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README.md

PopClip Extensions

Documentation for PopClip 1.4.10

Introduction

PopClip extensions add extra actions to PopClip.

Screenshot showing extensions in use.

This repository contains the documentation for making your own extensions (this readme file) as well as the source files for the extensions published on the main PopClip Extensions page. Layout of the repo:

docs/                 -- Image files and resources referred to in this README file.
extensions/           -- Distributable versions of the extensions (zipped, with `.popclipextz` extension).
source/               -- Source files for the extensions. Without the `.popclipext` suffix.  
Index.plist           -- The main page is auto-generated using Index.plist to specify the contents.
LICENSE               -- MIT License text.
PopClipExtension.xcodeplugin  -- Plist definition file for use with Xcode or PlistEdit Pro.
README.md             -- This documentation.

License

All extension source files are published under the MIT License (see LICENSE) unless noted otherwise in the readme files of individual extensions.

Credits

All the extensions and documentation were created by Nick Moore except where stated. Contributor credits are are shown in the readme file of each individual extension.

Contributing

Contributors, please note the following:

  • If you contribute an extension, I will assume you are happy for me to publish your contributions on the main PopClip extensions page.
  • I might not publish your extension. I choose which extensions to publish at my sole discretion.
  • I may make changes to any extension.
  • Please do not edit the Index.plist file.
  • Don't worry about signing the extension, I will take care of that.

Other Repos

Here are some other repos you might find interesting:

Disclaimer

These instructions are designed to help a technically competent person to create their own PopClip extension. Please note that user-created extensions are not an officially supported part of PopClip. You need to be comfortable with creating and editing plist files, scripts, and so on.

I reserve the right to change or remove features in future versions of PopClip at any time.

Extension Signing

By default, PopClip will display a warning dialog when you try to install your own extension, because it is not digitally signed by Pilotmoon Software.

Example unsigned warning.

If you find this gets annoying while you are testing your work, you can turn off the warning. Run the following command at the Terminal, then Quit and restart PopClip:

defaults write com.pilotmoon.popclip LoadUnsignedExtensions -bool YES

Please be aware that PopClip extensions can contain arbitrary executable scripts. Be careful about the extensions you create, and be wary about loading extensions you get from someone else. Proceed at your own risk.

General Overview

Types of Actions

There are five main kinds of actions supported by PopClip extensions.

Action Type Description Example
Service Invoke a Mac OS X Service, passing the selected text. MakeSticky
AppleScript Run an AppleScript, with the selected text embedded. Evernote
Shell Script Run a shell script, with the selected text passed as an environment variable. Say
URL Open an HTTP URL, with the selected text URL-encoded and inserted. GoogleTranslate
Keypress Press a key combination. Delete

Filtering

All extensions have access to the following filtering mechanisms, to help prevent them appearing when they are not useful:

  • Filter by matching a regular expression.
  • Filter by application (either include or exclude).
  • Filter by whether cut, copy or paste is available.
  • Filter by whether the text contains a URL, email address or file path.

Anatomy of a PopClip Extension

About .popclipextz files

For distribution on the PopClip Extensions page, extensions are zipped and renamed with the extension .popclipextz. You can examine an existing PopClip extension by renaming it with a .zip extension and unzipping it, to reveal a .popclipext package.

The .popclipext package

A PopClip extension consists of a property list called Config.plist, plus (optional) additional files such as the icon and any required scripts, all contained in a directory whose name ends with .popclipext. Such a directory will be treated as a package by Mac OS X. To view the contents of a package, right click it in Finder and choose 'Show Package Contents'.

If you double-click a .popclipext package, PopClip will attempt to load and install it. PopClip stores its installed extensions in ~/Library/Application Support/PopClip/Extensions/.

