On Windows and Ubuntu I can use ⌘+1 to start the first app in the Dock, ⌘+2 to start the second app in the Dock, etc. How can I achieve same effect in OS X? Is it some built-in functionality or third-party extension?
tell application "System Events" to tell process "Dock" perform action "AXPress" of UI element 5 of list 1 end tell
(Just assigning fixed shortcuts for each application would probably be a better option though.)
Seems that alternative is "expose". I can arrange items here so app became selected by only entering first letter of it's name. So switching to "mail" is as fast as clicking "f4", then "m" and then "enter". It's a bit more keys compared to "win-4", but much more flexible.
Not so fast as special hotkeys you ask for, but a little bit more flexible and build in:
You can use CTRL+F3 to select the first dock icon (or last used) and then switch per left and right between your dock icons. With Return you can open the selected application or with up open the context menu.