Konfabulator Will Have Some Company


Reviewing the list of Tiger enhancements makes it fairly apparent that Konfabulator is not the only 3rd party application who’s functionality will be mimicked in the new version of OS X.

Every piece of software (especially operating systems) ships with little holes in functionality that leave great niches for enterprising software developers to fill. As an operating system matures, the niches either stay filled by 3rd party products, or are integrated in subsequent updates. It’s a sore subject for the 3rd party innovators and the devout following their apps have accumulated.

I think there will be plenty of users who will stick with their longtime favorite 3rd party solutions, and I hope they do. Those developers deserve the support. But many will make the migration to the newly integrated features and leave the ‘outside’ apps in the dust.

As Tiger looms just around the corner, it stands to replace a few 3rd party applications and utilities – and not just Konfabulator.

iCal Events in System Clock
My favorite, MenuCalendarClock is the first that comes to mind. You Control also has similar functionality. From the sounds of it, these apps (and any others like them will be ousted by Tiger’s iCal Events in the System Clock.
Birthday Calendar from Address Book Entries
iCal Birthday Shifter is a great little utility that grabs all the birthdays listed in your Address Book, and loads them into iCal so you never miss someone’s big day. This’ll be integrated (integration seems to be the defining word for Tiger) for Tigers Address Book and iCal.
One word: Konfabulator. Stolen, a new iteration from the OS 9 days, whatever.
Remapping Modifier Keys
As in fn, ctrl, opt, enter. I don’t know if this only pertains to use within the Terminal or if it’s for global use within OS X. Currently there are a few apps doing this. uControl & Double Keys are a couple I’ve used.
Safari’s RSS capabilities
This is more of a move to align with the rest of the RSS craze. But I’m sure it will take some share away from the likes of NetNewsWire, NewsFire, Pulp, FireFox’s Sage plugin, etc, etc. (I believe the more hardcore RSS users will stick with their current apps, but newbies will probably opt for the built in functionality that Safari 2.0 RSS will offer.
Inline pdf Viewing in Safari
Currently, Schubert|it has a couple of fantastic plugins (that I use in FireFox) that allow me to view pdfs and Word docs inline (inside the browser window) instead of launching their respective apps. Seems Safari will now handle this out of the box. Which in this writer’s opinion, is something that should’ve been done long ago anyway.

So that’s what I got out of the list of 200 new features. Some of them were logical steps that seem like they’re overdo for OS X. Others seem like more blatant rip-offs. Either way, you’ll have your choice of the original solutions, or the new Tiger implementations.



) you’re dragging out that old and *completely discredited* chestnut of “Dashboard was stolen from Konfabulator”. That’s completely wrong and you should definitely know by now why.

You’re right, one is for running javascript-based, user customizable, desk-accessory-type objects called “widgets”, while the other is for running javascript-based, user customizable, desk-accessory-type objects called “widgets”. Or is it the other way around?

Seriously, sarcasm aside, if any part of what I just said is incorrect, please provide an argument or link to back that up beyond “you should definitely know” because I don’t.

Chris Stolzenberg

Nik you are right:

iPhoto sucks, its like letting the system control your files, reminds me of win. I prefer GC to control, organize and manipulate my pictures.

Besides that its good to know Apple watches the useful 3rd party helpers and integrates them if useful into the system even if its frustrating to developers, I loved for example my iTunes Control: Synergy it was well worth the couple of bucks.

Eliah Hecht

Re: Spotlight: the killer for me is really that it defaults to “Show All” instead of “Top Hit”, so even if it picked the right result for me every single time, to launch something would be Cmd-Space, Down, Enter, instead of QS or LB’s Cmd-Space, Enter. That extra keystroke is really annoying.
Also it seems to search on substrings, instead of finding everything that contains your letters (as QS/LB do), so for instance “ffox” never finds Firefox, and “ps” never finds Photoshop.

Jan-Hendrik Dorner

I programmed a while ago a personalized calendar, which includes the current weather condition and a forecast (please see my site
http://www.project24.info/weather.php for details). The calendar is quite popular ( over 1000 downloads from different persons every 24h).
But I think, the traffic will stop, because of the weather – widget.

Richard Dalziel-Sharpe

A not re Spotlight to Eliah Hecht.
Spotlight requires several hours to fully index your HD so 15 minutes is hardly a trial.
Let it do a full index and use it for a few days as it has algorithms that learn how you use files.


