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SNAX - a Cocoa Finder replacement Apps
If you haven't had the chance yet, check out SNAX from CocoaTech. SNAX is a shareware Finder-replacement written entirely in Cocoa, and it has a number of interesting features, including:
  • A customizable toolbar
  • Contextual menus
  • Multiple Get Info windows
  • A preview pane which can be shown or hidden
  • Full keyboard navigation
  • Spring-loaded folders
  • A global menu showing running processes
Take a look at this screenshot of the main SNAX window to get an idea of some of SNAX' features. I've played with it for a couple of hours now, and I'm quite impressed. The speed is good, and it seems to offer most of the Finder's features and more without quite so much overhead.

UPDATE: On Friday, 10/5/2001, Snax 1.1 was released. This release is optimized for OS X 10.1, and includes numerous bug fixes, speed tweaks, and a few new features. It's notably faster than the previous version on my 10.1 installation...

If you like SNAX, you can do something even more interesting with it. I snapped this screenshot of my OS X 10.1 box earlier tonight. Notice that Snax is running but the Finder is not. That's because Snax is my Finder. It's relatively trivial to replace the Finder with any program you wish, and I replaced it with SNAX for this screenshot.

Read the rest of this article if you'd like to find out how to make SNAX your permanent Finder...

How was this done? The key is a tip and comments that were published here way back in April. Simply execute this in a terminal:
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder /Applications/SNAX.app
You can use whatever you like in place of the Finder (just use the full path to the program and don't forget the ".app" extension); the above example will use SNAX. Logout and login, and you'll have SNAX instead of the Finder. This will hold true for all reboots and logins; SNAX is now your Finder! Although your old Finder is gone, you'll still have the Dock to use in conjunction with SNAX.

There are some things to watch for -- you lose Finder-specific options such as desktop pictures and control over the trash warning and file extensions, for example. In addition, you can accidentally quit SNAX, as it has a Quit command. If that happens, simply launch the real Finder from the Dock.

To undo the change and return to using the 'real' Finder, launch the Terminal and type:
defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow Finder
Once you logout and login, things will be back to normal.

If you're not thrilled with Apple's finder, check out SNAX for an example of a good alternative!
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SNAX - a Cocoa Finder replacement | 16 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
*gasp*
Authored by: semios on Oct 04, '01 05:54:47AM

I think I'm in love.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hire this person!
Authored by: ramseyr on Oct 04, '01 01:23:24PM

This is how the finder should work. If this had a column view this would be my finder from now on.
Apple are you listening/watching.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Only if you really love list view
Authored by: sjonke on Oct 04, '01 05:31:26PM

Seeing how there is only one view and it is list view, I hope that is your favorite. It isn't mine. I use, shock of all shocks, icon view primarily, with column view and list view being used occasionally (more column than list). Add column view and icon view and an easy way to switch between them (ala the OS X Finder) and we'll have something to work with. In any case it's a good start on a power-users Finder.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Just a little side note...
Authored by: UncleAlias on Oct 04, '01 05:34:04PM

SNAX is not free: it is a US$ 35 software.

Although I agree it's neat, it doesn't come for free...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wow
Authored by: AkulaIX on Oct 05, '01 02:26:55AM

How much faster is it compared to Finder in 10.1? Any benchmark test results out there?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Excellent alternative
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 05, '01 11:32:19AM

There's only one programmer, it seems, on SNAX. Makes you wonder what's going on at Apple. Apple should just trash their finder, empty the trash :), and make a deal with CocoaTech.

If you look at the version history of SNAX, he adds a lot of stuff between incremental releases. And it's only been out for a few weeks. Looking forward to see how much better this will be in a couple of months.

Adam



[ Reply to This | # ]
SNAX 1.1 released
Authored by: robg on Oct 06, '01 12:20:24AM

There's a new version out -- if you have 10.1, make sure you get the new 1.1 release.

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
changing Finder
Authored by: beef on Oct 06, '01 01:09:41AM

Hi. I downloaded SNAX 1.1, and placed it in / (my Application is anothe partition... thought it might be better to have it in the same partition as system.. dunno if this makes any difference)

Anyway, then I typed "defaults com.apple.loginwindow Finder /SNAX.app" after doing su in terminal... logged out and logged in... and Finder launched...

...is there something that I missed?



[ Reply to This | # ]
perhaps missed...
Authored by: robg on Oct 06, '01 01:41:32AM

If you wrote exactly what you typed, you left out the word "write", as in:

defaults WRITE com.apple.loginwindow Finder /SNAX.app

If you did type "write", then I'm not sure what you're missing - try doing "cat ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist" after you execute the defaults write and make sure it looks right before you logout and login...

