Collaborate More Productively with Email, Cloud Storage, Version Control Systems and More

Modern collaboration centers around information. It usually involves sending people links to web pages. But what if you want to refer to shared resources that are not on the web (not http(s):// links)? Only Hook allows you to create robust links to shared resources such as:

  • files in Finder which are copies of files in cloud shares (like Dropbox and iCloud);
  • files in Finder that have been replicated with Resilio;
  • files in Finder that are local copies of files in version control systems (e.g. Git, Subversion, CVS and presumably Mercurial (we haven’t tested Mercurial yet)), and
  • emails.

You can send your colleagues a link to a file or email. Your colleague can then click on the link. Hook will reveal the (or a) local copy of the file, or open the email on their system. Of course, this assumes they have a local copy of the file or email, and that Hook is installed on their Mac (Hook Lite is free).

This solves one of the major challenges that people have when trying to communicate about shared information that does not have a web URL: where is the resource? In fact, it eliminates the need to explicitly describe the location. It suffices to get a Hook link to the resource.

A unique solution for shared file access

You might be thinking to yourself: well, there are already ways to do this. However, to our knowledge, that is incorrect. There’s no general way to do this kind of thing yet outside of Hook. Hook solves a number of key technical problems here.

Suppose you want to direct someone’s attention to a file called foobarbaz.txt which is stored in Dropbox, a working copy of a Subversion repository, or somewhere similar.

With Hook, all you need to do is:

  1. select the file in Finder (or open it);
  2. invoke Hook (⌘⇧SPACE);
  3. use the Copy as Link command in Hook; and
  4. paste the link in an email, text message, Slack message or whatever.

Otherwise, you need to do something that typically takes at least a couple of minutes, and is both tedious and error prone.

  1. Typically, you would send a message saying: Check out the updated “foobarbaz.txt” file. The recipient then needs to copy/paste that filename in Spotlight. But there might be several instances of this file, some of them not even in the correct folder. The Hook link includes path information that Hook uses to locate the right file. This will typically eliminate most or all other files with the same name. If there are several matches, however, they will all be presented in a Spotlight search window, so you can get to the right one.
  2. Another approach is to send someone a complete or partial path, like “foobarbaz.txt” in “Folder1”, or “Folder1/foobarbaz.txt”. That is tedious for both you and the recipient. You would need to get the path information (Finder does not have a built in command for this; it’s a multi-step process), paste it in a message, and express it in a way your recipients can understand. And your recipients would need to manually parse this information, and navigate a series of folders in Finder, which is tedious and time consuming.
  3. You could also send the user a Dropbox web address. Of course, that only works if the information is in Dropbox (not in Subversion, Git, iCloud, etc.) And when you click on that link, Dropbox takes you to the web, not to a local copy of the file.

So, if you want people to quickly take action on your request (that they look at a shared file), you’re much better off just sending them a Hook link. Generating a hook:// link is instantaneous (one command). And clicking on a link is, of course, a piece of cake!

By the way, this works for links to well-known files and folders too

If you do any technical support, software development, quality assurance, or IT (at work or for you family), you often need to direct people to a specific file or folder on their Mac. You know how tedious it is to write an email describing where a file is stored (“path” information).

Here, Hook comes to the rescue yet again. Just select the file in Finder, invoke Hook, select Copy as Link, and then send the link to the recipient by pasting it into an email or other message. When they click on the link, it will reveal the file on their system.

For example, if you have Hook installed, clicking this link: com.cogsciapps will open the following folder on your Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/com.cogsciapps.hook.

Save yourself and your collaborators time, energy, and frustration. Send them hook:// links.

Send links to prior emails

How many times have you wanted to refer someone to a past email? The typical way to do this is:

  1. select the original message,
  2. click reply,
  3. cut out the irrelevant part of the copy of the original email,
  4. copy the header and the relevant part of the copy of the original email, and
  5. paste it in a new email.

That is a tedious, error prone process. The result is not particularly helpful for the receiver either. The receiver might still need to locate the original email, because the context that you have copied might not be enough for them.

Besides, what if you need to refer to two, three or even more emails in your new message?

With Hook you can treat emails as you would a web address. Just select the email message, invoke Hook, and choose Copy as Link. You can then email it, text it, or paste it in Slack or wherever.

You can use Hook links to emails if you use Apple Mail, Airmail, and MailMate. We will contact other mail app developers to request they provide the minimal support for Hook to work with them too. Non-shared Hook links already work with Outlook. For updated information, see the Mac app compatibility page.

How does Hook link to emails? In short, each mail message contains an ID (see Section 3.6.4 of RFC 5322 – Internet Message Format. Good mail apps provide an AppleScript interface to: (a) obtain the message ID of any email; and (b) access particular emails by their message ID. See Favorite Apps Tab in the Hook documentation.

You too can enjoy the benefits of links to files and emails

You can also enjoy the benefits of linking to resources, whether or not they are shared. You can paste links to emails, files and more in

  • your personal notes,
  • your “to do” lists, and
  • anywhere else.

You know how useful links to web resources are. You’ll find yourself using Hook links to local resources even more often than you link to web pages. Why? because local and shared resources are much more likely to be relevant than random remote information!

But doesn’t the recipient need Hook to use these links?

Yes, your recipient needs Hook to use Hook links. Fortunately, Hook Lite is free! It allows users to use as many existing Hook links as they want.

Dropbox became a big success with a model that only provided some free access. Remember Dropbox gives you 500MB of free storage space, and then you have to pay if you want more storage. Hook doesn’t need or provide storage. Instead, Hook Lite provides free access to Hook link decoding and usage. See the Hook pricing page for more information.

By introducing your colleagues, friends and organizations to Hook, not only will they be able to use Hook links, they will learn about this great tool and probably want the full benefits for themselves.

Why not be an early adopter of Hook, spread the word, and help Hook to be successful?

Download Hook for free today and ask your network to do the same. Be part of the next big breakthrough in information sharing.

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