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ACP ServicesSecret services.
[This article is about the ACP Text Services. For information on the 2,000+ free ACP Web Services click here.]
ACP services are one-way and two-way filter mechanisms. They're invisible: you only notice their presence on your services menu. They can be used anywhere text can be selected: a text editor, the Safari location bar, an input entry field, right off an HTML page - almost anywhere as long as it's native Cocoa compliant [which most things finally are thankfully].
Where They Are
Services are on the services menu. They're a submenu of your application menu. They're on the menus of all applications. Scoot over to the name of your application on the menu bar and click. 'Services' should be the second or third item on the menu that opens.
The ACP Text Services are sorted by default under 'ACP Text' on the services menu. But you can change this with either of the ACP services menu editors.
The illustration below and to the right depicts the ACP Text Services menu. Following is a brief description of what each service does for you.
Capitalise and then concatenate text, removing white space.
Capitalise text anywhere you have it. This doesn't mean 'upper case': only the first character of each word is transformed into upper case.
Transform your text into W3C compatible source for the World Wide Web. All non-ASCII characters (> 127) are transformed into an HTML 4.0 compliant escape sequence.
A bit of fun... Suddenly all you see is blonde, brunette, redhead. Click here for more information.
Transform your text into lower case - this includes anything in any character set, from Hebrew to Arabic to oriental languages. Anything.
Resolve command calls so you see where you're going before you get there. Absolutely essential for sysadmins. Click here.
Eliminate both horizontal and vertical extraneous white space. It does this without removing necessary 'newline' line feeds.
Replace 'pretty' quotes with W3C conformant quotes. [Note: if you really want pretty quotes use the ACP 'Escapes' service mentioned above - otherwise use this as your website won't otherwise look good.]
Strip HTML Tags
Does what it says. You will most likely want to clean white space afterwards with Rixedit.
Tidy Up Quote
A boon if there ever is one. Available in BBEdit for $199 but here for a fraction of a fraction. Take care of all that confused kludged mail you get from MS mail clients and webmail providers that are sluggish in 'getting with it'. Take out the indents, the broken lines, the extraneous white space, stupid quotes of all shapes and forms - and all at the hit of a keyboard shortcut, and do it anywhere - in your mail client, a web form - anywhere.
[And Rixstep have now found a way around the unforgivable bug Apple have kept in their code since 29 April 2005/Tiger so the ACP Text Services (unlike other services available) work even with Apple's deteriorating Mail.app even on Leopard and Snow Leopard. Once you get used to Tidy Up Quote you won't be able to live without it. Ed.]
|Before and after: typically chaotic text is straightened out with a single keyboard shortcut - even in webmail.
Undo the 'escapes' in URLs. Special characters in URLs have to be 'escaped' with a two digit hexadecimal number. Mailing or posting such URLs won't always work - the escapes have to be 'undone'.
Any body of text can be selected, even an entire mail message: only the escapes are changed.
Transform your text into upper case - this includes anything in any character set, from Bengali to Punjabi to Sinhala to who knows/who cares: if it's got upper and lower case, this service will do it. [If it doesn't then nothing will happen. Ed.]
The ACP Service Managers
ACP Services come with two service menu configuration utilities: ACP Service Manager and ACP Service Manager Pro. With these two applications you control not only what the ACP Services put on the services menu but what everyone else does too.