dockutil 1.0 released

As a Mac sysadmin, I’ve had the need to manipulate the dock on hundreds of systems at a time.

I used to cobble together terrible shell scripts to do the job, but now thanks to plistlib and python, plist manipulation is really easy. I am releasing this utility free under the Apache 2.0 license. Hopefully some other sysadmins will find it useful.

dockutil is a command line utility for managing Mac OS X dock items.
It can add, replace, list, move, find, and delete dock items. It supports Applications, Folders, Stacks, and URLs. It can act on a specific dock plist or every dock plist in a folder of home directories.
It is compatible with Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard.

Download dockutil here.

Here is the usage information:

usage: dockutil -h
usage: dockutil --add (path to item) | (url) [--label (label)] [ folder_options ] [ position_options ] [ plist_location_specification ]
usage: dockutil --remove (dock item label) [ plist_location_specification ]
usage: dockutil --move (dock item label) position_options [ plist_location_specification ]
usage: dockutil --find (dock item label) [ plist_location_specification ]
usage: dockutil --list [ plist_location_specification ]

position_options:
--replacing (dock item label name) replaces the item with the given dock label or adds the item to the end if item to replace is not found
--position [ index_number | beginning | end | middle ] inserts the item at a fixed position: can be an position by index number or keyword
--after (dock item label name) inserts the item immediately after the given dock label or at the end if the item is not found
--before (dock item label name) inserts the item immediately before the given dock label or at the end if the item is not found
--section [ apps | others ] specifies whether the item should be added to the apps or others section

plist_location_specifications:
(path to a specific plist) default is the dock plist for current user
(path to a home directory)
--allhomes attempts to locate all home directories and perform the operation on each of them
--homeloc overrides the default /Users location for home directories

folder_options:
--view [grid|fan|list|automatic] stack view option
--display [folder|stack] how to display a folder's icon
--sort [name|dateadded|datemodified|datecreated|kind] sets sorting option for a folder view

Examples:
The following adds TextEdit.app to the end of the current user's dock:
dockutil --add /Applications/TextEdit.app

The following replaces Time Machine with TextEdit.app in the current user's dock:
dockutil --add /Applications/TextEdit.app --replacing 'Time Machine'

The following adds TextEdit.app after the item Time Machine in every user's dock on that machine:
dockutil --add /Applications/TextEdit.app --after 'Time Machine' --allhomes

The following adds ~/Downloads as a grid stack displayed as a folder for every user's dock on that machine:
dockutil --add '~/Downloads' --view grid --display folder --allhomes

The following adds a url dock item after the Downloads dock item for every user's dock on that machine:
dockutil --add vnc://miniserver.local --label 'Mini VNC' --after Downloads --allhomes

The following removes System Preferences from every user's dock on that machine:
dockutil --remove 'System Preferences' --allhomes

The following moves System Preferences to the second slot on every user's dock on that machine:
dockutil --move 'System Preferences' --position 2 --allhomes

The following finds any instance of iTunes in the specified home directory's dock:
dockutil --find iTunes /Users/jsmith

The following lists all dock items for all home directories at homeloc in the form: item(tab)path(tab)(section)tab(plist)
dockutil --list --homeloc /Volumes/RAID/Homes --allhomes

Notes:
When specifying a relative path like ~/Documents with the --allhomes option, ~/Documents must be quoted like '~/Documents' to get the item relative to each home

Bugs:
Names containing special characters like accent marks will fail

Contact:
Send bug reports and comments to kcrwfrd at gmail.

Shell Injection with AppleScript’s do shell script

AppleScript’s do shell script capability is immensely useful, but if you are sending variable data to do shell script, always validate input and use quoted form of variableName. See the following example:

set dialogResult to (display dialog "Enter a directory name to pass to ls:" default answer ";say boo" buttons {"Cancel", "Quoted Form", "Raw"})

if button returned of dialogResult is "Quoted Form" then
try
set theCommand to "ls ~/" & quoted form of text returned of dialogResult
display dialog "Will execute:" & return & theCommand & return & "Proceed?"
do shell script theCommand
end try
else
try
set theCommand to "ls ~/" & text returned of dialogResult
display dialog "Will execute:" & return & theCommand & return & "Proceed?"
do shell script theCommand
end try
end if

Note you’ll have to fix the quotes to standard double quotes to get this to compile. I couldn’t get wordpress to cooperate.

Unix Environment Variable Scope/Security

I recently encountered a command line tool which exposed passwords in the process listing.

The command would also also accept a password as an environment variable. I was concerned with the security of storing a password in an environment variable.

This article at itworld.com does a nice job explaining environment variable scope.

Environment variables are only accessible in the shell in which they are set.

If you export the variable, it is accessible to any subshell of the shell in which it is exported. Simply logging in as another user on the system or even the same user does not allow access to the exported variable.

So, until someone corrects me, I believe that setting and exporting environment variables containing passwords in a script does protect the password from exposure. As soon as the command requiring the password has completed, the variable can be reset to an empty string to prevent any further access to the password.

PyAverager tutorial error with Cocoa Bindings

this class is not key value coding-compliant for the key numbersInput

If you are getting this error after doing the PyObjC averager tutorial called Using PyObjC for Developing Cocoa Applications with Python , import your class in main.py.

After the line:
import PyAveragerAppDelegate

add:
import Averager

This should allow the numbersInput variable to be properly bound to Interface Builder.

I found the solution on macosxhints forum here.