👤: I’ve heard of “FastTasks” before, but it wasn’t this app.
I’ve been developing FastTasks on and off since late 2012. It first started out as a Bash script that would let me run a number of different Terminal commands just by choosing a number from a menu (that Bash script is still available here, and works fine on 10.8).
I then started thinking that I could do a better job of it in AppleScript, but I soon realized that I really needed AppleScript-Objective C to give it a more usable interface. The result of that was the first FastTasks app, which is currently at 1.18 (available here; works on 10.6 thru 10.9 and later). I have no plans to continue development of that, but I will support current users on systems up to 10.9.3.
In 2014, I decided to re-write it in Cocoa (although much of that Cocoa is still calling the tasks via AppleScript and Bash commands through OSAScript, NSAppleScript and NSTask). I also wanted to turn it into a status bar app as that seemed to fit its rationale (speed) better than a lengthy-launching window-based app. The result was FastTasks 2 (available here; works on 10.9 and later).
👤: What’s behind the choice of tasks?
In all these iterations, my main motivation was to produce something because I had need of it. I wrote FastTasks because I use the tasks it offers on a regular basis. I admit that it’s a bit of an eclectic bunch of tasks, but there is some logic to it.
Originally, the tasks were all largely things that I would do in Terminal, and FastTasks began as an attempt to take the toil out of Terminal; in other words, to save myself the time and effort of memorising syntactically complex shell commands.
As the app has developed over time in response to my own needs and interests, it’s moved very much toward troubleshooting. That’s because I do a lot of beta testing of other people’s software (including pre-releases of OS X), and because I used to have a heavy presence on Apple Support Communities, helping people solve problems with their macs.
Those experiences have taught me a lot about what things cause a mac to misbehave, and the “where and how” of finding the culprits and solutions. The choice of tasks in FastTasks 2 continues to reflect what I have learned and continue to learn as the mac, OS X and 3rd-party software (both good and bad) continue to evolve.
👤: So, it’s free now, but for how long?
Having originally written the code for my own use, it always seemed obvious to offer it to others who had a similar need. With FastTasks 2, I did think about commercializing it at one point. However, Apple’s App Store restrictions more or less put the brakes on that. I continue to debate the pros and cons of offering a “lite” and a “pro” version, but at the moment, I do not have any plans to commercialize FastTasks 2 as my time and effort in terms of daily bread involve developing other software projects.
There is a ‘Donate’ button in the ‘Preferences’ panel for regular users who feel moved to offer financial gratitude :). Hopefully, that’ll be sufficient to keep me in coffee and snacks between the bread-and-butter of other work.
Thanks and enjoy.
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