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Introducing Touché

November 14th, 2016

When Apple announced the new MacBook Pros, featuring a hardware Touch Bar above the keyboard, I was immediately intrigued.

Apple provided a “simulator” to developers, so they can get a sense for how the Touch Bar works, and test their own apps with the Touch Bar, without having to buy a new MacBook Pro.

The simulator is cool, but I immediately noticed a few shortcomings:

  • You have to download Xcode to use it.
  • It’s cumbersome to activate and deactivate.
  • Taking screenshots of the Touch Bar is awkward.

Touché is my answer to those shortcomings. If you’re an everyday user who just wants to play around with the Touch Bar concept, a developer who wants a an easy way to toggle the virtual Touch Bar off and on, or a designer who needs to share screenshots from the Touch Bar frequently, then I think you’re going to love Touché.

Touché is free for all to download and use. I hope you like it.

24 Responses to “Introducing Touché”

  1. Rick Truell Says:

    In case you weren’t aware, Touché got a mention today on Apple World Today ( https://www.appleworld.today/blog/2016/11/14/touch-brings-a-touch-bar-to-any-mac ). Sadly, I suspect that, like me, you’ll experience a little déjà vu when you read the blog post :-(

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Thanks, Rick! That is a little disappointing that they didn’t make more of an effort to differentiate between their original writing and mine.

  3. Dave Says:

    Just wanted to let you know Appleinsider.com also gave you a mention today.

  4. Bill Cheeseman Says:

    I just received my new 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro. It turns out that Touché actually helps me to remain aware of what is showing on the physical Touch Bar. You could give Touché real usability by making it slide down off the screen when I mouse over it, so that I can still reach onscreen objects that are behind it. The fact that Touché lets me click its touch bar buttons with the mouse is the ultimate irony! — but, since clicking it goes against the expected use of the physical Touch Bar, maybe you should require the Option key be held down to stop Touché from sliding off the screen during mouse-over.

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Dave – thanks for the note about AppleInsider.com

    Bill Cheeseman – that’s an interesting point! I definitely hadn’t thought too much about the possibility utility of the app a Mac with a bona fide Touch bar. I think that the sliding behavior you describe would ONLY be appropriate on such a machine (otherwise there is no way to actually interact with the UI). I’m not 100% sure I can tell whether there is a Touch Bar on the current Mac, or not. I’ll have to consider that, and whether I could make the behavior hinge on that. Or perhaps it should just be a preference toggle and users can opt into that.

  6. Mike Says:

    I have installed 10.12.1 on MacBook 1″ Retina Mid-2012, but got “Touch Bar Not Supported” message.

  7. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Mike it’s important to click the More Info button and read the explanation there. This is an unusual confusion caused by Apple’s decision to ship two releases with the same 10.12.1 version number.

  8. Erik Hendrix Says:

    Quick question, can Touché be interacted with? As in can one use the mouse to click on the items within it and thus perform the respective action?

    Also, I downloaded and updated to the required build of 10.12.1; but from the moment I run Touché pretty much everything on my Mac starts showing the beachball requiring me to perform a hard reboot.

  9. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi Erik – yes, the app supports interaction as you describe. I haven’t heard of others running into the beachball type behavior you describe, but unfortunately that sounds like something that is outside the scope of Touché itself, and in Apple’s frameworks. I’m not trying to pass the buck but, well, I guess I can’t really do anything about the problem so maybe I am :)

  10. Randy Miller Says:

    Hi Daniel, I’m enjoying Touché as a great utility. I’d rather press it than some of the F-keys that I have programmed with other macros. I use Keyboard Maestro to make hundreds of on screen macros (vaguely similar to Touché but are just words or type symbols). Touché goes with them great, and makes sense on a multiple screen system.

    My one request, can the title bar be optional? Because of width, it seems like a good 1/3 of Touche’s window area is for the single worded title bar. I’d love for Touché to be a slick functional strip. Thanks again for making this functionality happen for other machines.

