Sunday, June 20, 2004

How to activate hidden preferences (i.e. the Metal App)

MacJournal, like most apps, has a few hidden options that you can use. These are things that I think don't really fit into the overall design of the app, but might be useful for a limited few. The most notable (and newest) is the option to make MacJournal a metal application, like Safari or the Finder (in Panther). To activate this option, quit MacJournal and open Terminal. Type (or paste) this in:

defaults write com.DanSchimpf.MacJournal UseMetalWindow YES

To break the down, defaults is the name of a tool that Apple provides for modifying an application's preferences from the command line. write is the operation you are performing; type man defaults on its own line for more details on what operations are available. com.DanSchimpf.MacJournal is MacJournal's domain. This is the unique identifier string for MacJournal in the OS. UseMetalWindow is the name of the preference itself, and YES is the value you are setting it to. You can substitue NO to reverse the effects. The next time you open MacJournal, it will magically be a metal application!

Another good example that popped up in 2.6 is SimpleInterface. Try this one out if you pine for the simpler days of MacJournal 2.1.

Here are some others for 2.6:
  • DisableNumericCommandKeys (YES or NO) - Setting this disables the new behavior for Command-1 through -9. If you want to use those command keys for something else, you can set this so MacJournal won't grab them away.

  • HideDrawerButtons (YES or NO) - A less drastic version of SimpleInterface (YES or NO): this just hides the new buttons that rest at the bottom of both drawers in the application.

  • UseShortDateFormat (YES or NO) - When set, this will always use the shorter date format, even in cases where the longer one would be used.

  • AlwaysShowSummaryEntry (YES or NO) - Whether the journal is expanded or collapsed in the drawer, the summary entry will be shown (default is to only show it when the journal is expanded).

  • StoreAttachmentsExternally (YES or NO) - This is a very experimental setting that stores the files you drag into the text view outside of the main data file. This has the benefits of decreasing save time by several orders of magnitude, the ability to play music and video files after you quit, and you can drag the files back out of the text view as well at any times. However, consider this very experimental at this time; you might want to wait for beta 3 as well: I'm looking over this code for the first time in a while tonight. This only applies to new files dragged in.

  • InsertDateAndTimeFormat (e.g. "%X %x") - replace the "%X %x" between the quotes (but leave the quotes) with a string made up specifiers from this page on formatting dates. This is the date and time format for the "Insert Date and Time" menu item.

  • ShortDateFormat and LongDateFormat(e.g. "%X %x") - Similar to the last item, this is the date formatting for the rest of the application, in both long and short modes (long mode is for exporting, short mode is for the drawers).

Keep in mind that one of the reasons that these are only accessible via the command line is that I'm not guarantying that these will work after this version. Some of them (like the date format specifiers) will hopefully make it into UI in the future. Others are conveniences for this version and might be removed in the future if they conflict with something else.

I should also note before I get a lot of angry mail that MacJournal is not a metal application! Text editors do not belong on metal; it violates the rules for metal apps even by the loosest interpretation. So that's why it's a hidden option: for those that want it, they can try it out. However, it is not the official appearance for MacJournal.