Mac OS X Services (the menu you never go to)


mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Ummmm...I don't *have* convert or format services. :( :( :( Am I supposed to? How can I get them back?

The summarize one is neat, though. I'm going to explore the link provided for more services. :D
 

tag

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2005
918
9
mkrishnan said:
Ummmm...I don't *have* convert or format services. :( :( :( Am I supposed to? How can I get them back?

The summarize one is neat, though. I'm going to explore the link provided for more services. :D
Yeah I don't have convert either, maybe it was a downloaded one that he was referring to? Honestly I have never ever even thought about using or exploring those menu services for some reason. Though they are kind of interesting, I still don't see myself using them often if ever.
 

sord

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2004
352
0
I too do not have Convert or Format (not even in TextEdit or Pages). Summerize is kinda cool but nothing new to me - I've been using services for awhile.

BTW I'm on Tiger, maybe Convert and Format were pre-Tiger and got removed for some reason?
 

-quadratic-

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2005
3
0
hello, I am the author of the article. Yes, you do need to download WordService, which is the last link in the link in the article. Sorry, I didn't realize that it was a part of WordService, I thought it came standard on every Mac.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
-quadratic- said:
hello, I am the author of the article. Yes, you do need to download WordService, which is the last link in the link in the article. Sorry, I didn't realize that it was a part of WordService, I thought it came standard on every Mac.
Well, it should. I've been using Word Services happily for years but haven't run into another Mac owner who even knows it exists.

My other favorite Services Menu add-on is Enchenferise Text, which converts the text of your choice to Swedish Chef. You never know when it will come in handy!

-quadratic- said:
hellu, I em zee oothur ooff zee erteecle-a. Yes, yuoo du need tu doonlued VurdSerfeece-a, vheech is zee lest leenk in zee leenk in zee erteecle-a. Surry, I deedn't reeleeze-a thet it ves a pert ooff VurdSerfeece-a, I thuooght it ceme-a stunderd oon ifery Mec.
Bork! Bork! Bork!
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Grab services never seems to work.

Services is neat, but I never use any of its features, except for TextEdit.


Here's to the Crazy Ones
 

neocell

macrumors 65816
May 23, 2005
1,074
2
Great White North
I downloaded the wordservice file but I can't find a Services folder in my Library. Where should I paste the folder?

**EDIT**
NEVER MIND I read the attached read me file
There are several you can download from the internet. They're called Services and you put them in your home folder -> Library -> Services, if they don't get installed there already.
 

hopejr

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2005
309
0
New South Wales, Australia
This was a feature I came across pretty early on, when I was researching NeXTSTEP (there was a services menu in that too). I've used quite a few of the features on it at times, and find it very handy. Back in Panther (before VoiceOver existed), if I couldn't be bothered reading things, I'd use the Speech service to read text to me.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
-quadratic- said:
hello, I am the author of the article. Yes, you do need to download WordService, which is the last link in the link in the article. Sorry, I didn't realize that it was a part of WordService, I thought it came standard on every Mac.
Thanks, and welcome to MR! :cool:

My understanding is that the whole services menu was something that was supposed to be revolutionary in NeXT and then kind of got back-burnered as OS X was developed. The plugins you're recommending sound great. I'm definitely going to get them! :)
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
If Apple came up with a more convenient way of accessing Services, I'm sure they'd be used by more people. I'd like a floating palette or some such thing.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
IJ Reilly said:
If Apple came up with a more convenient way of accessing Services, I'm sure they'd be used by more people. I'd like a floating palette or some such thing.
Floating palettes are something I never truly appreciated until I got to OS X. I really love them here... in Office 04, I turned off most of the top bars and just use the palette. I find it more ... intuitive, I guess?

That does sound like a good idea.

Although contextual menus are not at the core of the Apple design philosophy, it would also be good if the services were in there... especially since so many of them depend on selecting an item.

Anyways, I need to go get that plugin and check it out. :)
 

-quadratic-

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2005
3
0
mkrishnan said:
Although contextual menus are not at the core of the Apple design philosophy, it would also be good if the services were in there... especially since so many of them depend on selecting an item.
Tadaa! Your wish is my command. Here is the download from MacUpdate

MacUpdate.com said:
Control-click (or if you have a multi-button mouse, click with the right button) on a text area, and notice a "Services" menu at the bottom. This menu works the same as the Services menu in the menu bar.
 

Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
1,344
419
Sounded quite interesting when I first read this until I realized I don't have many of these cool options. Sigh. I do indeed, never go to the services menu.
 

RacerX

macrumors 65832
Aug 2, 2004
1,504
2
mkrishnan said:
My understanding is that the whole services menu was something that was supposed to be revolutionary in NeXT and then kind of got back-burnered as OS X was developed.
Services are actually much more than what you find in the Services menu, it is a philosophy of sharing resources between the system and other applications to enhance what ever application you are currently working in. The idea was that no app should have to stand alone and that resources (like spell checking) shouldn't need to be duplicated for every application on a system.

One of the main reasons I use primarily Cocoa apps is that they often share abilities with other applications via services.

Apple hasn't been backing away from services... they've been pushing them. The main reason that most people don't know about services is that most Mac users jumped straight to Carbon application titles when moving to Mac OS X because those were the titles they were used to. Carbon was forced onto Apple when developers like Microsoft, Adobe and Macromedia said that they would not rewrite their apps for Mac OS X's native environment.

Services tend to show up in a number of ways. Most people think of them as what you see in the Services menu, and that is one of the ways that they show up. Some of these are stand alone service functions, but more often than not, these are features that other Cocoa apps share. For example I use services from Create, OmniDictionary, OmniWeb, RBrowser, Nisus Thesaurus, WebGrabber, MacJournal, Mail and TextEdit all the time.

Another way is additional menu items within Cocoa apps. Examples of these include TextExtras, FontSight and HotService. These modify the actual menus of Cocoa apps to make getting to those features that much easier.

There is also PDF services which can be access via a menu within the print dialog sheet/box (I use this option to access PStill for distilling PDFs).

And there is the much overlooked systems services like spell checking, text service and color selection service.

As someone who has been using NeXT systems since the early 90's, I've become dependent on them. I wrote a page in the NeXT section of my site on services (here) and talk about services in a few pages I did a long time ago on TextEdit (here and here) and took the time to point out aspects of the color selection service (here). I've given a number of talks to different Mac user groups on the subject over the last couple years to try to bring services to people's attention.


IJ Reilly said:
If Apple came up with a more convenient way of accessing Services, I'm sure they'd be used by more people. I'd like a floating palette or some such thing.
Considering the fact that services can not only be in the Services menu (which can be added to the main menus via HotService or the contextual menus via ICeCoffEE) but also in the standard menus, it really isn't Apple that is slowing the adoption, it is developers.

The ability to make menu changes in Cocoa apps predates Mac OS X (I have modified menus in apps in my Rhapsody and OPENSTEP systems just like in Mac OS X). What it comes down to is that developers are not taking advantage of this. Two of the developers of services that modify menus that I talked about above are originally from the NeXT community. FontSight is from Stone Design (first developer to ship applications for NEXTSTEP, OPENSTEP, Rhapsody and Mac OS X) and TextExtras is from Mike Ferris (one of the original developers of TextEdit).

Apple hasn't been keeping this stuff a secret, it is just very hard to get old Mac users to give up Carbon apps and start using Cocoa apps. In fact many of the original third party developers back in the NeXT and Rhapsody days went out of business even though they had ready to ship apps for Mac OS X when it first came out because Mac users didn't recognize the titles as "Mac apps" they knew. And now most of them have jobs working for Apple.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
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Palookaville
I'm using very few Carbon applications -- probably none on a regular basis anymore since I gave up AppleWorks for Pages. I don't really see Carbon as the source of the lagging use of Services. Nobody is writing Carbon apps anymore. If they want to see more uses of Services, Apple needs to do more to encourage developers to add them. And as far as free-standing, third-party Services are concerned, I'm only aware of three -- which after five years of development of OSX (and not including all the years of NextStep and Rhapsody beforehand), is pathetic. We've already seen some very promising technologies wither and die at Apple due to a lack of proactive encouragement. So I don't blame the developers, and I certainly don't blame the users for the lack of interest in Services.