Hidden Productivity Secrets With Alfred

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Good developers are always looking for ways to be faster and to automate their workflows. Today, we present a series of workflows in Alfred that will boost your productivity and rock your world.

What Is Alfred?

For those who don’t know, Alfred1 is an award-winning Mac OS X app that saves time when you search for files online or on your machine. The new version 2 brings a series of improvements and, with the Powerpack2, enables you to create your own workflows.

Below you’ll find a curated list of workflows that will change the way you work.

Open With Sublime Text

One of my favorite features in Alfred is its powerful file and folder search capability. What if we take advantage of this to open files and folders in our favorite code editor — say, Sublime Text 33?

Looking for another code editor? See the “Extras7” wiki.

8

Can I Use… Workflow

In this era of HTML5, you need to check for browser support before implementing certain CSS properties and JavaScript APIs. You could do it by opening a browser tab, navigating to Can I Use…9, searching for a keyword and then checking for browser support. Or you could use this Alfred workflow.

alfred-caniuse-opt13

Dash Workflow

No one knows everything about a given programming language or framework. We occasionally need to check how to use a particular method. Recently, I found an amazing app, Dash14, that looks up documentation for different APIs locally, no Internet connection needed. With this workflow, you can search Dash by filtering the keyword for each language. Note that Dash is a free external application, so make sure to download it15 before using this workflow.

  • Dash Workflow16, developed by @willfarrell53271711
  • Download18
  • Triggers: dash, html, css, js, jquery, jqueryui, angularjs, bootstrap, svg, nodejs, php, redis, mysql, man, cpp, sass, compass, backbone, underscore, wordpress, drupal, django, python, python2, elisp, android, yui, ruby, rails, gem

alfred-dash-bs-opt19

alfred-dash-js-opt20

Terminal Finder

Some operations we prefer to do in the terminal, others in Finder. This workflow switches between them smoothly. Open the current Finder window in Terminal or iTerm, and vice versa.

alfred-fi-opt24

alfred-tf-opt.png25

Package Managers Workflow

Reusing code is an important part of software development, and these days we have a lot of solutions to distribute our code and to search for third-party packages. Need a Node.js module? Need a Grunt task? With this workflow, you can look up plugins and components for your favorite package managers in one place, quickly.

alfred-pkg-bower-opt29

alfred-pkg-grunt-opt

alfred-pkg-npm-opt30

Colors

Stop opening Photoshop every time you want to convert a color format. Convert HEX, RGB and HSL colors easily with this workflow.

alfred-colors-opt34

Jenkins Workflow

Unit testing is great, but running a test manually every time you change a line of code is crazy. To get a more complete picture of code quality, we need to run more tests, or at least automate the ones that we already run. That’s why continuous integration systems are so important. With this workflow, you can list Jenkins35 jobs and see their status.

alfred-jenkins-opt39

Open in FileZilla

FTP is still the most popular way to transfer files to a Web server. Here’s a workflow to help you connect through FileZilla40. Note that FileZilla is a free external application, so make sure to download it41 before using this workflow.

Looking for another FTP client? See the “Extras45” wiki.

alfred-fz-opt46

Domainr Workflow

Don’t miss another cool domain name. Find domains quickly using Domainr47’s API.

alfred-domain-opt51

Encode / Decode

Occasionally, we need to convert UTF-8 characters into HTML entities, or decode a URL. No need to waste time with those little things anymore. Transform query strings in base64, HTML, URL and UTF-8 with Encode / Decode.

687474703a2f2f662e636c2e6c792f6974656d732f324a336d3147314-e34363035304930453077336e2f616c667265642d656e636f64652e706e67-opt55

Font Awesome Workflow

Font icons are great. Just type something like <i class="my-icon-name"></i>, and there you have it. The problem is, we keep forgetting the exact class name of the icon we want, so we have to check for it in the documentation. Not anymore. Now we can search through Font Awesome56’s icon set with this workflow.

alfred-fonta-opt60

Source Tree Workflow

Some people prefer the terminal for Git commands, while others prefer a GUI. If you’re in the latter group, then the Source Tree61 workflow will help you list, search and open Git repositories. Note that Source Tree is a free external application, so make sure to download it62 before using this workflow.

