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Preface > Organization of This Book

Organization of This Book

Each project begins with a duration scale representing how much time the project will likely take to complete, along with difficulty and geekitude scales, as shown here:

Modding Mac OS X offers a hands-on introduction to customizing your Macintosh. Each chapter introduces a piece of the customization puzzle, providing both discussions to read and projects to work through. This do-it-and-learn approach provides the best way to really learn and master the essentials of how to modify and customize Mac OS X and its applications. In these pages, you'll discover the following topics:

The beginning of each chapter acknowledges work and applications provided by other developers. With some examples, you will need to download and install free software or shareware. If you find that you're using a particular piece of shareware on a regular basis, I encourage you to support that developer and pay what is often a nominal shareware license fee.

Chapter 1, Transforming Your Mac

Never disregard the basics. Many of the simplest changes you can make to your Macintosh are the most evident—and the most overlooked. This chapter introduces simple but profound techniques to customize the way your Macintosh looks and behaves.

Chapter 2, Inside Application Bundles

Hidden within each Mac OS X "application file" is a collection of files and folders that include both the application and its supporting resources. In this chapter, you'll discover how applications are put together and what items you'll find inside them.

Chapter 3, Application Dumpster Diving

If you're not afraid to get messy, and you're willing to dive into the complex jumble that is an application's Resources folder, you'll find yourself well rewarded. Most Mac OS X applications are brimming with cool stuff. In this chapter, you'll learn how to recover an application's sounds, pictures, and movies, as well as other fun, reusable, and customizable items.

Chapter 4, Changing Icons

Messing with icons is more than a hobby; it's a time-honored tradition on the Macintosh. From the earliest days of Mac OS, end users have altered, swapped, enhanced, and otherwise played with icons to give their applications, folders, and data files exactly the look they want. In this chapter, you'll explore how icons work, from the bottom up.

Chapter 5, Preferences Files

The various preferences panes found within programs and via System Preferences allow you to customize the way your Macintosh and its applications behave. But preferences don't stop at preferences panes. In this chapter, you'll discover the art and science of storing default settings that, when mastered, will allow your system to behave exactly the way you need it to.

Chapter 6, Discovering Domains and Support Files

In Apple's ideal world, a self-contained "ideal application" installs and uninstalls with a simple drag, leaving little or no mess in its wake. In the real world, however, things get a little messier than that. This chapter introduces the files and folders that support and augment your applications. You'll discover where these items appear (and should appear) and how you can discover, use, and clean up the bits that applications create and leave behind.

Chapter 7, Changing Interface Elements

When it comes to interfaces, Mac OS X puts a staggering amount of control in the hands of end users. With Interface Builder, you can tweak, adjust, and completely alter the way an application interface looks. In this chapter, you'll perform many customizations, ranging from adding buttons to changing an object's class.

Chapter 8, Altering Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make repetitive tasks simpler and provide ergonomic efficiency. In this chapter, you'll discover myriad ways to add shortcuts to your applications. From System Preferences to the defaults command-line utility, you'll find out how to add, remove, and change keyboard shortcuts to meet your personal application needs.

Chapter 9, Basic Application Scripting

Application scripting provides, at once, the most empowering and the most frustrating of challenges available to any application modder. Applying AppleScript to an application isn't entirely like other programming work. It's not enough to conceptualize the task you want to do and then lay out the actions that perform that task. In this chapter, you'll discover the techniques that allow you to access an application's scripting technology.

Chapter 10, Scripting the Unscriptable

There's no better witness to the tenacity of the human spirit than a stubborn insistence that we can do exactly what other people suggest we cannot. In this chapter, you'll learn how to make unscriptable applications scriptable and expand the core system commands provided by Apple.

After working through the chapters in this book, you'll achieve Mac Geek mastery, allowing you to command your Macintosh in ways you never dreamed of.

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