Category Archives: Cocoa

applescript: get item number of list item

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 21.45.31

One of the annoying ‘missing features’ in AppleScript is the lack of any way to get the item number of an item in a list.

Fortunately, since Cocoa does of course include an ‘indexOfObject’ function, we can leverage Cocoa in our AppleScript to write a nice little handler (you could add this to my list and string handlers library I posted here or just add it directly in your own scripts).

First, make sure your script or library already has two lines like these to import the Foundation framework and declare an NSArray:

use framework "Foundation"

property NSArray : a reference to current application's NSArray

Then after that add the handler:

on getIndexOfItem:anItem inList:aList
set anArray to NSArray's arrayWithArray:aList
set ind to ((anArray's indexOfObject:anItem) as number) + 1 # see note below
if ind is greater than (count of aList) then
display dialog "Item '" & anItem & "' not found in list." buttons "OK" default button "OK" with icon 2 with title "Error"
return 0
return ind
end if
end getIndexOfItem:inList:

You can now call the code like this:

# example
set thisList to {"I", "see", "a", "red", "door", "and", "I", "want", "to", "paint", "it", "black"}
set aNum to its getIndexOfItem:"paint" inList:thisList
(* Result --> 10 *)
if aNum is not 0 then
-- do something
end if

# Note: Remember AppleScript lists are indexed from 1, unlike Cocoa arrays which start at index 0.

Enjoy! 🙂

Hack That Mac 2: Bash & Root

Hack That Mac 1: Who’s who

Using Cocoa in AppleScript

news: sqwarq app updates

Just a quick post to let y’all know of a couple of updates to my apps.

1. OSXClock v1.8 has got a few new features including a handy ghost mode and variable transparency. Even better, I’ve removed the time-limit on the demo version, so you can now use OSXClock for free indefinitely (well, if that’s not an excuse to download it I don’t know what is… 🙂 ).

2. DetectX v1.21 now has the ability to trash files found in the search. I didn’t really want to add this, but so many users were having problems finding the invisible files belonging to MacKeeper I didn’t really have much choice. Note that the “Trash” function may require entering an admin password for each and every file that is outside of the user domain. DetectX is, of course, free to download and use, though donations are appreciated if you find it useful.

3. App Fixer is now out of beta and into first public release, version 1.0. Along the way it’s added a couple of extra fixes for Safari browser hijacks.

Enjoy! 🙂

how to learn more about error codes

Scripters and coders are forever battling errors, and access to information on Apple’s error codes is always a bit of a hunt and dig around header files or documentation. Now thanks to Seth Willits from Araelium group, there’s a handy free search tool to spare us the effort.

I’ve already got bookmarked. Thanks Seth! 🙂

Cocoa: how to show a popover under selected text

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 20.49.31

Showing a popover underneath a piece of selected text is a trick widely made use of across OSX, not least in Xcode itself, but also in many other apps. In this post we’re going to look at a simple way to achieve this effect.

1. First of all, in IB drag out a Popover and View Controller and drop them in the Document Outline area. Drag a custom view to the canvas, and hook them all up thus:

Popover’s Outlets
delegate –> App Delegate (or class that will control the Popover)

Popover View Controller’s Outlets
view –> Custom View

Click the Popover object in the Outline area, and in the Attributes Inspector, set the Behaviour to Transient.

In the appDelegate.h file, or the .h file of the class that will control your popover, include the PopoverDelegate in the @interface declaration:

@interface AppDelegate : NSObject <NSApplicationDelegate, NSPopoverDelegate>

2. Still in the header file, you need to make sure the window that the NSTextView is in has a View outlet in its header file.

@property (weak) IBOutlet NSView *aView;

For my purposes, I just have a single window in the appDelegate class, so I just created a view property by control-dragging out of the Window’s view object to the header file. You’ll need to switch to the dual-view Assistant editor to do this:


While you’ve got the Assistant editor open, drag out an outlet from the Popover to the .h file and name it ‘popover’. Finally, in the same way create a similar outlet for your TextView.

4. Next, go into the implementation .m file for the appDelegate (or you class). You’ll need an IBAction to trigger the showing of the popover. In my case, I have an ‘Enter’ button the user hits after making a selection attached to a method I called enterSelection:(NSButton *)sender.

In this method, I first get the rect for the user’s selection with:

NSRect rect = [_textView firstRectForCharacterRange:[_textView selectedRange] actualRange:NULL];

That will return a rect in screen coordinates for the selected text. However, I need to convert that into the window’s coordinates with:

NSRect converted = [_window convertRectFromScreen:rect];

Now we’re ready to call the popover by supplying this rect to the first parameter and the View property we created earlier to the second parameter:

[self.popover showRelativeToRect:converted ofView: _aView preferredEdge:NSMinYEdge];

And that’s it. Your popover should show underneath the selected text whenever your method gets called. If you want to see how this is done step by step in Xcode, check out the video:


How to track app use with OSXClock

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 17.45.36
OSXClock just got a major update, adding a productivity log that helps you to track how much time you spend actively using each app on your mac.

I wrote an ad-hoc AppleScript to do this sometime ago that proved pretty popular, but I wasn’t satisfied with either the code or the interface. OSXClock improves on that by tapping directly into Cocoa’s API and by offering a more attractive display.

OSXClock is currently on offer for only $2.99. Lots more exciting features are planned for future updates, so now’s a good time to get with the program, folks! 🙂

*OSXClock requires OSX Yosemite

how to view nib files as xml (or not)

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 08.19.50

Xcode being the vast IDE that it is, it’s sometimes the simplest things that flummox you. It’s rare that I ever want to look at the XML code for any of my interface files, unless I’m copying one from one project to another or hunting down some forgotten outlet that’s throwing a warning. But when I do, I invariably forget how to get back to IB view.

If that’s you, fortunately it’s easy to return to the Interface Builder view from the source code view. Just right-click (aka ‘Control click’) on your nib file in the project navigator sidebar and choose “Open as…” and “Interface Builder XIB Document”. Unlike myself, you’ll remember that for next time, too (me, I’ll be looking for this post again in six months time! 🙂 ).

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 08.25.23

how to sit down safely

osxclock 1

Well, Tim Cook says sitting is the new cancer…and since I don’t envisage myself in the market for an iWatch, but do need to be reminded to get up and take a break from the desk every 60 minutes, I wrote OSXClock.

I also need a clock for displaying the time on a large screen on occasion when conducting timed-based tests. In the past, I’ve used for this, but it has a couple of disadvantages: first, you have to be connected to the internet; second, it doesn’t have an alarm or timer.

Hence, OSXClock was born, Applehelpwriter’s answer to the Apple Watch :p, and considerably cheaper! 😀

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