LaunchBar is my quick launcher of choice (has been for over ten years), but Butler has proven to be a worthy companion. I don't use the abbreviation or search features at all, but there are a number of other features I find really valuable (which no other app seems to provide). Here are a few of the things I use it for:
- I've set up hotkeys (F1-F6) that open pop-up menus in the Finder, letting me quickly get to a specific file or folder. If I hold command and hit the same key, it opens the folder directly instead of the pop-up menu.
- Shortcuts for rating the current song in iTunes. Shift + [numpad 0-5]. Butler is one of the only apps that can actually distinguish between the regular number keys and the number pad. Obviously shift + regular number wouldn't work, as I'd lose access to a bunch of symbols.
- Other iTunes hotkeys: play/pause, next track, previous track. I used to have these in the menubar as well (I think that was even the original reason I started using Butler), but I have a menubar doodad problem, so I don't have space for those anymore.
- Hotkeys for menus in apps where custom shortcuts often don't work. There are a number of situations where custom hotkeys set up in System Preferences → Keyboard Shortcuts don't work until the menu has been opened at least once. Needless to say, this is an unacceptable hassle. What I do now is set up the hotkey I want in Butler, and just have Butler type the default hotkey for me. Works every time.
The other thing this works well for is menu commands whose name changes. For example, instead of setting up two identical shortcuts for iTunes' "Switch to MiniPlayer" and "Switch from MiniPlayer" commands in System Preferences, I can just set up *one* hotkey in Butler, and don't even have to bother typing the command name at all.
Also has the advantage of leaving the original shortcuts intact, which is helpful if someone else is using your Mac.
Finally, because you can specify multiple apps for a hotkey, you can set up shortcuts that work in multiple apps. I've got a "Toggle Web Inspector" hotkey that types cmd-shift-i in Safari, WebKit, Chrome, and Firefox, and it does the right thing in all of them.
Anyway, my point is that Butler does a lot of things really well, and if you explore its features, you can probably find a bunch of uses for it, even if you aren't using it as a quick search/launcher.