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Inquisitiveness is good. The freedom to tinker? Essential. Brian Kernighan's entire 'Software Tools' philosophy builds on it.

But Brian is an iconoclast. And he's also a very professional software developer.

And that makes it different.

There's a tool out there, called 'Xattred', and it's new, and its author also claims it to be the first-ever extended attributes editor for the Mac, despite extended attributes being around in their present form since 2005 - fourteen years ago.

About when we introduced our first-ever extended attributes editor for the Mac.

But what the heck. That's close enough. Let's take a look - using Tracker of course.

Whoa! WTF is going on here?

The first thing you gotta ask is: 'how did a .DS_Store get in there?' And it's not the first time. The author's been impregnating his darlings with them for some time. Does the author not have a decent file manager? Does the author not have full control?

Note as well where the file is located - right under app root. Where he also has a documentation file. Which happens to be impregnated too. Oy vey. Wasn't he supposed to write an XA editor? So what's he doing with XAs on his own files? He's got a quarantine XA on his own file? This is getting very interesting.

The fun never stops. It turns out he's got not one but two XAs on his own .DS_Store! And he's going to help us clean up XAs?

It's side-splitting.

But wait! He's also got an XA on his app root? This is getting too much. It can't get worse can it? Let's look at the XA.

It's an empty array. It does nothing. So it just got worse.

OK so let's poke inside a bit.

He's got PkgInfo, which means he's clueless or lame or both, as PkgInfo (which is way archaic and useless in the New Millennium) is only used by Finder anyway, but a man's gotta love his Finder, right? Wrong. Clueless and lame.

Go down to Contents/Frameworks. Bring a flight bag.

Only on the Mac could people propose a platform alternate to Objective-C that makes you carry around 11 MB of lib files wherever you go. Only on the Mac could you find dim bulbs who suck up to that shit. Clueless and lame.

(He's probably got a storyboard, right? Don't look. Sure is a monster, that's for sure. And this is only to edit XAs? LOL)

(Oh. BTW. What's with the version number? Is that update 10 of a beta? For that dinky thing? Oh whatever. This whole thing is so ridiculous.)

Time to look inside. Talk to Stig, borrow some crash helmets. Then we're ready to start this clown act, right?

That's it??!?

'Open path', 'Add quarantine xattr', 'Cut', 'Copy', 'Paste', 'New'?

Sorry - what??!? And com.mycompany.this?

Yeah, exactly, dude. You got an empty XA at the root of your app that's supposed to clean XAs.

(The 'data 96' most likely refers to the directory itself, which is misleading. That's probably överkurs for the gent.)

Then this curious tooltip pops up.

But it pops up when you click in the entry field, so of course double-clicking doesn't do squat.

Clicking 'Copy' does put something on one of the clipboards, but what do you do with it? And what format is it? And why?

Ooh! The 'Edit' button looks cool! Let's try it!

And what's this?

And this?

What time is it anyway?

This guy is good.

There's more - there's always more - but let's quit this pop stand now.

Oh wait - why do you have Preferences on your menu if you don't use it?

And we're gone. (What a relief.)

At least he didn't leave any crap around afterwards. That's always something.

Get a real toy next time.

Bullshit, Howard.

Postscript I

Real tinkerers - the truly inquisitive - don't pick sides before they've seen the facts. Real tinkerers don't pick sides at all.

Real programmers don't release half-baked shit, justifying it by making it free. Free or not, real programmers don't do that.

Real programmers escape from walled gardens, they don't find comfort being in them. They don't spend all their time painting flowery murals free people will never see.

Tinkerers don't kiss the heels of their oppressors.

Postscript II

We're seeing a strong (and pathetic) reversal of a trend Steve Jobs began thirty-four years ago.

Good programmers are indeed 200-300 times better than average programmers, as Steve said. (Look what happened to 10.4 Tiger.) And amateur programmers will never measure up even to 'average'. (Mac programmers fall in this category.)

The dude behind LLVM wants to change all that. He might be good at compilers but he doesn't know jack-shit about people. He doesn't know what Steve knew.

It's been tried before. For what reason no one knows. It always fails. And now Tim Cook thinks it's a good idea too.

Objective-C provided the easiest learning curve in the history of computer science. Provided you know C of course.

And if you don't know C then you're in the wrong field.

Try taking up painting.

See Also
Tools: Command line
Xattr: No more Oompas
Industry Watch: xabatch
ACP Guru: Managing File Attributes
XaBatch: com.apple.lastuseddate#PS
Industry Watch: The Chocolate Tunnel
Developers Workshop: 'This Resource Fork'
Industry Watch: The Legend of Oompa Loompa
Learning Curve: Peeking Inside the Chocolate Tunnel
Developers Workshop: Oh Where Oh Where Did My Resource Fork Go?

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