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Apps we can't live without: DragThing

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:30 AM

Post your comments for Apps we can't live without: DragThing here
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#2 User is offline   ObiWandreas 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:02 AM

The Launcher, it should be noted, originated with System 7.5, not 9.

Back in those days, I used a combination of the Launcher, as well as the old trick of putting the Applications folder in the Apple Menu.

Today I have frequent items in the dock, everything else in the launchpad. More often than not I find myself simply opening the document from the Finder and letting the appropriate app open. Otherwise, I use Spotlight as a launcher, since keyboard is much faster than trackpad.

This looks like a nice utility, but it also looks like there's just too much going on at once. I prefer to keep things simple.
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#3 User is offline   gren 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

How does this work with apps on multiple desktops?
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#4 User is offline   DogHouseDub 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

+1 for DragThing

I now have it set up as a significantly advanced version of the LaunchPad.

I used BetterTouchTool to customize my trackpad. Now a 4-finger tap triggers the "bring DragThing to front" hotkey.

Then I made my primary DragThing dock very large, so it takes up 1/2 my screen. I set DragThing to Hide after launching an item.

Tap 4 fingers and DragThing covers the screen - click an app, document or server, and that item opens and DragThing fades to the background. I've found this to be a very useful workflow.
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#5 User is offline   DogHouseDub 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

if you like launching with Spotlight, you'll love launching with Alfred. Download and give it a shot.
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#6 User is offline   macmath17 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

I have also long had a license to DragThing. I have a second monitor; with SecondBar and DragThing I can have a Menubar and a Dock on both monitors. *Wonderful* to have equal dock/menu access on both monitors instead of traveling such long distances with the cursor to do so. I also use it much the way that Chris Breen described it here.
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#7 User is offline   TimmySlapstick 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

I've been using DragThing since about 1997. It is still, by far, the best launcher (and more) available. I emailed James over a year ago and told him he should release a version for the Mac App Store because it would crush everything else out there. He wasn't really keen on doing that, though. Unfortunate, because I think it could really become popular. It is kind of fading away without any publicity, even though he keeps it updated.
Actually, one of the main reasons I like it is because of a little preference that you can check that "Brings all windows to the front when switching". This is how OS 9 worked and how OS X does not. I hate when I click on the desktop and my Finder windows don't come forward. Or when I click on a Photoshop window and only that window comes forward. A ridiculous way of working and I don't know why Apple doesn't fix it. In my opinion, OS X is broken because of that lack of usability. At what point when I click on an app would I NOT want all of its windows to come forward?
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#8 User is offline   b6gp4XwMpCq 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:19 PM

Quote

I hate when I click on the desktop and my Finder windows don't come forward. Or when I click on a Photoshop window and only that window comes forward. A ridiculous way of working and I don't know why Apple doesn't fix it. In my opinion, OS X is broken because of that lack of usability. At what point when I click on an app would I NOT want all of its windows to come forward?


Not necessarily. OS X's behavior is handy when, for example, I want to leave one of a few TextEdit window open next to one of my Safari windows. In that case I don't want all Safari windows to come front to obscure my TextEdit window which might happen to be on the same spot as one of the Safari windows.

If I want all windows to come to front, I simply click that app in the Dock. This brings all open windows to front.

One's preference over another doesn't mean something should be considered broken.
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#9 User is offline   b6gp4XwMpCq 

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  Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

I have to second ObiWandreas on this DragThing article. I used to use DragThing, I was a huge fan of it and I used it on both OS 9 and OS X. This article reminds me of how I used to use it… I used a lot of the same tricks explained in this article. But as I learned to use all the native features that came with the OS more effectively and became more creative in using them, I ended up removing DragThing and never missed it since. In fact the same is true for other system add-ons and lots of shareware/apps that I've bought and used in the past. I found that it was much better to just keep things simple and minimal overall both from efficiency and system maintenance standpoint in the long run. There are many tools and features seemingly useful and nice at first, but I found most of them to be just gimmicks that are optional, not truly essential, and not all that time-saving. DragThing is no exception to this.

In my experiences, DragThing has always required a lot of configuration effort to make it truly useful, and it required me to maintain it as I add/remove things on my Mac. Furthermore, it's just one more thing I needed to deal with whenever the OS gets updated. DragThing was pretty good with OS transitions when I used it but there were still glitches here and there that caught more of my attentions than it deserved. And not to mention you are at the mercy of a single developer for prompt updates in order to maintain your DragThing workflow. All this for just having more docks and even more keyboard shortcuts that I have to memorize…? To me, the ROI wasn't good at all at the end.

I'm not a novice user, I do many advanced stuff and use more than a few apps all day long on my Mac and yet Finder, Dock, Launchpad and Spotlight has been sufficient for quickly launching apps and accessing documents.
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#10 User is offline   Stempnakowski 

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  Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:01 AM

Dropbox, then Launchbar and TextExpander. With Launchbar I hardly ever use the Dock.
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#11 User is offline   richlove 

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  Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:00 AM

I use Icon Pallet.
$4.99 in the Mac App Store
https://itunes.apple...412468988?mt=12

Less options than Drag Thing but much easier to set up.
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#12 User is offline   onceknewbetter 

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  Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:33 AM

Still using Drag Thing as well, I have minimized Apples Dock as small as I can get it and never use it.
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#13 User is offline   jeremybechtold 

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  Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:24 AM

Quote

If I want all windows to come to front, I simply click that app in the Dock. This brings all open windows to front. One's preference over another doesn't mean something should be considered broken.


AMEN! and like you said, the functionality exists to handle both preferences. instead of clicking the dock (I honestly cannot tell you the last time I used the dock except for trying to force quit a microsoft app that takes over a minute to launch when I meant to drag the doc to textedit's mini icon in my toolbar of every finder window). I use command-tab to invoke the app switcher when I want all windows from an app.

and while I personally do not use it, I believe an app called "witch" also allows the functionality of both preferences in an app switcher replacement that shows apps, open windows, and thumbnails in case that window name isn't descriptive enough...

and I also second the use of an app launcher. I prefer quicksilver, but friends use spotlight, alfred, and the rest. everyone has their preference. understanding how things get used helps to explain that things might not be "broken" but rather intended functionality with the ability to serve everyone who uses it.
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#14 User is offline   TimmySlapstick 

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  Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:03 PM

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If I want all windows to come to front, I simply click that app in the Dock. This brings all open windows to front. One's preference over another doesn't mean something should be considered broken.


But it is broken. There is no key command to bring the Finder to the front with all its windows. You have to command+tab through ALL of your open apps. This is tedious if you always have a lot of apps open. It is also tedious if I am on my huge 27" iMac and have to move my mouse way down to the bottom of the screen every single time I want the Finder to come to the front. With DragThing, I move the mouse a couple pixels away from the window I'm working in and click on the desktop. Boom, there's all my Finder windows (or whatever other app window I click on).
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