|FruitMenu 3.2.1, by
FruitMenu is an OS X utility,
known as a haxie, that gives you the ability to customize the Apple Menu and contextual
menus. Using a visual editor, it allows you to edit the contents of the menus to
suit your needs and taste. FruitMenu will also display the contents of the FruitMenu
Items folder inside of your Library folder, launch applications and shell scripts
from the Apple Menu and contextual menus, to allow easy file navigation and launching.
In addition, you can assign hotkeys to particular menu items. It is a shareware utility
that is priced at $10.
The FruitMenu setting lets you turn the FruitMenu controlled Apple menu on and off, as well as enabling the FruitMenu contextual menus. The heart of FruitMenu is being able to customize the Apple menu, so you definitely want to keep that enabled. The FruitMenu contextual menu adds extra goodies to your Finder contextual menus, such as access to all your volumes and desktop by way of submenus. Further checkboxes allow you to display submenus in a smaller font, enable in-menu picture previews, and more. You can also specify whether to show icons in menus, and the depth of menus (up to unlimited). Finally, this is where you can click on Register to enter your serial number and register the product.
The Apple Menu setting is where the fun really begins. Here you define exactly what you want your Apple menu to look like, and the possibilities far exceed what you could do in OS 9. This is not your grandfather's Apple menu! On the left is what your Apple Menu is currently configured as, and on the right is a list of all the possible objects you can assign. It includes standards objects such as About This Mac, Shutdown, Restart and Log Out, and much more. Some of the more interesting objects are: System Preferences, Force Quit, IP Address, FruitMenu Items, and Running Applications. System Preferences gives you a submenu of all your system preferences (similar to how Control Panels were available in the OS 9 Apple menu). Running Applications gives you a submenu of all the running applications, similar to the application menu under OS 9. In addition to the preset objects, you can add your own objects by placing aliases to files and programs within your FruitMenu folder. To open the folder, simply press the "Open FruitMenu Items Folder" button at the bottom of the preference panel. Whatever you drop in the folder instantly shows up under the Apple Menu (folders turn into submenus). The fastest and easiest way to get to this folder in the future is to include the "Reveal FruitMenu Items" object in your Apple Menu. With that option, you can quickly open the folder using your Apple menu without having to return to the Preferences.
I really liked being able to bring back the lock and feel of the Mac OS 9 Apple menu, but more importantly, I was ecstatic that it brought back the functionality that made such perfect sense under OS 9 - the ability to create quick shortcuts from a menu that is accessible from every application. For such a simple utility, I cannot state strongly enough what a gem this tool is. After years of being without this functionality, it is like a major breath of fresh air. Other goodies, such as making my IP address visible under the Apple menu, is just icing on the cake.
But wait, there's more! Yes, for each item under the Apple menu, you can assign a Hotkey. This is wonderful! I made hotkey shortcuts for Log Out and Shut Down, and you can even make hotkey shortcuts for the items you add to your FruitMenu folder.
The only object that I
wanted to include that wasn't available is an Empty Trash object. Sure, Empty Trash
is already under the Finder Menu, but if it was available within FruitMenu, then
I could assign my own hotkey to it. I trust myself enough that I'd rather have a
two key shortcut to emptying the trash rather than the 3-key default of Command-Shift-Delete.
Under the Exclude List setting, I didn't find a need to exclude anything, but it was interesting to see the list of items that are automatically excluded along with the reason. For example, the Dock, Command Line Tools, and Helper Applications are always excluded because they have no menubar.
Under the Advanced setting there are some additional checkbox items that may be of interest to some users, such as load all contextual menus early in application startup, or display folders first in file listings. However, I discovered an option here that partially resolves a problem that I've been wrestling with ever since Mac OS X came out. I use my Mac, among other things, to manage my web sites, and do so mainly through uploading and downloading files via an FTP client. Some of the files that I manage are on UNIX servers, and I manage special files for filtering that often begin with a period (.). This is where Mac OS X clashes in a big way. Because of the UNIX underpinnings of OS X, files that begin with periods are invisible (whereas they were just normal files under OS 9). There are hacks to make these files visible, but that opens up a Pandora's box since there are a probably numerous invisible files that I don't want to see. In FruitMenu's Advanced setting, there is a checkbox for "Show Hidden Files" that only affects the files in the FruitMenu folder. I made an alias of the folder containing my special UNIX files and put it in my FruitMenu folder. Lo and behold, I now have access to these files quickly and easily from my Apple menu! I'm able to open the files and edit the files, but unfortunately I still cannot move them. The last piece of the puzzle is figuring out an easy way to drag and drop the files into my FTP client to upload to my web site. FruitMenu got me two thirds of the way there. To complete the puzzle, it would be nice if FruitMenu could actually open a virtual folder (one controlled by FruitMenu rather than the Finder) that allowed me to see these invisible files and drag and drop them onto other application windows.
Finally, at the bottom of the FruitMenu preference pane, regardless of the settings tab activated, there are always three buttons: Open FruitMenu Items Folder (which does exactly that), Help (pulls up a FruitMenu help manual with TextEdit), and Apply (enabled when a change is made, and used to put that change into affect). FruitMenu was so easy to use, I didn't find a need to read the help manual, but it's nice to know it's there if you need it. It does include a few tricks on how to use FruitMenu that are not really obvious (such as how to assign hotkeys to the items in your FruitMenu folder).
was easy, and the Apple menu it created functioned very smoothly (as if built-in
to the OS). The only problem I encountered is that anytime you are in a classic application,
you have the old Mac OS 9 Apple menu, and the nice FruitMenu Apple Menu that you've
sculpted so carefully is no longer available to you until you return to a native
application. Perhaps it's too much to ask, but for the sake of consistency, it would
be nice if there was an OS 9 version that could run in parallel, and operating from
the same preferences.