Scott Hanselman

I'm in love, and her name is "SlickRun" - The CommandLine in a Windows World

September 4, '04 Comments [9] Posted in ASP.NET | Tools
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A while back (I mentioned this to a few folks, so there's prior art) I started working on the "ZenBar."  The basic idea was that I spend a HELL of a lot of time on in the Run Dialog (Window-R) or at the command line using CD and Tab Auto-Completion.  It's just faster for me to use a hotkey or command line to move around for many things than use the mouse.  ZenBar was to be simple. A floating, partially transparent text box that would index my world and give me autocompletion for all things. It was a little like ActiveWords and a little like Dave's Search Bar (both are great, by the way, but I just wasn't willing to LIVE in them.

But, as projects go, I got about 40% done then stopped.  Too many other things. 

Yesterday I checked out Mike G's Daily Grind via Tim Marman and HOLY CRAP.  Someone wrote it. They wrote it better than I could have, and they did it in Delphi. 

It's SlickRun, and it rocks my world. Here's why, and what I did to fit it into my life.

  • It's a resizable, floating text box. I changed the font to Lucida Console, Bold 14 point.  When you're running 1600x1200 you like a larger font.
  • It does autocomplete for commands and for directories. You can type C:\doc and you're in documents and settings. Awesome.
  • You can setup MagicWords like "Mail" for Outlook, or Google to search, etc.
  • This is the BEST: You an have Multi-MagicWords like "morning' that will launch six web pages, your Mail, and Microsoft Money.  The "Morning" Macro.  Fabulous.
  • It's an inline calculator.
  • It can be bound to a Hotkey - I've got it bound to Window-Q, and it can Grab Window-R if you like.
  • It includes Jot notes for quick notes, easier than notepad, less hassle than a yellow sticky.

What a wonderful thing.  Check out SlickRun. It's fast and small.  Faster than Dave's Search, and easier than ActiveWords. I shall delete my half-assed attempt at the ZenBar immediately and bow to Bayden Systems.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Saturday, 04 September 2004 18:48:42 UTC
What do you mean it's an inline calculator? I've been using it for a few months, but never found that feature
Saturday, 04 September 2004 18:49:45 UTC
Dave's was a little pokey (slow). I'd right click, and wait. I'd type, hit enter, and wait. SlickRun has audible feedback so you know that it's heard you immediately.

I didn't think about it, but it IS faster to setup, but that's not really important.
Scott Hanselman
Saturday, 04 September 2004 18:58:32 UTC
Type =32+32 and see. It's the prefix'ed "equals" that makes it work.
Scott Hanselman
Sunday, 05 September 2004 03:13:18 UTC
Scott, FYI standard "Address" toolbar of taskbar (which is part of Windows since like Win95) has lots of that. including directories, auto-complete etc. you can type in c:\win, or winword, or gmail. in my rustic way i have done my "magic words" just as set .cmd files
Max S.
Sunday, 05 September 2004 09:18:05 UTC
Scott-- Thanks much for the mention! Please feel free to email me any future suggestions.

In response to some of the notes: The Inline Calculator was added a few days ago. It's pretty simple and I might do more with it shortly.

(Sadly, the "Address" bar in Windows doesn't have the same autocomplete behavior used by SlickRun, which was carefully tuned over the last few years. Dave's toolbar was always pretty cool and I'm still looking at eventually integrating SlickRun into the Taskbar in the same way. Unfortunately, that would make things like "drag and drop text to slickrun to store in Jot" much harder to implement.)

If anyone out there is interested in a scripting model for SlickRun, please let me know via mail what you'd use this for; I'm looking into this lately.

Thanks again!
Sunday, 05 September 2004 09:18:07 UTC
Scott-- Thanks much for the mention! Please feel free to email me any future suggestions.

In response to some of the notes: The Inline Calculator was added a few days ago. It's pretty simple and I might do more with it shortly.

(Sadly, the "Address" bar in Windows doesn't have the same autocomplete behavior used by SlickRun, which was carefully tuned over the last few years. Dave's toolbar was always pretty cool and I'm still looking at eventually integrating SlickRun into the Taskbar in the same way. Unfortunately, that would make things like "drag and drop text to slickrun to store in Jot" much harder to implement.)

If anyone out there is interested in a scripting model for SlickRun, please let me know via mail what you'd use this for; I'm looking into this lately.

Thanks again!
Monday, 06 September 2004 06:18:33 UTC
Have you ever looked at a REAL command-line on stereoids? Give TakeCommand a chance! ;-) You'll never EVER wanna go back to a PC without it - I promise!

http://www.jpsoft.com - it's what CMD.exe should have been in the first place - highly configurable, with aliases, shortcuts, toolbar, and much more - give it a try - it's highly addictive for any real command-line junkie! I'm hooked.......
Wednesday, 08 September 2004 13:42:50 UTC
For a REAL command line, I was going to suggest JPSoft's 4NT. I used their Take Command for awhile, but I've used 4NT and 4DOS for 10 years or more and it is incomparable as a command shell. The stuff listed in the first few messages is only the beginning of what it can do. It has an incredibly powerful scripting engine, shortcuts, aliases, commandline editing, everything you could want and more.

As an adjunct, I'd also suggest the incredible PowerPro - an unimaginably powerful Windows tool that just does everything. I've been using it for years and years and have only begun to scratch the surface. It used to be called Stilleto, as a shareware product, but he recently has gone freeware with it.

http://www.ppro.org
Monday, 13 September 2004 07:09:14 UTC
Did you know that DOSKEY still ships with Windows XP and can be used for a lot of macro-ing functionality? See http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home/using/productdoc/en/doskey.asp. As for calculations, did you know that the SET command can do some rather crude ones for you using its /A switch? Check out http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home/using/productdoc/en/set.asp for more info. OK, they don't compete with every feature of SlickRun, but sometimes it's good to know what's there just out of the box.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.