At one of the Toronto Perl Mongers meetings Olaf was demonstrating something or other and during the demonstration he used Alfred to search metacpan. I’ve been a LaunchBar user for a long time, but the Alfred plugin offered auto completion, something my LaunchBar search didn’t have. He proceeded to show a couple of the other plugins (which I don’t recall at this point) and I decided I needed to try it out too.

I had a few issues with it. I would often have to correct my DuckDuckGo searches because the auto complete would include extra words that I didn’t want. On other occasions the metacpan search would end up being a DuckDuckGo search because I was typing faster than the plugin could handle. These were annoying but I lived with them.

At The Perl Toolchain Summit sitting beside Olaf we noticed a couple other plugins that he was using:

  • meta::cpan (handlename)
  • GitHub (Gregor Harlan)
  • Travis CI for Alfred (Fabio Niephaus)
  • Dash (Kapeli)

These plugins are great, but the annoyance of retyping was wearing me down. I decided to start up LaunchBar again and see if it did any better with searching. Sure enough there were never any extra words, I had no issues where I was out typing it, but I was spoiled by the Alfred plugins.

Some quick searching and I came across LaunchBar plugin for GitHub by Brooks Swinnerton, and it’s fantastic. It was miles beyond the Alfred plugin and much faster. This left me looking at the metacpan search I was using, and it’s lack of auto completion. I started digging through the GitHub plugin and reading the LaunchBar Developer Action documentation and decided I could write my own.

I started off with a simple JavaScript action and it worked immediately and responded quickly. I then remodeled the action architecture after the GitHub one, because the code is cleaner, backward compatible with previous versions of macOS, provides testing and I added build automation with Travis.

All of which leads to this announcement that the LaunchBar MetaCPAN Action is now available. Right now it searches MetaCPAN with auto completion, but I have plans to add more functionality.