Here is an example package structure, using the 'Say' extension:

Say.popclipext                  -- Containing folder
   _Signature.plist             -- Signature (official Pilotmoon extensions only)
   Config.plist                 -- Main configuration file
   say.sh                       -- Script file
   speechicon.png               -- Icon file

The Config.plist

Every extension must contain a Config.plist file. This should be an XML-format plist. The plist contains information about the extension, and also defines one or more actions. You can generate a blank plist with Xcode or use this example as a basis: ExampleConfig.plist. Alternatively, use a dedicated plist editor such as PlistEdit Pro. Here is an example of the plist for 'Translate Tab', as viewed in Xcode:

Example plist, for 'Translate Tab'.

Icons

Extensions may include icons to represent actions. The icon is displayed in the PopClip popup itself, and also in the preferences window and on the web site (if published). Icons may be created in any graphics program. (I use Pixelmator.) The icon should:

  • be a PNG file
  • be square
  • be at least 256x256 pixels
  • consist of solid black figure on a transparent background

For example, here is the full-size icon file for 'Sort':

The 'Sort' icon (256x256 PNG file)

Configuration Details

General

  • All key names are case sensitive.
  • Make sure that you set each field the correct type. A common error is to enter a number as a string type.

"String or Dictionary" type

Fields with the type "String or Dictionary" can take either a String or Dictionary value. If you supply a string value, that string is always used. Alternatively, you can supply a dictionary mapping language code (en, fr, etc.) to a string. PopClip will display the appropriate string for the user's preferred language if possible, with fallback to the en string.

Plist Troubleshooting

If PopClip reports Error: Missing "Extension Identifier" field, that usually means that the Config.plist has malformed XML, or the XML is not a valid plist. (I know, the error message is misleading. Sorry!)

Common reasons for malformed XML are:

  • Missing end tags
  • Mismatched start and end tags
  • Unescaped & character in the URL field (& must be endoded as &)

I recommend using a dedicated Plist editor such as Xcode or PlistEdit Pro. It's easy to make mistakes using a plain text editor.

Config.plist Structure

The Config.plist file has the following structure.

Key Type Required? Description
Extension Identifier String Required Provide a string which uniquely identifies this extension. Use your own prefix, ideally a reverse DNS-style prefix. For example com.example.myextension. Do not use the prefix com.pilotmoon. for your own extensions.
Extension Name String or Dictionary Required This is a display name that appears in the preferences list of extensions.
Extension Image File String Optional File name of the icon to represent this extension in the preferences window. The icon file must be contained in the extension package. If you omit this field, the icon for the first action will be used (if any), or else no icon will be displayed. See Icons for required icon format.
Blocked Apps Array Optional Array of bundle identifier strings (e.g. com.apple.TextEdit) of applications for which this extension's actions should not appear.
Required Apps Array Optional Array of bundle identifier strings of applications required for this extension's actions to appear.
Regular Expression String Optional A Regular Expression to be applied to the selected text. The action will appear only if the text matches the regex. Furthermore, only the matching part of the text is used in the action. The default regex is (?s)^.{1,}$ (note that (?s) turns on multi-line mode). The engine used is RegexKitLite.
Requirements Array Optional Array consisting of one or more of the strings listed in Requirements keys. If this field is omitted, the default is copy.
Stay Visible Boolean Optional If YES, the PopClip popup will not disappear after the user clicks the action. Default is NO.
Preserve Image Color Boolean Optional If YES, the image file will be draw in its original color, instead of in white.
Pass HTML Boolean Optional If YES, PopClip will pass the selected HTML text (if available) to the extension in the POPCLIP_HTML (shell scripts) and {popclip html} (AppleScript) fields. Default is NO. Leaving this set to NO PopClip does not have to process the HTML and this can be slightly faster.
Long Running Boolean Optional Applies to AppleScript and Shell Script extension only. If YES, indicates that the script is expected to be long running. Set this if the script will normally take more than about 0.1 seconds to run, so PopClip knows to show the 'please wait' spinner.
Restore Pasteboard Boolean Optional Applies when using to paste-after and preview-result. If set YES, PopClip will restore the previous pasteboard contents after pasting the result. Default is NO.
Extension Description String or Dictionary Optional A short, human readable description of this extension.
Extension Long Name String or Dictionary Optional You can include a long version of the extension name here. Appears on the web site but not in the app.
Credits Array Optional An array of dictionaries. Information about the creator(s) of the extension. See Credits Dictionary.
Apps Array Optional An array of dictionaries. Information about the app(s) this extension works with. See Apps Dictionary.
Required OS Version String Optional Minimum version number of Mac OS X needed for this extension to work. For example 10.8.2.
Required Software Version Number Optional Minimum bundle version number of PopClip needed for this extension to work. For example 701 for PopClip 1.4.5.
Actions Array Required Array of dictionaries defining the actions for this extension. See Action Dictionary.
Options Array Optional Array of dictionaries defining the options for this extension, if any. See Option Dictionary.
Options Title String or Dictionary Optional Title to appear at the top of the options window. Default is Options for this extension..

