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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders Desktop
One thing that I've always missed from Classic was the Launcher (or folder tabs with button icons). Neither the launcher nor folder tabs were perfect and neither is this hint, but they accomplished a task somewhat efficiently: easy access to all applications.

I've found that I like to have single-click access via the Dock to all my applications, but given limited space, that's just not feasible. Navigating the Finder is just too much of a hassle for me. I also liked the way you could categorize applications in the Launcher (or folder tabs with button icons), so I have combined the two concepts with a pair of AppleScripts attached as folder actions.

It works like this. I create a folder analogous to the categories I could make in the old Launcher, and I populate it with aliases to applications. I put this folder in the Dock. I then decide on a default application: an application I want to launch if I click on the folder in the Dock. I then insert the appropriate code into an AppleScript, and attach it as a folder action.

For example, I've created a web browser category with all my web browsers in it, making Safari my default app:
on opening folder this_folder
    tell application "Safari"
        activate
    end tell
end opening folder
I make another script which closes the category folder:
on opening folder this_folder
    tell application "Finder"
        close front window
    end tell
end opening folder
I attach both scripts to the category folder (the 'Close' one first, then the one that opens Safari). I then edit the folder icon to look like the Safari icon, and I'm done.

The nice thing about this is that I can still open Safari with a single click on the Dock (on the folder side, where the special folder is stored), and I don't need to have all my other browsers taking up dock space next to it. Yet if I want a different browser, I either click and hold the Safari folder icon, or control-click it, and I can select the alternative browser from the pop-up list.

There are two caveats. When Safari starts up, you end up with two Safari icons in the dock, yet that's better than six web browser icons. If I knew how, I'd simply add other browser selections to the Safari dock menu, but that's over my head. The other caveat is that the category folder flashes briefly on the screen each time I start up Safari. Yet I like the functionality so much that these issues are easily ignored.

I've made six categories, each with six or more contained applications and all with default applications I always use. My Dock is so much cleaner and usable and I can actually read the Mail message count, since its icon is much larger now! This is a great way to save Dock space and still have single click access via the Dock to all applications. No more large submenu or Finder navigation.

NOTE: If you ever want to edit the folder's contents, you'll have to use column view in the Finder. This will prevent the dafult app from being launched or the folder from being closed when double-clicked.

[robg adds: I tested this, and it does indeed work, though the Finder limitations can be a bit of an issue if you want to work with the special folders on a regular basis and you're not a column-view-only user.]
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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: jchapman on Feb 02, '06 07:34:09AM
Have you looked at DragThing? In my experience it's the best launcher out there, and it can duplicate (and expand upon) the pop-up folders and the "Launcher" from Mac OS 9.

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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: chrisw357 on Feb 02, '06 11:27:01AM

Hear, hear! DragThing is one app I can't live without. I have the OSX dock off to the side and hidden. I hardly ever use it, except to minimize windows! I have f-keys set to toggle DragThing docks to appear and use them as single-click launchers. DT's preferences are awesome with this!

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No matter where you go... there you are!



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: eirich on Feb 02, '06 09:57:12PM

I have a current license for DragThing, but honestly haven't used it in a very long time. This is not indicative of James' work. I think DragThing is an excellent program. My computer habits have changed considerably and I have become more basic in some ways. I now cannot live without a small app called Namely. With a key combination you can begin typing the name of the application you want. Three letters is usually enough to get the application you want as auto-complete kicks in, then hitting the Return key has your application open. The newest version even "learns" from what you've typed to launch your application even faster.



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: hoofer on Feb 03, '06 03:17:37AM

Is this not exactly how Spotlight works? I hit Command-Space to bring up Spotlight, type a few letters of the App I want to launch, and Spotlight serves it up as the Top Hit (based on my usage habits). I hit Command-Return (or Down Arrow and Return) and voila!



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: eirich on Feb 12, '06 07:55:26AM

Yes this is pretty much exactly what Spotlight does, except that it only works with applications and any Automations one may have made. Also, like Spotlight, one can tell it what directories NOT to look in. I find Namely faster because there are fewer steps involved and it only has to look for certain types of files.



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 03, '06 02:16:32AM

I find DropDrawers much more elegant and useful than Dragthing. On has to fill it manually but mostly this has to be done only once. In fact it was for me the direct replacement for the Launcher in OS 9 when I switched to OS X.
http://www.sigsoftware.com/dropdrawers/



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: duffster on Feb 02, '06 07:49:03AM

It would be nice if someone could develop some sort of tool that would let you quickly switch between multiple docks, the way Desktop Managers allow you to switch between multiple desktops.



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: mesa on Feb 02, '06 08:15:07AM
DockFun does.

/Michael

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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: bdjones on Feb 02, '06 08:44:33AM

check out the contextual menu launcher 'Quick Access'



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: redclawx on Feb 02, '06 09:34:17AM

Or you could just set up a folder and name it "Launcher". This is what we do at our College. A new way of doing an old concept. Basically, we create the Launcher folder in /Users/Shared/ Inside the launcher folder we create sub-folders, (Audio Video, Graphics, Internet, etc...) and inside of those sub-folder we put aliases to the corresponding applications. The Launcher folder is then dragged to the Dock. Now when any user clicks on the Dock/Launcher they can easily get to the most common applications. Click-and-hold and you've got nested folders.

I myself don't use the launcher, as I've gotten used to using Sherlock to launch my applications. But for the above setup, it works great and allows for a common setup across different Mac OS versions.



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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: robleach on Mar 08, '06 05:01:40PM
There's one other drawback to this scheme which I forgot to mention. Drag and drop doesn't open the default application with the dragged files. I've been trying to work on this and haven't come up with a solution I'm satisfied with yet. I got a step closer. This applescript addition to the "open safari" script above will open the dragged files in the default app (in this case: graphicconverter), but it also transfers the files into the special folder unfortunately.

(* Make a string of the items' paths *)<BR>
on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving these_items<BR>
	set item_string to ""<BR>
	repeat with i from 1 to number of items in these_items<BR>
		set this_item to item i of these_items<BR>
		set the item_info to info for this_item<BR>
		set the item_string to item_string & the quoted form of the POSIX path of this_item & " "<BR>
	end repeat<BR>
	do shell script ("open -a GraphicConverter " & item_string)<BR>
end adding folder items to<BR>

I tried to write this code more efficiently, but I'm not an applescripter and couldn't figure out how to get the cleaner looking code to work.

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Create special single-click-to-launch Dock folders
Authored by: Masha88 on May 02, '09 03:39:32AM
Thank you! Just think how this can be realized. :-)
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