quicksilver, or don’t know what it does, or haven’t tried it yet, stop right now! Read this, this.
Ok, welcome back. So I got to ask some questions about Quicksilver, it’s background, Alcor’s intentions with the application, and so on. But instead of me babbling about the background of the interview, just read what he had to say:

The Apple Blog:
I LOVE QS. I’m honestly giddy and like a little school girl when I gush about Quicksilver to others. It’s just so natural when you get used to it. I don’t know any other application that people would be this gung-ho about. How does it feel to be the creator of such a groundbreaking app with such a cult following? And What’s it like to be responsible for changing the way so many people use their computer?
Alcor:
It is nice to have people so passionate about it. The community that has grown up around it is probably the greatest reward. In the end, the users are the ones who do most of the innovating. We are just providing tools.

The Apple Blog:
What gave you the idea for QS originally? I wasn’t around the OS X scene when QS/LaunchBar/Butler came out, so I’m wondering if those were motivation to make a better tool, or if it was born of your own light bulb going off.
Alcor:
Quicksilver is old, OS9 old, but those are the dark years of AppleScript, and we don’t talk about them. OS X brought it back to life as Cocoa, and then things just got out of hand.

The Apple Blog:
If I understand correctly, you were long the sole developer of QS, but there’s a small group working on it now. Who are the other Wiz’s behind the curtain?
Alcor:
There are probably a dozen plug-in developers, and a handful of other developers/advisors who contribute to the design and functionality of the core. It is a mix of old friends and people who I met along the way.

The Apple Blog:
There have been discussions on the Blacktree forums about Spotlight making QS null/void. QS just seems to be a well-rounded tool and therefore much more than Spotlight, which is more focused (pardon the pun). What would you tell people who think that (or wonder if) QS will fall by the wayside when Tiger is released?
Alcor:
For many people, spotlight will replace QS. Mostly those who just use it for searching. We are not interested in them. For the others, QS will use spotlight in a few different places, a catalog source, actions for searching folders, and a separate search
mode.

The Apple Blog:
The CoreImage technology stands to offer so much to app developers on the OS X platform. Can you tease us with any specifics we can look forward to when Tiger comes out?
Alcor:
Whatever I can pull off :) Tapping into those effects has been pretty tough so far.

The Apple Blog:
Last Tiger related question… Will you leave a 10.3.x version of QS for download while offering a new and regularly updated 10.4 compatible version? Or will the 10.3 versions go away?
Alcor:
We will post a unrestricted 10.3 version when a 10.4-only one is released.

The Apple Blog:
It seems like you put a lot of functionality into QS that isn’t documented/explicitly noted. I think it’s like every other week I’m
finding something myself, or something in a blog that I hadn’t known before. (I believe it was in an email exchange with Merlin Mann that he referred to QS as “Digital Legos”.) Do you do that because it’s beta and you’re still working on it, or so people can stumble onto it and have that awesome “ah-ha!” moment?
Alcor:
Partly because it is nice to see people discover things, partly because I don’t know they exist. At this point, trying to get everything documented is not worthwhile, many features will look very different by the time they are done.

The Apple Blog:
What do your most commonly used Triggers do?
Alcor:
Only hotkey I use is F8 to play whatever my current song obsession is, but I do use mouse triggers for Exposé. I have a bunch of others, but I don’t want to give away any surprises.

The Apple Blog:
One of the few apps I’m in awe of on the Windows platform is ActiveWords. I’m sure by this point you’re aware of it on some level. How would you compare QS to AW?
Alcor:
They have fairly similar goals, both allow launching and shortcuts, but AW is text based, so can take advantage of that to allow abbreviation expansion and a bunch of other neat features.

The Apple Blog:
I love free software (who doesn’t?) but would gladly pay for QS, as I know many, many others would too. So why do you do it for nothing? What charities do you normally forward your QS donations to?
Alcor:
It may be worth something someday. For now, it is far, far from done. Donations from 2004 were given to a school endowment set up in memory of a friend of mine (and the other dev’s). 2005 will be decided later this summer.

The Apple Blog:
What prompted you to start developing software for the Mac in the first place – hobby or profession?
Alcor:
Hobby, totally. Still is. I started by writing iTunes-LAME in applescript, because i needed a good way to encode my music, later I learned Cocoa so that I could rewrite it.

The Apple Blog:
When you’re not slaving away on QS, what takes up the rest of your time?
Alcor:
The plug-ins.

Thanks for your time Alcor. I hope I didn’t take too much time away from your Quicksilver development work!

By Nick Santilli

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  1. Great Job..very helpful..
    Thank You!!

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