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Default Folder X 5.4.2 is now available. It’s a fairly small update, but important if you use MATLAB or are running Catalina.
The first improvement is a workaround for a bug in MATLAB that causes it to hang when Default Folder X is running (it also happens when VoiceOver, Magnet, Spectacles or a number of other apps are running, but I can’t fix that). Default Folder X will now wait until after MATLAB’s splash screen is dismissed before trying to communicate with it. That avoids triggering the bug.
The second change is a bug fix that gets rid of the annoying message that Default Folder X puts up repeatedly in Catalina telling you that the Finder needs to be relaunched. If you’ve run into this, you know what I’m referring to. You’ll no longer see that message unless you explicitly turn Default Folder X’s Finder toolbar buttons on or off in your preferences.
Default Folder X 5.4.1 is now available. It fixes several issues that have been reported with macOS Catalina. A couple were simple bugs in Default Folder X itself:
Empty folders were not added to the Recent Folders menu
Items in the Utility menu were sometimes not enabled correctly
File dialog menu shortcuts were not working as advertised
Those issues have all been fixed. One other fix, however, is a bit bizarre. I figured I’d briefly talk about it in case other Mac users or developers encounter this:
In Catalina, the Finder must be running before you can approve apps to record the screen
In macOS 10.15, Default Folder X requests permission for Screen Recording (here’s why). If it doesn’t have permission, it tries to capture a portion of the screen, which causes Catalina to pop up an alert asking for your approval. Default Folder X then leads you through System Preferences to ok everything. It’s an annoying process, but works as well as can be expected given Catalina’s limitations. UNLESS you happen to also be a user of CocoaTech’s Path Finder app.
If you’re running Path Finder and have chosen to have Path Finder launch when you log in and have its preference set to quit the Finder after it launches, you’re in for a treat. If an app needs permission to record your screen, you will never see the prompt, and the app will not be added to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Screen Recording, so there’s no way for you to manually approve it there if you happen to realize it needs permission.
Based on testing that I and Ben Surtees at Surtees Studios (developer of the excellent Bartender app) have done, if the Finder isn’t running, the permissions system for Screen Recording just silently fails. Default Folder X, Bartender or whatever app needs permission doesn’t know this, and will continue prompting you to authorize them in System Preferences. Unfortunately, you have no way of approving them because there’s no way to manually add apps to the Screen Recording privacy panel, and if the Finder’s not running, the system doesn’t automatically add apps as it should.
As a developer, this seems pretty arbitrary – why would we need to have the Finder running in order to get permission for Screen Recording? But there you go – if you’re running into this, now you know why. As of version 5.4.1, Default Folder X will launch the Finder when necessary (and quit it afterwards) if it runs into this scenario. It’s a bit of a comical workaround, but hey, it gets you up and running without further pain.
I’m happy to announce that the final version 5.4 of Default Folder X is now available. Thank you to everyone who beta tested the pre-release versions and reported issues!
The marquee feature of this release is, of course, support for macOS 10.15 Catalina, which Apple should drop any day now. In addition, there are a couple of new AppleScript commands in Default Folder X’s scripting dictionary to help scripters automate the handling of file dialogs (and don’t forget the scriptable default folders too). This version also adds support for the version of Path Finder distributed via SetApp.
Finally, there are a handful of bug fixes, including corrections for issues with Finder windows, adding new Favorites, and Accessibility quirks. These fixes apply to both Catalina and earlier macOS versions – if you’re running an older version of macOS, you can still update to Default Folder X 5.4. It supports anything from macOS 10.10 to 10.15.
The update is free if you’ve already got a license for Default Folder X 5 – just choose “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu, or download a copy here. A list of changes and download links, including localized versions, are available on the Default Folder X release page.
The latest public beta of Default Folder X 5.4 is available, and offers improvements on both Catalina and older versions of macOS. Specifically, it adds support for the version of Path Finder distributed via SetApp, gives AppleScript developers access to applets and droplets in DFX’s Recent Files menu, and fixes a bug in Default Folder X’s handling of tabbed Finder windows.
Version 5.3.7 of Default Folder X introduced a new capability: it can now ask what the default folder for an application should be on the fly using AppleScript. That may sound like a mouthful of jargon, so let me explain, because it can be applied in a lot of situations.
Jason Snell (of Six Colors and The Incomparable fame) has been writing about Macs forever, and is now a prolific podcaster. He emailed to ask if it would be possible to make Default Folder X more flexible. At that time, you could set a default folder for an application so that when you chose Save As, it always offered to save a file in that particular folder. His problem was that you have to set a single folder as the app’s default folder – just one.
Jason creates podcasts – lots of them. His reasoning was that if he could magically tell Default Folder X what podcast he was working on, it would always offer to save the component audio files into the folder for that podcast. Essentially: Wouldn’t it be great if you could edit an audio clip, hit Save, and have it automatically go into the folder for the current podcast folder? No re-configuring a default folder for each new project – it’d just work.
So he hit on this idea (which I think is just brilliant). He uses Apple’s Logic X application to create his podcasts. So for each podcast episode, there’s one master Logic X project file. To find the correct default folder for audio clips, all he has to do is look at all the project files and see which one has been saved most recently. The “Audio Files” folder sitting next to that project is where everything should go for the current project. He wrote an AppleScript to do this, which he shared on the Six Colors blog.
This can obviously translate to all sorts of different workflows. If you have one primary file for each project, it’s easy to tell which one you’re currently working on – it’s the one that’s been saved most recently.
