Searching Google Drive with an Alfred workflow

If you use Google Drive on macOS, chances are Spotlight isn't indexing your File Stream paths. This long-standing limitation is a problem because if Spotlight can't find those files, neither can Alfred.

Or can it?

Alfred uses Spotlight's indexing, so it sees what it sees. By default. With Alfred's Workflows you get greater flexibility of results and powerful combinations: if you'd care to do it, you could even use Workflows to build a mini private Spotlight targeting a specific set of files.

So that's what we did.

The Google Drive Workflow has gradually evolved with the help of our users on the forum. It relies on standard tools to create a database of your Google Drive's local structure without requiring futzing with API keys or complex configurations.

Using the Workflow

After you download and install the Workflow, invoke Alfred and run :gdlaunchd. This will create the initial cache and load a job to redo it every day. The build will take a while, depending on how many files you store in Google Drive.

:gdlaunchd

When it's done, you will see a notification.

notification

And that's it, you're ready to go!

Use gd and gdf to find your files and folders.

gd

gd fran

The Workflow has sane defaults but does allow a degree of customisation. See the instructions for details on the options.

Tutorial: Share your Workflows Using GitHub

GitHub Octocat

The community of Alfred workflow creators spans the world, and the breadth of the Mac ecosystem.

To help new workflow creators share their work, Vítor Galvão, long-time Alfred workflow creator and community member, wrote this guide to sharing your workflows on GitHub.

First, we'll take a look at how to host your workflows on GitHub, which is free, then at the fun part - sharing your workflows with your friends and colleagues.

Part 1: Hosting the Workflow

Typical file hosting services are rife with tradeoffs, usually offering short-lived links. Ideally you'll want to share your Workflow somewhere free of transfer and storage costs, with an established reputation, and that allows you update to your work.

GitHub ticks all the boxes, but it may be daunting to know where to start if you're not a technical person. We'll demystify the process.

  1. Signup for GitHub. You'll set up your email, password, and username.
    • If you're redirected to a "Welcome to GitHub" or similar page where they ask about you or your team, feel free to ignore it.
  2. Create a new repository (the page where your Workflow will live).
    • Set Repository name to something short but descriptive. Example: alfred-search-wikipedia.
    • Under Initialize this repository with, tick the Add a README file box.
  3. You will be redirected to your Workflow's repository page on GitHub. Save the URL in the address bar, it's what you'll share with other people.
  4. Open Alfred Preferences, go to Workflows and locate yours.
  5. Right-click your Workflow in the list and Open in Finder. Copy it to your Desktop.

IMPORTANT: If you're not using the Finder's Column View, you'll be looking at the files of your Workflow. In that case, go to the menubar and click GoEnclosing Folder () to ensure you're selecting the folder of the Workflow.

  1. Right-click your Workflow in Alfred Preferences again and Export.... Save it to your Desktop.
  2. Drag and drop both into the browser window.
  3. You will be redirected. Press Commit changes at the bottom of the new page.
  4. Redirected again, to the main page. On the bottom division you'll see a preview of your README.md. At the moment it contains the name of your repository in big letters. Click the pencil icon to the right to edit it.
  5. The file uses Markdown. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it and write normally. Describe what your Workflow does and how to use it. Use the About this Workflow text as inspiration.
  6. Click Commit changes at the bottom.

You're done! It gets easier with practice. Learning how to edit your work is left as an exercise to the reader, as are more advanced tasks like releases. GitHub has text and video guides to help you.

Part 2: Sharing the Workflow

Finally, the easy part. Share your Workflow on the official Alfred Forums. For the description, get inspiration from the GitHub's README. Include the link you saved in step 3.

To be extra helpful, include a direct download of the Workflow. To get the link, click the .alfredworkflow file in your repository's main page and copy it from Download or View Raw.

That's it! You've learned the basics of sharing a Workflow for prosperity. Thank you for being part of the community.

Alfred 4.6 Released: Ready for macOS Monterey

macOS Monterey header

Next week, macOS Monterey will be released to the general public, after a few months of beta.

In preparation, we released Alfred 4.6 on Friday, an update which includes compatibility enhancements for macOS Monterey. We've been actively using Monterey for a few months, with Alfred running beautifully on this new version of macOS.

Workflows and PHP

One key difference with macOS Monterey is that PHP is no longer bundled by default.

If you install PHP (e.g. via homebrew), most PHP-based workflows will continue to work without an issue, as the workflow script objects in Alfred 4.6 have been updated to be aware of alternative bin paths. If the workflow developer has hard coded paths within their workflow, you'll need to seek out an updated version on our forum or the creator's site.

If you are using workflows that use PHP and haven't installed it, when the workflow is run, you'll see a pop-up with the option to open the workflow to edit it or disable it.

We've also updated the built-in workflows for Google Suggest and Amazon Suggest to use ruby instead of php; If you use these, delete them and re-install them from the Workflows > [+] > Getting Started menu.

For help with your workflows, PHP and Alfred in general, you can join us on Alfred Forum where you'll find our fantastic community of workflow creators and Alfred users of all levels of experience.

Update to Alfred 4.6 today

You can update to Alfred 4.6 in Alfred's Update tab, or download it from alfredapp.com.

We recommend using Alfred 4 with macOS Monterey, so if you have an older Powerpack license, you can upgrade at a discount. Not yet taking advantage of all the amazing Powerpack features Alfred has to offer? You can grab a new Single User or Mega Supporter license to get started!

Universal Actions: Fine Control over Workflow Integration

Alfred's new Universal Actions feature includes Workflow Keyword Input and Script Filter objects by default as a convenient way to get started with actions. In many cases, it's preferable to have finer control over which Workflow objects integrate with Universal Actions, and how they connect to your workflow.

This is where the Universal Actions Trigger object comes in.

Universal Action Trigger in Workflow

Place this object in your workflow and give it a name. Connect this to any node in the workflow, and this action is now available to use in the Universal Actions panel.

You can disable the default Keyword Input and Script Filter from being added by default in Alfred's Features > Universal Actions > Actions preferences.

Universal Action Preferences

Take a look at the built-in Getting Started > Universal Actions workflow from the + button in Alfred's Workflow preferences to see the above example in action.

Alfred 4.5 Released: Universal Actions, a Whole New Way to Use Alfred

Alfred 4.5 is an exciting milestone, bringing you a whole new way to use Alfred!

With the new Universal Actions feature, you can select text in your browser, a URL in an email or a file on your Desktop and pop up Alfred's Actions panel to choose what to do with your content. Start anywhere and jump into action.

Universal Actions preferences

Alfred includes over 60 default actions, such as copying to your Clipboard, saving as a Snippet, searching the web, showing recent documents for an app or extracting URLs from a block of text.

Depending on the result type you're showing Actions for, Alfred will intelligently narrow down the list to show relevant actions. For example, when you choose a file or a block of text, you only see the actions that can be used on that item type.

You can access Universal actions from:

  • Your Alfred results, including File Navigation and Clipboard History, where you can use the right arrow (or your own set Actions shortcut) to show the list of available actions
  • From your Desktop or anywhere on your Mac, by selecting a file, URL or some text and using your Actions hotkey
  • From within a workflow, using the Action in Alfred object

Over the next few days, we'll share a few ways to interact with Universal Actions, including integrating them with your workflows.

You can grab the latest release in Alfred 4's Update tab, or by downloading it from alfredapp.com. Curious to see everything that's been added? Take a look at the change log for the full list of new features and improvements.

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Searching Google Drive with an Alfred workflow

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