Action Dictionary

Each action dictionary has the following structure. Exactly one of Service Name, AppleScript File, Shell Script File, URL or Key Combo should be specified.

Key Type Required? Description
Title String or Dictionary Required Format is as for Extension Name above. Note that every action must have a title. For extensions with icons, the title is displayed in the toolip when the user hovers over the action's button in PopClip.
Image File String Optional File name of the icon for this action in PopClip. The icon file must be contained in the extension package. If you omit this field, the Title will be displayed instead. See Icons for required icon format.
Service Name String Required for Service actions Exact name of the OS X service to call (as shown in the Services menu). For example, Make Sticky.
AppleScript File String Required for AppleScript actions The name of the AppleScript file to use. The file must exist in the extension's package. The script must be a plain text file (save as .applescript, not .scpt) and it must be saved using UTF-8 encoding. Within the script, use "{popclip text}" as the placeholder for the selected text. Other fields are also available: see Script Fields. See also Example AppleScript File.
Shell Script File String Required for Shell Script actions The name of the shell script file to invoke. The file must exist in the extension's package. This will be passed as the parameter to /bin/sh. Within the script, use the environment variable $POPCLIP_TEXT to access the selected text. Other variables are also available: see Script Fields. The current working directory will be set to the package directory. See also Example Shell Script File.
Script Interpreter String Optional Specify the interpreter to use for the script specified in Shell Script File. The default is /bin/sh but you could use, for example, /usr/bin/ruby.
URL String Required for URL actions The URL to open when the user clicks the action. Use {popclip text} as placeholder. For example, http://translate.google.com/#auto%7Cauto%7C{popclip text}. Any & characters must be XML-encoded as &.
Key Combo Dictionary Required for Keypress actions Specify the keypress which will be generated by PopClip. See Key Code format. Key presses are delivered at the current app level, not at the OS level. This means PopClip is not able to trigger global keyboard shortcuts. So for example PopClip can trigger ⌘B for "bold" (if the app supports that) but not ⌘Tab for "switch app".
Before String Optional String to indicate an action PopClip should take before performing the main action. See Before and After keys.
After String Optional String to indicate an action PopClip should take after performing the main action. See Before and After keys.
Blocked Apps Array Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Required Apps Array Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Regular Expression String Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Requirements Array Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Stay Visible Boolean Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Preserve Image Color Boolean Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Pass HTML Boolean Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Restore Pasteboard Boolean Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.
Long Running Boolean Optional As above; this value overrides the value specified in the extension header.

Requirements keys

These are the values supported by the Requirements field. Additionally, you can prefix any requirement with ! to negate it. For example, !paste if you only want the action to appear when Paste is not available.

