This one is a bit different from the usual articles we post. We don’t normally put up requests or notices, but Mighty Box’s potential as a QuickSilver replacement – coupled with our desire to wipe the smug smirk off our OSX-toting friends – makes this a special case. This is a request from me, a technology writer, and not the developer of this program.
Anyone who uses a Mac has not experienced its full potential till they install QuickSilver (for those unaware, read an awesome testimonial here). Everyone agrees that this incredible launcher is leagues ahead of counterparts on Windows, with only Gnome Do coming close to it on Linux. A lot of Windows programs have tried and failed to match up to the robust QuickSilver, including Launchy, Skylight, Colibri and Dash.
It’s perplexing that the larger developer community of Windows can’t come up with a competitor. I have been looking for something to emulate QuickSilver for a long time, and after a lot of trials and errors, I stumbled across Mighty Box. It’s by far the most promising replacement I have seen, and the only one to properly implement the ‘object-action’ interface of QS.
What can you do with it? For starters, it's a great application launcher. But its real prowess lies in controlling your PC from a unified console. Keyword enthusiasts will absolutely love this.
For example, Mighty Box lets you create a new text file and save it on your hard drive. But it can also let you add text to that file without even opening it!
Want to send an email? You could potentially do it without ever opening your browser or mail application, and it would still let you add attachments, filter contacts, etc. It could basically do everything QuickSilver can, which is control every single aspect of your computing experience.
Here’s a Flickr gallery of screenshots of the program in action, and a video of the same: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntqL1Au3VeU
For those interested, the alpha version of the program can be downloaded and tried out at the Mighty-Wiki page. If you can, do try to look beyond the bugs and see the potential for this software.
But Mighty Box – a self-proclaimed QuickSilver knock-off – has a lot of bugs, and hasn’t been updated for two years now. To find the reason behind this abandonment of such an amazing app, I tracked down Eyal Wiener, the developer of Mighty Box.
“Having an app like QuickSilver available on Windows/Linux was a dream of mine too. I think QS is genius,” Wiener says. Some readers may have used JQuicksilver in the past, which is what has now evolved into Mighty Box.
“At first, I started working on JQuicksilver, a cross-platform, Java-driven Quicksilver. After four months of development, people completely turned it down saying it was Java-slow,” he recounts. “Half a year later, I decided to rebuild the core from scratch. I buried myself into Quicksilver source, which was at that time published (a month before QS died), and I studied the architecture of QS. Then I completely rewrote the source of Mighty Box in C#. It was much, much better than JQuicksilver, and with the potential to be better than QS.”
“I made Mighty Box open-source, and that’s where I figured other developers will jump in and help. But no one helped, and this is a very big application – one person can't handle it alone. I was very disappointed, and eventually stopped working on it after no one offered help,” Wiener says.
But Wiener is still keen to start work on it, if some developers were to show interest.
“I wish someone will do something with Mighty Box. I would help, but only if I see a true intention from developers. Although it’s very limited, even Gnome Do on Linux has a team of six core developers and a large community of plug-in devs,” he says.
To this end, Wiener has given the source code (hosted on Launchpad) and a ‘getting started’ guide for developers interested in working on Mighty Box.
This request isn’t from Wiener. It’s from a tech enthusiast with no programming skills whatsoever, who would love to see this application come to Windows. My job entails writing about technology news, making sure it’s interesting enough to get readers and hits for the site. These days, journalists don’t often get to do something about the ideals we started our jobs with. Some opportunities, like this one, come along and we try to do what we can with the resources that we have.
If you know any developer who would be interested in helping Wiener take the Mighty Box project forward, or if you are a developer yourself, please take a look at the source code and guide. If you could forward this article to whoever you think can help, or if you can think of any other way to help yourself, I’d appreciate it.
Wiener himself can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mighty Box homepage: http://mb.eyalw.com
Mighty Box download: http://code.launchpad.net/mb/trunk/mb-0.1-alpha/+download/MightyBox0.1alpha.rar
Mighty Box developer’s page: https://launchpad.net/mb
Mighty Box developer’s guide: http://mb.eyalw.com/wiki/index.php?title=Getting_Started
Mighty Box screenshots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37627929@N03/sets/72157617129134748/
Mighty Box video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntqL1Au3VeU