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'Fantastical' Natural Language Calendar App for Mac Launches



Flexibits has released their new calendar app for the Mac called Fantastical. This natural language calendar assistant allows you to create events by typing in your plans:
Using an advanced natural language engine, Fantastical is extremely expressive, allowing users enter event text in their own style. For example, enter a sentence such as "Lunch with John at 123 Main Street on Tuesday" and Fantastical will translate the sentence into an event and add it to their calendar.


The pre-release previews were very positive, commenting on the quick-access as a menu-bar item that lets you quickly enter new items.
What I like most about Fantastical is how quick and accessible it is. It lives in your Menu Bar and you invoke it via a global hotkey (I use command+option+c), or by clicking on the Menu Bar icon, and it appears instantaneously. It is both keyboard and mouse friendly. The power users in the room will be glad to know you can navigate and operate the app without leaving the keyboard — if it were not so then I certainly would not find the same amount of utility from the app.

And what blows me away every time I use it is the entry panel for an event — Fantastical uses a natural language parser in addition to the standard new-event, iCal interface. So far, in my usage, the natural language parsing has been superb; the best I’ve ever used.
Fantastical is available now through the Flexibits Store or the Mac App Store for an introductory price of $14.99 with a free trial on their website.

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
After using Fantastical for a few hours I'm happy to say that this is the menu bar calendar app I've been waiting for! For those wondering why anyone would choose this over the much cheaper QuickCal, I'll explain my personal reasoning...

1) First and foremost, it has a full calendar above the events list. The calendar provides visual context for the month and helps me comprehend much more quickly when events are in relation to today. This also helps when planning ahead since I can visually see when days fall in the month.
2) It shows the current date in the menu bar icon. I always disliked having the date written out long form like it is in the official OS X clock, so I'm happy to have this feature.
3) Great implementation of the events list. Hovering over an event highlights the date(s) on the calendar. Multi-day events appear on each of the days they are scheduled for as opposed to just the beginning date, something I've always wished iCal would do.
4) You can search your entire calendar, either manually or by keyword, without opening iCal.
5) The dark theme and great design choices are a nice alternative to the minimalistic, but still pretty, QuickCal. I guess this one comes down to personal choice.

There are some downsides to Fantastical at the moment... like no "To-Do" integration, you can't add notes to new events, you can't delete events, there is no option to have the calendar automatically return to the current date when the menu is opened, etc... so hopefully they will add this missing functionality in future updates.
Rating: 5 Votes
44 months ago
Quickcal (http://smellypuppy.com/quickcal-desktop/) does much more than this and is $1.99. Quickcal also handles adding tasks with natural language.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

Can Arn or somebody respond to this?


People always go on about paid reviews and stuff. It's an easy "go to" accusation when you don't like a product being talked about. We don't do paid reviews or posts. Neither do any of the other sites you've probably seen this on (unless it's clearly marked). Sometimes we do have promotions/affiliate items (the mac software bundles, for example), but those are all disclaimed in the post.

I don't generally respond to these accusations because it's pointless to respond to conspiracy theorists, as they never believe you.

It seems like today every Mac themed web site I read has a glowing recommendation of this app, and I just don't see what is so earth shattering about it. Even Daring Fireball is going on about it. :confused: It does look suspicious.


It would look more suspicious if most websites said it sucked and one said it was recommended.

arn
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago

Quickcal (http://smellypuppy.com/quickcal-desktop/) does much more than this and is Quickcal also handles adding tasks with natural language.

2nd that. QuickCal seems to provide everything (minus some "eyecandy" in the menubar-menu) this (much more expensive) app offers.
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago

I'm surprised by the initial negative comments. There is a lot to be said about software that makes you WANT to use it. This is a beautiful and very intuitive piece of work. I was hoping for a lower initial price, but the fact that I'll use this MANY time every day helps to quickly justify the purchase.


Yes, I agree. While the price as a calendar "add-on" may seem steep, it's really not for the value that it brings.

iCal in Lion already does this.


Is this true?
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
There's a free trial at http://flexibits.com/ give it a try...
The pricing of QC is way better, even if its not as beautiful as FC is...
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
I don't see what's wrong with clicking on the date and entering the time in a box. It's both easier and more accurate. This is wrong-headed application of natural-language processing.

In the cited example, the user didn't specify what time they were meeting. So, the software must have guessed that lunch is at 1. So, what if you decide one day to have lunch at 1:30, or 12? Now you have to take the extra step to make the correction.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago

Can Arn or somebody respond to this? It seems like today every Mac themed web site I read has a glowing recommendation of this app, and I just don't see what is so earth shattering about it. Even Daring Fireball is going on about it. :confused: It does look suspicious.



People always go on about paid reviews and stuff. It's an easy "go to" accusation when you don't like a product being talked about. We don't do paid reviews or posts. Neither do any of the other sites you've probably seen this on (unless it's clearly marked). Sometimes we do have promotions/affiliate items (the mac software bundles, for example), but those are all disclaimed in the post.

I don't generally respond to these accusations because it's pointless to respond to conspiracy theorists, as they never believe you.



It would look more suspicious if most websites said it sucked and one said it was recommended.

arn


Appreciate the response Arn. Thanks
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
I tried to extend FC with a small Applescript to provide a local URL handler.
You may type e.g. "fcal://Meeting with Bob at 12" into your favorite app launcher (or create a custom search like in Alfred.app).

I'm no good at apple scripting, but I hope this might work for you guys as well.

http://www.cl.ly/6s8v

This will be added in future releases of FC, though.
https://twitter.com/flexibits/status/70558665807101952

starting the .app will generate an error, but this may be necessary for registering the url handler.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago

I don't see what's wrong with clicking on the date and entering the time in a box. It's both easier and more accurate. This is wrong-headed application of natural-language processing.

In the cited example, the user didn't specify what time they were meeting. So, the software must have guessed that lunch is at 1. So, what if you decide one day to have lunch at 1:30, or 12? Now you have to take the extra step to make the correction.


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I use Quickcal to do this and if you are making frequent event and task entries it is much faster than opening iCal and clicking around to make the entry.

Let me give you an example. Let's say I want to make an entry for dinner Thursday at 5 PM... I hit cmd-space to bring up Alfred, then QC-enter to bring up the Quickcal entry window and type "dinner thu 5p" and hit enter and the "Dinner" entry is inserted in iCal on Thursday at 5 PM. Same for tasks... bring up Quickcal and type "todo wash car mon" and a task is entered in iCal to wash car on Monday.

You can see what will be inserted in iCal as you type. Once you get the hang of it, it is much faster than mousing around to make iCal entries. Here is a screencap.

Rating: 1 Votes

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