Looking for another Git client? See the “Extras66” wiki.

alfred-st1-opt67

GitHub Workflow

If your favorite social network is GitHub6968, then you might want to check this one out. Easily open GitHub6968 repositories and more in the browser.

alfred-gh-1-opt73

alfred-gh-2-opt74

alfred-gh-3-opt75

StackOverflow Workflow

Seek computer programming answers, including from StackOverflow76, right in Alfred.

alfred-st-opt.png80

TimeZones Workflow

Nowadays, most of us work with teams distributed across the world. I try not to bother my coworkers outside of working hours; so, before pinging them, I always check the time in their country. This workflow is just perfect for that. Get a list of the current time in various cities around the world instantly.

alfred-tz-opt84

VirtualBox Control

Unfortunately, cross-browser compatibility is still a problem for developers. There’s no escaping it — you need to test that your website runs fine in different browsers and on different operation systems. One popular way to do this is to use a virtual machine, such as VirtualBox85, that simulates other operating systems. Note that VirtualBox is a free external application, so make sure to download it86 before using this workflow.

Looking for another virtual machine client? See the “Extras90” wiki.

alfred-vb-1-opt91

alfred-vb-2-opt92

Create Your Own!

All of these workflows are awesome and will be pretty useful for a lot of people. But each one of us works in a different way; so, go ahead create your own workflow. It’s pretty simple. To encourage you, let’s see how to create a workflow to automate searches on Smashing Magazine in less than 10 seconds.

custom-alfred

Want More?

Check out my collection of Alfred workflows93 on GitHub.

Plenty of more workflows can be found in the official Alfred forums94.

The End?

There you have it! A collection of great tricks to automate your work. Hopefully, some will speed up your workflow. Maybe they will even inspire you to share some of your hidden secrets of productivity.

If your favorite workflow isn’t on this list, please share it with us in the comments section below. Have any of the above changed your life? If so, let us know how!

(al, il, ea)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.alfredapp.com/
  2. 2 http://www.alfredapp.com/powerpack/
  3. 3 http://www.sublimetext.com/3
  4. 4 https://github.com/franzheidl/alfred-workflows/tree/master/open-with-sublime-text
  5. 5 https://github.com/franzheidl/
  6. 6 http://zno.io/RcAe
  7. 7 https://github.com/zenorocha/alfred-workflows/wiki/Extras#code-editors
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-subl-mini.png
  9. 9 http://caniuse.com
  10. 10 https://github.com/willfarrell/alfred-caniuse-workflow
  11. 11 https://github.com/willfarrell/
  12. 12 http://zno.io/Rcex
  13. 13 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-caniuse-mini.png
  14. 14 http://kapeli.com/dash
  15. 15 http://kapeli.com/dash
  16. 16 https://github.com/willfarrell/alfred-dash-workflow
  17. 17 https://github.com/willfarrell/
  18. 18 http://zno.io/Rc3p
  19. 19 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-dash-bs-mini.png
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-dash-js-mini.png
  21. 21 https://github.com/LeEnno/alfred-terminalfinder
  22. 22 https://github.com/LeEnno/
  23. 23 http://zno.io/RkU2
  24. 24 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-fi-mini.png
  25. 25 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-tf-mini.png
  26. 26 https://github.com/willfarrell/alfred-pkgman-workflow
  27. 27 https://github.com/willfarrell/
  28. 28 http://zno.io/RcdI
  29. 29 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-pkg-bower-mini.png
  30. 30 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-pkg-grunt-mini.png
  31. 31 https://github.com/TylerEich/Alfred-Extras/tree/master/Source/Colors
  32. 32 https://github.com/TylerEich/
  33. 33 http://zno.io/RcFz
  34. 34 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-colors-mini.png
  35. 35 http://jenkins-ci.org/
  36. 36 https://github.com/jeroenseegers/alfred-jenkins-workflow
  37. 37 https://github.com/jeroenseegers/
  38. 38 https://github.com/jeroenseegers/alfred-jenkins-workflow/raw/master/Jenkins.alfredworkflow
  39. 39 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-jenkins-mini.png
  40. 40 https://filezilla-project.org/
  41. 41 https://filezilla-project.org/
  42. 42 https://github.com/jeffmagill/alfred-open-in-filezilla
  43. 43 https://github.com/jeffmagill/
  44. 44 http://zno.io/RnTx
  45. 45 https://github.com/zenorocha/alfred-workflows/wiki/Extras#ftp
  46. 46 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-fz-mini.png
  47. 47 https://domai.nr/
  48. 48 https://github.com/dingyi/Alfred-Workflows/tree/master/Domainr
  49. 49 https://github.com/dingyi/
  50. 50 http://zno.io/RctP
  51. 51 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-domain-mini.png
  52. 52 https://github.com/willfarrell/alfred-encode-decode-workflow
  53. 53 https://github.com/willfarrell/
  54. 54 http://zno.io/RcCX
  55. 55 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/687474703a2f2f662e636c2e6c792f6974656d732f324a336d3147314e34363035304930453077336e2f616c667265642d656e636f64652e706e67-mini.png
  56. 56 http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awesome/
  57. 57 https://github.com/ruedap/alfred2-font-awesome-workflow
  58. 58 https://github.com/ruedap/
  59. 59 https://github.com/ruedap/alfred2-font-awesome-workflow/raw/master/Font%20Awesome.alfredworkflow
  60. 60 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-fonta-mini.png
  61. 61 http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/
  62. 62 http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/
  63. 63 https://github.com/zhaocai/alfred2-sourcetree-workflow
  64. 64 https://github.com/zhaocai/
  65. 65 http://zno.io/Ro6V
  66. 66 https://github.com/zenorocha/alfred-workflows/wiki/Extras#git-client
  67. 67 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-st1-mini1.png
  68. 68 http://github.com
  69. 69 http://github.com
  70. 70 https://github.com/gharlan/alfred-github-workflow
  71. 71 https://github.com/gharlan/
  72. 72 http://zno.io/RcPe
  73. 73 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-gh-1-mini.png
  74. 74 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-gh-2-mini.png
  75. 75 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-gh-3-mini.png
  76. 76 http://stackoverflow.com
  77. 77 https://github.com/xhinking/Alfred
  78. 78 https://github.com/xhinking/
  79. 79 http://zno.io/RceO
  80. 80 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-st-mini.png
  81. 81 http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/491-timezones-a-world-clock-script-filter-updated-to-v161/
  82. 82 http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/491-timezones-a-world-clock-script-filter-updated-to-v161/
  83. 83 http://zno.io/Rce5
  84. 84 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-tz-mini.png
  85. 85 https://www.virtualbox.org/
  86. 86 https://www.virtualbox.org/
  87. 87 https://github.com/aiyodk/Alfred-Extensions/tree/master/AlfredApp_2.x/VirtualBox-Control
  88. 88 https://github.com/aiyodk
  89. 89 http://zno.io/RyOE
  90. 90 https://github.com/zenorocha/alfred-workflows/wiki/Extras#virtual-machines
  91. 91 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-vb-1-mini.png
  92. 92 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/alfred-vb-2-mini.png
  93. 93 https://github.com/zenorocha/alfred-workflows/
  94. 94 http://www.alfredforum.com/forum/3-share-your-workflows/

