FastScripts 3.0.2: Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes

November 24th, 2021

FastScripts 3.0.2 is now available on the FastScripts home page, or by selecting “Check for Update” from the FastScripts menu.

This update should provide a dramatic improvement for folks with a large number of scripts in their script library, as it includes a change to the way FastScripts checks for updates to items in the Scripts folder. Previously it would make a quick scan of the whole Scripts folder every time you click the menu bar icon, but as of this update it subscribes for change notifications from macOS and updates the content of the menu proactively so that it will be ready as soon as the icon is clicked.

The update also includes a few bug fixes and enhancements inspired by reports I’ve received since 3.0 was released. Please keep the feedback coming! Here’s the complete list of changes in this update:

  • Performance improvements for users with large script folders
  • Fix an issue that caused consecutive scripted alerts to get hidden from view
  • Improved keyboard navigation and text editing in the search field
  • Fix a rare crash that could occur after moving FastScripts’s location on disk
  • Fix an issue causing custom colored menu bar icons to appear enabled on secondary screens
  • Script progress now updates immediately even if the script blocks on a modal panel after updating it

If you enjoy FastScripts, please consider spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for your support.

FastScripts 3.0.1: Icon Update & Crash Fixes

November 15th, 2021

FastScripts 3.0.1 is now available on the FastScripts home page, or by selecting “Check for Update” from the FastScripts menu.

Response to the major 3.0 update last week has been fantastic! Thanks so much to everybody who has downloaded and started using the new version. This update corrects a few of the larger issues that were discovered and reported so far:

  • Fix the color and contrast of the app icon
  • Fix a crash at launch affecting users with cyclic aliases in their Scripts folder
  • Fix a crash that could occur when using arrow keys to navigate in search field
  • Restore text layout in display message panels with custom bounds
  • Improvements to the first-launch introduction panel

If you enjoy using FastScripts, please consider spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for your support.

FastScripts 3: Scriptlight Search, Parallel Execution, Progress Reporting, and More!

November 11th, 2021

Today I am excited to release FastScripts 3.0 to the general public. The app is available from the FastScripts home page, and is free to use with premium features disabled. Premium features can be unlocked for a one-time payment of $39.95 for new customers, or $19.95 for customers upgrading a paid license for FastScripts 2. Customers who purchased FastScripts 2 on or after January 1, 2021 are entitled to a free upgrade.

What’s New in FastScripts 3

FastScripts 3 brings features big and small. The biggest changes have to do with improved script execution, search functionality for your script library, and tracking the progress of running scripts.

Updated Icons

FastScripts 3 features a new app icon and a new menu bar icon. The app icon brings a fresh, modern look to the stylized “scroll and lightning bolt” image that has always represented the app, while the menu bar icon features a sleek monochrome design that looks right at home alongside Apple’s own icons.

FastScripts app icon featuring a 3D white scroll with a red lightning bolt emblem
Screenshot of FastScripts 3's icon in the macOS menu bar

Both icons were designed by Brad Ellis, who also designed the MarsEdit 4 icon. Thanks, Brad!

Parallel Script Execution

This update brings a fundamental change to the script execution infrastructure for the app, which will dramatically improve some workflows. Specifically, scripts are now run independently from the app and in their own application processes. This guarantees a consistent execution environment, and allows for an arbitrary number of scripts to run in parallel without impacting the performance of the app itself, or of other scripts being run.

Scriptlight: Search for Scripts

The search field at the top of the FastScripts Script Menu can be used to quickly locate a script from your script library:

screenshot of script menu searching feature

When the Script Menu is opened, the search field is made active by default, so any typing will immediately filter the menu contents to scripts that match your search. If the top result is the script you’re looking for, just press return to immediately run the script.

Progress Reporting

In tandem with the new support for parallel execution, FastScripts now supports the standard AppleScript progress updating mechanism. Scripts that report their progress will have timing and text feedback conveyed to users by way of the FastScripts menu:

screenshot of FastScripts menu with running script showing feedback with radial progress and text updates

This interface also makes it easy to stop scripts if they have run amok, or you’ve decided you don’t want them to run to completion.

Countless Other Improvements

This update is the culmination of years of work on various aspects of the app, many of which are not “headline” level changes. Little things, like the ability of the app to detect when you attempt to assign a shortcut that is already being used for another script, to improvements to the appearance of the app’s built in “display message” panels, to the long-awaited support for symbolic links in the script folder, will perpetually surprise and delight you!

Premium Features

FastScripts is free to use with premium features disabled. The number and depth of premium features may grow over time, but as of FastScripts 3’s debut, these are the features that are considered premium, and a description of how they behave when used without a paid license:

  • Keyboard shortcuts. When you invoke a script by keyboard shortcut, you will be reminded of the limitation in the free version. After dismissing the reminder, the script will proceed to run.
  • Built-in scripting additions. Features such as FastScripts’s “display message” command for presenting “HUD-style” messages, the new “open web page” scripting command, and other added utilities, are all premium features. When you use one of these features, they will still work, but a dialog will appear first to remind you that they are not included in the free version.

That’s it! All of the other great features of FastScripts are completely free to use, so if you don’t miss any of the premium features, feel free to use and enjoy the app to your heart’s content!

Upgrade from FastScripts 2

Customers who purchased a license for FastScripts 2 can use their FastScripts 2 license code to unlock discount pricing at the Red Sweater Store. Just click “I’m upgrading from a previous version” after adding FastScripts 3 to your cart.

If you have installed FastScripts 3 on your Mac, open the “Enter Registration Code” panel, where your existing FastScripts 2 license should be acknowledged. If it is, clicking the “Open Web Store” button will automatically open the Red Sweater Store page with your upgrade license entered for you.

Upgrade from the Mac App Store

This update marks the departure of FastScripts from the Mac App Store. Apple’s restrictions on advanced functionality made it impossible to release a completely updated version of the app that Apple would allow in the store.

If you purchased FastScripts 2 from the Mac App Store, you can upgrade to FastScripts 3 under the same terms as customers who purchased directly. I have developed a process for redeeming Mac App Store licenses for FastScripts 2 into Red Sweater Store licenses which can be used to unlock discounted pricing. You can read more about the process in this help article.

Black Ink 2.1.9: New York Times Improvements

October 31st, 2021

Black Ink 2.1.9 is now available on the Black Ink site and has been submitted for review to the Mac App Store.

This update addresses a bug with New York Times puzzle importing that caused today’s puzzle, October 31, 2021, to be imported wrong. If you already imported today’s puzzle you will need to delete the puzzle file from your Mac and then re-import the puzzle to get the correctly formatted puzzle.

The update also improves conversion of NYT puzzles by translating shaded puzzles to circled squares, and by improving compatibility with Across Lite.

Complete list of changes for this release:

  • Fix an issue importing October 31, 2021 NYT puzzle
  • NYT Puzzles with “shaded squares” now appear as circled squares
  • Restored compatibility of saved NYT puzzles with Across Lite

If you enjoy Black Ink, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, and spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for your support.