Software for pfiddling with OS X on Macintosh
Accessibility for developers and users
How to Order PFiddlesoft Products
PFiddlesoft specializes in developer utilities and assistive applications for Mac users with disabilities. Our products are based on Apple's Accessibility and Quartz Event Taps technologies. Because they employ these technologies to help users control other applications and system features, they are not eligible for sale on Apple's Mac App Store. Purchase them here, directly from us, to be assured of their security and authenticity.
See the note on OS X 10.9 Mavericks compatibility, below.
NEW RELEASE! ‐ UI Browser - The ultimate assistant for GUI Scripting with AppleScript, and a developer utility for exploring Apple's Accessibility API. Version 2.4.0 released November 2013 (requires OS X 10.7 Mavericks or newer). UI Actions - Universal Attachability for AppleScript. Version 2.1.3 released June 2012 (requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or newer). Event Taps Testbench - A FREE developer utility for exploring Apple's Quartz Event Taps API. Version 1.3.2 released June 2012 (requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or newer). NEW RELEASE! ‐ PFiddlesoft Frameworks - Cocoa frameworks for Mac OS X that support and enhance Apple's Accessibility and Quartz Event Taps APIs. PFAssistive Framework version 3.3.0 and PFEventTaps Framework version 1.3.6, both released November 2013. Both frameworks require Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or newer and support new accessibility features introduced in OS X 10.9 Mavericks. The PFiddle Collection - a growing collection of useful and pfun Macintosh software. Buy the collection once for $4.95 US, and enjoy any and all applications in the collection, now and in the future, without additional charge. The third PFiddle in the collection is Pointer Noodge 1.1.5, an update released in June 2012. Pointer Noodge slows down the system pointer, removing mouse, trackpad and trackball acceleration so you can place the pointer exactly where you want it in any application. You can also nudge the pointer one pixel at a time horizontally and vertically using the arrow keys. Pointer Noodge has many other features. The first PFiddle in the collection is Applidude 1.1.3, an update released June 2012. Applidude floats over your screen and reminds you which application is currently active. The second PFiddle is Waccy Accy 1.1.3, an update released June 2012, a pfun game. Wheel the pointer around the screen as fast as you can, picking up letters to form your user name as the pointer passes over text elements on the screen. (All PFiddles require Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or newer.)
All PFiddlesoft products support OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion br>
NOTE on OS X 10.9 Mavericks compatibility
A new version of our signature product, UI Browser, and new versions of our PFiddlesoft Frameworks have been released for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and new versions of our other applications updated for Mavericks will be available shortly. Registered users are eligible to upgrade to the new Mavericks versions without charge.
You can continue to use the existing versions in Mavericks, but you must grant access to our assistive applications the first time you run them in Mavericks even if you already enabled access in a previous version of OS X.
Granting access in Mavericks
The procedure for granting access to an assistive application so that it can monitor and control other applications has changed in Mavericks.When you launch one of our assistive applications that has not yet been upgraded for the first in Mavericks, it may present an alert informing you that access for assistive devices is not enabled. In the alert, click the Continue button instead of the UI Browser Only or All Applications button. Then open System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, click Privacy, and click to select Accessibility. The application is added to the Accessibility list automatically, but its checkbox is not selected. Click the lock to unlock Security & Privacy preferences and authenticate with an administrator password, then click the checkbox in the list to select it. When you return to the application, access is enabled. You can continue to use the application without granting access again, unless you deny access in System Preferences.
After you grant access in Mavericks, the application may indicate that access is enabled for All Applications and for the application Only. However, it is in fact enabled for the application alone. Other assistive applications must be granted access separately because global access is no longer available in Mavericks.
To run any GUI Scripting script in Mavericks, you must grant access to the application running the script, such as AppleScript Editor. For AppleScript applets that are launched in the Finder, the applet itself is the script runner. The first time you run a GUI Scripting script, the system presents an alert reporting an access error or offering to open System Preferences for you. When you open System Preferences, the name of the script runner is added to the Accessibility list automatically, and after authenticating to unlock Security & Privacy preferences, you can select its checkbox to grant access. In most cases, you will then have to re-run the script. See Accessibility Preferences and GUI Scripting for more information.
If you prefer, you can grant access to any assistive application in System Preferences before running it for the first time. Unlock Security & Privacy preferences and drop the application’s icon into the Privacy pane’s Accessibility list. Its name is automatically added to the list, and its checkbox is selected to grant access.
Other issues in Mavericks
To license the PFiddlesoft Frameworks, click the PFiddlesoft Frameworks product on the left. The license is FREE for personal use or for use with your free products. We charge a modest license fee for use of each framework with a commercial or other paid product. Send licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
For technical support, click one of the products on the left and visit its support page. Send support questions to email@example.com.
All of PFiddlesoft's products are signed with an Apple Developer ID for increased security using Gatekeeper under OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. For the best experience running our applications under Mountain Lion, select the default setting, "Mac App Store and identified developers", in the Security & Privacy pane of System Preferences. If an application has been altered since we posted it for download here, Gatekeeper will prevent it from running without your permission after you install it.