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
oop.... but just some mistake here... dunno what's wrong
Authored by: beef on Oct 06, '01 04:48:44AM

ok... i guess i should double check what I'm typing when asking for help... anyway, I did type 'write'... and just to make sure I did... I tried again...

no changes have been made to com.apple.loginwindow.plist

gah!!!

btw... does using snax still kill desktop picture?

I don't look at the desktop picture all that much.. but looking at blue screen isn't all that fun...

dunno... maybe i'll go back to the old way and take Finder out of the way and put Snax there...



[ Reply to This | # ]
:~~~P
Authored by: beef on Oct 06, '01 05:19:01AM

well.. still haven't gone through the old way...

I have "Users" in another partition as well... I dunno if that's causing the problem... can't quite tell since I'm no guru at anything... but this hasn't caused any problem for other stuffs I've done...

anyway... can someone tell me how the file is modified?

there's no
<key>Finder</key>
or whatever in the file, so I'm kinda reluctant to make changes without any guidance...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Edit the file directly...
Authored by: robg on Oct 06, '01 09:35:21AM

If you want to edit the file directly, do:

cd ~/Library/Preferences
vi com.apple.loginwindow.plist

Then insert the following between the "<dict>" and "</dict>" tags:

<key>Finder</key>
<string>/Applications/SNAX.app</string>

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
rather weird thing happened
Authored by: beef on Oct 06, '01 05:48:46PM

after a long hard day at basketball court... (some guy tackled me from behind... the idiot didn't even apologize... screaming "I tripped on my own foot"... I dunno what he was trying to say... well... this has nothing to do with Mac... just had to get it out... gah!)... I had to reboot and go to OS9 (shrinkwrap image... :P) and then back to OSX.

then SNAX.app launched instead of Finder... I went to the terminal and checked com.apple.loginwindow.plist and loginwindow.plist at both /library/preferences/ and ~/library/preferenes... none of the files had anything on Finder...

I looked for loginwindow.plist (with *) and ended up at /private/var/root/library/preferences/

when I checked the file, it had the info needed to run SNAX.app in place of Finder...

I never logged in as root to make the changes, and I'm not logged in as root now either... but it seemed to have read the info from that file...

I guess I did the defaults command after su after numerous attempt to modify the com.apple.loginwindow.plist and ended up modifying the file... but that's the only thing that seemed to have worked for me...

I think I'd change the file back to running Finder... and modify the one in my user directory manually... but why is this getting info from /var/root/library???



[ Reply to This | # ]
SNAX now has column view!
Authored by: rzdroj on Nov 07, '01 12:07:03PM

SNAX version 1.1.4 is out with a very nice column view. The columns widths are independent which is a nice feature as well.

Having spring loaded folders together with column view is very nice.

I used the instructions by robg above to replace the Finder with SNAX. One problem is that OmniWeb starts the Finder anyway when downloading software. I'm not sure if any other applications do that or if there is a way to change that behavior. Would linking the Finder to SNAX fix that or break something?



[ Reply to This | # ]
MaxMenus and Finder replacement
Authored by: bluehz on Jan 29, '03 01:28:32PM

Anyway to get other apps to recognize Path Finder (aka SNAX) as Finder instead of the Finder? For example I use MaxMenus CMM religously - but if chose something from one of the menus MaxMenus - it opens the Finder.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Full finder replacement using Path Finder
Authored by: adodd on Feb 12, '03 05:20:48PM

This may (will likely) cause ill effects (especially during stystem updates) and does cause some minor functionality to break, but i've wholly replaced my Finder with Path Finder by doing this and have noticed a slight speed improvement over running both the Finder and Path Finder (I'm using 10.2.3 on a Pismo/500 btw):

1. used Stuffit to make a backup of /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app
2. opened the Terminal
3. DELETED the original Finder:
sudo rm -R /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app
4. made a symbolic link to my Path Finder app in place of the Finder:
sudo ln -s /Applications/Path\ Finder.app /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app

Now, this used to work fine in 10.1 and below, but I noticed it wasn't working, so I started digging around and saw that the Finder's process was actually referring to a component within the Finder.app package. A "ps -aux | grep Finder" on an unmodified 10.2.3 box showed the process name as:

/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder

Therefore, I did the following:

5. I made a symbolic link to the actual Path Finder executable within the package to be the same name as the Finder's:
sudo ln -s /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Path\ Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Finder

This now not only made MacOS launch Path Finder isntead of the Finder, it also made thing such as clicking on folders dragged to my Dock open up in Path Finder.

Some notes:
-- In the commands, remember to escape any spaces, such as in the Path Finder name. This is done by either enclosing the whole path in quotes, or using a backslash:
"/Applications/Path Finder.app" or /Applications/Path\ Finder.app
-- You'll want to restore the Finder.app from your stuffit archive before running any MacOS system update . . .

My caveat thus far is:
-- Doing this, I've noticed my Login Items don't launch. Annoying but I'm fine with that.



[ Reply to This | # ]