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Zeno Rocha is the author of some cool open source projects like Browser Diet, jQuery Boilerplate and Wormz, a HTML5 Chrome Experiment. He used to work as a software developer at Petrobras (the largest company in Latin America) and Globoesporte.com (the most accessed sports website in Brazil). Now he's a Front-end Engineer at Liferay and co-founder of BrazilJS Foundation.

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  1. 1

    Amazing article!

    0
  2. 2
  3. 3

    Literally this post is only for Mac Users. Right?

    Though sublime Text has via Package Control some of these features available but I think PC users won’t benefit much here.

    0
  4. 4

    Nice one, Zeno!

    I actually use the terminal to perform some of these tasks, but it looks easier/faster with Alfred.
    I’ll give it a try ;)

    Thanks

    0
  5. 5

    Fantastic writeup. Is there one to start/stop a local webserver? (native apache not MAMP).

    0
  6. 7

    Love it!

    These work also great for me:
    – Google Translate. When you communicate a lot in a non-native language. I just use it for looking up words.
    http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/120-google-translate-workflow/

    – Image resizer
    http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/2213-edit-images-for-web-resize-crop-and-pad/?hl=%2Bimage+%2Bresize

    0
  7. 10

    Nice post!

    Is there any windows alternative?

    0
  8. 11

    I wrote a quick workflow to “slugify” strings. It’s really handy for creating git branch names off of ticket titles, or folder names, that sort of thing:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vr2zdhvfcya9ciy/slugify-strings.alfredworkflow

    0
  9. 13

    Luis Paulo Lohmann

    October 25, 2013 5:28 am

    Great article! This will be very helpful. Thanks!

    0
  10. 14

    I will allow myself, to advertise another extension for DataURI handling – Alfred2 DataUri – https://github.com/ajgon/alfred2-datauri .

    0
  11. 16

    Awesome man! these will definitely improve my workflow. Thank you very much!!!