Apple has long decided on integration vs. 3rd party – if they see something worth integrating they will. If that destroys / hampers 3rd party app writers, too bad.
I can understand this because it does indeed produce more value for the consumer. We get lots of extremely useful and highly polished applications for free with the OS. Do i mind? No.
As for the argument that 3rd party application developers will turn away from the Mac and do (what exactly?) instead, it’s not true. What is good for the platform is also good for 3rd party app developers.

ps; Except iPhoto – it keeps getting better, but it keeps sucking, too.

Dmitry Markman

actually you can navigate Tiger’s Safari embedded
PDF document: use right click (or ctrl-click)
and you’ll see popup menu with all you need to
navigate the document

Dmitry Markman

Safari’s PDF’s viewer isn’t rudimentary it’s based
on the new powerful PDFKit framework
what you see in the Tiger’s Safari isn’t an image
what is true that it doesn’t have controls to navigate pdf document
but I don’t like to see large pdf documents in the browser anyway and for short pdfs I don’t need
the controls

response to articel

Apple’s display of PDFs inline is rudimentary at best. Basically, it displays it as an image. I don’t think anyone (Neither Schubert nor Adobe) has to worry about their implementation.

Stephan Huebner

The best thing about the article is that it doesn’t critizise apple for including new features in its OS. I am really happy that Apple does such a good job (imho) in including useful features in OSX. And why shouldn’t it, even if someone else had “invented” something before? I mean, which software-developer can truely say he has made a program that doesn’t rely on anything else / any other program / any other way of doing things that wasn’t invented in an earlier program?
One last thing: As good as some of the 3rd-party-utilities are, they are just that: Programs that run together with others on the OS. In most cases they consume CPU-Power, RAM, whatever. I think the more elegant way is to have such functions within the OS itself. I personally prefer using the systems own functions over 3rd-party utilities. if they are comparable. I like having a “cleaner” system”. But that’s just me :-)

Jeremy Pinnix

I have to agree with Brian regarding Dashboard. There are plenty of examples of prior art.

Good summary otherwise Nick.


BTW… Acrobat 7 ships with it’s own Browser Plug-In for viewing PDFs in Safari


I’m curious about your comment regarding displaying iCal items in the system clock… I’ve got Tiger and I don’t see any way of doing this.

Eliah Hecht

You forgot to mention LaunchBar being redundant because of Tigers Spotlight.

Negative. I used Spotlight for about fifteen minutes before switching back to Quicksilver. It’s nice for searching, but crap for launching: too slow, and the highlight doesn’t default to the top search result. Now I’m just wishing I could get that stupid icon out of my menu bar…


You forgot to mention LaunchBar being redundant because of Tigers Spotlight.

Eliah Hecht

The modifier key remapping seems to include only the following keys: Caps Lock, Control, Option, Command. It works globally. My guess is it’s primarily so UNIX types who want their control key where caps lock is can have it there.


Why did Apple choose to play dashboard widgets in a seperate konfab-lieke container? That to me is the big limitation.

Check out mProjector. You can make the same kind of widgets that are independent of dashboard — they run as normal apps.

Tell me you favorite widget and I will make a version that doesn’t require dashboard or konfabulator contatiner.


Nick Santilli

Steve – thanks. I’d [obviously] forgotten that one.

Kevin – read it again. I was simply stating the arguments surrounding Konfabulator.

“Stolen, a new iteration from the OS 9 days, whatever.”

with the “whatever” portion signifying that it’s a beaten-to-death horse. Dashboard is practically here, and the issue matters no longer.

Good point about Safari. I’d revise my stance to agree with you somewhat on that. For me, I prefer my browser and rss all together in one package. (I’ve got NetNewsWire, but user FireFox/Sage much more often.) In the end, it’ll come down to personal preference.

Kevin Ballard

Nick, you just said two completely wrong things.

1) Konfabulator sucks. Really, it does. It’s a CPU and Resource hog. But of course, that’s not what the problem is. The problem is that, once again, you’re dragging out that old and *completely discredited* chestnut of “Dashboard was stolen from Konfabulator”. That’s completely wrong and you should definitely know by now why.

2) Safari RSS will *not* reduce market share for existing newsreaders. If anything, it will increase the market share. Why? People who currently use a newsreader will stick with it – newsreaders are more powerful and flexible than Safari RSS. What Safari RSS will do is introduce more people to the world of RSS. Sure, there will be plenty of people who will stick with Safari RSS, and that’s fine. But there will also be plenty of people who, once introduced to RSS, will decide they need something more powerful and will move on to other newsreaders.

Steve Savery

iChat Status will also fall foul of Tiger – iChat 3 will sport a new feature to allow the current song in iTunes to be displayed in the status message.

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