Value Description
copy The system Copy command must be available (that is, the Copy item in the Edit menu must not be greyed out).
cut The system Cut command must be available.
paste The system Paste command must be available.
formatting The selected text control must support formatting.
httpurl Require the text to contain exactly one HTTP(S) URL; only the matching part will be passed to the action.
httpurls Require the text to contain one or more HTTP(S) URLs.
email Require the text to contain exactly one email address; only the matching part will be passed to the action.
path Require the text to contain exactly one local file path; only the matching part will be passed to the action.
html Selection must be HTML text (for example, text in a web page).
option-*=# The option named * must be equal to the string #. For example option-fish=1 would require an option named fish to be set on. This mechanism allows actions to be enabled and disabled via options.

Before and After keys

These are the values supported by the Before and After fields.

Value Description
cut Perform system Cut command, as if user pressed ⌘X.
copy Perform system Copy command, as if user pressed ⌘C.
paste Perform system Paste command, as if user pressed ⌘V.
paste-plain Strip the system pasteboard down to plain text only, then perform system Paste command, as if user pressed ⌘V.
popclip-appear Makes PopClip invoke itself again. (This is used in the Select All extension).
copy-selection Copy the originally selected text as plain text. (This is used in the Swap extension.)
copy-result Copy the text returned from the script script to the clipboard. Displays "Copied" notification. If there is no text, or the script failed, shows an 'X'.
paste-result If the system Paste command is available, paste the text returned from the script, as well as copy it to the clipboard. Otherwise, only copy it as in copy-result. If there is no text, or the script failed, shows an 'X'.
preview-result Copy the text returned from the script to the clipboard, and show the result as well (truncated to 100 characters). If the system Paste command is available, the preview text can be clicked to paste it. If there is no text, or the script failed, shows an 'X'.
show-result Show the text returned from the script. If there is no text, or the script failed, shows an 'X'.
show-status Show a tick or a 'X', depending on whether the script succeeded ort not.

Option Dictionary

Options are presented to the user in a preferences window and are saved by PopClip's preferences on behalf of the extension. Each option dictionary has the following structure.

Key Type Required? Description
Option Identifier String Required Unique identifying string for this option. It must be an all-lowercase string. This field is used to pass the option to your script. (See Script Fields.)
Option Type String Required One of the following: string (text box for free text entry), boolean (a check box) or multiple (pop-up box with multiple choice options).
Option Label String or Dictionary Required Label to appear in the user interface for this option.
Option Default Value String Optional For string, boolean and multi types, this field specified the default value of the option.
Option Values Array Required for multiple type Array of strings representing the possible values to show in the pop-up button.

Script Fields

These strings are available in Shell Script and AppleScript extensions. Where no value is available, the field will be set to an empty string.

Shell Script Variable AppleScript Field Description
POPCLIP_TEXT {popclip text} The selected text, without formatting.
POPCLIP_URLENCODED_TEXT {popclip urlencoded text} URL-encoded form of the selected text. For example, if the selected text is push / pull this field will contain push%20%2F%20pull.
POPCLIP_URLS {popclip urls} Newline-separated list of URLs which PopClip detected in the selected text.
POPCLIP_URL_TITLES {popclip url titles} Newline-separated list of titles for the urls in POPCLIP_URLS which PopClip detected in the selected text. If no title is available, the string will contain an empty line.
POPCLIP_HTML {popclip html} The selected text in HTML format, if available. The Pass HTML field must be set to YES to receive this field.
POPCLIP_MODIFIER_FLAGS {popclip modifier flags} Modifier flags for the keys held down when the extension's button was clicked in PopClip. Values are as defined in Key Code format. For example, 0 for no modifiers, or 131072 if shift is held down.
POPCLIP_BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER {popclip bundle identifier} Bundle identifier of the app the text was selected in. For example, com.apple.Safari.
POPCLIP_APP_NAME {popclip app name} Name of the app the text was selected in. For example, Safari.
POPCLIP_BROWSER_TITLE {popclip browser title} The title of the web page that the text was selected from. (Safari and Chrome only.)
POPCLIP_SPECIAL_BROWSER_TITLE {popclip special browser title} The title of the web page, ONLY only if the user selected the URL in the address bar (i.e. this is likely the title of the corresponding web page to the URL). (Safari and Chrome only.)
POPCLIP_BROWSER_URL {popclip browser url} The URL of the web page that the text was selected from. (Safari and Chrome only.)
POPCLIP_DECIMAL_SEPARATOR n/a The decimal separator character according to the OS X system locale. For example: .
POPCLIP_GROUPING_SEPARATOR n/a The number grouping (thousands separator) character according to the OS X system locale. For example: ,
POPCLIP_OPTION_* (all UPPERCASE) {popclip option *} (all lowercase) One such value is generated for each option specified in Options, where * represents the Option Identifier. For boolean options, the value with be a string, either 0 or 1.

