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NSMenuExtra is gonna be huge once an established method of creating them is released. In a few days I’ll be posting my website dedicated to creating Menu Extra’s and anything that has to do with them.

Update (Oct 12): I’m still working on a solid example, however if anyone is ready to jump the gun, get ahold of an application called ClassDump. Then head over to the directory ** /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemUIPlugin.framework/Versions/A/ ** <– This is where the file SystemUIPlugin is located. Use ClassDump to dissassemble the class header file and go to work.


Well and good, but what the heck are they? Do we have a glossary page dealing with them? Should we? Are they 10.1 specific?

– RobRix

NSMenuExtra was introduced in 10.1 and they are a “replacement” for Dock Extras, they’re the little icons you see in the menubar in screenshots and allow global access to things like volume, monitor resolution, battery power, etc.

– FinlayDobbie

Those aren’t just glorified NSStatusItems, then? Hmm.

– RobRix

Yes, they are – in fact it’s declared as NSMenuExtra:NSStatusItem in the framework hehe.

– FinlayDobbie

Ah, interesting. For those who have 10.1 (we’ve had delays here), do you know if you can remove those things? I like my clock in that corner, but I’d rather not have anything else.

– RobRix

Yes, you can. All the apple supplied ones have associated preferences panes where you can turn them off, and you can cmd-drag them around (to re-order, drag them off the menu bar and they disappear in a puff of smoke like dock items do).

– FinlayDobbie

Apple sez this is a private API and 3rd parties shouldn’t be messing with it. The way for apps to have global functionality is through Dock Menus

So? The Dockling API was private in 10.0, did that stop people? :rolleyes:

– FinlayDobbie

Didn’t 10.1 break many Docklings? (I’ve never been a huge fan of them anyway, but I think out of the 3 I’ve used, 2 didn’t survive.)

– JensBaumeister

Nice…I like this bit of technology…

Now we need command-draggable menus in general. Bye bye, Apple Menu! Hey, I can always access the power-off, et cetera, from my power key. I don’t use the Apple Menu at all as it is…

Also, Dock Menus are, it seems to me, for a different purpose. iTunes gets Dock Menus because it’s a foreground app. Menu Extras are a little more discrete…you use them, I’d guess, for things not associated with a foreground application.

I, for one, would like to mess around with implementing a tear-offable menu extra (like NeXT! :)

– RobRix, purveyor of UI tech…or something like that.

Hm, I’ve also heard that this about NSStatusItem being a private API, but since this page exists:

I guess that it indeed is public.


Hm, you probably mean the .menu bundles. –PeterLindberg

NSStatusItem is a public API and the Apple-recommended way of doing this type of thing. NSMenuExtra is a private API (it’s a subclass of NSStatusItem).

– FinlayDobbie

NSMenuExtra is however superior to the NSStatusItem way of doing things…You can’t move status items around, and they can’t be added simply by dropping a bundle on the menu bar…

– DavidRemahl

The iThink Group has released versions 1.0 and 1.5 of SystemUIHackPack, which contains project builder templates for NSMenuExtra’s, both icon-type, and text-type… Very easy to use, if I do say so myself.The way they were written also makes it very easy to create dual (both an image and text) Menu Extra’s till we release 2.0.

– JosephSpiros

So, does anyone know why Apple is reluctant to make NSMenuExtra public? Originally, it was supposedly to keep the menu bar from being cluttered with 3rd part icons. But with NSStatusItem, that’s clearly not the reason. In fact, all Apple has done by keeping NSMenuExtra private is introduce inconsistency between the way the two work – i.e, you can drag NSMenuExtra icons around, you can’t with NSStatusItem. You can add/remove NSMenuExtra icons by dragging to and from the menu bar – you can’t with NSStatusItems (leading to the extra inconsistency of NSStatusItems having things like Quit in them – quit what? the app you are in?).

I think Apple needs to either merge the two, or at the very least make NSMenuExtra a public API. Keeping it private doesn’t benefit anyone.

– DennisMunsie

Trying to read sense into Apple’s decisions is probably a worthless investment of effort. The only logical reason is they don’t want third party code loaded into an address space they share with them, as happens with NSMenuExtra (you execute inside SystemUIServer), but not if you have an NSStatusItem (you execute within your own application). I’m not really a fan of Menu Extras, personally.

– FinlayDobbie

The shared resources/address space issue is one reason, but that could be solved by making third-party MenuExtras live in a different address space (several ways to do this; could run each one as a separate process; could run all third-party MenuExtras in a single daemon seperate from SystemUIServer). The main reason is that Apple’s UI group believes (or did believe at one time) that proliferation of these menus is a bad idea – they don’t want another morass like the Control Strip.

I agree with Apple that there should not be 5000 different menu items but its the users choice in what they put up there, not the developers. NSMenuExtra’s were easier to remove from the Menubar for a user (drag & drop) and therefore are inherently better than NSStatusItem. Apple should allow us access to these menu items as its in the users benefit as well as ours. Choice is always better.

– MatPeterson