Appearance control panel application

Appearance Control Panel Application

The Appearance control panel application combines the features of the old Desktop Pictures control panel with the new Mac OS 8.5 themes capability. Although Apple has not released any alternative themes, three that were once intended for public release are floating around in a state of questionable legality. Collections of desktop patterns and pictures are provided with the system software, and many third-party sources are available. Many third-party Mac OS 8.5 sound sets are also available. All of these features can be controlled from AppleScript. Basically, every feature of the Apperance control panel is represented as a property of class application, class theme or class monitor. Themes can be switched on the fly using AppleScript. You can also perform many other tasks relating to the appearance of your desktop, such as removing a desktop picture from a secondary monitor using this simple script.

tell application "Appearance"   
	if monitor 2 exists then
    	set picture file of monitor 2 to no picture
	end if
end tell

Note that the Appearance control panel implements a straightforward method for determining how many monitors are attached to a given system.

In early beta releases of Mac OS 8.5, the Options tab of the Appearance control panel allowed users to control the placement of scroll bar arrows in windows independently of the setting of proportional thumbs or scroll boxes, and also to place double arrows at both ends of scroll bars. When Mac OS 8.5 was released, some of this flexibility was removed. The terminology resource was also revised to eliminate these features from the public AppleScript interface. However, the code was left in the control panel, and raw Apple events can be sent to it to set these features. The following script places double arrows at both ends of scroll bars (the double chevrons are generated by typing option-backslash and shift-option-backslash):

tell application "Appearance"
	set scroll bar arrow style to «constant ****dubl»
end tell

Many enterprising scripters and programmers have released utilities that use this hidden capability to provide a simple desktop interface that restores the Appearance control panel’s original flexibility. Mitch Crane’s DubDub Scrollbars is an example.

The Mattman has explained the technique in detail: Instead of using the official syntax of:

tell application "Appearance"
   set scroll bar arrow style to both at one end -- or use 'single'
end tell

Use this instead:

tell application "Appearance"
   set scroll bar arrow style to dubl
end tell

NOTE the quotes. The three possible values are:
dubl – both arrows at both ends
sngl – normal; one arrow at each end
next – both at bottom/right.

These settings are also preserved when you save your Theme. Others have noted that «constant sarrdubl» is apparently the raw code for double arrows. 10/10/99

Kaleidoscope, a shareware product by Gregory D. Landweber, is not scriptable, but many Mac users know and love it as a powerful alternative to Apple’s Appearance control panel. Its penetration of the Macintosh consciousness is so pervasive that even Apple recognizes its influence. Apple’s AppleScript site contains some sample Kaleidoscope scripts for changing Kaleidoscope schemes (analogous to Appearance themes) using the Finder. Just to make them more interesting, they are cast as folder action scripts.