Posts in mac

PaintCode: Vector Drawing to Code



If you are active in the Apple developer community, you are probably already familiar with PaintCode. It is a unique Mac app capable of turning your vector graphic design into pure Objective-C code. PaintCode is a professional quality app and the price tag is a reflection of that fact. The normal selling price of $99.99 (currently $19.99 via MacHeist) is a big pill to swallow for the average user but for a professional iOS/OS X developer it is merely a business investment. However, it is up to you to get your money’s worth out of the app.

PaintCode is full of tools that blend together the look and feel of traditional vector drawing apps while including customizable fields you would more commonly see in Apple’s Interface Builder. It supports numerous object shapes and custom bezier paths, as well as detailed color options including linear and radial gradients. The app is versatile and the uses are limited only by your imagination.

I thought the best way to give you an overview of PaintCode would be to come up with a sample project that I could walk you through. So I decided to make a menubar icon for a non-existent app. This app lets you drag files to the menubar icon to delete them, thus the icon needs to be a little trash can. Read more

Shiori, Free Pinboard Client for Mac

Shiori is a nice new Pinboard client for Mac that lets you find and add bookmarks. The app can be configured to have two separate keyboard shortcuts for adding and finding items; alternatively, you can click on the app's icon in the menubar and work with the dropdown menu (which also contains shortcuts for Refresh and Preferences).

The interface is clean and minimal, with tags highlighted in light blue/green; Shiori comes in the foreground with a list of the latest 7 bookmarks from your account (by default; you can show up to 10) and you can start typing to filter results. The app is extremely fast at retrieving items, and it supports abbreviations to look into bookmark titles, URLs, and tags. According to the developer, the app can get smarter over time by learning from your "habits" (I assume it means abbreviation use and choice of results in search).

There are other nice touches worth mentioning. There's a Private URL feature to automatically make URLs that match criteria specified in the Preferences private in your Pinboard account; when adding a new bookmark, Shiori can get the active webpage URL and title from the browser (Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are supported) and provide a list of recommended tags (a feature of the Pinboard API).

Shiori is simple, elegant, and fast. Get it here for free.

Transfer Files with Alfred – Zero Config Required

File transfers between computers on a network can be a pain. No one wants to memorize hostnames and IP addresses are often dynamic. Apple made huge strides in simplifying the process with AirDrop but the UI leaves a lot to be desired especially if you are looking for fast transfers with minimal interactions. If you are an Alfred Powerpack user then you are probably already familiar with the many ways Alfred workflows can speed up simple actions without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard. Wouldn’t it be great if you could transfer files using Alfred with absolutely no configuration?

This is exactly what I had in mind when I made the Alfred File Transfer workflow. So how does it work? It is powered by the pyncp project. A few months ago one of my favorite blogs, One Thing Well, linked to the pyncp project which is a Python port of the popular linux utility – NCP. Pyncp is essentially a command-line tool for copying files across a LAN without any configuration. You simply run the pyncp push command on one computer, then run the pyncp poll command on the second computer and file is transferred. However, I ran in to some initial issues that prevented pyncp from working properly on OS X – so I forked the project, refactored some code, and got it working.

The Alfred File Transfer workflow is simple. First, install the workflow on each computer. Then select a file to transfer in Finder and show the list of available Actions using Alfred’s ⌥ + ⌘ + \ keyboard shortcut. Type push and select the corresponding Alfred action. On the second computer, simply bring up Alfred and type pull – the file will be transferred to the ~/Downloads folder on the destination computer. That is all there is to it!

Check out a video of the workflow in action:

This workflow is simple yet very powerful because it allows you to move files across your network using nothing more than your keyboard. It is worth noting that this does not provide the encryption and security provided by AirDrop so if you are transferring sensitive information on a public network – use with caution. However, I have found it extremely useful on my personal computers at home. If you find this workflow handy be sure to thank Felix Richter for his hard work porting NCP to the Python language.

Download the Alfred File Transfer workflow.