Archive for the ‘Mac Community’ Category

Go64 helps you prepare for macOS 10.15 Catalina by finding all your 32-bit apps

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

TL;DR

macOS 10.15 Catalina will not run 32-bit Mac applications. At all. Once you upgrade to Catalina, those apps won’t even launch.

To prepare, I wrote Go64, a free application that scans your system for 32-bit apps and shows them all in one place, with version and website information to make it easier to assess whether you need to update or look for an alternative.

You can download Go64 here.

The longer story

After Mojave started warning about 32-bit apps needing to be updated, Ronald Leroux, who does all the French localizations of my software, pointed out that there wasn’t really a good way to check for and update 32-bit apps on your system. The built-in System Information app does work, but it’s certainly not the most user-friendly, nor is it necessarily complete.

Over a weekend last fall, I put together a straightforward little app to scan for 32-bit applications and show them in a list. It took a fairly simplistic approach, and worked fine but was no more thorough than what System Information provides. Still, it was much easier to use, so I figured I’d release it in the Mac App Store. Then came the task of trying to get it approved: App Store Review rejected it because it asked for permission for the entire disk so it could scan for apps. That wasn’t something I could fix or work around. So I shelved it – there were higher priorities at St. Clair Software, plus dealing with the App Store always seems to ruin my day.

Fast forward to WWDC 2019, when Apple confirmed that Catalina definitely won’t run 32-bit apps. Howard Oakley at the Eclectic Light Company had been doing some deep-digging and highlighted a number of issues with 32-bit app checking. He wrote his own exhaustive scanner that searches for them, but it’s slow and still not very user-friendly. I dusted off Go64 and figured I’d turn it into a more complete solution.

“It’ll only take a couple of days…” – famous last words uttered by nearly every software developer at some point in their careers.

As they say, the devil’s in the details, and dealing with the vagaries of what goes on inside applications got interesting. Go64 leverages Spotlight to compile a list of executables, but then does a deep dive into each 64-bit application to check for any helper apps, frameworks, services or plugins that might not be 64-bit. While I knew this could be an issue, Howard’s work highlighted just how common it is to have a mix of executables bundled within apps. Most of the time, it’s just for expediency, and developers do the proper juggling to run the correct one, but how’s a user to know? So Go64 does a bunch of checks to look for common methods, and if it still can’t make sense of things, errs on the safe side and flags the app with a little caution icon.

Clicking on “More Info” gives you the whole scoop:

This, of course, led to more complexity. As a developer, I don’t want to be bugged by hoards of people asking whether my app is Catalina-compatible just because some stupid “Go64” app noticed I include a 32-bit helper to deal with ancient Quicktime videos. So Go64 updates its internal “Ignore this warning” list periodically from the St. Clair Software website – that way it can inform users that even though the app contains 32-bit code, it’s compatible.

So developers, if your app contains 32-bit code but is Catalina-compatible, contact me with the bundle ID and version number of the app and I’ll add it to the list so Go64 gives users this message instead:

And to everyone else, I hope Go64 turns out to be useful for you. I certainly had a lot more 32-bit apps sitting on my Mac than I thought!

Again, you can download Go64 here.

AppleScript and Apple events

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Brent Simmons has a great post over at inessential.com on the genius of Apple events. As one of the people behind the ground-breaking Userland Frontier, Brent is uniquely qualified to espouse on the significance and power of Apple events. Frontier, and later AppleScript, leveraged Apple events to let Mac users tie together applications to make workflows that got real things done, even when no single application existed that would do what they needed. I used Frontier for years to automate the back-end of my software business – it was invaluable.

As Brent says:

Picture Jane in her office. She gets an email from Bob every month with the latest WidgetX numbers. With that email in front of her, she double-clicks a script (or chooses one from a scripts menu)… [which] updates and saves (on a shared folder) a Keynote presentation with the new numbers.

This used to take hours, and it was prone to errors. Now it takes a minute or less — and it’s error-free

With Marzipan reportedly coming in macOS 10.15 this year, Apple is further de-emphasizing the cooperative nature of macOS apps, and will most likely not support Apple events in the “iPad apps adapted to run on the Mac” context of Marzipan. Again, from Brent:

What happens to Jane if Mail is a Marzipan app that doesn’t respond to Apple events?

Indeed.

And as Brent says (and as I detailed in an earlier post), many Mac apps use Apple events to directly integrate with other applications. They tie everything together for you, taking your Mac experience from ‘good’ to ‘great’. Just in my own apps, Default Folder X communicates this way with the Finder, Path Finder, ForkLift, Terminal and iTerm2 to give you seamless access to folders no matter where you need them. App Tamer uses Apple events to make sure it doesn’t interrupt iTunes and Spotify when they’re streaming music for you. And there are numerous other examples throughout the Mac ecosystem (and probably on your Mac right now).

Losing Apple event support in Mac applications would be a bigger loss than a lot of people realize – and one I’m not sure Apple is completely cognizant of. My hope is that there’s someone back there minding the proverbial store, but my feeling is that Apple is rushing headlong to open up macOS to UIKit applications to get more apps on the Mac, without regard for some important underpinnings.

Default Folder X’s cooperation with HoudahSpot 5

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Houdah Software released a major upgrade of their excellent Spotlight search utility, HoudahSpot 5, last week. Among a ton of useful new features, HoudahSpot now also integrates with Default Folder X, giving you a much more powerful way to search for files and folders in Open and Save dialogs.

Just select “Search with HoudahSpot” from Default Folder X’s Utility menu

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.

And use HoudahSpot’s “Default Folder X” menu to send a search result to a waiting file dialog

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!

And if you haven’t tried HoudahSpot yet, go download a free demo copy now and check it out. You’ll be glad you did!

I guess I’ve been at this a while… :-)

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Michael Tsai and Jason Snell brought it to my attention that Default Folder is almost 30 years old. I guess that makes me a stubborn old man at this point…

https://sixcolors.com/post/2017/09/built-to-last/

Use Default Folder X – take off the mittens!

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Default Folder X was mentioned on Dave Hamilton’s excellent Mac Geek Gab podcast. It made me laugh so I have to share it. At the end of the segment Dave says “Using a Mac without Default Folder feels like using a Mac with mittens.” I think that’s one of the best endorsements I’ve heard in a while 🙂

Anyway – check it out – along with lots of other great information and commentary – at the 1:20 mark of Mac Geek Gab 647. I think I learn something new in every episode.

Please donate to the Aurora Victim Relief Fund

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

St. Clair Software recently moved to the Denver, Colorado area. The tragic shootings at a theater in Aurora, Colorado happened only 25 miles from us, and the non-profit service organizations that are assisting the victims could benefit greatly from your financial support. Please go to the Aurora Victim Relief Fund and click on the Donate Now button to contribute to organizations providing medical, psychological and community service to the victims and their families.

Thank you!