The random musings of a software developer

PopClip + Dash = Xcode Love

I’ve written about PopClip and the Dash documentation browser, in particular how I found an issue using the PopClip Dash extension and provided a fix.

Here’s why I love the combination of PopClip with its myriad extensions and Dash while using Xcode. My standard development application launch comprises:

On my iMac, I additionally launch Kaleidoscope for file comparisons.

I always have PopClip running in the background, with the Dash Extension installed. When I select text in Xcode, the familiar PopClip menu comes up and includes the “cat” icon for Dash. Selecting that Dash icon switches over to Dash and looks up the selected text. I find Dash a whole lot more useful, easier to navigate, and quicker compared to Xcode’s Organiser.

The usefulness of Dash comes from clicking on the method declaration (it has a grey background) which copies the entire method text. Switching back to Xcode via command-tab, I do a paste and voilà, I have the method declaration in place. You could also select and copy portions of the text in Dash, if you so desire.

The best part is you’re not restricted to only the documentation which Apple provides. You can populate Dash with a whole slew of documentation, including PHP, Ruby, Python, and even man pages! And you don’t have to be tied in to Xcode – go on, be different and use BBEdit, TextWrangler, or TextMate!

As for PopClip, it’s a pity that I can only have 22 PopClip extensions… Fortunately I don’t need that many!

One more thing… I don’t use the dock to launch applications – I use Alfred instead. The dock only contains currently running applications (thanks Elaine and MacBites!). The nice thing about the Alfred Powerpack (extra cost, not much but worth it!) is that it can launch a set of applications when a short string is typed in its search field. I open Alfred (control-space in my case) and type in dev, press return and my standard suite of development applications launches.

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