FastScripts 3 Beta

February 11th, 2021

FastScripts is one of Red Sweater’s most beloved, albeit niche, apps. The Mac-based scripting utility adds a menu bar icon for running scripts, and supports attaching keyboard shortcuts to them. Like many customers, I’ve been running it on my Mac literally every day for … seemingly forever.

Although the app has been continuously developed over the past twenty years or so, and has received many updates, it’s been a long time since I released a major upgrade. I went looking through the Red Sweater Blog archives to try to discover when FastScripts 2.0 shipped, and I couldn’t find a post. Why? It shipped before 2005, the year when this blog debuted. I had to resort to searching my email archives, where I discovered that FastScripts 2.0 was released on June 10, 2004. That release inroduced keyboard shortcuts and a number of new preferences to the app.

Over the years I’ve had a lot of ideas about how FastScripts might evolve, and have worked on new features intermittently. As part of my recent decision to reinvest in Red Sweater, I decided to focus on finally shipping some of those features in a major 3.0 upgrade. Today, I’d like to share what I’ve got so far, as a public beta:

Download FastScripts 3.0 Beta
(Free of charge until public release – Requires macOS 10.14.6 or later)

The major changes in this upgrade are the introduction of a search feature so you can easily sift through all the scripts in the menu, and a major overhaul to the way scripts are executed so that multiple scripts can be fired off in rapid succession without interfering with one another. The upgrade also includes a number of other changes. Here’s the complete list:

  • Scriptlight: quickly search your scripts from the FastScripts menu
    • Currently matches based on script title, may expand to match content
  • Scripts are always run in a separate process
    • Low latency execution by priming script running process
    • No limit to running simultaneous scripts
    • Scripts can’t “hang up” the main app or cause it to crash
  • FastScripts scripting changes
    • New “open web page” command streamlines visiting favorite URLs in whatever browser is active
    • FastScripts’s own hierarchies of scripts are now described as “script collections”
    • Improved the layout of text in the “display message” message panels
  • Other improvements
    • Conflicts are now detected when setting keyboard shortcuts for scripts
    • Keyboard shortcuts are now disabled while editing a script’s keyboard shortcut
    • Symbolic links are now supported in script folder hierarchies

Apart from the changes listed above, I hope to soon offer the ability to monitor and cancel long-running scripts are launched from FastScripts.

This upgrade will address a lot of of minor usability limitations of FastScripts 2 while also setting the groundwork for continued evolution of the app going forward. If you run scripts on your Mac, I hope you’ll consider giving it a try!