Credits Dictionary

Key Type Required? Description
Name String Required Name or identifier of the contributor. For example John Smith.
Link String Optional A link to the contributor's website or other URL. For example http://johnsmith.com

Apps Dictionary

Key Type Required? Description
Name String Required Name of the app which this extension interacts with. For example Evernote for an Evernote extension.
Check Installed Boolean Optional If YES, PopClip will check whether the app given by Bundle Identifier is installed when the user tries to use the extension. If missing, PopClip will show a message and a link to the website given in Link. Default is NO.
Link String Required if Check Installed is YES Link to a website where the user can get the app referred to in Name. For example http://evernote.com.
Bundle Identifier String or Array Required if Check Installed is YES Bundle identifier of the application. For example com.evernote.Evernote. If an app has multiple variants, for example, Pro and Free variants, or if an app use a different bundle ID for the App Store version to the stand-alone version, then include all the possible bundle IDs as an array.

Additional Notes

Example AppleScript File

Important: AppleScript files must be in UTF-8 plain text format. (Save as 'text' format in AppleScript editor.)

Here is an example of an AppleScript file for use in an extension (this one is for sending to Evernote):

tell application "Evernote"
    activate
    set theNote to create note with text "{popclip text}"
    open note window with theNote
end tell

Example Shell Script File

Here is an example of an shell script for use in an extension (this one is for 'Say'):

echo $POPCLIP_TEXT | say

Script Returning Result

Scripts can return results if they specify one of the *-result or show-status keys in the Action's After field.

Scripts should indicate success or failure as follows. If the script indicates a failure with settings, it will cause the extension's options window to appear (if it has one).

Result Shell Script AppleScript
Success Return status code 0 Return without raising an error
General failure Return status code 1 Raise error with code 501. Example AppleScript: error "any text" number 501.
Failure with settings Return status code 2 Raise error with code 502. Example AppleScript: error "any text" number 502.

Here is an example of a Ruby script that could be used in a shell script extension (with the Script Interpreter set to /usr/bin/ruby) and the After key set to paste-result.

input=ENV['POPCLIP_TEXT']
# make the text ALL CAPS
print input.upcase 

See also the Uppercase extension for a working example.

Key Code format

Key presses should be expressed as a dictionary with the following keys:

Key Type Required? Description
keyChar String (see note below) Character key to press. For example A.
keyCode Number (see note below) Virtual key code for key to press. For example, the delete key is 51. For help finding the code see this StackOverflow question.
modifiers Number Required Bitmask for modifiers to press. Use 0 for no modifiers. Shift=131072, Control=262144, Option=524288, Command=1048576. Add together the values to specify multiple modifiers (see table below).

Note: Exactly one of keyChar or keyCode should be specified. Not both.

Table of modifier combinations:

Keys Value
none 0
131072
262144
⌃⇧ 393216
524288
⌥⇧ 655360
⌃⌥ 786432
⌃⌥⇧ 917504
1048576
⇧⌘ 1179648
⌃⌘ 1310720
⌃⇧⌘ 1441792
⌥⌘ 1572864
⌥⇧⌘ 1703936
⌃⌥⌘ 1835008
⌃⌥⇧⌘ 1966080
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