If you prefer the "Mac App Store" Security & Privacy setting, you can still run our products by choosing Open in the Finder's File menu or a contextual menu. You will have to authenticate with your password the first time. After that, you can run them by double-clicking as usual.
Mac App Store Policy:
PFiddlesoft's products are not sold on Apple's Mac App Store. Our products are developer utilities and assistive applications for Mac users with disabilities, and they employ Apple's Accessibility and Quartz Event Taps technologies to help users control other applications and system features. Software that uses these technologies is not eligible for the Mac App Store.
If Apple changes the Mac App Store requirements in the future, we will consider whether to distribute products with the same or similar features on the Mac App Store. If we do, they may require payment of the full Mac App Store purchase price even if you already own a version purchased here on the PFiddlesoft site. We will continue to support every product that you purchase here for a reasonable time, but the features and prices of any Mac App Store products and updates we offer may differ from the features and prices of our products and updates available here.
PreForm Assistive Technologies, LLC
P.O. Box 326
Quechee, VT 05059-0326
PFiddles™ are PFun!
PFiddlesoft™ is the name under which PreForm Assistive Technologies, LLC distributes software for Macintosh computers with an emphasis on assistive technologies. Some of these products were formerly distributed by PreFab Software, Inc.
PFiddlesoft has unmatched experience controlling the graphical user interface of applications running on Apple computers using AppleScript and other technologies. Our products carry on the tradition of PreFab Player, a seminal product released in 1994 for the classic Mac OS. Now, PFiddlesoft brings our expertise to you on Mac OS X with several established products and the frameworks on which they are based.
UI Browser was first released in 2003 to support Apple's GUI Scripting and Accessibility technologies. UI Actions followed in 2004, implementing "universal attachability" for AppleScript. Read about them and download fully functional 30-day free trial versions by clicking the products above. Event Taps Testbench was released in 2007 and is available to you for free. The PFiddlesoft Frameworks product page provides full documentation, download, and licensing information for our PFAssistive and PFEventTaps Frameworks.
All of PFiddlesoft's products are written and maintained by Bill Cheeseman of Quechee Software. He has been well known for many years in the AppleScript community as originator in 1996 and long-time Webmaster of The AppleScript Sourcebook website. He is the co-author with Sal Soghoian, Apple's product manager for automation technologies, of a popular book about AppleScript, Apple Training Series: AppleScript 1-2-3 (Peachpit Press, 2009). In 1999, he pioneered the original Vermont Recipes website where many current Cocoa developers learned their craft with the Developer Preview version of Mac OS X, and he has since written the 2003 first edition and the all-new 2010 second edition of a follow-on book about writing Cocoa applications for Mac OS X, Cocoa Recipes for Mac OS X: The Vermont Recipes (Peachpit Press, 2010).
To "fiddle" is to act idly or frivolously, and a "fiddle" is a lighthearted trifle. The silent "p" was inspired by the folksy beer hall songs of Bob "Fiddler" Beers and his record, Fiddler Beers Sings Psalty Psongs with Psaltery and Pfiddle, released in 1961.
This is not to suggest that writing assistive software is an idle or frivolous task. Far from it. Our UI Browser, Event Taps Testbench, and PFiddlesoft Frameworks are seriously powerful tools to help you write seriously useful assistive applications, and UI Actions adds enormous power to AppleScript.
But there is no reason why it shouldn't be pfun, too. In that spirit, we have released a number of clever little Macintosh applications, all based one way or another on the Accessibility or Event Taps API. They are designed to be useful and pfun, even for users with impaired vision. We call them PFiddles.
Pointer Noodge gives you better control of your system pointer, including a hot key that slows it down by turning off acceleration when using a mouse, trackpad or trackball. It even lets you nudge the pointer a pixel at a time using the arrow keys. It also lets you add a rotating image to help you find the pointer, text and speech feedback to identify the application under the mouse, and a spotlight effect for presentations. Applidude reminds you which application is currently active every time you switch, optionally with a spoken announcement. With Applidude, you'll never again forget what you're doing on your Mac. Waccy Accy is a game based on Apple's Accessibility and Event Taps APIs. You fill in the blanks in your user name on the game board by moving the mouse pointer over text elements on the screen containing the missing letters. You can control the speed of spoken feedback, or turn it off entirely. Waccy Accy is surprisingly hard, and pfun, too—really!
PFiddles make it easier for anybody to use a Mac, including users with impaired vision or motor control issues. There are more PFiddles to come. Stay tuned!
— Bill Cheeseman, May 2011
This page was first published by PFiddlesoft on May 25, 2010. Last updated November 9, 2013.
Copyright © 2003-2013 Bill Cheeseman. Used by permission. All Rights Reserved.
PFiddlesoft, PFiddle Software, PFiddle, PFiddles, the PFiddlesoft logo, Applidude, Waccy Accy, and Pointer Noodge are trademarks of PreForm Assistive Technologies, LLC.