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Dumb question: with Firefox active, no FastScripts menulet??

edited February 2009 in FastScripts
Somehow it seems the answer should be obvious, but it's not. When using the Finder, for example, I can access Fast Scripts. But when using Firefox, the Red Sweater icon goes away from the menubar.


  • Wow, the icon literally disappears?

    I'm not able to reproduce that here, but Firefox does do some funny things that are different from most other applications.

    I can't imagine what would cause it to utterly remove the FastScripts icon, though.

    What version of Firefox are you running, what kind of Mac, and what version of OS X?

  • Firefox 3.06, white Macbook with the 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 duo, OS X 10.5.6. But I just realized the cause & what to do about it.

    It wasn't just FastScripts but a couple of other menulets that were missing. Without realizing it, I had slowly added so many menulets (Growl, Hazel, Default Folder X, the fast logon switcher, Displays, etc.) and Firefox add-ons with their own menus ( GMarks and Wired-Marker) that when they met in the middle, the Firefox menu won out & the extra menulets on the left disappeared. I have now turned off Wired-Marker, which I never use, plus some of the less useful menulets, and I have back all the menulets that were missing that I care back, including FastScripts.
  • Ah! That explains it. Thanks for the followup.
  • edited February 2009
    Somewhat related:
    Although I don’t use Firefox, I have the space problem in the menubar a lot. Mainly because I use a 13" MacBook with not a lot of screen real estate. And I have some other indispensable menulets. Also, FastScripts is loaded as an app and so it appears way to the left of the menubar, just after all the prefpanes have been loaded.

    So whenever an app uses more than two-thirds of the menubar for its own, FastScripts disapppears and makes it impossible to reach the app specific scripts. Dang!

    This leads me to my question: Is it possible to build FastScripts as a prefpane? Then it would be possible to rearrange it’s position in the menubar (Command-drag it to the right) and thus to make it visible at all times. That would be a big winner!
  • babaloo said:
    Is it possible to build FastScripts as a prefpane? Then it would be possible to rearrange it’s position in the menubar (Command-drag it to the right) and thus to make it visible at all times.
    Hm, I have 2 apps that are built as prefpanes (which I interpret to mean, you configure them via a preference panel in System Preferences) - Default Folder X, and Hazel. And I can't seem to drag their menulets as described here.
  • It's a coincidence that some of the 3rd-party preference panes have the "Draggable" menu items.

    The story with these is essentially that Apple has a private, unsupported way of installing menu items, and a public, supported way. I use the public, supported way because I want to make it likely FastScripts keeps working if Apple decides to change something in the operating system.

    Unfortunately, only the menu items that are installed in the "private" way get this Apple-only behavior of draggability.

  • Oh shoot.

    That means I will never be able to have the FastScripts menuitem right beside date/time (or anywhere else far on the right side of the menubar)? Darn, that makes it kinda useless for me. And I guess that applies to many people who are using a Mac with a small screen.

    But thanks for your fast answer anyway.
  • Nope - this is a limitation from Apple and it goes both directions. For example, you can't drag the clock to the left of any of the "by the book 3rd party" icons like FastScripts.

    You can get it to show up to the right of any other "by the book" icons by making sure it loads before them when you log in. Other than that, there isn't much room for controlling things.
  • Thanks again, David, for your quick reply.

    So a preference pane like iStat menus obviously uses the unsupported way of installing a menu item? Because I can happily drag those fellas around to where I want (in the "Apple area" of the menubar).

    But, well David, from a mere user’s point of view, I don’t really care so much, if a feature is by the book or not. What I see is that I _don’t_ see FastScript’s menulet in many apps. And not being able to click on the menulet ruins the purpose of FastScript (as I don’t want to assign keyboard shortcuts to every script that I use).

    That’s really a shame because FastScript is a great product and I’d like to use it a lot.

    Best regards,

    PS: Wouldn’t it be possible to make FastScript a "visible for the Dock app" (as an option)? And thus to access it’s functionality by right-clicking it’s Dockicon? Just an idea.
  • edited February 2009
    Another alternative for some users might be to shrink the space taken up by system menulets:

    - battery meter as Icon only
    - clock as Analog
    - fast user switch as Icon

    The other thing is, this is not just a Fast Scripts issue. if there are many menulets all competing for space, then this is what happens - some app or other is going to lose out. It's really an OS design issue.
  • Hi babloo - I'm not trying to dismiss your concerns about wanting to move the icons around. The statements I'm making about "doing it by the book" are only to express that although I can see there are advantages to doing it the unsupported way, I have chosen to stick to the supported way because I favor these other advantages (reliability, mainly).

    Ultimately I think what UsableThought says is true. There's a limited amount of space in the icon area of the menu bar, and Apple hasn't designed it in a way that it works well when it fills up.

    For what it's worth I think the vast majority of 3rd part menu extenders are using the same (supported) technique these days. Loking in my menu bar now, I see Skitch, TextExpander, Twitterrific, all using the same technique as FastScripts. I'm sure it's for the same reason, keeping up with the hacks that allow installing the way Apple does is frustrating and error-prone, and means that less time is spent actually improving the functionality of our applications.

  • Daniel, I looked around for a menulet application whose only purpose would be to extend a drop-down menu area onto which other menulets could be added - thus effectively adding lots more room with only one additional mouse click. However I didn't find anything that quite fit the bill - there are attempts that come close but look ugly or else go into overkill with added apps of their own.

    How hard (ha ha ha ha) would it be for someone to code up something like this? Could it be done at all? If so, probably not a huge money-maker, but the problem is common enough there would be at least some takers if offered at a fair price.
  • I think it would be pretty hard to come up with something that could collect the menu items without the cooperation of the apps that own the menu items. For example the menu item that I install "belongs" to my application in a way that it would probably cause bugs if somebody tried to move it somewhere else.

    It would be a cool hack though :)
  • Daniel, I can perfectly understand your decision to do it "by the book". And in fact I appreciate it when a developer codes along Apple’s guidelines, thus maximising the chance of his app to still work after a system change.

    I was just a little frustrated, as I didn’t see a chance for me to fully use FastScripts great service.

    But I’ve found a solution! And it’s a quite simple one. Just use FastScript’s keyboard shortcut for accessing its menu (available in FS’s preferences)! That’s one simple (and easily changeable) shortcut to remember and you have full access, wether the menulet is visible or not.

    I’m happy again.
  • Nice workaround! Yes, I should have thought of that myself. Glad you discovered it.
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