  11. David W Says:

    Hmmm.. I think Touche is interacting with PathFinder. PathFinder doesn’t crash, but I get an “exception error” in Path Finder whenever I open up Touche. Path Finder doesn’t crash, it just shows me a dialog box saying an exception occurred. Dismissing the dialog box reveals another one instantly. Exiting and restarting PathFinder won’t work either. I have to first exit Touche, then restart PathFInder.

    I don’t expect a fix or a lot of investigative effort, but I’d just thought you’d like to know.

  12. Erik Says:

    Hello,
    two questions / improvement suggestions:

    1. I cannot enter every key (combination) to bring up the touch bar. For instance I cannot enter the ‘fn’-key. Am I doing something wrong? If not, can you include this in a next version?

    2. The Touch bar “overlays” the dock. If the Touch bar could be positioned a bit higher, it would be possible to start applications without removing the touch bar first and then call it up again. Ideally, it would be a Preference option to specify where on the screen the Touch bar should show up. Would that be an option for a next version?

  13. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi Erik – currently the keyboard shortcuts are limited to key combinations that include at least one modifier key (Cmd, Ctrl, Opt, Shift). This is a baseline default in my keyboard shortcuts code, to avoid setting shortcuts that override basic input keys like “J” for example. I can see how overriding a Fn key could be useful, though. I’ll think about that.

    As for the position above the Dock, I am considering some options on that front.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    Daniel

  14. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Oh and Erik, I neglected to mention, re the position of the Dock: it will remember where you placed it. So if you want to have it just always show up above where the Dock is, you can manually drag it up there and then leave it. It will stay there upon showing/hiding/restarting.

  15. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Randy: option to hide the title bar is on my list of requests. Thanks!

    David W: thanks for the alert about Path Finder. This is probably something they should look into in case it reflects a problem that they’ll see with the real Touch Bar as well. It could be that macOS expects the Finder to respond in a certain way to the presence of the Touch Bar, and Path Finder needs to accommodate that somehow.

  16. Erik Says:

    @Daniel,
    thanks for the quick replies.

  17. David Says:

    This application is awesome! Would love to have the option of making the simulator stretch across the entire span of the display. In addition, would also be useful to be able to use Touche in the vertical position.

  18. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    @David Thanks for the suggestions. I’m a little concerned about making things look clunky by messing with the “standard” size and layout, but I will take this into consideration.

  19. Ryan Says:

    This is awesome. Thank you for creating this. I’m comparing this to the iOS touch bar emulator someone released a couple weeks ago. It would be awesome to have an iPad app that put the Touch Bar at the bottom of the screen and used the remainder of the space as an extended desktop for the Mac. Wouldn’t mind having to plug in USB, and would not mind having to side load as I am sure Apple would never approve such an App for the store.

  20. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi @Ryan – I think I’ll stay out of the iOS end of this, because my aim in releasing Touché was to provide something easy to use that anybody could download and easily run. The iOS integration, requiring sideloading, etc., is not an area I want to get involved with. On the other hand, if somebody makes an iOS app that has an easy way for Touché to “attach” to it, I would be amenable to supporting it for folks who have gone the extra mile to sideload an iOS app.

  21. Rick Truell Says:

    Hi Daniel. Just came across another mention of Touché, this time at Make Tech Easier – https://www.maketecheasier.com/get-touch-bar-on-old-macbook/ The same article has a How-To on getting a touch bar on an iPad, although it looks more like a mirror of what’s happening on a Macbook, rather than something that can be interacted with, like Touché.

  22. Steve Feinstein Says:

    Is touché supposed to work with macOS 10.12.1 build 16B2659 or will it only work with 16B2657?

    When I run it I do see it on screen, but it doesn’t respond to any mouse clicks.

  23. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Steve Feinstein: I am not familiar with build 16B2659. My understanding was 16B2657 the latest public release. Did Apple release yet another build with the same “10.12.1” release designation?

  24. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Oh, I think I see that the release version actually shipping with Touch Bar Macs may be 16B2659. I don’t have access to a Touch Bar Mac, so I can’t say whether it works or not. I assumed so. Sorry I don’t know what might be preventing the clicks from working!

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