How to set up an AppleScript to specify a default folder
So how do you wire up Default Folder X to do this? It’s pretty simple. Put an AppleScript script in:
or, if you want it to handle only a single application, put it in a sub-folder of the Scripts folder named for the application you want it to serve. To have it queried only for Preview, for example, put an AppleScript in:
The trick is that you need to implement this handler:
on getDefaultFolder(appName, dialogType, firstTime)
which returns the location of the default folder. Open up the sample script file in Script Editor (or your AppleScript editor of choice) and have a look. I’ve tried to explain things clearly in the comment at the top, and the script shows a number of different ways of returning folders to Default Folder X. And of course, you can also use Jason’s complete script as a starting point.
I think Jason’s idea is great – it streamlines work on multiple projects, but most importantly, it reduces the chance for error as you’re trying to meet that pressing deadline. I’d love to hear how others use this feature, so please drop me a line if it works for you too!
Default Folder X 5.3.7 is now available, and it displays a couple of additional pieces of metadata in the Info panel below Open dialogs, most notably the “last opened” date. It also addresses a number of issues, including problems with LaunchBar, sub-par behavior when file dialogs are very large or lie partially off-screen, keyboard shortcuts not working after using a menu bar app, and drag-and-drop problems with the Finder drawer. A full list of changes is available on the Default Folder X Release page or in the Version History.
This version also works around bugs in Mojave that have been affecting Default Folder X’s ability to list open Finder windows when those windows contain multiple tabs. It will now list those windows reliably, but may still get confused and show some tabs as being in their own, separate windows – but hey, at least they’re all there, right? Unfortunately, a complete solution requires that Apple fix the bugs that I’ve submitted.
And one very important note about Finder windows: The behavior of Default Folder X’s Finder-click feature has changed a bit. Most people won’t be affected by this, but if you have been relying on the fact that Finder-click showed windows that weren’t actually visible (because they’re in another Space or because the Finder’s hidden), you’ll find that they’re no longer appearing. They’re still in the Finder Windows menu in Default Folder X’s toolbar, or you can revert to the old behavior by following these instructions.
Finally, on the truly geeky side, you can now create an AppleScript to supply Default Folder X with a default folder for an application on the fly. When a file dialog comes up, DFX will run your AppleScript, and if it returns a folder, that’ll be used as the default folder for that file dialog. It works seamlessly and can really simplify things if you work in a project-based manner with a consistent way of determining where your project folder is. Look for a blog post about this shortly.
When you’re in a file dialog, Default Folder X provides a menu command to quickly search the currently displayed folder in HoudahSpot. This gives you the flexibility to search by file type, tags, content, modification date, or any other parameter you can think of.
Once you’ve located the file you want in HoudahSpot, Control-click on that file and use the “Default Folder X” menu to finish the round trip and send it back to the waiting file dialog (in Preview, in this case).
I’m happy to have had the chance to collaborate with Pierre Bernard, HoudahSpot’s developer, on this workflow. It delivers more convenience and time-savings to all the folks that use both HoudahSpot and Default Folder X.
If you have ideas for similar connections between your favorite indie applications, let the developers know – many of us are very receptive to your suggestions. Default Folder X also integrates with ForkLift and Path Finder, for example, because lots of people asked for it!
Version 5.3.6 of Default Folder X delivers fixes for a few problems that have cropped since the last release. The most significant is a bug that caused the mouse cursor to disappear when using an Open or Save dialog, resulting in things appearing “stuck”. This occurred if you were using SteerMouse or any other utility that modified mouse behavior on the fly.
A change that I made in 5.3.5 also resulted in Default Folder X’s Finder-click feature being disabled if there was a Keyboard Maestro floating palette showing anywhere on-screen. That’s now fixed in 5.3.6 – my apologies to all of you joint Default Folder X / Keyboard Maestro users out there!
This release also includes a number of bug fixes for crashes, startup hangs, user interface issues, and a problem with the Finder-click feature not switching its list of Finder windows when you switch Spaces.
You can see the release notes and grab the latest version from the Default Folder X Release Page, or by choosing “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu if you’re running it now.
In terms of new functionality, users of HoudahSpot (and those of you that don’t use it and should go try it now) will be happy to see that you can start a search directly from an Open or Save dialog. This helps overcome the weak search functionality that macOS offers by default in file dialogs. And with the upcoming release of HoudahSpot 5, you’ll be able to make “round-trip” searches, sending results back to the waiting file dialog after you’ve found what you want.
Compatibility fixes for LaunchBar and CopyPaste Pro are also in version 5.3.5, as well as a fix so that Default Folder X works in the Save dialogs used by Mojave’s new screenshot utility. The latter was an interesting (and understandable) situation: Mojave’s screen capture app basically covers the entire screen with a big, semi-transparent window to let you rubber-band select an area and whatnot. If you then choose “Other Location…” to select a folder, the attendant file dialog has to come up on top of the giant window so you can use it. Since the big window is covering everything else, including Default Folder X, DFX didn’t work because mouse and keyboard clicks couldn’t get through. It just wasn’t something I’d planned for – so now I have 🙂
Version 5.3.5 also offers a bunch of improvements for Default Folder X’s drawer in the Finder, fixes for bugs involving its selection of recent files and folders in Open and Save dialogs, a problem with file dialog sheets when they’re the full width of the screen, and issues with some many-button mice.
Oh, and the secret settings dialog now lets you turn on “view-matching” for the Finder-click feature, making Default Folder X apply whatever view mode (Icon / List / Column) is used in the Finder window to the file dialog. And you can specify a minimum width and height for file dialogs, preventing them from coming up in a uselessly-small default size. Hold down the Option key while choosing Preferences from Default Folder X’s menu to get there.