Saturday, November 17, 2012

SideEffects Story


Background Story

One of the non-optional changes in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion was taking away color icons in the Sidebar of every Finder window.

Although more in line with iOS and arguably less distracting, some more visually-oriented users found this change very distressing.

Modifying the functionality of the Sidebar requires some fairly advanced workarounds. The real heroes here are the developers of the components.


EasySIMBL by Norio Nomura is an ingenious app / user account-based rewrite of SIMBL - a popular application enhancer. EasySIMBL is more streamlined and protected. It works via your user account, meaning you should install SideEffects again for each user who would like color in their Finder windows.

ColorfulSidebar.bundle by cooViewerZoom is a SIMBL plugin that injects the required code into the Finder to allow colour icons to be displayed in the sidebar. by cooViewerZoom runs automatically to give color to some Open / Save dialog boxes.

When cooViewerZoom published his SIMBL plugin, users were pleased at the option to choose between grey, non-customized icons to color, but found the process of installing the components (ColorfulSidebar and SIMBL) tricky and in some cases it didn't function.

Enter SideEffects. In June 2012 I made a simple app to install the components. EasySIMBL was released about 6 months later, making SIMBL functional in Mountain Lion and with much-improved reliability. Some minor issues have been ironed out by adding several installer scripts to ensure clean installation and reliability across multiple Mac platforms and system versions.

SideEffects 1.8.7 uninstalls the older original version of SIMBL (0.9.9), moves existing SIMBL plugins folder contents to your new plugins folder in your user account, and installs or upgrades components as needed.

Installer Task List

1. Uninstall SIMBL (if it exists)

2. Install to

3. Launch EasySIMBL to activate it and create it's Plugins folder in
~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins

4. Install ColorfulSidebar.bundle to /private/temp

5. Move ColorfulSidebar.bundle to
User/$USER/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins

6. Move any existing SIMBL plugins from
/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins
User/$USER/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins

7. Relaunch the Finder

8. Install to Login Items and

9. Quit

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