    0
  12. 17

    Jumping on the self-promotion bandwagon, here’s a workflow I created to generate and paste in Bacon Ipsum from http://baconipsum.com/.

    http://cl.ly/0h3a3S3h2O12

    0
  13. 18

    Nice, i didn’t know some of them.
    Here are a few more extensions that I use:

    Display Last Changed Files:
    https://github.com/oderwat/alfredworkflows/blob/master/Last%20changed%20files.

    Kill Process (Instantly quit apps)
    https://github.com/nathangreenstein/alfred-process-killer

    Leo Dictionary (Translate between many languages)
    https://github.com/psistorm/alfredapp

    ShortenURL
    http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/935-workflowshorten-url-support-googl-bitly-tcn-jmp-isgd-vgd/

    AppCleaner (Deinstall apps with AppCleaner)
    http://www.aiyo.dk/alfredapp/

    Regex renamer (Rename finder files using RegEx)
    http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/1754-regex-renamer-10-batch-rename-files-or-folders-with-regular-expressions/

    Toggle Bluetooth on/off
    Bluetooth Toggle: http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/1047-bluetooth-toggle/

    FormatSize: Quickly show mm dimensions of standard paper sizes
    http://www.alfredforum.com/topic/2748-formatsize-%E2%80%94-shows-the-paper-size-mm-and-in-for-different-formats/

    0
  14. 19

    Thank you this is really great, and yes this is for mac only, some things are.

    0
  15. 20

    It is also worth pointing out that the workflow functionality is part of the Powerpack, which is not included with the free download of Alfred. A single license is about $30, but is worth every penny for this extra functionality not to mention supporting a great product.

    0
  16. 21

    Great article!

    0
  17. 22

    Thanks, great writeup! If any of you fine comment readers use Harvest for time-tracking, you might appreciate my Harvest workflow for Alfred: http://neilrenicker.com/articles/alfred-harvest

    Or you can download it from Github here: https://github.com/neilrenicker/alfred-harvest/releases

    0
  18. 23

    You could use Synapse, very useful (maybe with less tools included but have many plugins), on all Linux distributions.

    http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/77629.html

    0
  19. 24

    I have this amazing workflow where, with just typing “web XXX”, I create a folder, populate it with the contents of the Foundation framework and add it to Codekit, so I have a starting point with just a couple of keystrokes.

    0
  20. 25

    Excellent article, but the intro… I am a good developer, but I don’t want to get faster – paid by the hour ;-)

    0
  21. 26

    Fantastic article!!! I love Alfred even more. Thanks.

    0
  22. 27

    Mac only? Really? So much for touting this to customers. Platform independent is the 21st century. OS dependence is so web 1.0.

    0
  23. 30

    Yes, my favorite social network is GitHub ;)

    0
  24. 31

    Love Alfred. I have a workflow I created some time ago that allows you to quickly send a short email message to someone. Very convenient if you have to answer the phone and then let your wife know her friend called, without having to completely switch over to a full email program.

    I posted the workflow and python script to my blog

    http://deskew.com/blog/?p=179

    0
  25. 32

    I’m Github beginner, Color pickers is so GOOD.

    0
  26. 33

    Interesting article, just sad its mac only, or I would have used it. A quick mention to windows or linux alternative would have been cool.
    For people on windows, Find and Run Robot or Launchy are good alternatives, FARR especially is really fast.

    0
  27. 34

    I’ve been using the “free” version of Alfred for almost two years- Alfred was already offering me a huge leg up on just daily tasks. I had no idea that workflow even existed until this post.

    I promptly dropped $27 american because Alfred App deserves it. The color workflow and that encode/decode workflow are minutes off of my day. I had a mac widget that did these conversions, but Alfred always runs faster and is more responsive.

    I suppose now I just need a workflow to start up a node server on a port of my choosing and my life is complete.

    0
  28. 35

    Colors is absolutely awesome! Typing (e.g.) # starts not just the workflow: just press Enter and it will open the OSX Color Picker. The focus is on the picker, so simply hit the Space bar to get it instantly. Then Enter again to bring it back to Alfred and work on with it.

    0
  29. 36

    I wish you write the same article for mobile developers. finding those workflows are hard.

    0
  30. 37

    Check out my updated unit converter “Units”.

    http://time.designandsuch.com/units/
    it can convert various units, length, temperature, currencies etc.

    1
  31. 38

    Shawn Patrick Rice

    July 17, 2014 6:29 pm

    If you’re looking for a repository full of workflows and extensions, try http://www.packal.org.

    I also wrote a workflow that can keep any workflow that you download from Packal updated. Find that one here: http://www.packal.org/workflow/packal-updater

    0

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