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Perl solution
Authored by: robh on Mar 19, '01 08:52:06AM

This Perl script seems to work. Don't blame me if it breaks anything :-). Note that I don't know if HUPing the Desktop process is the right way to activate the change but it seems to work.


# This is freeware, do whatever you want with it apart from passing it
# off as your own work.
# Use it at your own risk. It has been tested on Mac OSX Public Beta.
# Rob Hartill, 19/March/2001

use strict;

my $pic_dir = "/Users/rob/Documents/Images";  # change for local dir
my $prefs = `defaults read`; # read existing finder prefs

# read all the jpeg images in the local dir
my $dirhandle;
opendir($dirhandle, $pic_dir) || die "Failed to open $pic_dir, $!";
my @jpegs = grep(/jpe?g$/i, readdir($dirhandle));

# pick a random jpeg image
my $new_pic = $jpegs[rand(@jpegs)];

# insert the URL for the image
$prefs =~ s|(BackgroundPictureURL = )"?([^;]+)"?;|$1"file://localhost$pic_dir/$new_pic";|;
# switch on background image
$prefs =~ s/(BackgroundType = )"?([^;]+)"?;/${1}PctB;/;

# remove old finder prefs and replace with new prefs
print STDERR `defaults delete`;
print STDERR `defaults write '$prefs'`;

# find the process id of the 'Desktop' process
my $pid = `ps x | grep Desktop`;
$pid =~ s/^ ?(d+) .*/$1/;

# if we have a process id for the Desktop, send it a restart signal
if ($pid >0) {
    kill(1, $pid);
} else {
    die "Failed to find pid of Desktop processn";

[ Reply to This | # ]
Perl solution
Authored by: robh on Mar 20, '01 10:20:54AM

hold off using my script. After using it a few times it stops working - the kill signal to restart the Desktop process will eventually fail with the desktop error 'The system has detected a minor problem and repaired it. Some of your preferences may have changed'.

Anyone know of a way to talk to the Desktop (aka Finder) ?. I did some research into Applescript but couldn't locate anything that'd tell the process to refresh the root window. It's possible to communicate with Desktop with this ...
/usr/bin/osascript 'tell application "Desktop" to XXXX'
but I can't work out what instruction (XXXX) to give it.

I also prefer the other poster's suggestion of changing the picture file instead of the .finder prefs. It's easy to change my Perl script to do that, but there's still a need to find a way to tell Desktop to do the refresh.

[ Reply to This | # ]