A while back, I wrote about using unicode emoji characters as icons in web apps. The big caveat with that was that these characters were only available on iOS devices, which made the trick much less useful in a web app, which of course are generally meant to be more or less cross-platform. If you’re developing a native iOS app, though, using these standard colorful bitmap emoji characters as icons is a much more realistic proposition, because you can be sure that all the devices your app runs on will have them available. In this post I will show how to easily do this.
I’ve been working on a fast and embeddable Markdown parser that can be used for syntax highlighting in editors, based on the PEG grammar from John MacFarlane’s peg-markdown compiler project. The grammar is written in leg, a syntax for the peg/leg parser generator by Ian Piumarta, and to make my work with this new syntax a bit more pleasant I implemented a jEdit mode for it.
When I’m working with code in jEdit, my editor of choice, I like to keep the file browser open and docked to the left side of my editor window. When I’m switching between files — often belonging to different projects — I find myself reaching for the mouse in order to manually navigate the file browser to the root folder of the project the currently open file belongs to. I started doing this so often that I decided to whip up a small macro to do it for me.
Over the past couple of years I’ve gotten a few emails from users of icalBuddy who would like to somehow automate the task of generating CSV, XML/HTML or LaTeX output from the items in their calendar. Unfortunately icalBuddy isn’t set up to provide any kind of arbitrary output format (and I didn’t want to re-architect it to do that) but a while ago I finally had the time and motivation to figure out a small solution for this: a Python helper class for writing scripts that produce whatever type of output your heart desires.
In version 2.2 of iOS — Apple’s “mobile” operating system used in the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — support for Emoji was added. These small 12×12 pixel icons are meant to be used in text messaging in Japan but because they’re implemented simply as unicode symbols in the device they can be used as icons when we know they’re available.
I don’t really have any statistics about this but I’m quite sure that an overwhelming majority of the users of my icalBuddy program are using it to display calendar data on their desktop via GeekTool. Several tutorials on how to get this done have been written by different people, mainly for relatively non-technical users, which I think is great. The problem seems to be that many people don’t know how to configure icalBuddy to give them the kind of output they’d like and end up copy-pasting the commands from these blogs (some of these blog posts also contain outdated information about a bunch of things). Hopefully this short tutorial (and the usage examples page) will offer an easy way to make a more informed decision about how to get this done.
When implementing the feature in the icalBuddy examples page where the font used for the output examples could be changed interactively I needed to get a list of all the fonts installed on the current user’s computer. This blog post from 2006 explains how to do it, but it refers to the deprecated ActionScript 2 API so I had to figure out how to do it with AS3.
A few minutes ago I clicked on an iTunes store link on a website and had to again completely lose it because of the iTunes app popping up without me asking it to. This is a common annoyance that people have found a bunch of different ways to combat, ranging from messing with the system’s (or the browser’s) mapping of URL protocol handlers to rewriting parts of web pages via a browser plugin (e.g. GreaseMonkey) or a localhost web proxy (e.g. GlimmerBlocker).
I spend a lot of time in the Terminal on my computer — a lot of things are just better done with a command-line interface than in the GUI. When removing files via the command-line people usually just, well, remove them (with the rm command), but this means that they’ll be eschewing the Trash, one of the user-friendliest things (even relatively) modern operating systems have had to offer for a long time.
Even though I curse and hate its syntax, I have to admit that AppleScript certainly provides one of the nicest things OS X has to offer in comparison to other operating systems: almost-ubiquitous scripting of GUI applications (one could argue that this is not due to the AppleScript language itself, but the Open Scripting Architecture which AppleScript is simply a language for, but that’s just semantics). Recently I’ve had to work with AppleScript files a bit more than usual while implementing Tagger‘s front app scripts feature, and I noticed that I often wanted to print out the contents of (compiled) AppleScript files in the Terminal. The built-in command osadecompile does just that: it reads in the AppleScript file, decompiles it, formats the code and nicely prints it out. I’m used to seeing my code with syntax highlighting, though, so I decided to write a small program that works similarly to osadecompile but uses ANSI escape sequences to format the output.
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