Strange file type/creator/launch behaviour (warning:geek post)

It was a pretty good afternoon up to a point. Then I broke the cafetiere. (Any action inhibiting my ability to make fresh coffee is never going to work towards a happy ending…) Then I made some positive headway on a new code/CSS project. I mapped out what I needed to do on paper and fired up BBEdit. File, New, Text Document, ticka ticka ticka type type ticka… Save As: New_Project.css

Wait! What’s that icon for? That’s a Script Editor icon! I wrote CSS… Get Info. Script Editor was listed as the default application for a CSS file! WTF! It should be BBEdit! So I changed the default application to BBEdit manually in Get Info, confirmed the change and Whammo! It went back to Script Editor as a default right before my eyes! Argh!
Two or three hours later, after reinstalling the latest Combo Updater for the Operating System, running system utilities, repairing privileges, fine-tooth-combing over ever Preference in BBEdit, and searching the web for anything relating to: Tiger, 10.4, Creator, Type, Script Editor, BBEdit, Get Info, etc… I found a little seemingly unrelated blurb on one of the MacOSHints search results pages‚Äì something about the LaunchServices plist. It sounded like a good place to look, so we looked into the plist file with the Property List Editor and found references to BBEdit. (It’s a plist in the User Library, so we figured it was pretty safe to trash it. I didn’t empty the trash, just in case.) I rebooted, created a new BBEdit CSS file. Saved it. Perfecto! The icon was an appropriate BBEdit icon, the file type stuff was fine, and the file launched BBEdit when it was double clicked. I made a TextEdit document, saved it as an .rtf, opened the Get Info on it, changed it to a .css file, defaulted it to BBEdit, confirmed the change and said I wanted all .css files to open in BBEdit by default. Yeehaw! It worked!

So, according to an excerpt on another MacOSHints search page on LaunchServices, (now that I know what worked), I found that:

Basically, OS X LaunchServices is how an application is found to run when you double-click on a document. If the program is in /Applications, or you launch it at least once, then LaunchServices should detect it. LaunchServices contains a big, long list of all the Applications, and which ones accept documents of which type.

And the article goes on to talk about checking some stuff in Terminal and basically goes into much more detail than I care about tonight (as well as some outdated content). I just want to get some work done, man. Anyway, so my documents seem to be behaving now. It was an unusual problem, (I can say that because no search for my initial clues turned up anything close to my problem, not even on Apple’s site), but now it’s fixed by trashing that plist file.

Here’s the path to follow to it in Mac OS X 10.4.2 Tiger: Computer > Your Hard Drive > Users > Your Home Folder > Library > Preferences >
That’s the file that handles what I’ve described. Good luck if you’ve found this blog entry by searching for some of the words in this post. Hope it helps. 🙂

Next, I must find time to get to IKEA to solve my other problem with broken things… (In the meantime, I’ll have to rough it by taking frequent trips to Starbucks. That’s a shame… 😉 )


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2 thoughts on “Strange file type/creator/launch behaviour (warning:geek post)”

  1. I spotted this happening the other week back but as I am used to ctrl-clicking to stop the css opening in DreamWeaver anyway I didn’t think to fix it.

    Your information will be useful, thank you.


  2. Excellent! Glad to help! I wonder if it’s a new Tiger 10.4.2 bug. It sounds like it’s happened in previous OS X incarnations, but I’d been fortunate enough to avoid it until now it seems.

    Delighted to assist. 🙂

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