Also, yikes. 26 days without posting! I plead temporary insanity brought on by tax filing time, and Twitter – the latter being a more convenient outlet for short links and thoughts.

Anyway, taxes are filed and we’re now having a short working vacation in the hills of Petrópolis, an old town north of Rio de Janeiro. Dorinha is taking a short English immersion course (excellent BTW), and I’m coding again, yay!

I’m patching up some loose ends in Klicko in preparation to cloning its preference panel for the next version of Quay, as I’ve mentioned before. While doing that, I’m also trying to refactor my code into a tighter and more readable form. Some of that might be interesting…

For instance, the automatic update checker has a dialog button to “Open System Preferences” and this should go to the Klicko preference panel. Now, System Preferences may already be running but with another panel selected; in any event, the Klicko panel should be opened and ready for the user to see update details. There are several ways to accomplish this.

Most people probably will consider, at first, writing an AppleScript to open System Preferences and then select the Klicko preferences panel. This is unnecessarily complex, and I’ve looked at several solutions. The simplest one-liner to do so from Cocoa would be:

[[NSWorkspace sharedWorkspace] openFile:@"/full/path/to/my.prefPane"];

There’s a non-obvious down-side to that: NSPreferencePane is generic and may be implemented by other apps for their preference plug-ins. Someone’s application might use it and declare .prefPane in its Info.plist. This would in my opinion be a mistake, in that double-clicking or running the code above might (or not) open that other app instead of System Preferences!

The solution I finally hit upon uses Launch Services to open the correct application with the preference panel, like this:

FSRef ref;
if (LSFindApplicationForInfo(0, CFSTR(""), NULL, &ref, NULL)==noErr) {
   LSApplicationParameters parms = {0,kLSLaunchDefaults,&ref,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL};
   NSArray* args = [NSArray arrayWithObject:[NSURL fileURLWithPath:@"/full/path/to/my.prefPane"]];
   if (LSOpenURLsWithRole((CFArrayRef)args, kLSRolesAll, NULL, &parms, NULL, 0)==noErr) {
      // success!

This code first finds the System Preferences app by its bundle ID, and makes a FSRef for it. The FSRef is then pointed to from the LSApplicationParameters structure, and passed to LSOpenURLsWithRole; this will run System Preferences if it’s not already running, and tell it to open the panel.

It’s tempting to pass the panel’s path as an argument inside of LSApplicationParameters. This does indeed work if System Preferences is not already running, but unfortunately it’s ignored if it is.