A band-aid for the Finder

December 29, 2006

Yes, the Finder could be better. I think many of us are hoping that the next OS release brings tabbed finder views and a simple way to deal with moving and viewing files. But until that day comes, there is Pathfinder by Cocoatech (PF4). It’s been touted on 43Folders a couple of times, here and here. Cocoatech have produced a quality product that feels right at home on my desktop. It takes some practice to get used to it though, so I’ll outline some cool features here.

The dropstack is a temporary holding place for files. Think of it as a more useful and forgiving command-select. You just drop files in the square and it keeps track of all of them. Then when you are ready to manipulate the files, you can easily grab each or all of them. YOu can even ctrl-click the stack to compress, burn, or email the lot. I use this for organizing my directories. I just browse through a bunch of folders throwing misplaced files in the dropstack. When I’m ready I just switch to the folder I want them in and unload them all.

PF1

There are a huge number of options when working with files. The contextual menu for a single file allows you to do almost anything with it. Pathfinder not only gives you the option to copy the path of a file but it gives you the option of copying the UNIX, HFS, Terminal, URL, or name as a path. Honestly, it’s more than I have use for, but I’m sure some uber power user out there would love this feature.

PF2

As far as file paths go, PF4 has multiple optional drawer that you can setup to display the curent file path. As shown below, I also like to keep a folder histroy displayed so I don’t have to keep back tracking to folders that I use regularly. You know, those folders that are good enough for favorites, but you might make a desktop alias to.

PF3

The last feature I want to mention is the optional Running Processes tab. It’s kind of like having a mini-dock attached to the window. You can kill a process, switch to an application or bring up a contextual menu with loads more options, such as launching another instance of the application as root.

PF4

These are the kind of features that only a dedicated and Apple Fanboy would think about including. I bet the developers at Cocoatech all love their macs and started making great software that they wanted to use. I, for one, am grateful that the mac community is made by companies like Cocoatech

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Digging for code

October 8, 2006

Temp

Recently, Google labs introduced their new “Code Search” tool. This got me to start looking for similar search engines on the web. One of the nice one’s I’ve used is “Programming is hard” which has some nice formating, but limited languages. While many of the examples are way over my head as a new coder, these snippets have a lot to teach. I’t is mind blowing just how efficient an experienced programmer can make a routine.

As I said though, there are few good sources for Objective C, Cocoa, or Applescript. ALthough Google found over 200 examples for Cocoa related code. Of course there are plenty of publicly available sources for learning Objective C, but they are sparse with code examples.

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Objective C #1 – Return Values

August 23, 2006

Recently I began to teach myself Objective C. My final goal is to program in Cocoa for the Mac. The process is slow going, but really interesting. I’m adding a regular section to highlight some of my thoughts about learning a programming language. The first post is about “Return Values”

-(void) setNumerator;

This expression declares a new method that is not expected to return anything (i.e. void)

-(double) myNumber;

declares a method that should be returning a double precision number

-(int) getNumber;

should return an integer.

All this is very cool. It makes it pretty easy to see what kind of result should come back when the method is put into action. While it’s not as direct as Ruby, I’m getting it. I’m even more green with Ruby, but I’ve heard such great things about it, that I had to check it out. I highly recommend this quirky but entertaining guide.

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