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SIMBL Tutorial

msolo edited this page Jan 7, 2019 · 1 revision

Introduction

Creating A SIMBL Plugin Bundle

Creating a SIMBL plugin project is pretty simple, but there are a few things that haven't really ever been properly documented.

  1. Create a new "Cocoa Bundle" project in XCode.
  2. Create a basic plugin class - say, MySamplePlugin. You will use this class as a jumping-off point to setup the rest of your hacks.
  3. Edit the Info.plist
    • Set NSPrincipalClass to MySamplePlugin
    • Create a new array key SIMBLTargetApplications
    • Create a child dictionary of SIMBLTargetApplications with the keys BundleIdentifier, MaxBundleVersion and MinBundleVersion. All of them should have string values.
      • BundleIdentifier should match that of your target application - say com.apple.Terminal
      • MaxBundleVersion should be a string version of the maximum value of CFBundleVersion for your target application. You can just put the current version to be safe.
      • MinBundleVersion should be a string version of the minimum value of CFBundleVersion for your target application. Again, you can just put the current version.
    • Currently, all of the version numbers must be parse-able as integers, but this may change in the future. These keys get more relevant when you start sharing your plugin with others. Basically, they are a way of keeping your plugin from loading inside a version of the application that you haven't had a chance to test with. If SIMBL encounters an application with an out-of-bounds version, it politely tells the user with an alert message that it won't load the plugin and to contact the developer.
<key>SIMBLTargetApplications</key>
<array>
  <dict>
    <key>BundleIdentifier</key>
    <string>com.apple.Safari</string>
    <key>MaxBundleVersion</key>
    <string>412</string>
    <key>MinBundleVersion</key>
    <string>412</string>
  </dict>
</array>
  1. Build out your plugin class. You probably want to put most of your initialization code in the load class method. This is a special method that SIMBL looks for when it loads a plugin's principal class. load gets called at a nice "safe" time when the application has mostly initialized itself and is pretty much ready for interaction with the user. While you can put your initialization code in other methods, I recommend putting it here. Usually I make the plugin class a singleton object, since it's often nice to have a single location to call "home."
/** * A special method called by SIMBL once the application has started and all classes are initialized. /
 + (void) load { MySamplePlugin plugin = [MySamplePlugin sharedInstance];
// ... do whatever NSLog(@"MySamplePlugin installed"); }

/** * @return the single static instance of the plugin object /
 + (MySamplePlugin) sharedInstance { static MySamplePlugin* plugin = nil;

if (plugin == nil)
    plugin = [[MySamplePlugin alloc] init];

return plugin;
}

Debugging and Troubleshooting

If you need to see more information about SIMBL injection, you can enable debug logging by setting some preferences.

Enabling debug logging

defaults write net.culater.SIMBL SIMBLLogLevel -int 0

Sample Log Ouput

In Console.app you should see something like this:

3/18/10 11:54:16 AM SIMBL Agent[160] Safari started 3/18/10 11:54:16 AM SIMBL Agent[160] app start notification: { NSApplicationBundleIdentifier = "com.apple.Safari"; NSApplicationName = Safari; NSApplicationPath = "/Applications/Safari.app"; NSApplicationProcessIdentifier = 7424; NSApplicationProcessSerialNumberHigh = 0; NSApplicationProcessSerialNumberLow = 237626; NSWorkspaceApplicationKey = <NSRunningApplication: 0x200236840 (com.apple.Safari - 7424)>; }
3/18/10 11:54:16 AM SIMBL Agent[160] checking bundle /Users/mike/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/PithHelmet.bundle
3/18/10 11:54:16 AM SIMBL Agent[160] checking target identifier com.apple.Safari
3/18/10 11:54:16 AM SIMBL Agent[160] send inject event
3/18/10 11:54:17 AM Safari[7424] load SIMBL plugins
3/18/10 11:54:17 AM Safari[7424] SIMBL loaded by path /Applications/Safari.app <com.apple.Safari>
3/18/10 11:54:17 AM Safari[7424] checking bundle /Users/mike/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/PithHelmet.bundle 3/18/10 11:54:17 AM Safari[7424] checking target identifier com.apple.Safari
3/18/10 11:54:17 AM PithHelmet[7424] PithHelmet installed
3/18/10 11:54:17 AM Safari[7424] loaded /Users/mike/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/PithHelmet.bundle

This shows some of the interaction between the SIMBLAgent, the SIMBL OSAX and the actual target plugin (in this case, PithHelmet).

Disabling Debug Logging

The default log level is 2 - this only logs in the case of an unrecoverable error.

defaults write net.culater.SIMBL SIMBLLogLevel -int 2
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